Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending the United Nations Conference On The Status of Women. The focus of this 10-day event was the empowerment of women and how it is relates to seventeen sustainable developmental goals which include gender equality, good health and well- being. High-level leaders, ministers of state, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UN Director of Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and other dignitaries were at the conference.
During this time, I had the opportunity to attend several of the UN briefings and many non- formal events. These non- formal invitations generally came after a UN briefing. A few of us would be sharing ideas and would decide to further discuss them over a shared meal or coffee. I had the opportunity to observe the behavior of many successful individuals as well as participate in conversations.
When I returned to my Michigan home, and began talking about what I had learned, one of my dear friends and I got into a deep conversation. We discussed what traits and behaviors successful people seem to have in common and it led to this piece.
Here are 10 things successful people do well:
1. Remain a student.
When I was at the UN briefings and during other conversations, I observed that these individuals, regardless of their fancy titles or graduate degrees, are still very interested in learning. Often I would hear someone say, “Can you please repeat that book title?” Equally, they would take notes and want to learn more about a particular topic.
2. Practice joy.
Joy is one of these things that often gets overlooked for hope or happiness; however, it is equally important. Spreading joy when you meet others makes a difference. Dr. Brene Brown writes in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, “Happiness is tied to circumstances and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude.”
3. Remain open.
Successful people know that a restricted way of thinking limits opportunities. They are open to new ideas and people. They understand that inspiration doesn’t come from a closed mind. They read books and listen to podcasts outside of their wheelhouse. When the successful say, “I’m open to this” they mean it.
4. Say “NO” to the negative.
“Saying no to negativity also means not being around negative people. Negative people deplete your energy.” Deepak Chopra, MD in Creating Affluence
These wise words written by my dear friend Deepak Chopra are ones that successful people follow. This doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate differences of opinions and understand that sometimes conflicts occur. However, when a pattern of negativity seems to be the norm for some people they separate themselves from it.
5. Give back.
While at the UN conference, time and time again I heard discussions about opportunities to give back. What surprised me is that many overachievers quietly give to those in need. They may have foundations or non- profits but many times they give anonymously without looking for any type of recognition. A generous spirit is something they value.
6. Value questions.
Successful people ask important questions of themselves and others. They will ask others for feedback about their projects. They are not afraid to ask for help and admit what they do not know. They will ask themselves how they can improve upon something. They will ask what more can they give to a project. They will ask deep questions like, “What purpose does this have? What more can be done? How can I cultivate change?”
7. Know where power lies.
Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now, writes, “Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within, and it is available to you now.”
Successful people understand that true power lies within and do not express it in a domineering, ego driven demeanor. Their strength is at their core not on the surface. There is no need for them to state that they are in authority or in charge. We’ve all seen or perhaps heard about an ego driven leader who wasn’t afraid to mince words with others and cut them off at the pass. However, these individuals are not truly successful. What they have is superficial status, and it isn’t benevolence, empathy or goodness.
8. Balance is key.
Successful people appreciate diverse experiences and recognize that it isn’t healthy to put all their eggs in one basket. Within one day they may attend meetings about multiple ongoing projects, and to the casual onlooker, it might look like chaos. However, often the successful thrive on managing several things, and they feel that one project fuels the energy for a parallel interest. Many CEOs will tell you that they engage in various platforms and pursue multiple leads because each inspires their passion in a different way.
9. Practice Gratitude.
Sure there are work expectations that the successful have of others, but they don’t hesitate to acknowledge kindness. The successful are also grateful for the things that can’t be purchased. For example, it includes things like a handwritten letter, a telephone call from their child, or a friendship. Gratitude is one of those things that anyone can practice and the rewards are exceptional.
10.Look at problems in a new light.
"No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it." Albert Einstein
Successful people know that solving problems needs to be done from a new perspective. Things don't always go as planned and effective individuals understand that looking at things through a new lens is necessary in creating a solution. In other words, the mindset that cultivated the chaos isn't productive. Hearing different opinions doesn’t threaten the successful, in fact, it can unite them in finding a solution.
Success varies the way it bestows itself among people. And while there may not be a recipe for success, it can’t hurt one to integrate some of these things into their life. What helped you achieve your goals? EmpowHER would love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Kristin Meekhof is a licensed master’s level social worker, writer and speaker. She is the author of the book, “A Widow’s Guide to Healing” and a contributor to the book “Live Happy: Ten Practices For Choosing Joy.”