I'm often asked for my best thoughts on what it takes to become a career and life success -- the key competencies. I always tell my coaching clients to think systematically, to break success down into some manageable components.

Here is a summary of what I tell my coaching clients on how to become a career and life success. Put these points to use and you will succeed, just like my coaching clients.

Do it yourself. Realize that no one is going to do it for you -- not even your executive coach. You have to take personal responsibility for your success. Adopt the motto, "If it's to be, it's up to me."

Become an optimist. Believe that things will turn out well. When they don't, don't sulk. Learn what you can from a problem or failure and use it to your advantage the next time.

Don't procrastinate. Procrastination is usually tied to fear. In most cases, when you procrastinate, you are doing so because you are afraid of something. Identify those fears and then do something to overcome them. Action cures fear. Act -- even when, especially when, you are afraid.

Surround yourself with positive people. Jettison the negative people in your life. If you can't rid yourself of them completely, do your best to minimize the time you spend with them. Negative people are an energy black hole. They will suck you dry if you let them.

Find a mentor or executive coach, someone who will help you meet your career and life goals. Mentors and executive coaches, by nature, are positive people. They can help you find the lessons in problems and failures and use these lessons to move forward.

Be a brand. Create and nurture your personal brand. Make sure you stand for and are known for something. Make sure that everything you do is on brand.

Look good. Be well groomed and appropriate for every situation. Always dress one level up from what is expected. In this way, you will stand out from the crowd. A good executive coach can help you with this.

Have manners. Learn and use the basic rules of etiquette. This will distinguish you as a person who is in the know. Social faux pas might not ruin your career, but they certainly won't help it.

Make people comfortable. The best etiquette advice I've ever received is simple. In any social situation, do what makes the other person or people comfortable.

Become an expert. Master your technical discipline, and then keep learning. Become a lifelong learner. The half-life of knowledge these days is rapidly diminishing. Staying in the same place is the same as going backwards.

Aim high. Set and achieve high goals year after year after year. Use the S.M.A.R.T. technique of goal setting.

Get organized. Learn to use time to your advantage. Organize not only your time but your life and workspace. Sweat the small stuff. Success is in execution. Execution is in the details.

Become an excellent conversationalist. You can do this by listening more than you speak. Pay attention to what other people are saying and respond appropriately.

Write clearly and simply. Short words and sentences are best. Never use two or three words to say what you can say in one. Write in the first person. Use the active voice.

Develop your presentation skills. Adopt this simple formula for your talks: Tell them what you will tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them. Write your closing first, your opening next. Then fill in the content.

Get to know yourself, as well or better than your executive coach knows you. Use this knowledge to better understand others.

Get to know others. Use your knowledge of others to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Give. Build relationships by giving with no expectation of return. When you help others because you want to, not because you believe they will do something for you, you'll find that you will be repaid many times over. Giving of yourself, especially your time, is a great way to build strong, lasting relationships.

Use conflict as a means to improve relationships. When you find yourself in a conflict situation, focus on where you agree, not disagree, with the other person. This will help you develop creative solutions to your differences, and improve the relationship.

The common sense point here is clear. If you want to succeed you need to do at least four things: 1) Get clear on --your purpose and direction in your life and career; 2) Commit to taking personal responsibility for your life and career; 3) Build unshakeable self confidence; 4) Develop the competencies you need to succeed. Yes, there's a lot to learn, but there is one point I make over and over again with my coaching clients. You need to use what you learn. I listed several success quick points above and hopefully you learned something from them. But, as the U.S. Steel pencils used to say, "Knowing is not enough." You have to use this knowledge if you're going to become a career and life success. Remember, success is a journey, not a destination. Good luck in your journey. You'll succeed if you use what you learn along the way.

Author's Bio: 

Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy, is a success coach, motivational speaker, author and blogger.

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