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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

Master These 15 Skills for Success to Get Ahead in Your Career

Master These 15 Skills for Success to Get Ahead in Your Career

You may have been working at a particular job and believe you are fit to lead a team or should be promoted because of the extensive experience and technical skills you have.

But you should understand that the workplace and career trends are constantly evolving. It is a world where creativity and possessing different skills apply.

To meet up to new organizational or workplace objectives, you have to bring something new to the table. While it may go beyond skillsets, other requirements for being selected for a position could be based on personal involvements, attributes or extracurricular activities. In this digital age, you’ll need these set of skills for success to stay ahead:

1. Accountability

There is a difference between passionately volunteering for a project and being committed to its execution. This is where accountability comes in. You really don’t want to bite off more than chew when you take that assignment.

In the modern workplace, you do not simply have to be fully aware of what you are getting into when it comes to accepting a task, you also have to be accountable for the success of such task.

Stepping up and acting responsibly could be what is stopping you from getting that promotion.

2. Adaptability

Nothing stays the same. Change is not something you should shy away from in the modern workplace, rather it is something you should embrace.

Getting stuck to old ways of doing things or old rules may not really help the advancement of your career. You really need to take some time to open your mind to new approaches and thoughts that would help you solve problems faster and better for your organization.

It is indeed all about responding to what the current situation requires. Yes you may have to bend your own rules and beliefs, however, this will eventually make you a good people person and next in line for that promotion.

3. Networking

A simple conversation is not that simple anymore. A simple conversation could pivot your career. You really never know who you are going to meet in life and what impact they could make to influence your career.

It becomes important to hold a conversation with about anyone at any time and make it drive your progress in the workplace.

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From speaking to attending events, and sending out your business card, you surely need to start considering what networking better could do for you.

4. Focus

This one comes down to how productive you want to become. It is hard to focus or concentrate when there are so many things begging for your time in the workplace.

We all reach that point or know that scenario where it is more fun to accomplish the easier things such as checking emails or going through our social media page.

When it comes to standing out and staying ahead, you may need to practice focusing more so that you have more satisfaction and meaning in getting work done.

5. Listening Attentively

Listening attentively is backed by taking the right actions after you understand a matter. You wouldn’t really understand a matter if you don’t listen or question every decision that is made.

Yes, you should be asking for specifics and getting to the root behaviors or observations. This way you would have clearer judgement and take smarter actions.

Take a look at this guide to learn how to listen attentively:

13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

6. Being Innovative

It all comes down to asking the right questions and figuring smarter and better ways of getting results in the workplace. It could be your approach, it could be positioning yourself stronger and meeting the right people in the right way.

You may not necessarily be the hardest worker in the room, but you would be more effective if you push yourself to look for creative solutions to a problem in the work place.

7. Confidence

There is a difference between misguided arrogance about your achievements and developing the ability to stand up for ideas.

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Sometimes, developing confidence helps you to ensure and promote the achievements of others. You need confidence in the workplace if you are to deliver, engage and reach certain goals.

Here’re 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence.

8. Leadership

Leadership skills could be a source of influence for your co-workers and would get them on board on how to reach future objectives. Anyone with leadership skills will always gain visibility within an organization and would certainly be considered for more opportunities or promotions.

These 10 Leadership Qualities Revealed by the World’s Most Successful Leaders will help strengthen your leadership.

9. Communication

Whether it is written or verbal communications, communication skills are vital in the workplace.

One of the major reasons is because it helps foster relationships with co-workers and superiors in the workplace.

With good communication skills, clear expectations can be extracted so that you meet deadlines and deliver excellent work.

Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their colleagues in an organization.

10. Teamwork

Certainly, there is not much a company can do if it all depends on the activity of a singular person. Success is achieved when different people are working together for a common objective. Team players tend to build a friendly office culture and aid collaboration.

Moreover, an organization will fare better when its employees can synthesize their varied talents or strengths.

The modern workplace is looking for persons who can collaborate well with co-workers. If you possess the skill of being a good team player, then you are certainly going to be considered for promotions and career advancement.

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11. Persuasive Skills

There is always that point in your career when you have to tell others about your ideas, services or products. You may just be selling any of these things to them.

Persuasive skills are necessary for career advancement because you have to be able to form a strong, convincing argument for why the other person should buy your products or services.

If you want to pick up the art of persuasion, learn these 20 Skills That Make Everyone Agree with What You Say.

12. Negotiating Skills

From negotiating your salary to swaying coworkers to a new way of thinking, you can never underestimate the power of negotiating.

In today’s workplace, good negotiating skills are beneficial during both internal and external discussions. Sellers of a new product or idea and customers always require negotiations to thrive in the marketplace.

If you can have this quality and maximize it, then you have a great chance of moving upwards in your career.

13. Knowing When and How to Show Empathy

Building relationships and sustaining them is important to long term career success. Having the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes helps foster relationships and is a key ingredient to getting ahead in your career.

With empathy, you can provide insights and offer them the support that will help them grow in their job. You don’t have to be in a robotic work environment that limits growth, but with compassion you can steer your coworkers to performing at their peak.

So learn to offer support, sympathy and feedback everyday you do business. This way you will have a more human work environment and would be blessed with positive emotional returns.

14. Problem Solving Skills

You should be proactive at solving problems. Your work environment presents a series of problem solving situations.

To be proactive at solving problems in an organization means you are willing to go the extra mile to take the pressure off your boss and colleagues. With this skill, you are sure to get ahead in your career.

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Here’re 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills.

15. Patience with Others

Your patience with others could be vital in a tense situation. While the modern workplace could present stressful situations, how patient you are with coworkers and your superiors could determine your career advancement.

Patience is a difficult skill, however this skill will be noticed by management and perceived as a very strong asset in pushing the company forward.

There will be times when troublemakers are brought to book for their actions, but you wouldn’t be one of them if you have patience as an asset or skill.

Not sure how to practice patience? Some advice for you here:

Why Impatience is Ruining Your Life and How to Practice Patience and 

The Bottom Line

It is not simply about having the aforementioned skills, it is about maximizing them and using them for your career advancement.

You should understand that these skills make you more human, more prepared for new challenges. The more you demonstrate these abilities, the faster your career will advance.

You have to understand that such skills will help forge relationships, build diplomacy and respect while you become at the center of both individual success and corporate productivity. These skills will also help when mitigating conflict and reducing bad behavior in the office.

The modern workplace needs strong and effective corporate leaders brimming with positivity and confidence that will inspire growth and make a better workplace.

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

More by this author

Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2019

How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You

How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You

Habits arise through a process of triggering, actions, and rewards.[1] A circumstance triggers an action. When you get a reward from the action, you continue to do that.

If you aren’t intentional about actions and rewards, you’ll develop bad habits. These lead to self-sabotage, failure, and poor health. On the other hand, good habits enable health, happiness, and dream-fulfillment.

So how long does it take to break a habit? Some say 21 days, some say approximately a month. What is the real answer?

How long it takes to break a habit

There’s no magic number of repetitions that’ll get you to internalize the habits you want. Researchers have proposed several different ways of understanding habit formation.

The 21-day rule (or myth)

One of the earliest and most popular pieces of literature on the subject is Psycho-Cybernetics (1960) by Maxwell Maltz. Dr. Maltz who was a plastic surgeon wanted to understand how people viewed themselves. In particular, he was curious about how long it took for patients to get used to changes he made during surgery.

Based on observing his patients and reflecting on his own habits, he determined that it took at least 21 days for people to adjust. He used this information as the basis for many “prescriptions” in his self-help oriented Psycho-Cybernetics.[2]

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Since then, self-help gurus have latched onto the idea of taking 21-days to change habits. People began to forget that he said ‘a minimum of about 21 days’ instead of ‘it takes 21 days to form a new habit.’

Give yourself a month?

Another popular belief in self-help culture states that habits take 28 to 30 days to form.

One proponent of this rule, Jon Rhodes, suggests:[3]

“You must live consciously for 4 weeks, deliberately focusing on the changes that you wish to make. After the 4 weeks are up, only a little effort should be needed to sustain it.”

This was a generally agreed-upon figure, but the 21-day rule popularized by readers of Maltz was more appealing to many people because it was easy to understand, and it was faster than the general 28-30 rule.

If you want to know more about the myths of how long it takes to break a habit, check out this video:

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The time-frame for changing habits varies?

While the 21 and 28-day rules appeal to our desire to change quickly, a 2009 study from University College London suggests that the window for change can be much wider. The research, published in The European Journal of Social Psychology, followed habit-formation in 96 people over a 12-week period.

The UCL study looked at automaticity, which is how quickly people engaged in the actions they wanted to turn into habits. Researchers explained:[4]

As behaviours are repeated in consistent settings they then begin to proceed more efficiently and with less thought as control of the behaviour transfers to cues in the environment that activate an automatic response: a habit.

The amount of time that it took for actions to become habits varied. Participants anywhere between 18 and 254 days to form a habit. The average number of days needed to achieve automaticity was 76 days.

Make habits to break habits

Understanding the connection between forming new habits and getting rid of old ones makes the process easier.

Dr. Elliot Berkman, Director, Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, states:[5]

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“It’s easier to start doing something new than to stop doing something habitual without a replacement behavior.”

Quitting something cold-turkey is tough because you’ve wired yourself to want to do it. For example, quitting smoking is challenging beyond a physical nicotine addiction. The ritual of how a person prepares to smoke is another aspect that makes it hard to quit. In order to do away with this bad habit, the person needs to find something to fill the void left by the smoking ritual. The same goes for quitting drinking.

Look beyond time

There’s such a wide range in the amount of time it can take for someone to turn an action into a habit. That’s because time isn’t the only factor you have to think about when it comes to changing behaviors. Dr. Thomas Plante, Director, Spirituality & Health Institute, Psychology Department, Santa Clara University and Adjunct Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine explains:

“One important issue is how strongly do you really want to break the habit in question. Second, how established is the problem habit? It is easier to break a new habit than an old one. Third, what are the consequences of not breaking the habit?”

It’s one thing to make a generic goal to exercise more, but if you thoroughly enjoy being a couch potato, it’s going to be harder to get into the exercise habit. If you’ve had a bad habit for a long time, it’s much harder to ditch it because you’ve had more repetitions of that behavior.

If exercising more won’t do much to change your life, you might find it tough to be active. On the other hand, if your doctor tells you that you won’t live to see your child’s 18th birthday unless you start moving, you have more incentive to change.

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Plante also notes that people who tend to be obsessive and those who struggle with addiction may have a harder time breaking habits than the average person.

Set aside time to change

The most powerful changes don’t happen overnight, and they probably won’t happen in 21 days. Set aside at least two months to change, but understand that altering habits is different for everyone. If you’ve had the habit for a long time, or you have to break an addiction or obsession, you may need more time.

We all make changes at different speeds based on lots of variables. The intention behind your actions, your ability to interrupt negative patterns, and the possible consequences of changing (or not changing) can also affect the time it takes adjust your habits.

Regardless of how long it takes, tackling bad habits and replacing them with good ones is essential for you to live your best life. Bad habits can keep you from achieving your full potential. They can make you sick, unproductive, and unhappy. The worst habits can even cost you your relationships and your life. Good habits set you up for success all-around.

Your health and wellness, your ability to connect with others, and your ability to live out your dreams start with good habits. If you’re ready to make changes, learn more about breaking bad habits by checking out How to Program Your Mind to Kick the Bad Habit

Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

Reference

[1] Habits for Wellbeing: What is a habit, how do they work, and how can I change them?
[2] Maxwell Maltz: The New Psycho Cybernetics
[3] Selfgrowth.com: Change a habit in 28 days
[4] European Journal of Social Psychology: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
[5] Hopes and Fears: How long does it really take to break a habit?

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