Institute for Charitable Giving

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Are You Successful?

“What does it take?”

Most every time I’m with a leader or a highly successful corporate executive, I ask, “What does it take? What are the traits and characteristics that contribute most to your success?”

(A pretty good question, by the way. And it does help stroke the psyche of the person you ask. Try it. “Tell me why you are so successful. What does it take?”)

Over the years, I’ve gathered these 28 bits and pieces I’ve listed below. (If you can add any, let me know.)

  1.     High standards of personal ethics (mentioned in almost all interviews)
  2.     A person without pettiness
  3.     Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat
  4.     Brilliant brains (mentioned most often as, “street savvy”)
  5.     A capacity for hard work and midnight oil- and enjoy it
  6.     Charisma- charm and persuasiveness
  7.     A streak of unorthodoxy– (ready to order what’s not on the menu!)
  8.     A good listener (mentioned most often)
  9.     The courage to make tough decisions
  10.     An inspiring enthusiast- with thrust and gusto
  11.     A sense of humor
  12.     Patient
  13.     Impatient (yes, at times you simply have to act)
  14.     Self-confident
  15.     Think big
  16.     Optimistic
  17.     Persistent
  18.     High energy
  19.     Decisive
  20.     Take risks (doesn’t fear failure)
  21.     A strong faith (but not necessarily a church person)
  22.     Resilient
  23.     Vision (a dreamer)
  24.     Resourceful
  25.     Courageous
  26.     A creative problem-solver
  27.     A lifetime learner (CEO doesn’t stand for “Continuing Education Over!”)
  28.     Willing to give credit to others

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