Why do some people achieve more than others? In my career as a manager I have noticed there are two types of people when it comes to what motivates them to excel.
The first type – and most of us fall into this category – are motivated by circumstances. When we are not satisfied with the way things are, we become motivated to make a change – whether that means finding a better or new job, getting in better shape or putting ourselves on a budget. We set a goal and when we achieve it, we tend to relax until something else motivates us to change again.
The second type of person is motivated by something within themselves. No matter what their circumstances, they are driven to improve or get better results. When they achieve success, they celebrate for a day or two – and then set a new goal. They love the chase for excellence.
Since we’d all like to achieve greater success in at least one area of our lives, it’s worth thinking about the traits of excellence-minded people. What makes them unique?
- They are optimists. Excellence-minded people respond to disappointments, such as being turned down for a promotion, by formulating a plan of action and asking others for help and advice. They view setbacks as temporary and – this is key – they don’t take them personally. For example, they may attribute a failure to bad timing, a lack of information, or another problem that can be corrected, rather than thinking setbacks are the result of a personal deficiency.
- They are adaptable. Excellence-minded people are open-minded and understand that their environment is dynamic. A strategy that worked once may not always work in the future. New information may require them to revise a goal, acquire new skills or adjust timelines. They know there will be obstacles, but view them as an opportunity to hone their skills, rather than as a sign that they won’t succeed.
- They are purposeful. Did you ever notice that people with the most passion and drive really enjoy what they are doing? People who are excellence-minded have a sense of purpose – they look for opportunities to do something they find worthwhile (and make money doing it). If they find themselves doing something they don’t enjoy, they won’t be there for long.
- They are self-reliant and accountable. Excellence seekers take responsibility for the outcomes they create. If no one offers to help them on a project, they get it done anyway. They take action to get the information and resources they need, own their mistakes and offer solutions. They don’t shy away from making a decision or taking a necessary action.
- They are humble. Humility isn’t a sign of weakness, but of resilience and staying power. People who seek excellence understand the need to treat others with patience and respect. They know that they will need the cooperation of others to succeed. Humility leads to great teamwork and smarter decisions.
- They value integrity. Excellence seekers know that long term success depends on a track record of honesty and integrity. They understand that cutting a corner or ignoring a rule in order to make a short-term gain just isn’t worth it in the long run.
- They are tenacious. Excellence-minded people will do whatever it takes. They don’t give up when faced with a roadblock – they rethink their plan and find another way. They understand that big goals require a big effort.
At BravoTECH, we are always looking for people with the seven traits listed here, and I’m sure that other employers are as well. By practicing the habits of excellence-seekers, we can not only achieve greater career success but build happier, more productive lives.