Have you ever had a boss that made you wonder how they possibly made it this far in life, let alone ahead of you? What about that employee that was far from an over achiever yet somehow landed the promotion over you? Or how about the CEO who seems to not actually know what the hell is going on in the company more often than not. Have you ever felt like there’s an epidemic of less-than-qualified people running our lives, our businesses, and even our country? There’s a reason for it. The Kardashians, George Bushes, and Honey Boo Boos of the world seem to be winning, and they may not be as dumb as you perceive them to be. Let’s not get carried away. I’m not implying that these people should be in the same classification as Einstein. I’m just saying they know something and are doing something right that some of us haven’t figured out yet.
I assumed that people perceived as “smart” had an automatic one-way ticket to success. It only made logical sense to me that “smart” people should be promoted, or in positions of power and leadership. Rookie mistake. After years of failure, I finally got off my high horse and decided to study this specimen of the “dumb” population and take note of what they did to get where they are. Here are six qualities successful people tend to have regardless of intellect or societal status:
1.) They’re sociable– Highly successful people don’t have to be the most intelligent, most accomplished, or highest performing at any task. An old boss once told me “people hire people they like and they take care of people they like”. In retrospect I realize I had a tendency to be anti-social in the work place and in my career. I paid the price with missed opportunities and promotions, because I didn’t participate in anything other than work. I didn’t join the company soft ball team, go with co-workers to happy hours, or pop into my boss’s office just to say hello. I didn’t make my presence felt on a personal level.
2.) They delegate – Sometimes the less you know works to your advantage. Brainiacs have a hard time letting go of control because they typically feel they can do the task better than the next person. Highly successful have no problem giving away things to do even if the task is not done perfectly to their standard.
3.) They ask for help– God forbid you don’t know how to do something. Asking someone for help can seem like blasphemy to some. I wasted so much time in my career and business trying to figure out how to do everything myself. I do mean everything. Even the most remedial task of organizing excel spreadsheets (why didn’t I get an intern sooner?). I never wanted to look incompetent by asking someone for help or admitting I didn’t know how to do something. That was the most counterproductive thing I could have ever done. Once I learned to ask for help, I took a lot of stress off of myself and things got done faster and more efficiently. Successful people are not afraid to make a mistake or admit they may not be strong in certain areas.
4.) They promote themselves– Shameless promotion is something I struggled with and to a certain extent still struggle with in small ways. I used to think bragging about your accomplishments to your boss or constantly promoting something you do was annoying and douchey. I actually still think these things can be annoying and douchey but they are necessary. Nobody is going to care about something they don’t know about. Your boss is not going to remember you when the time comes for that promotion, if you’re hiding in your cubicle all day. Your business will not thrive no matter how amazing it is, if you don’t tell anyone and everyone about it. Speak up. Speak often.
5.) They act– Highly successful people don’t spend time over thinking and calculating every move before they do something. They make decisions quickly and take action towards their goals. If they miscalculated something or made a mistake they deal with it as it comes, but they key is action. You’ll always be one step ahead doing, than the person thinking about doing.
6.) They believe in themselves– Highly successful people tend to doubt themselves less than others no matter how crazy or stupid they may appear to be. People who spend a lot of time analyzing and overloading themselves with information have a tendency to doubt everything. Questioning things can be healthy but going overboard can stifle progress. A big problem I had was this constant feeling that I was never “ready”. My work never good enough to submit to a client. If I felt something could be better, I didn’t want to put it out to the word because it wasn’t “perfect”. I spent so much time focusing on what I didn’t have or didn’t know and kept me down mentally. I finally looked up one day and focused on what i did know and what i had accomplished. It changed my life.
The next time you come across a people that don’t measure up to your standards of what success should look like, ask them how they did it. They’re obviously doing something your not.