What is the secret to success? This is the million-dollar question. A quick Google search will reveal a plethora of answers ranging from the mainstream leadership skills, through to the quirky - wearing the same outfit every day and eating the same dinner (apparently to limit the amount of decisions necessary in a day). The items you’ll find on the list below are not quirky or mainstream.  They are my personal, proven strategies for success (with some serious science to back them up).


  1. Social Media

The importance of your personal brand cannot be underestimated.  While you used to be judged on your handshake, haircut and humor (and you still are), increasingly, you’re being assessed on your online presence.  A 100-watt smile wont cut it anymore.  You need 100 shares of the content you’ve published on LinkedIn.  If you can navigate the social media jungle you are leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.  LinkedIn and Twitter are essential to establishing your authority within your space.  If you get social right, you’re a hop, skip and a publish away from being a recognised Thought Leader in your space.  In terms of opening career doors, LinkedIn is the place to be.  95% of employers* use LinkedIn for recruitment.  Interestingly, 93% of recruiters* will also review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.  Which highlights the importance of having a professional profile on social media and learning how to skillfully use the privacy settings on Facebook!


  1. Inspirational People

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn, a renowned businessman once said.  Truer words could not be said.  If you ride a bike with people who ride slowly, you’ll naturally slow down.  If you ride with a group that ride quickly, you’ll naturally speed up.  If you want to improve your game of tennis you play with someone better than yourself.  What’s true in sport is also true in business.  When you surround yourself with people that energise, inspire and motivate you, you’ll be primed to do great things.  When you engage with inspirational people to act as your mentor or sponsor you’ll have the opportunity to learn, develop and be supported in your professional growth.  Networking with influencers is also pivotal for your success in terms of both personal learning and securing opportunities for career advancement.


  1. Self Worth

Having a strong sense of self worth is incredibly important.  If you don’t believe that you’re worthy of great things then, simply put, it’s unlikely great things will happen to you. The value you put on yourself will largely determine the value that others put on you.  If you believe in your own capability then you’re more likely to word harder, demand more of yourself, demand more of others and not accept poor results or poor monetary compensation.


  1. Self Awareness

Self awareness is key to emotional intelligence.  Many psychologists believe that standard measures of intelligence (such as IQ) do not encompass the full range of human intelligence. Instead, they suggest, the ability to understand and express emotions can play an equal if not even more important role in how people fare in life.

Self awareness is the foundation for emotional intelligence and personal growth.  It is only when you are aware of your weaknesses, that you can improve them and it is only when you are aware of your effect on others that you can understand how to build stronger relationships.


  1. Learning Agility

Learning Agility is a competency or capability that describes a person's speed to learn. People who possess Learning Agility are able to solve complex problems, easily adapt in a constantly changing world and thrive on change.  Their ability to learn quickly and adapt makes them capable of positioning not only themselves, but the organisations they lead, for success.


So there it is, the answer to the million-dollar question, the secret to success. The five things you need for a highly successful career; simply know yourself, believe in yourself, be open to learning, surround yourself with inspirational people and leverage social media.


*Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2014



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