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10 Hard Things You Need To Do For Success (While Many People Are Unaware)

10 Hard Things You Need To Do For Success (While Many People Are Unaware)

The road to success is a long and winding one, with plenty of obstacles just waiting to trip up a careless traveler. Apart from the privileged few who are given everything on a silver platter, most of the people who make their dreams come true put in a lot of hard work and make sacrifices behind the scenes, constantly improving themselves. Shaping yourself into a smarter, faster, stronger and better version takes time, and there are a number of things that you need to do for success, even though you may not realize it yet.

1. Stay calm and composed during conflict situations

One of the first things to look for in a good leader is the ability to keep his or her composure during a high pressure situation. We can look at lions for a good example of effective leadership – the male lion is the leader of the group, even though the females do most of the hunting while he just lies around, but as soon as a large animal threatens the group the lion remains calm and deals with the threat, even if it means sacrificing his life to keep everyone safe.

Now, you shouldn’t just sit there and wait for an opportunity to show off your conflict management skills, but you have learn to stay calm during arguments and crisis situations.

2. Practice good manners and always be polite

You never know when a great opportunity will present itself – you might be at a party, at a parking lot or buying groceries when you meet someone who may have a job opportunity or an interesting business proposition for you. Practicing good manners will significantly improve the way other people perceive you, and by constantly reinforcing a polite and composed demeanor in your daily life, you will actually prepare yourself for professional and courteous behavior during business meetings and negotiations.

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It’s easy to allow yourself to explode at every little thing that irks you or resort to sarcasm and rudeness, but the true greats will never let their frustration or insecurities show. If everyone sees you as a reasonable, trustworthy and polite individual, many doors will open for you.

3. Be incredibly punctual and consistently productive

The main thing that separates successful people from the rest of the crowd is their ability to organize their life down to the last second and always be on time, clocking in a number of highly productive hours each day. Unfortunately, consistency is not something many people are good at.

This is why companies go to great lengths to ensure that their employees stay punctual, but if you want to build a successful career, you’ll have to find a way to develop these positive habits on your own. Even if the company has a strict attendance policy and the right software in place, you still need to go to bed on time, wake up early and stay focused throughout the day. Learning to motivate yourself to get things done when you really don’t feel like it and have a number of obstacles in your way is the most important career lesson you can learn.

4. Acknowledge your mistakes

Refusing to accept that you’ve made a mistake is not only counter-productive, but quite childish. A grown man or woman should have a firm grasp of reality and be aware of their own imperfections. Even though we can never be completely objective, we can at least admit that we have made a mistake and try not make similar mistakes next time. Accepting that you are flawed and trying to improve things about yourself that have become major character traits over time is incredibly difficult, which is why most people keep shifting blame and never grow.

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5. Work hard on improving yourself in all aspects of life

While focusing on a single aspect of your life and even a single skill can help you master it faster before moving on to the next issue that needs improvement, being good at a couple of things is not going to be enough to attain true success. Communication and negotiation skills are important in practically any line of work, while dressing with style and confident body language can help you take your career to the next level regardless of skill and experience.

Taking care of your body and getting all the nutrients you need, as well as exercising, is going to boost focus, give you more energy and make you feel very confident. As you can see, reading, exercising, dieting, people skills and many other good habits all come together to create a winning mentality, and successful people strive to improve in different ways.

6. Push through failure with supreme confidence

A lot of people mistakenly assume that those rare few who achieve excellence simply have a unique combination of incredible talent and luck, which helps them get to the top without ever making any mistakes. However, while talent plays a big role, it’s actually the courage to try new things, tons of hard work and supreme confidence in yourself that are going to catapult you out of mediocrity. You have to believe that what you are doing is the best possible option if you want to be able to shrug off failures and keep moving forward.

A smart man once said: “We either win or we learn” – there is no “fail” in the vocabulary of a winner, all those minor setbacks are just lessons in the school of hard knocks. This confidence doesn’t come easy – it must be nurtured daily, by positive phrases repeated in front of the mirror and by truly believing that all the goals you have set can and will be accomplished sooner or later.

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7. Come up with your own answers through tons of research and practice

Information is often served to us on a silver platter, but practical experience has shown that the easier it is to attain information, the more you should question its validity. There are tons of myths and misinformation out there, and a quick 3 minute Google search is not going to help you master any topic. You can never just take someone’s word for it, it’s important to read, read, and read some more.

Read from several different sources, find experts who most people in the field respect, and always try and see if the theory works in practice – your unique set of circumstances may require a slightly modified approach, and some tips might not apply to you.

8. Force yourself to take on as much work as you can handle, and then some

Making it big is not something you can do from your couch. Well, I guess you can if you spend countless hours working on your laptop on a cozy couch, but it’s still work. Entrepreneurs have it worst, but even if you work for a company, climbing the corporate ladder is no easy task.

You have to bring in lots of money or improve the efficiency at the office, become a brand ambassador on social media, work on impressing the bosses, navigate the murky waters of office politics, convince the higher-ups that promoting you will benefit them personally in some way, and find any way you can to stand out. This takes a lot of work, and a good chunk of it is not directly related to your field of expertise, so most people either crumble under the pressure or just give up and stay in the same place for years.

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9. Cover all the minute details when making a plan

A regular Joe will ask a few questions about a project and create a plan of action in a few broad strokes, but a smart businessman will want to cover all the bases. Jumping head first into the deep end isn’t going to yield the greatest of results, and even if you manage to handle a situation, chances are there was a better way of doing things that you’ve missed because you failed to prepare.

10. Invest your time, effort and money into a great opportunity, even if there is no guarantee it will pay off

This is the ultimate test of willpower and passion – the willingness to go with your gut feeling and jump on opportunities, even if there is no guarantee that you will succeed. There will be plenty of high-risk, high-reward opportunities along the way, and you need to learn how to distinguish diamonds in the rough from plain old rubble, so to speak. In the beginning you’ll be playing the numbers game, and for every 2-4 misses you’ll hit one big project, but as you become wiser and more successful you’ll be able to make calculated risks. Believing in yourself and taking chances is what will help you advance in your career.

We admire powerful and successful people, but we often fail to realize just how much work goes into making it big. All of the things in this article need to come together to pave the road to success, and it’s hard to manage it all, but no one said that it was going to be easy.

Featured photo credit: rangizzz via shutterstock.com

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Aleksandar Ilic

Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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Last Updated on August 7, 2018

14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

Being a leader of a company or organization is certainly a difficult and often frustrating position – but it can also be tremendously rewarding.

Whether you’re just starting out as a leader, or have been leading for a while, you’ll be sure to benefit from knowing the essential traits that all great leaders possess.

Effective and successful leaders transcend the title of ‘manager’ or ‘boss’. They’ve found a way to achieve the perfect combination of charisma, enthusiasm and self-assurance (with a healthy dose of luck and timing probably added to the mix).

It may seem like some people are gifted with leadership skills, but the truth is most leadership traits can be learned, adopted, and strengthened with time and practice.

As we delve into the list of effective leadership traits, you will learn the behaviors and attitudes of a good leader.

The 14 most important leadership traits

Please read through the list of leadership qualities carefully. Take note of which of the traits you excel at – and which ones you need to work at.

Traits for better self-development

1. Vision and mission

Having a clear picture of what needs to be achieved is a crucial quality of good leadership.

This vision is often communicated in a mission statement, such as this one from Starbucks:

    How to develop vision? Spend time pinpointing what you need to achieve, and then plan the steps to get there. Here’s a complete guide on creating your own vision.

    2. Self-motivated

    It’s no coincidence that successful leaders have an abundance of self-motivation.

    Without a decent level of self-motivation, you’ll struggle to become a strong and respected leader. However, if you don’t have a lot of self-motivation right now, don’t despair.

    One of the secrets is to have definite goals to keep you motivated at all times. Some people also choose to reward themselves every time they achieve a goal, and this is certainly a good way to keep yourself enthused and motivated. Learn how to set an ambitious yet achievable goal here.

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    3. Optimism and positivity

    Positive energy is contagious. Great leaders are overflowing with this type of energy.

    Not only does a positive mindset make leaders easy to work with, but it also gives them a constant source of inspiration and ideas.

    Tap into this energy by aligning yourself with positive people and positive goals. Find out more about the habits of positive people here.

    4. Emotional stability

    In leadership positions, frustration and stress are daily occurrences. This is why leaders need to have strong and stable emotions. They can’t allow themselves to be easily knocked off track.

    If you’re prone to losing your emotional stability when stressed or frustrated, try some of these techniques: breath deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, go for a walk, drink some water (instead of tea or coffee), turn your focus onto something you can resolve. Here’re some effective ways to control your emotions.

    5. Self-confidence

    Watch a presentation by any CEO and you’ll see that even if they’re not natural presenters – they make up for this by having powerful self-confidence.

    It’s not just CEOs who have self-confidence, any successful leader will have this trait in abundance. One reason for this, is that only a confident person can persuade others and gain their respect.

    Worried that you have low self-confidence? Try faking it. Psychologists often recommend that if you ‘act’ at being confident, you’ll start to look, sound and feel like you ARE confident. And in time… you will be.

    If you look for more ways to boost your self-confidence, this confidence coach has got you some nice advice:

    How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

    6. Decisiveness

    Leaders are frequently called upon to make decisions (some leaders may have to make dozens of decisions every day). In fact, you could say that making decisions is one of the key things a leader must do.

    Spend some time observing highly-successful leaders and you’ll see that they are quick to make decisions. They also enjoy making decisions, rather than stressing out like many non-leaders do when they’re asked to decide on something.

    Put yourself in the leadership bracket by developing your decision-making skills. Start with small decisions – and then work your way up to bigger and more difficult decisions. Once other people notice your decision-making prowess, they’ll automatically see you as leadership material.

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    I know it’s really quite difficult to make the right decisions sometimes, but don’t worry, here’s a guide for you:

    How To Make Good Decisions All The Time

    7. Passion and enthusiasm

    Expressive. Active. Energetic. These are words best describe a passionate leader.

    Great leaders are lively, driven and are possessed with zeal and purpose. It’s this passion that helps them achieve big results. If you want to emulate their success, then you need to develop passion and enthusiasm for the work at hand, and the end goals.

    Take a look at this Passion Pyramid to find out how importance a leader’s passion is to the team:

      One way to do this is to find what motivates you, and keep your focus firmly on that. For example, i f you’re motivated by helping others, then make sure your role and company are both suited to realizing this. If you’re motivated by money, then put your focus on achieving bonuses and pay rises.

      Take a look at Leo Babauta’s guide on how to find your passion.

      8. Accountability and responsibility

      Exceptional leaders know that at all times they’ll need to take responsibility for tasks and their results. This includes things likes individual and team performance, as well as being accountable for when things go wrong.

      When negative things occur (and you can guarantee they will from time-to-time), a great leader will immediately step in and take responsibility. Initially, they’ll try to resolve the problem in as quick and smooth a way as possible. But if this is not feasible, they’ll be sure to say that the buck stops with them – and they take full responsibility for what has happened.

      To develop your leadership skills, you must never shy away from responsibility or accountability. If you prefer to sweep mistakes under the carpet, then you’re demonstrating non-leadership traits. Try owning up to issues and finding solutions to them. By doing this, you’ll immediately gain people’s respect.

      Find out some tips on how to be a more responsible person here.

      9. Focus

      Distractions are everywhere. And it takes major focus to stay committed to tasks and goals. The best leaders understand this, and therefore, they’re always looking at ways to boost their team’s focus.

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      One way leaders do this, is to keep their team intensely focused on the bigger picture. This might entail allocating specific time for tasks and eliminating any non-essential work.

      If you’re easily knocked off track, you’ll need to spend some time boosting your focus. Try planning your day, week, month and year to help ensure that you don’t fall behind with achieving your goals. Check out the 7 strategies of staying super focus recommended by a productivity coach.

      10. Ever-learning

      Leaders know that to be successful they need to continually update their skills and knowledge. They deliberately learn all they can about their profession and industry, so they’ll able to make confident and assured decisions.

      Why is ever learning so important? I’ll leave it to you to find out the reason here:

      If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

      Imagine a CEO of a solar power company. His company may have amazing solar panels, but when it comes to discussing business with potential buyers, if the CEO or his sales team show a lack of understanding about the solar industry and future trends, etc., they’ll be unlikely to win any business.

      It’s exactly the same for you. If you’re a team leader at an electronics store, you should make sure you fully understand all the products that you offer. But go beyond just that, and read about upcoming products and trends that might change what customers are interesting in buying in the future.

      Traits for effective communication

      11. Empathy

      The best leaders understand the feeling of their team members, customers and associates. They know when to praise, and when to discuss problems (usually in private).

      Without empathy, leaders will be seen as cold, harsh and lacking understanding. They’re also likely to be regarded as untrustworthy.

      One way to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is to have regular informal discussions with your colleagues. When you do this, you’ll quickly learn their fears and desires. And when you understand why they have these – you’ll be in a position to express empathy. You can also learn to be more sensitive to others’ needs by taking up these communication skills.

      12. Persuasive and influential

      Communications are at the heart of all transactions. Whether it’s pitching for a sale or resolving a customer complaint, how you communicate will determine the outcome.

      Charismatic leaders such as Richard Branson (Virgin) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are confident and persuasive communicators. They know how to win over audiences and leave a lasting impressing in people’s minds.

      There’re some common barriers that you’ll have to overcome in order to communicate effectively:

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      How to learn effective communication? You could join the world-renowned U.S. nonprofit Toastmasters International. They’ve been training people in the art of public speaking since 1924, and members have included Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.

      If you don’t have time to join a club, then practice your communications skills at home. You can do this in front of a mirror, or even better, video yourself presenting, and then ask some friends and family members for feedback. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up on.

      Traits for ensuring an engaging team

      13. Team building

      If you put a bunch of random people together, you may have a loose definition of a team. In reality, a real team has purpose, drive – and a leader lighting the way.

      If you’ve worked in different teams and with different managers, you’ll no doubt have come to this conclusion:

      Managers who treat their team members like children are unpopular with the team. Conversely, managers who treat their team members like adults, are respected and well-liked by the team.

      The days of disciplinarian managers are passed. Nowadays, successful team leaders know how to inspire and motivate their team, while keeping a harmonious atmosphere between all team members.

      14. Fostering creativity

      Solutions to problems are rarely black and white. Often it takes a leader who can ‘think outside the box’ to come up with answers. In other words, a leader must be creative, and also help to foster creativity and innovation throughout their team.

      Creativity is not only associated with pursuits such as arts, literature and music, running a team can be just as creative. There will be times every day when you need to come up with ideas and give guidelines for your team to come up with theirs to solve problems.

      Leadership is a journey of continuous learning

      Leadership is an amazing experience that will take you on roads you’ve never traveled before.

      Begin now to build your skills and experience, pick out the traits that you currently lack – and then work on developing those.

      It will take tons of practice and time before becoming an effective leader but eventually you will join the ranks of great leaders.

      Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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