8 habits of successful people

As near the 100th episode, I wanted to look at the 8 biggest characteristics that are shared by some of the most successful people I have worked with throughout my career. In this episode, we will explore all aspects of the 8 characteristics I see in the most successful and creative people I know and talk about how you can make them a part of your career development. 

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As we have been getting closer to the 99th and 100th episodes I’ve been doing a lot of thinking – may be too much – about this whole experience and what these shows should be about. When I start a project like this I don’t think this far down the road I guess. I just went episode to episode trying to make them the best I could. But the experience of making them has also taught me a lot and it may be a really weird analogy but it feels like creating this podcast has been a lot like going through this pandemic.

Let me explain – If this was on stage, we would all have a shared experience. Doing these talks as a podcast takes away that shared experience and commonplace so for me it feels disconnected since I just send the content out into the void. I think the pandemic has done the same for you as it took common experiences like going to work or being in the same building and broke. It’s broken everything up into individual experiences which is why having a communal sense of normal is almost impossible.

But I wanted these episodes to be special and try to capture the best of the show so far. For these episodes I spent some time reflecting back on all the content that I’ve created over the arc of this show, all the people and teams I have talked with, worked alongside, and learned from. I have tried to put a strong theme of self-empowerment and improvement through this show since creativity is such a complicated, evolving, and personal process. In this episode, we will look at the 8 habits of the most successful and creative people I know.

8 habits

Made peace with themselves
They have found a way to make peace with who they are, what makes them different, and have embraced it as their strength. This is not a simple task as many of us struggle with issues from our childhood, education, career, insecurities, and more. This is what drives imposter syndrome which can be debilitating when it comes to your personal and career growth. But realizing what makes you different is your strength is not only liberating but usually directly correlates to becoming more successful.
Ep 86 for more on this

Balance humility vs recognition
They strike the right balance between humility vs recognition.

Realizing that no matter how much they have achieved they know they can help but also always learn from others.

You have to be your biggest advocate if you want to get ahead and they have found a way to do it authentically and in a way that gives credit where it is due but also highlights their work and thinking.

Value the people around them
They trust and actively listen to those around them

Actively listen:
• Most people just listen for the silence so they can say what they think or why they disagree with them
• They understand that the goal isn’t to plan what you’ll say next; it’s to respond at the moment to what other people say.
ª That is only possible if you are actively listening and are tuned in to the emotions and rhythm other people are giving you.
Ep 78 for more on this

• They have emotional trust in the people they work with
• Credibility (trusting what someone says) Often spoiled by personal agendas and politics
• Reliability (trusting what someone does)
• Intimacy (entrusting someone with something important)
• Self-Orientation (self-awareness and focus, whether your focus is primarily on yourself or others).
Ep 88 for more on this

Knowing when to fight
Fighting can be constructive or destructive for you and your career. They stand up for their ideas and what they believe. They know If you never take on a fight then you never change anything and that makes you ineffective
But they also know if all you do it take on battles then you burn yourself out and piss off everyone around you. People have to know that you will fight for them. You have to walk your talk.
Ep 55 for more on this

Emotional awareness
They take the time to get to know and invest in other people and understand how they affect them. He breaks down emotional intelligence into five parts Self-regulation, Social skills, Empathy, Motivation and Self-awareness.
Ep 70 for more on this

Work ethic
They are relentlessly self driven in working to improve themselves and try new things. They also know that work ethic beats talent every time.

There are 4 types of careers based on talent and work ethic
PEAKER – high talent, low work ethic. Peaks early with longer term frustration.
GRINDER – low talent, high work ethic. Hard early early but long term success.
CLIMBER – middle talent, high work ethic. Steady progress throughout their career.
UNICORN – high talent, high work ethic. Consistent and sustained success throughout their career.

Bias to action
Where others let doubt and imposter syndrome win – they put their ideas into action. They bias towards action and refine their thinking and work as they go.

Self awareness
Maybe the biggest and most important thing is that they have great self awareness. They are aware of their creative process and struggles so they can summon their creativity on demand and do their best work. They are aware of their effect on other people so they are great leaders and are able to inspire people. They are aware of where they need to improve so they understand where they need to work and when they need to get support. Being aware of all these things is really difficult because they are always changing. But this high self awareness means they are able to balance their personal development with also developing their impact on the people and world around them.

Final thought

I also think it is important here to call out something that I am not sure I have done a good with over the years which is dispel this idea of the lone genius. I think a massive part of your success is going to be up to you but that doesn’t mean that you do it alone or that your best work will be done alone. I think shows like Abstract on Netflix are interesting but I think they are damaging in that they highlight a single person and this creates a false sense of pressure.

I find myself constantly trying to find the balance between two forces to keep this in balance.
• Cycle of self-importance (your ego)
• Cycle of self-doubt (your imposter syndrome)

We are all in search of things that already exist in us but they only become relevant and meaningful when we find our own connection and insight into those things. More answers are inside of you than in any books, podcasts, or anywhere else.

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