Dan Schawbel, Contributor
I interview celebrities, entrepreneurs and authors.
I’m constantly interviewing successful people here at Forbes. Since 2007, I’ve spoken to over 1,200 CEOs, celebrities, authors, politicians and even an astronaut. When speaking to these individuals, I always notice common traits that they all have, which lend to their success. I’ve boiled all of these into the top 14 things that all of them have in common. If you can think of any additional ones, leave them in the comments.
1. They know when to stay and when to leave. Successful people know exactly when they should change employers, start a company or fold their company. They have good intuition and aren’t afraid to make hard choices, despite opposing forces.
2. They do more than what’s asked of them. They view their job descriptions as just the beginning of what they can do with their job. After they’ve completed their mandatory tasks, they will always ask to take on more projects that challenge them. They are even willing to take on the tedious work that no one else wants to do in order to be a team player.
3. They are willing to fail in order to eventually succeed. All successful people know that it doesn’t come easy and they are bound to fail more than they will succeed at anything. They are willing to learn from each failure, as it will help them make better decisions that lead to success later. While many people give up after failing at something, a successful person will persevere.
4. They know that they make their own luck. Luck is derived from hard work over time and positioning yourself for success. You won’t randomly get lucky and successful people know that. They will do at least one thing every single day to put themselves in a better position to get lucky and then use that luck to grow.
5. They set real goals that they can accomplish. Successful people wake up and they’ve already planned their day, while unsuccessful people are scrambling to figure out what they need to do next. Their goals are very focused, big yet obtainable and are aligned to their strengths. They know what they are capable of and will invest all of their efforts in it, avoiding their weaknesses.
6. They take accountability for themselves and their actions. They aren’t relying on other people in order to get the job done. Instead, they are looking inwards and are trying to find the solutions, while leveraging their current assets. If they make a mistake, they own up to it and immediately think of ways that they can improve next time, not making the same mistake twice.
7. They make change instead of being affected by it. Successful people aren’t waiting around to be affected by economic trends. They are the ones who are creating the trends and making things happen.
8. They are able to adjust to changes in the marketplace. Successful people are willing to reinvent themselves to stay relevant in the business world. They understand that if you stay stagnant and ignore trends, that you will be left behind. They are constantly coming up with new ideas, searching for the next big thing and getting new skills.
9. They can communicate their story effectively. If you walk up to a successful person and ask them what they do, they will able to tell you everything in a concise manner. They know who they are, what they do and can make you believe in them. They have strong posture and are very persuasive and confident.
10. They ask the right questions to the people who can deliver the right answers. Successful people know they need to solve problems by tapping their networks. They aren’t afraid of emailing or calling the best person who can answer their questions. They are always prepared with the right questions and are always willing to help the other person out in return.
11. They are life-long learners who push themselves out of their comfort zones. While most people think that when they graduate college, they are finished being a student, successful people remain students. They are constantly learning new things and have new experiences. They aren’t afraid to try new activities and to fail at them.
12. They know who they are and their place in the world. Successful people are confident and can lead themselves, as well as others. They have their own vision and mission and seek to bring it to life on a daily basis. They also know who they aren’t and don’t waste time on things that they aren’t good at or they aren’t satisfied with.
13. They are more excited about the journey than the pay out. Successful people ignore get rich quick schemes. They are more focused on building sustainable careers through hard work, risk taking and creativity. They enjoy the journey, despite the obstacles, because they are doing something that has meaning in their lives.
14. They create instead of just consume. While most people are busy reading emails, watching TV or listening to a podcast, successful people are creating new tools, presentations and coming up with ideas. They are the ones who are making things that other people need instead of being on the other end of the spectrum, consuming them.
Dan Schawbel is the New York Times best-selling author of Promote Yourself.