How to be Successful
It’s April. That means school is wrapping up, and exams are starting. It’s the final stretch. I need to keep my head in the game more than ever if I want to end this year successful. On page 30 of Glamour’s November 2014 issue, there is an article about women in technology. The women interviewed shared their tips on how to be successful, and some of the quotes stood out to me, so I want to integrate their ideas into what I believe are the tools one needs to get to top. Being successful could mean anything to you. There’s a general sense of accomplishment in a successful life, getting the promotion at your job, or getting that A on your final paper. Whatever it means to you, I hope you find these tips useful.
1. Be yourself.
I mentioned this way back in my tips for school post, but I need to reiterate it. As Ishani Mukherjee says in the Glamour article, “there’s nothing like kicking ass and doing yourself proud.” When you look back on your achievements, you will feel much better if you put yourself into every step of the process rather than a carbon copy of what you think everyone is looking for. You cannot expect things to be easier by following someone else’s rules when it’s easier to make up your own. It’s not the easiest route to take, but you can consider it a personal success if you were yourself throughout your journey.
2. Have passion.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I find that passion is one of the best qualities in people. I admire people with passion, and there’s something about watching the twinkle in someone’s eye when they’re talking about something they deeply care about. If you put passion into what you do, others will see it. Of course, not everything will spark passion, but as long as you keep a general outlook with passion in mind, you’re golden. Maggie Mallon says “let the quality of work speak for itself,” and when you’re passionate about your work, it will emanate through to the people that matter.
3. Focus on the end goal.
I find that a lot of people lose sight of their end goal when they find the steps to get there become menial. The thing is, every step you take is getting you where you need to go. Cindi Leive adds her own career tidbit by saying “take the job that needs doing and kill it.” In context, doing the small things in a big way for an internship will make you stand out. In a more general sense, put all you can be into everything you do, because it’s all towards a larger cause. For example, yes, research is the worst part of an essay, but the quality you put into it will get you one step close to an A.
4. It’s okay to mess up.
News flash: you’re human. It happens. I once pulled an all-nighter in high school to finish a huge project because I realized I did the wrong research. And that’s okay. I realized my mistake, and I did what I could to fix it. Lesson learned: re-read everything before you move on to another step. You’re going to make a mistake at some point in that journey towards your end goal. And you know, you're probably going to make more than one. It does not define who you are. It’s where you go from there that determines your worth as a student, employee, person...whatever!
5. Know when to ask for help.
So maybe this comes after the previous step. You’ve made a mistake, and you don’t know how to fix it. So ask. Ask your boss, your co-worker, your mom. Or maybe you just plain don’t know at all. I’ve had many friends call me to ask about formatting for an essay or to edit their work. The people around you are resources. Sometimes, you can’t do it on your own, and realizing that makes you a strong person.
6. You are the most important.
I also said this in my tips for school post, but once again, I think this is important. As a student, I need my time to do my own things. I can’t keep up with the go go go and expect to come out 100% on the other side. School is draining. That is why it is so important to take care of yourself. You have to keep in tune with your mental and physical health. I’m at this point right now where I’m feeling better, but I had to give up a late night movie with my friends because my body can’t physically handle late nights right now. It’s a sacrifice to make because I need to take care of myself. It’s your life, so make sure you come first.
7. Keep a good perspective.
Similarly to #4, there will be setbacks. Things may not go your way, your path may be blocked, or you may fall down altogether. These moments are the ultimate test on you as a person. By keeping a good perspective, you allow yourself to see past the little things (even if they seem big at the moment), and focus on the bigger picture. Keep that end goal in mind. You can get past it.
8. Surround yourself with good people.
I would consider myself a successful person, and a huge part of that is because of the people I am with on a daily basis. I wrote a post about the importance of friendship a while back, and all that stuff still rings true. But I’m not just talking about friendship here. Surround yourself with not only people that will raise you up, but people you admire. If you think the woman or man who works next to you has killer work ethic, ask them what their motivation is and learn from them. If you surround yourself with people who share a common goal, you give yourself the opportunity to grow with them and learn from them.
Of course, this list is a result of only 20 years of learning. I have so much more to learn and so much more life to lead. Hopefully you got something out of this. Everyone has what it takes to be successful. It’s just a matter of how to get there.