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34 Things You Can Do Internally To Prepare For External Success

34 Things You Can Do Internally To Prepare For External Success

Most of us make the mistake of pursuing external signs of success without doing the hard internal work first. We also mistakenly believe that external success is the path to internal success (happiness, fulfillment, etc). The truth is that it often works the other way around.

Here are some principles to help you prepare internally for external success:

1. Love what you do

Don’t wait to find the thing you are passionate about. Bring your passion to what you are doing today.

2. Always be learning

Do not subscribe to the belief that you are done with learning when you graduate high school or college. See every situation as an opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson or skill.

3. Be a decision maker

Be decisive. Be at peace with the decisions you make. Be courageous in accepting responsibility for your decisions.

4. Become self-reflective

Observe yourself. Take time to reflect on your inner motivations for what you do.

5. Don’t hold grudges

The longer you hold on to a grudge, the more you empower the person who hurt you. Reclaim your power by letting go of anger and bitterness.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Learn perspective. Don’t waste an ounce of energy on anything that is petty or insignificant.

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7. Be a person of your word

Do what you say you will do. See your tasks and projects through to completion. If you can’t, don’t make up excuses.

8. Don’t be afraid to play to an empty house

Do your work with joy and enthusiasm, even when you think no one is noticing or watching.

9. Work three times as hard

If you’re not giving it all you’ve got, it’s probably not worth doing.

10. Pray or meditate

Find a higher purpose. Success without a higher calling will be unsatisfying at best.

11. Wake up early

Want your day to be more productive? Wake up early.

12. Focus on the why

Clearly define your “why.” Your “what” and your “how” will follow.

13. Stop comparing yourself to others

Live your life rather than yearning for someone else’s.

14. Stop self-sabotaging behavior

Are you telling yourself and others that you are not worthy of success by your actions? Change your behavior and start telling a different story.

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15. Watch who you hang around with

Stay away from negativity. It will suck the life energy out of you.

16. Start a mastermind group

Find a group of like-minded individuals so you can encourage each other on your paths to success.

17. Practice mindfulness

Always be mindful of the present moment. Take a few minutes out of your day to sit in silence.

18. Express gratitude

Never tire of being grateful. Take a deep breath and smile.

19. Grow a thick skin

Learn to graciously accept criticism. Learn to positively deflect mean-spiritedness.

20. Practice empathy

Learn to identify with people on a deeper level. Spend an afternoon talking to people at a homeless shelter. Take a friend going through a difficult time out for a cup of coffee and give them your undivided attention (i.e. turning off your smartphone).

21. Trust in the process, not your feelings

You’ve plotted a long-term path to success but you don’t feel like doing it today. Don’t be tempted to quit or take short cuts. Trust the path. Get up and get to work.

22. Spend less than your earn

Learn to manage your money. Create a budget before the month begins and stick to it.

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23. Learn deferred gratification

Do you really need to upgrade your smartphone today? Do you just have to have that new car? Probably not. Wait until you can afford it.

24. Decide what you want your success to look like

Visualize your success. Do you like what you see? How can you tweak your vision to something you will be happy with? The visuals we usually associate with success is money falling from the sky, flashy sports cars, nice clothing and accessories, and a gorgeous woman or man at your side. Is that what you want?

What if success was more about having the freedom to pursue and strengthen the relationships that matter the most to you? To have the resources to help the less fortunate?

Don’t simply assume success is what you see in popular culture. You get to decide.

25. Decide ahead of time what you will do if you fall short

Will you quit? Will you do a course correction? Will you double down? Will you seek help? Decide ahead of time.

26. Read great books

Read educational books. Read non-fiction books. Read fiction books. Read inspiring autobiographies. Read spiritual books. Read children’s books (to your kids and to yourself). Find the great stories that will inspire your own story.

27. Practice affirmations

This will help you overcome self-sabotaging behavior. Speak them aloud.

28. Exercise your body and your mind

Along with physical exercise, play strategy games and do mental exercises that will challenge your brain.

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29. Develop you ability to observe and read other people

Learn to observe people. Become interested in their interests, likes, and dislikes. Listen to them. You will eventually learn to anticipate their needs.

30. Be other-centered

Always think about ways you can add value to others. Banish the question “What will I get out of this?” from your thinking.

31. Be givers

Give joyfully of your time and resources. Take the time to mentor a person in your field, to volunteer, and to financially support a worthy cause.

32. Stop complaining

Don’t complain about how terrible your life is, even when times are tough. You life is not terrible, you are simply going through a terrible time. It will pass.

33. Find a mentor

Identify a person who has achieved external and internal success. Ask them questions. Learn their story. If you do not have personal access to this achiever, follow his blog or podcast. Read her books. Watch his YouTube videos.

34. Hold on to relationships that keep you grounded

Never lose sight of the relationships that matter most. No matter how successful you get, you will always need the love and support of family, friends, and people you respect. Besides, success will be no fun unless you can share it with them.

Featured photo credit: Freedom via flic.kr

More by this author

Cylon George

A spiritual chaplain and blogger who writes about practical spiritual tips for busy people.

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear People Who Live Better Than Others Are Well Aware Of These Harsh Truths 5 Warning Signs That You’re A People Pleaser (And How To Fix It) 34 Things You Can Do Internally To Prepare For External Success 15 Signs You Are Too Busy And Should Stop

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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