14 traits of successful people – how many do you have?

The successful always ask "what's next" and overcome complacency by expecting, anticipating, embracing and creating change.

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I’ve been fortunate to have been exposed to some of the most successful online entrepreneurs in this space and I’ve certainly learned a lot from the Q&A call time I’ve spent with most of them.

When it comes to growing your business, there is a time for knuckling down and getting shit done then there’s a time for absorbing information like a sponge and learning your way through.

In this post I intend to combine those two and give you the key traits of successful people. By absorbing this information I hope you can learn from the people who knuckled down and got shit done.

1. Resourceful

Successful people are resourceful, they have a sense of hustle which renders them immune to the word “NO”. Even if they do find themselves with a lack of resources they will hustle together a stripped back, lean version of what they are trying to achieve.

This ‘Jack-of-all-preneur’ leaves excuses at the door and is able to conceive and validate an idea with a shortage of resources in time, skill and money.

2. Specific about goals

Successful people are able to accurately articulate an end point, success or a goal. By being this specific about achievements they can break them down into milestones and continually measure progress. Have you a specific goal for this week, month, year? If not, how can you be sure you will meet it and how will you know when you do reach it?

By picturing achieving a goal and enabling yourself to consider the obstacles to reaching that goal you’ll be much better equipped to navigate the journey.

3. A good kind of intolerance

The successful are unable to idly stand by if their vision is being held back by external forces. Successful have a low tolerance point for inefficiency, time-wasting and do what they can to reduce reliance on third parties.

By having that intolerance successful people can rise above ‘average’ to achieve ‘great’.

4. Unrivalled speed of execution

If you come into contact with successful people you’ll quickly realise they seem to work at double-speed. They understand that ‘just starting’ something is not enough. They have a burning desire to execute on a plan, a promise, a goal and its this innate desire that achieves speed when its combined with resourcefulness.

There is also a trait to be smart about systems & processes, improving efficiency and they are able to crank out and develop ideas quickly. They understand ideas alone are useless without action

5. Seize the moment to act on the goal

There is the old saying that “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” (Winston Churchill) and its precisely this retention of enthusiasm that is rewarded with an opportunity, a glimmer that presents itself. The successful entrepreneur seizes on that opportunity to make success.

6. Are aware how far they have gone on a goal

Successful people commit to setting milestones and continually checking progress against these sub-goals. Using this ‘lean methodology’ enables them to pivot or adjust course to ensure the plan to reach a goal is constantly evolving and influenced by these milestones.

7. Are realistic optimists

There was a great quote from a recent Q&A call with Bronson Taylor in which he argued that the best entrepreneurs “Keep their head in the clouds but their feet on the ground.”

You’re trying to see the future other people don’t see, but you need to ensure your vision isn’t so big that it never makes todays ‘to-do’ list.  Without action your vision is useless.

8. Focus on getting better rather than being good

Successful people are notoriously good at self-teaching. In order to make sense of the business landscape a good entrepreneur will get better at a whole host of skills rather than focusing too hard on being the best. This is shown to enhance the experience of working, as finding what you’re doing actually interesting and learning your way to “being good” is much more motivational as an approach and its this trait which replenishes energy giving rise to more ‘staying power’.

9. They get shit done i.e. have a bias for action

This is a recurring theme and skirts close to the resourcefulness trait but successful people have a bias for action rather than procrastinating. If in doubt they complete the task at hand first, reflect later and figure out ways to improve rather than procrastinating their way to treading water.

10. Have grit & hustle

There are two ways you can look at a failure to progress. The successful have a tendency to persist in the face of difficulty. Which of the two camps below do you fall into, what do you blame when you have a hart time or hit a brick wall?

Entity theorist
You blame a lack of ability, throw down your tools and give up. A distinct lack of grit.

Incremental theorist
You blame controllable factors such as effort, poor planning or the wrong strategy. You take action first, then reflect which controllable factor could have been improved and incrementally get the outcome you’re looking for.

11. Are adaptive to change

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

– Charles Darwin

As in the animal kingdom, the uber-successful adapt to their surroundings, continually innovate to the changing business world around them. The successful always ask “what’s next” and overcome complacency by expecting, anticipating, embracing and creating change.

12. Have will power

Its important to exercise self control on a regular basis – this reflex weakens over time so its useful to retain a sense of self-control. We all have a friend who hits the gym often and eats well. A good technique is to channel their personality when you come up against a weak will power moment that distracts you from your ultimate goals.

13. Are pragmatic

Successful people are able to transcend current realities to have a pragmatic view on business decisions, removing emotions and looking for sensible solutions. They are never deluded when it comes to taking an objective look at business progress.

14. Inherently curious

In most cases curiosity drives learning, successful people look to constantly widen their worldview to build a “data bank” of business experience to call upon. Careful curiosity ensures you are able to compartmentalise learning and information gathering though, so as to prevent information overload.

So I’m interested to know. How many of the traits above do you carry? Do you think that anything is under-represented in this run-down?

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  • http://www.stuart-hodgson.com/leaflets.html Stuart Hodgson

    just discovered your site today and it’s done very well – the whole process from emails to copywriting to web-design. it’s made a great first impression on me – hopefully I’ll learn a lot!

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    Thanks Stuart – appreciate your comments here. Most advice for freelancers sucks, so we’re trying to change that :)

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