While the definition and criteria for success relies heavily on the context, there are a few skills that can help you achieve success.
Below is a list of general skills that will help anyone get ahead in practically any field, from running a company to running a gardening club.
The ability to speak clearly, persuasively and forcefully in front of an audience, whether it is an audience of one or thousands, is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. People who are effective speakers come across as more comfortable with themselves, more confident and more attractive to be around. Being able to speak effectively means you can sell anything – products, of course, but also ideas. You’ll also enable yourself to talk about any topic, such as machinery asset finance, relationship issues and political matters with ease and confidence. Good public speaking skills can make you more likeable person and provide you with more opportunities.
Networking is not only for finding jobs or clients. In an economy dominated by ideas and innovation, networking creates the channel through which ideas flow and in which new ideas are created. A large network, carefully cultivated, ties one into not just a body of people but a body of relationships. Increasing your connections can increase your opportunities.
We’re exposed to a hundred, if not a thousand times more information on a daily basis than our great-grandparents were. Being able to evaluate that information, sort the potentially valuable from the trivial, analyse its relevance and meaning, and relate it to other information is crucial. Good critical thinking skills immediately distinguish you from the crowd.
The bridge that leads from analysis to action is effective decision-making – knowing what to do based on the information available. While not being critical can be dangerous, so can over-analysing and waiting for more information before making a decision. Being able to take in the scene and respond quickly, decisively and effectively is what separates the doers from the wannabes.
Nobody can be expected to know everything, or even a tiny fraction of everything. Even within your field, chances are that there’s a lot that you don’t know yet. You don’t have to know everything – but you should be able to quickly and painlessly find out what you need to know. That means learning to use the internet effectively, use a library, read often and learning how to leverage your network of contacts.
Stress has many negative effects. It leads to poor decision-making, poor thinking and poor socialisation. Working yourself to death in order to keep up, and not having any time to enjoy the fruits of your work, isn’t really success. It’s obsession. Being able to face even the most pressing crises with your wits about you and in a productive way is possibly the most important thing on this list.
Success comes from the mastery of a core set of skills that can be applied to any position, field or company. When you practice and strengthen these skills, you’ll be able to rise to the top and create the life you want.