Thursday, December 11, 2014

10 Things Successful People Never Do

You know successful people create goals and rise early, but what about the things they avoid? In order to create good habits, you have to get rid of the bad ones. Here are 10 things you'll probably never see a successful person do:

10 Things Successful People Never Do

1. Cry about not getting enough feedback. Younger generations, particularly Gen Y, thrive on feedback. Indeed, at any age level, being appreciated and knowing your work matters is important. But successful people rarely pause long enough to notice their bosses aren't showering them with praise. They're too busy getting things done and deriving value from their own internal sense of accomplishment. While we all like to be patted on the back, the more you can separate your need to be valued from external cues, the better.

2. Try to take credit constantly. If you're worried about who did what and getting the credit you deserve, you're probably not as successful as you could be. Employees on the leadership track work well on a team and aren't worried about being called out as "special." Many employees, particularly those who are just starting out, overestimate the value of their contributions and feel shunted as a result. More likely, your work was part of a larger team effort. Celebrate by showering praise on your teammates to find meaning and move up the ladder.

3. Break commitments. Busy as a top boss might be, they rarely break a promise. That doesn't mean they won't shuffle around a meeting on you, but the word "cancel" is not usually in a leader's vocabulary. Leaders tend to be quite open about seeing opportunity in every interaction and believe keeping the commitments they've made to others is paramount. It's how they earn respect, credibility and trust.

4. Take off work when sick. Whether you believe in work-life balance or not, you rarely see upper management taking off work when they don't feel good. What gives? Well, these leaders want to be at work. Stressful as it may be, successful people enjoy their jobs. When they become ill, their choice is to either sit on the couch in front of their television or sit at the office in front of their computer. Most will choose the latter. Despite the contagion factor, working while sick is commonplace among successful types unless they truly can't get out of bed.

5. Fail to see the whole picture. You might be annoyed at another's team lack of follow-through, but leaders see the whole picture. They know the problems the other team is experiencing are common and just a part of building a company. Your inability to put yourself in the other team's shoes, along with your inexperience, is likely coloring your frustration. Next time you get upset, take a step back and see if you can get a broader look at the issues going on. Could it be that you're not as smart as you thought and everyone really is doing his and her best to keep that project moving?

6. Become resentful or jealous. Real leaders don't hide from a competitors -- they learn from them. And great employees don't shy away from impressive colleagues -- they embrace them. If you're wondering why all the attention is going to your new co-worker instead of you, find ways to support and celebrate that person. Don't pout in a corner. When we resent the actions or behavior of others, we don't have enough energy to succeed in on our own work.

7. Ask for too little. If there's one thing that's holding workers back across the country, it's that they're asking for too little. Instead of getting paid what they are worth, instead of getting the top dollar deals and instead of creating powerful partnerships, they're settling. But successful people know how to ask for what they want. Whether it's for a raise, a sweeter deal or an introduction to an important figure, leaders don't shy away from potential moments of discomfort. Instead of accepting what's handed out, successful people do everything they can to control the outcome.

8. Say "it's not my job." Just because your job description doesn't include aiding the technical team or staying late for a project launch doesn't mean it isn't your job. Successful employees don't work in isolation; they constantly seek opportunities to be useful and create value. When you chip in and work as a team, you learn and understand more about the business and your colleagues. With understanding comes empathy and efficiency, allowing you to enjoy going to work in the morning.

9. Try to do it all. You can't have it all -- at least not all at once. Successful people understand this and take pains to delegate and shine the light on others. When we try to do too much, we are usually trying to prove something -- that we are the best, that we can win, that we can do it. But leaders know this is impossible. Successful people are adept at letting go and distributing the weight of a project among others. This means trusting and believing in your colleagues' work ethic as much as your own.

10. Delegate only boring work. Instead of trying to prove something about yourself, hand off some of the fun, creative work to the interns and watch them thrive. It's incredibly rewarding to nurture new talent and successful people know that in order to build something meaningful and important, they can't hold onto all the "good" work themselves. Behind the scenes, leaders are checking off a whole lot of boring tasks, because when you do what no one else wants to do, you become indispensable.

If you can avoid these 10 things on the road to success, you may find your journey a bit more rewarding, triumphant and meaningful.

Rebecca Healy is the founder of Kontrary, a different take on money and happiness that helps you take control of your work and life. She lives in Washington, DC.

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