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Five Keys to Success

» Introduction
Whether you are just beginning your career, have just received your first promotion, or are feeling a little stuck, here is some advice that will help you succeed.
» Step 1
I’ve been studying successful people, and have found that they share five traits in common.
1. Successful people are self confident.
2. Successful people have positive personal impact.
3. Successful people are outstanding performers.
4. Successful people are excellent communicators.
5. Successful people are interpersonally competent.

Here is an overview of each of these keys.

Becoming Self Confident
• Become an optimist. Look at the bright side, don’t let problems and set back stop you from achieving your goals.
• Face your fears and take action. Identify those things that you fear. Admit our fears. Accept your fears. Take action.
• Surround yourself with positive people. Actively seek out positive people. Rid yourself of the negative people in your life. Find a mentor to guide and help you.

Creating Positive Personal Impact
• Create and constantly promote your personal brand. Figure out what sets you apart from everyone else. Capitalize on your uniqueness. Remain on brand all the time.
• Dress for success. Dress one step up from what is acceptable for your job. Observe the successful people in your company – dress like them. Make sure your clothes fit, are clean and in good repair. Keep your shoes looking good.
• Know, understand and practice the basic rules of etiquette. Good manners never go out of style. Do whatever you can to make the people around you feel comfortable. Use two simple, but powerful words – please and thank you.

Becoming an Outstanding Performer
• Stay technically competent by becoming a lifelong learner. Join and participate in professional societies. Get an advanced degree. Read. Attend seminars and workshops.
• Set and Achieve S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, Time Bound) goals. Write your goals. Review them frequently. Share them with your friends. Take at least one positive step towards one goal every day.
• Get organized. Adopt the Pareto principle – focus on the critical few, not trivial many things competing for your attention. Set priorities and stick to them. Do what’s important, not urgent.

Becoming an Excellent Communicator
• Develop your conversation skills. Learn and use people’s names. Ask them questions. Listen and respond appropriately to what they have to say.
• Develop your writing skills. Write like you speak. Use small words and short sentences. Avoid jargon – or explain it as you go. Read what you’ve written. Edit and rewrite until you’re happy with it.
• Develop your presentation skills. Determine your message. Analyze your audience. Organize your information for impact. Create supporting visuals. Practice out loud.

Becoming Interpersonally Competent
• Understand yourself. Use a commercially available instrument, like the MBTI or DISC. Or just think about what’s important to you and why. Use this knowledge to better understand others. Use your knowledge of others to tailor your communication style to their needs and wants.
• Build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in your life. Be honest. Be humble. Be courteous. Take responsibility for yourself. Build consensus. Listen well. Respond appropriately. Respect others as human beings.
• Resolve conflict in a positive manner. Focus on where you agree with a person with whom you are in conflict. Build a solution that meets both of your needs.

If you want to know more, please buy my new book "Straight Talk for Success". It is full of personal anecdotes and stories that make important points about everything I’ve discussed above. I’ve included checklists to help you apply the information, as well as an extensive list of books, blogs and websites I recommend to help you, or anyone you know, build a successful life and career.

Also, when you buy "Straight Talk", you’ll get access to a free eworkbook that I’ve developed to help you apply the ideas in it. So, it’s kind of like a twofer, a real bargain if I do say so myself.

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