This week Lord Jeffrey Archer spoke passionately about rising to the top and how this can be affected by where and how you grew up. It got me thinking, especially having grown up in rural New South Wales, about what it actually takes to break the mould.
The more I thought about it I realised that successful leaders, entrepreneurs and businessmen or women have more in common than their bank accounts. Sometimes making it to the top takes vision and passion, other times it is courage to put everything on the line at the risk of falling on your face.
So, what is it that makes all these successful people successful? Here are the five traits that I think they display and can be adopted for lasting success.
1. Innovative thinking: most successful people think differently – it is what makes them tick and allows them to look at what everybody else is doing and see the opportunity to innovative for success. In our interview with best-selling author Matthew Reilly three weeks ago he talked about the merit of looking at your favourite authors and seeing the things they weren’t doing and choosing to be extremely good in that space. Find those gaps in your market and pursue them innovatively.
2. Collaboration: some of the world’s most successful leaders have partnered with likeminded and equally skilled professionals to help them reach their goals. The collaborative economy is well and truly upon us – who could you partner with to your mutual benefit?
3. Patience: the power of a good idea can only get you so far – sometimes in order to achieve great heights time must be spent planning and waiting until the timing is right. Being able to identify the moments to sit back and wait can be as important as having the courage to proceed. It is rare to find an extremely successful person who will tell you it all happened overnight. Success takes work, persistence and a whole lot of patience.
4. Salesmanship: everyone likes to back a winner and you need to be able to see yourself as a winner at all stages of the game. How do you do this? You have to be able to communicate your key selling points in a compelling way. You need to know the business inside out and you have to be able to read your audience. This take practice, but spending time on this trait will take you a very long way. I have often heard that some of most successful businessmen fly first class, not simply because they can afford it but because of whom they know they will meet when they get there – and when they do they are ready to sell.
5. Dreaming big: it is obviously hard to break the glass ceiling if you don’t have a vision for what that will look like. Most millionaires have big dreams and they also believe their dreams will come true, they have to. So many people have a dream, write it on a piece of paper and save it for later – make sure your goals are on the ‘lofty’ side and don’t be afraid to take on new calculated challenges. Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, said it best: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got!
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