Why do some people just seem to be wired to win? It would be easy to chalk it up to dumb luck or being in the right place at the right time, but for most high achievers, there’s actually a lot more going on than you may think. A few important habits that are shared by accomplished people may help shine a light on their key to success.
They build relationships
If you’ve been in the business world for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the term “networking” more times than you can count. But, it’s not just an overused corporate buzzword. In a recent article from Harvard Business Review, the authors make an important point about the value of networking:
“… in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.”
High achievers are not only skilled networkers, they’re especially adept at going beyond simply making a list of contacts at a business luncheon or connecting with influencers through social media. They build relationships based on mutual respect and, most importantly, genuine interest. They don’t see their network as a list of people who can help them get ahead, but rather as opportunities to work together. It’s a small, but important distinction that is a key characteristic of high achievers.
They build knowledge
According to an ancient Chinese proverb, “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”
High achievers have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and will seek out learning opportunities throughout their careers that help hone their skills and add to their arsenal of leadership tools. They don’t shy away from challenges based on lack of information or skills. Instead, a high achiever will take proactive steps to educate themselves or seek out people with the knowledge they need to confront a new task head on.
And that constant quest for knowledge not only contributes to their productivity, it also plays a major role in their retention. In a report from CompTIA, an IT industry trade association, “58% of employees say that professional development contributes to their job satisfaction.” High achievers find genuine joy and value in ongoing learning and development, so they naturally seek out companies or jobs that stoke those flames.
They know how to delegate
It’s in a high achiever’s nature to want to do it all, but the paradox that exists is that in order to become a high achiever it’s often necessary to delegate to others. It’s easy to get bogged down in the daily minutiae of running a business or leading a team. The most successful people surround themselves with other people they can trust to carry out their vision and produce top quality results.
In a post on his blog, leadership expert and best-selling author Michael Hyatt writes:
“The one real limitation you and I face in leadership is our time. It is truly a finite resource. We can’t buy or borrow more of it—unless we delegate. To do this effectively, we need a long-term delegation strategy. This will enable us to maximize our strengths and increase our impact.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it definitely wasn’t done alone. Achieving great things requires bringing together the necessary resources and not being too proud to lean on them for support.
A famous quote from professional basketball legend Michael Jordan sums up the relationship between success, persistence, and not being afraid to fail:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
High achievers are relentless in their pursuits. Whether it’s meeting a deadline, exceeding a quota, or starting a business, the defining characteristic that all but ensures their success is persistence. Failure is expected and often seen as a valuable learning opportunity that only strengthens their resolve to come out on top.
According to statistics from the Small Business Association, only about half of businesses will survive past five years. So, what are they doing different than the other half of businesses that don’t survive are missing? Certainly there are a lot of factors at play, but a key component to becoming a high achiever is having the perseverance and persistence to address challenges and work through tough times without losing focus on the ultimate goal.
What habits do you believe are essential for high achievers? What are some habits that prevent people from realizing their full potential? Let us know in the comments section below.
I believe one of the most important traits of successful people is the ability to remain focused on goals no matter what. I’ve heard alot of people say “I’m just too busy” but these aren’t the people that I would say are highly successful…
An important trait of successful people, especially in a start up, is to constantly look beyond the challenge that is being dealt with today to the next challenge that hasn’t appeared yet and thus gain understanding of it before it appears. Always looking ahead gets the looker around pitfalls that might have been become more perilous if unforeseen.
Another trait is to practice intense listening as opposed to intense speaking.