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If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

An important CEO decided to retire from his chocolate-making business empire that he had spent the past 40 years building. Gathering his two sons into the office, he announced that the younger son would take over with immediate effect.

The older son was so upset and didn’t understand why his younger brother would now be CEO of the family business. He questioned his father for hours asking why this was so.

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Speaking to the older son, the father said: “Go out and find me an idea for a new chocolate flavour. Go to our suppliers and find out what new flavours we can invest in.”

The older son went off and returned proudly saying: “They can potentially supply us with new flavours including raspberry, coconut, and pistachio!”

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Steve then asked the same of the younger brother who came back after a while saying: “They can definitely supply us with new flavours including raspberry, coconut, and pistachio. They said they would be willing to negotiate a cheaper deal with us if we invested more in the raspberry and coconut. They even said they were currently looking into new flavours which they will let us know about and negotiate a discount if we decide to bulk buy any new flavours they make.”

The father then turned to the older son and exclaimed: “That is why your younger brother is taking over the business.”

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The Key To Success Is Initiative

What the story above shows is that most people don’t think outside the box. How many times do we sit at work and do exactly what we’re told, never deviating from instructions? We very often fall into this trap of doing the bare minimum to get by, but does this allow us to achieve success?

The answer is NO. Feeling the need to be managed in all areas and being told what to do restricts us of having influence in anything. Successful people are the ones who know things aren’t black and white – that a+b doesn’t automatically equal c. They are the ones that think of more efficient ways of doing things and show their out-of-the-box thinking to the people around them.

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It’s all about being proactive rather than reactive. Being reactive can keep you stuck and stops you from moving forward – while this may be fine for some, if you want to get ahead and be more successful, being proactive will up the trajectory of this line propelling you to different heights. It’s about being active rather than passive and not letting things happen to you but rather creating your own path for opportunity.

How To Become A Proactive Initiator

If you find you’re stuck in a rut or you want to be more successful at work but you’re unsure of how to propel yourself forward, there are some habits you can adopt to not only help yourself, but ensure you’re being noticed by the people with influence on your career.

  1. Take ownership of your problems: Realise that no one is responsible for getting you where you want to be other than you. Adopt the mindset that it’s up to you to find the solutions to problems and own them. It’s all too easy to pass the blame or the responsibility onto someone else but thought process doesn’t lead to success.
  2. Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’tThe reason many of us get stuck is because we end up focusing on things we can’t control which leads to frustration and the tendency to give up. By focusing on what you can control and coming up with solution-focused ideas you are much more likely to find a successful resolution and lead by example in the process.
  3. Use SMART goals: This is a favourite when it comes to reaching your goals and dreams. And implementing the SMART guidelines (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) in your career will put you in good stead when it comes to achieving what you want.
  4. Be consistent: It’s not about being proactive once or twice – making sure there’s consistency with your being proactive is key to getting noticed and stops you from reverting back to being reactive. Always think of ways that things could be done better or find other work that may need doing or would be beneficial to your boss.

When it comes to being successful, whether it’s in your career or any area of your life, it’s all about having the ability to have initiative. Waiting around for something to happen or being told how or when to do something means we are never truly in control of our outcomes. So remember to be proactive and use your initiative because this allows you to do more than required and open yourself up to better habits and more opportunities.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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