Transform Your Success

7 attributes of successful people & how to have them yourself

Success is not final, failure is not fatal:
It is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill
[3-min read]

Early in my career, I attended a big A/E/C conference packed with smart engineers and scientists. As a marketing director, I felt a bit lost in the crowd.

During a coffee break, a senior leader I was chatting with gave me some advice.

He said, “In this room full of smart people, the real intelligence is an open mind.”

His words changed how I saw things. It made me realize it’s less important what you know and more important that you’re willing to learn.

Learning to Succeed

Recently, I asked 18 CEOs and top executives in my circle: What do you look for in someone to promote?

Here’s the list of 7 attributes I heard most often:

1. Being Adaptable: Being able to change and grow with the times.

One response: “Adaptability is more critical than ever. I value people who can pivot and adjust in real-time.”

Tip: When your day takes an unexpected turn, tell yourself: “Only good can come from this.” Brainstorm solutions instead of fixating on setbacks.

2. Thinking Big: Seeing beyond the now and imagining the future.

One response: “I look for visionaries. Someone who isn’t just focused on today or this quarter. I want someone who’s thinking far into the future.”

Tip: Challenge yourself by setting a high anchor goal for 10 years from now. Use the BHAG model explained in my Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Achieving Goals.

3. Staying Curious: Always wanting to learn and know more.

One response: “The more curious you are, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the more valuable you become.”

Tip: Dedicate learning time each week. Block it on your calendar and treat it like an important meeting. Read a book, take a course, attend a workshop. Here are some excellent free resources.

4. Being Understanding: Really getting people and where they’re coming from.

One response: “Empathy is at the core of true leadership. Understanding their team’s needs and concerns is what sets great leaders apart.”

Tip: Practice active listening. When someone shares a challenge with you, don’t jump in with a solution. Instead, ask questions to understand deeper.

5. Making Decisions: Being able to choose and move forward.

One response: “Decisiveness is crucial. I trust those who can assess, decide, and take action, even under pressure.”

Tip: When faced with a decision: think, decide, commit. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. You can always adjust course later if needed.

6. Bouncing Back: Getting up and going again, no matter what knocks you down.

One response: “Resilience is a trait I admire. When you can face adversity and come back stronger, it's a huge advantage.”

Tip: If a proposal gets rejected, seek feedback, improve it, and then pitch it again.

7. Working Well with Others: Knowing that teamwork makes the dream work.

One response: “Success is a collective effort. Someone who encourages collaboration and unity. And leads by example. Those are the ones I see as future leaders.”

Tip: If you’re leading a team, hold regular brainstorming sessions. Be sure everyone’s voice is heard and appreciated.

Making It Work for You

Here's how you can use this info:

  • Pick One: Start with just one attribute from the list. Dive deep into it.

  • Learn About It: Read up, chat with people who are good at it, and really get to know it.

  • Try It Out: Use it in your day-to-day. See how it changes things for you.

  • Keep Learning: When you’ve improved in the first attribute, choose a second one to work on.

Diving Deeper

Author Rich Diviney, a former commander who ran training for Navy SEALs, wrote an excellent book, The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance.

Also, check out venture investor Natalie Fratto’s exceptional 6-min Ted Talk, 3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptabilityand How to Improve It.

Connecting the Dots

Five months ago, I left my 22-year corporate career to start my own business.

What I’ve learned? The 7 attributes above are tools successful people use no matter where they are in life.

Success isn’t a finish line; it’s a journey that keeps going. By focusing on these 7 traits, we’re not just chasing success. We’re shaping it.

Until next week, keep shining my friend.


P.S. Ready to Transform with Expert Guidance?

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