Every single person wants to be great at what they do, exceptional even. However, when it comes down to it, few actually want to put forth the effort to see that transformation. Those who are willing to live intentionally and take action in their lives will see the rewards of their efforts. Here are seven characteristics or qualities of those who are truly exceptional.
- Focus Forward.
No good will come from keeping your eyes trained backward. This is true in both your work life and your personal life. Sure, the exceptional are willing to learn from their past mistakes. But they don’t let those past errors dominate their thoughts. Rather, they learn the lessons and promptly apply those to their lives now and in the future. Like an athlete running a marathon, they don’t let what’s behind keep their focus. They’re fixed on the prize.
- Guard Their Words.
The unfortunate truth is, it can be hard to resist wanting to be ‘in the know.’ However, this is one of the quickest ways to lose credibility and the respect of others. Those who wish to be successful at work must also work on their interpersonal relationships. The gossip may be the person who has the most following, but they are also the least trustworthy.
When the gossip itch starts, rather than scratch it, consider if you would say that to the person the information is about. Suddenly, it’s not such an appealing idea. Resist the urge to lower yourself to this level, choose instead to walk away, you’ll be glad you did.
- Stick to Priorities.
Those who are successful in their workplaces don’t allow themselves to be swayed by other people’s unreasonable or unnecessary requests. They understand what is most important to achieve, and what they enjoy doing. If it’s a matter of your boss needing you to do your job, that’s one thing. But being a ‘yes man’ to everyone else’s demands will quickly cause burnout and you’ll find yourself falling behind on what you really needed and wanted to accomplish.
- Practice Active Listening.
There are so many areas where this applies, but a big area is in conversing with co-workers. The successful person won’t interrupt others because they’re choosing to actively listen instead. Interrupting often happens because you’re not engaging in active listening, but instead, you’re considering your response to what they just said. What you want to say may be very important or pertinent to the conversation, but interrupting shows a lack of respect for the person you’re speaking with and is a sure way to shut down that conversation you were trying to have.
- Never Hold a Grudge.
Sure, you might not trust that person who lied to you and ended up stealing an opportunity from you, but that doesn’t mean they’re public enemy #1. Holding a grudge and maintaining bitterness towards someone wastes valuable time and energy, and affects you more than it does them. Those who are truly exceptional? They don’t allow grudges to take root.
- Live Genuinely.
Those who are successful—truly successful—are those who are themselves. They don’t mold themselves into who everyone wants them to be. The exceptional person is valuable and has something to bring to the table because of who they are, as a unique individual. Bring who you are, your unique perspective and way of doing things, into your job and your boss will thank you.
- Keep Moving Forward.
These people aren’t found vacillating over a decision for long periods of time. They aren’t seen sitting on the sofa, waiting for a response to the resume they sent in. They’re always taking a step forward, no matter how small, because they understand the power of movement. Not only will this look good to a future employer, they also understand that it creates an active mindset that rejects laziness. Even when they don’t know exactly what step needs to happen, they find a small way to move forward, maybe in a new direction. Whatever it is, they take that first step.
None of these seven qualities are unattainable or particularly remarkable. Anyone can implement them in their lives. But all seven require effort and work, which is why so many choose not to expend the energy and those who do stand out in a big way. Start adding these qualities into your life and live exceptionally.