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15 Habits That Put You On The Fast Track To Success

15 Habits That Put You On The Fast Track To Success

We all want the answers on how to be successful. We all want to enjoy our jobs and earn lots of money every week. Knowing how to get there is often the hard part. Here are 15 habits that can help put you on the fast track to success.

1. Be Determined

In order to be successful, you must first be determined to be successful. Know what your idea of success is, set your mind to it, and don’t turn back.

2. Maintain Discipline

Setting your mind to be successful is one thing, but maintaining the thought is another. It’s easy to get distracted or fall into a sluggish mode. You must discipline yourself on a daily basis and continually work hard for it.

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3. Set Goals

Whether it’s arriving 5 minutes early every day or becoming the company’s vice president, set a goal, and don’t give up until it’s achieved. When that goal is accomplished, set a new one. Always give yourself something to work towards, big or little.

4. Dress for Success

It sounds so cliché, but it’s very true. Even if your position allows casual wear, it’s important to maintain a neat and clean appearance. Not only will it impress your boss and your clients, but it will also help you to feel good about yourself.

5. Learn Something New

Whether it’s going back to school for your bachelor’s degree or simply just watching a webinar on the internet, any form of additional learning is beneficial.

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6. Meditate

End your evening or start your morning with meditation. Even take a few minutes on your lunch break to sit quietly in your car. Meditation is a great way to help clear your mind of stressful and negative thoughts.

7. Stretch

Stretching is an effective way to help relax your muscles and body, especially if you have a desk job. Get up from your chair to walk around the office. Learn stretching exercises that can be done from your desk area.

8. How to Be Successful? Be Happy!

Being happy is one of the most important factors to success. Being unhappy will hinder your ambitions, therefore hindering success. Talk to management if there are issues that need to be resolved. Perhaps it’s even time to re-evaluate yourself and your career path.

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9. Open Communication

Keep the lines of communication open with management, co-workers, and clients. Discuss problems with your manager. Seek help from your co-workers, and converse with your clients. Questions won’t get answered if you don’t ask them. Problems won’t get resolved if you don’t mention them. Tasks won’t get done if you don’t delegate them.

10. Leave Work at Work

This is usually easier said than done sometimes, but it’s very important to ‘clock yourself out’ at the end of every work day, and don’t allow yourself to clock back in during personal hours. Do not bring the stresses of work into your home and around your family.

11. Keep Your Desk Organized

Avoid clutter in your office and on your desk top. Too much clutter will leave you feeling unorganized and overwhelmed, potentially hindering your work performance.

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12. Decorate Your Office Space

Have a bowl of your favorite candy on your desk. Frame your family or pet photo. Display your “lucky” figurine. Having a few personal items in sight during the work day can make your smile and feel good, even if only for a brief moment (but as mentioned above, don’t over clutter).

13. Start Each Day with a Positive Affirmation

Start each day with a positive thought, a meaningful quote or a funny joke. Tell yourself that it is going to be a great and productive day!

14. Give Compliments

Thank your co-worker for bringing in donuts. Tell your client that their new hairstyle is stunning. Tell yourself “great job” for meeting the deadline. Compliments will bring a ‘feel good’ aura throughout the entire office.

15. Be Yourself

Don’t feel like you have to be something you’re not just to climb the ladder. Stepping outside of your comfort zone to try something new is one thing, but altering who you are is not.

We don’t always have the answers for how to be successful, and most of us can agree that we don’t find them overnight. However, incorporating a good attitude, hard work, and these simple tips into your daily work routine will help you on your way to a successful career.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2019

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination, is a reminder of why I am so drawn to leadership as a topic. Whenever I think it is impossible for me to be more impressed with her, she proves me wrong.

Earlier this week, a former marine suggested that he had been in a long-term sexual relationship with the Senator. She flipped the narrative and used the term “Cougar,” a term used to describe older women who date younger men, to reference her alma mater.

Rather than calling the young man a liar, or responding to the accusations in kind, she re-focused the conversation back to her message of college affordability and lifted up that “Cougar” was the mascot for her alma mater. She went on to note that tuition at her school was just $50 per semester when she was a student. Class act.

But by the end of the week, news broke that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender for the presidency, had a heart attack. Warren not only wished Sanders a speedy recovery but her campaign sent a meal to his staff. She knew that the hopes of staff, donors and supporters were with the Senator from Vermont and showed genuine compassion and empathy.

To me, she has proven time and time again that she is more than a presidential candidate: she belongs in a leadership hall of fame.

What makes some people excel as leaders is fascinating. You can read about leadership, research it and talk about it, yet the interest in leadership alone will not make you a better leader.

You will have more information than the average person, but becoming a good leader is lifelong work. It requires experience – and lots of it. Most importantly, it requires observation and a commitment to action. Warren observed what was happening with Sen. Sanders, empathized with his team and then took action. Regardless of the outcome of this election, Sanders’ staff will likely never forget her gesture.

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You would have had to work on a political campaign in order to appreciate the stress and anxiety that comes with it. In this moment, staff may not remember everything that Warren said throughout the lengthy campaign, but they will remember what she did during an unforgettable time during the campaign.

If this model of leadership is appealing, and if you are searching for how to up your own leadership game, read on for six characteristics that good leaders share:

1. Good leaders are devoted to the success of the people around them.

Good leaders are not self-interested. Sure, they want to succeed, but they also want others to succeed.

Good leaders see investing in others just as important as they see investing in themselves. They understand that their success is closely tied to the people around them, and they work to ensure that their peers, employees, friends and family have paths for growth and development.

While the leaders may be the people in the spotlight, they are quick to point to the people around them who helped them (the leaders) enter that spotlight. Their willingness to lift others inspires their colleagues’ and friends’ devotion and loyalty.

2. Good leaders are not overly dependent on others’ approval.

It is important for managers to express their support for their teams; good leaders must be independent of the approval of others. I explained in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that:[1]

“While a desire to be loved is natural, managers who prioritize approval from subordinates will become ineffective supervisors who may do employees harm. For example, a manager driven by a need for approval may shy away from delivering constructive feedback that could help an employee improve. A manager fearful of upsetting someone may tolerate behavior that degrades the work environment and culture.”

In yet another example, a manager who is dependent on the approval of others may not make decisions that could be deemed unpopular in the short run but necessary in the long run.

Think of the coaches who integrated their sporting teams. Their decision to do so, may have seemed odd, and even wrong, in the moment, but time has proven that those leaders were on the right side of history.

3. Good leaders have the capacity to share the spotlight.

Attention is nice, but it is not the prime motivator for good leaders. Doing a good job is.

For this reason, good leaders are willing to share the spotlight. They aren’t threatened by a lack of attention, and they do not need credit for every accomplishment. They are too focused on their goal and too focused on the urgency of their work.

4. Good leaders are students.

In the same way that human beings are constantly evolving, so too are leaders. As long as you are living, you have the potential to learn. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you think you have; you can always learn something new.

I have the experience of thinking I was doing everything right as a manager, only to receive conflicting feedback from my team. Perhaps my approach was not working for my team, and I had to be willing to hear their feedback to improve.

Good leaders understand that their secret sauce is their willingness to keep receiving information and keep learning. They aren’t intimidated by what they do not know: As long as they maintain a willingness to keep growing, they believe they can overcome any obstacle they face.

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As both masters and students, good leaders read, listen and study to grow. They consume content for information, not just entertainment purposes. They aren’t impressed with their knowledge; they are impressed with the learning journey.

5. Good leaders view vulnerability as a superpower.

It means “replacing ‘professional distance and cool,’ with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” said Emma Sappala in a Dec. 11, 2014, article, “What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable” for Harvard Business Journal.[2] She went on to note the importance of human connection, which she asserts is often missing at work.

“As leaders and employees, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image. An image of confidence, competence and authority. We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work.”

This rings so true for me as a woman leader. I was raised believing that any show of emotion in the workplace could be used against me. I was raised believing that it was best for women leaders to be stoic and to “never let ‘em see you sweat.” This may have prevented me from connecting with employees and colleagues on a deeper, more personal level.

6. Good leaders understand themselves.

I am a huge fan of life coach and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant. In addition to her hit show on the OWN network, Vanzant has authored dozens of books. In her books and teachings, she underscores the importance of knowing ourselves fully. She argues that we must know what makes us tick, what makes us happy and what makes us angry.

Self-awareness enables us to put ourselves in situations where we can thrive, and it also enables us to have compassion when we fall short of the goals and expectations we have for ourselves. Relatedly, understanding ourselves will allow us to know our strength. When we know our strengths, we will be able to put people around us who compliment our strengths and fill the gaps in our leadership.

Final Thoughts

Being a good leader, first and foremost, is an inside job. You must focus on growing as a person regardless of the leadership title that you hold. You cannot take others where you yourself have not been. So focusing on yourself, regardless of your time or where you are in your career will have long term benefits for you and the people around you.

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Further, if you want to become a good leader, you should start by setting the intention to do so. What you focus on grows. If you focus on becoming a better leader, you will research and invest in things that help you to fulfill this intention. You will also view the good and bad leadership experiences as steppingstones that hone your character and help you improve.

After you set the intention, get really clear on what a good leader looks like to you. Each of us has a different understanding of leadership. Is a good leader someone who takes risk? Is a good leader, in your estimation, someone who develops other leaders? Whatever it is, know what you’re shooting for. Once you define what it means to be a good leader, look for people who exemplify your vision. Watch and engage with them if you can.

Finally, understand that becoming a good leader doesn’t happen overnight. You must continually work at improving, investing in yourself and reflecting on what is going well and what you must improve. In this way, every experience is an opportunity to grow and a chance to ask: ‘What is this experience trying to teach me?’ or ‘what action is necessary based on this situation?’

If you are committed to questioning, evaluating and acting, you are that much closer to becoming a better leader.

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Featured photo credit: Sam Power via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Why Good Managers Overcome the Desire to Be Liked
[2] Harvard Business Journal: What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable

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