My Top Ten Character Traits for Success…Part 1

For years now I’ve done new employee orientations where I share with new hires some of the core values that I have observed that make the difference between being an average person and a stand-out person. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a senior executive, or just starting out on your career path, I believe that operating by these principles will bring you a higher level of influence, impact, and satisfaction.

Consider these traits when evaluating people you are considering to hire. Finding good people is critical to the success of any organization. When you hire someone, what do you look for? Obviously, having the right skill set, training, and experience is key. But there are other internal values that I think make the difference between someone being an “average” team member and a stand-out team member.

If you’re brave, feel free to use these top ten character traits as a point of self-reflection. There’s nothing really new here, nothing profound that you probably haven’t heard before. But sometimes, a simple nudge or friendly reminder can be just what you need.

So here goes … these are “Dave’s Top Ten Character Traits for Success:”

  1. Diligence: Work hard, exceed others expectations of you, go the “extra mile,” give more than you take. Most people do just what’s expected. Be someone who consistently does more than expected.
  2. Initiative: Don’t wait to be told what to do; look for the need and meet it; find ways to increase your value to the team; be a problem solver. Think outside your own job description and sphere of direct responsibility. Look around at what needs to be done—and do it.
  3. Resourcefulness: Find alternative ways around the mountain; be an “independent thinker.” How can you solve a problem? Figure out how to figure things out on your own. The more you can do on your own, the more valuable to your organization you become.
  4. Humility: Don’t take the glory for yourself; share your success with others; recognize your dependence on God and on others; have an accurate view of reality. Despite what you think, you didn’t get where you are without the help of others. So you be that help for someone else.
  5. Be Teachable: Stay open to new ways of doing things; don’t rely only on past experience alone; your way may not always be the best way; there’s more virtue in admitting when you’re wrong than trying to justify you’re right. It’s amazing what you can learn when you stop worrying about what others think.
  6. Believe the Best in Others: Be a “glass half-full” kind of person; look for ways to affirm others; be an encourager. Assume the best instead of the worst in people. Perhaps more importantly, cut yourself a break. See the best in YOU! You are a uniquely gifted and qualified individual. You’ve probably heard it said, “God doesn’t make junk.” Make it your aim to help others see their worth.
  7. Choose Not to be Offended: Don’t let others attitudes, actions or opinions “derail” you. Don’t choose to live with an offense, and for goodness sake, don’t pick up someone else’s offense. Move on, get over it. Staying in a place of offense or resentment causes you to take your eye off the ball and lose focus on what’s really important.
  8. Stay Motivated: Find ways to stay charged up; have lots of energy; have goals and move toward them. Don’t wait for your circumstances to be just right to be positive. Learn to live out of a joy that’s not based on always having the ideal circumstances. Life is seldom that fair or kind! People who have an “internal engine of joy” are just more pleasant to be around and I think they get more accomplished as well.
  9. Have Integrity: Keep your word; do what you say; be trustworthy with responsibility; keep confidences; show up to meetings on time; don’t gossip. In a world where we assume everyone has an angle, someone who builds a reputation of trustworthiness shines like a jewel in the sunlight.
  10. Last but not least, remember … What God Wants is More Important than What You Want: Even Jesus, when He walked on earth as a man, did only the things He saw His heavenly Father do and He lived to bring glory to God. This is our model. God can do far more through you than you can ever do by yourself. A person who understands his need for God and looks to Him for direction and guidance is wiser and stronger than the one who is busy trying to prove something to himself or to others. If you are not spiritually inclined, then consider this success as simply: Live Selflessly.

Well there you have it, Dave’s top ten. Hope you found some nuggets of value to chew on. Until next time…




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