This is to the young men and women in their 20s and 30s who have a deathless ambition springing from within, who are ready to question the supposed limitations that have held many down in their own environment.
This is to the men who desire success and are willing to design a program of personal development and painstakingly follow through on them, no matter how long and arduous.
This is to them which understand the enormous effort that is required to build a successful and peaceful life and are willing to supply the effort. For it is very narrow and hard, the road to a noble life.
This is to them that despite their disappointment in themselves at the moment, understand that they are made for more than this and are willing to slowly pick themselves up from the quick sand of passion and mediocrity.
This will serve as a kindle to those who are asking questions as to how to go about cultivating their personal powers to fulfil their ambitions in business and career. To them, I present these suggestions:
Professionalism is a workplace lingo as much as a mystical effect of character. We tend to know it when we see it.
If it is mysterious, then why bother to cultivate one? Professionalism is not a mystery at all. It is what you have when your conduct, appearance, knowledge, communication and quality of work produces a consistent magical effect on the people you work with.
It is when you become a reference point, a quintessential example, of the kind of person your employers drum about in their vision and core values or what you claim your own business is about. It is also your ability to define and maintain your personal brand. Like all skills, it can be cultivated through careful effort.
2. Leadership Skills
Oswald sanders, who described leadership as influence provides the most succinct explanation of the word. We are not interested in business school definition. Hey, this is the school of hard knocks and grand hustlers.
Your ability to influence people will come largely out of three things – your effectiveness at cultivating relationships, your competence and your character. The latter are actually more important. Your character and competence provides a firm bedrock for sustaining beneficial relationship as you move along in your career or business.
Do you know that Guy who has a title but no one really respects or admire? Usually one or more of these three things is missing. But there is a lot more to leadership. My challenge to you is to study it. Be a lifelong student of whatever you find an important area to work on as you read along.
3. Communication Skills
Good communication skills is no longer a nice to have. It is the skill you should have already by now. But then it’s not too late. Your mastery of the written and spoken word will set you apart in life and business quickly. This is an area that a lot of reading can go a long way in creating remarkable improvement without trying too hard.
Be known for the most professional and polite emails. We are all works-in-progress. Don’t be too proud to let your colleague check out an important e-mail before sending it out. When you are overworked our judgment is less than perfect. Borrow an extra-lens.
Look for a local toastmasters club and join. They will help to sharpen your communication and leadership skills. Again be a work-in-progress instead of doing nothing at all.
4. Selling Skills
Yes! We are all in sales now. I mean everybody. In an age of social media and advanced technology, the opportunity to sell are now limitless. Every time you are selling something, even if it’s just yourself. Be careful how you come across. Even you are a product to sell. How is the packaging and content like?
It will be worthwhile for every professional and ambitious leader to take a course in selling. At some point in your career, your technical skills will no longer hold its weight. It will be your business development and selling skills that will come in demand.
Whether it’s an idea, a proposal, a process improvement initiative or a romantic interest, we are all selling something and your ability to demonstrate value is key.
Influence here means your credibility within your firm or industry that allows you to shape the opinions and perspectives of others in a positive way. It’s that thought-leadership and cutting-edge thinking that makes people respect you.
It is that ability to hold your own when important subjects are been discussed and your ability to articulate your ideas without been seen as overbearing or a know-it-all.
It is the ability to listen and believe that other people have a valid perspective, that there is a lot to learn from others since you don’t know it all. It is what you have when people work for you because they want to and not because they have to.
It is what you have when you care about people not because of what you want to get but what you want to give.
6. Mastery of Subject Matter Areas
Mastery is one of the ultimate goals of life. I like the Bible phrase that refers to us as a masterpiece created for good works. A masterpiece is not the result of a day’s labour. It is usually the result of consistent effort along a desired goal of creating something beautiful and lasting.
So in your career, the pursuit of mastery is a life-long journey. Why not begin today?
Resolve to conquer mental laziness and develop broad-based and in-depth knowledge of your profession. You need to keep abreast of current knowledge and practices. You also need a larger perspective that comes from exposing yourself to knowledge outside of your field or comfort zone.
Resolve to understand your business or organization thoroughly.- How it makes money? How it runs?
I can feel the fire of ambition begin to kindle within you. I know you won’t be satisfied until you are considered a thought-leader in your field. It’s a long journey there and today is never too late.
7. Ambitious Vision
Quite an uncanny combination of words. But what I mean here is that there must be a gigantic obsession to achieve your burning vision. The fire of ambition must be stoked until red hot. All books that needs to be read must be read. All people that needs to be met or listen to must be reached. All environment and association that is favourable to the cultivation of vision and ambition must be religiously sought.
People go only as far as the eyes of their mind can see. Personal development will never rise above the size of your vision. At every point in time, you are operating within the limit of the keenness and clarity of your vision. It is not abilities that limit men, it is the size of their heart.
James Allen, an astute observer of human potential wrote, “You cannot escape the results of your thoughts. Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain or rise with your thoughts, your vision, your ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.”
It is important that this quality follows its precedent for it is easier to think one must only be concerned about himself in pursuit of his goals and ambitions. Humility is the quality that recognizes that you need others just as much as you need yourself in your pursuit of success.
Humility is the ability to think less of your own interest and to pursue the greater good. It is the mental posture and readiness to pursue a win-win situation. It is the ability to know when to concede defeat and be magnanimous in victory.
It is the ability to avoid unnecessary ostentation even when you are capable of it. It is the willingness to believe in others even when they can’t believe in themselves. It is the willingness to ask for help when pride threatens to locks its jagged teeth into your vulnerable heart. It is the ability to show imperfection and to risk being loved or rejected.
It is the joy of getting there together instead of the fleeting satisfaction of doing it alone. It is the heart that shares the credit for an accomplishment or diverts it away from itself to others.
Too soft for someone wanting to be a business leader? Then you need to have a rethink.
9. Social Intelligence
John Rockefeller said, ““The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability.” The ability to get along with others is a key requirement of success. This is not to mean that you please others always or enter into a likeability contest. For all you care, not every person you meet will gravitate towards you but you can always earn their respect.
Ghandi rightly observed, “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
The entire purpose of your life can never and must never be your career or business. That is an inordinate investment with illusory Return on Investment. Be a balanced and integrated person. No level of career or business success will compensate for lack of meaningful friendships, family, romantic love, spiritual enrichment, recreation and contribution.
One of the symptoms of future disaster is an unbalanced and “uncentered” life. Ensure your life is grounded in the realities of all that really matter in the long term. This is a balancing act and wisdom is needed on an ongoing basis.
Let’s have a conversation
What do you think of these qualities do you need to start cultivating right now? How would its cultivation improve the quality of your life? Which support system will you seek in developing these habits?
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