Five critical skills that make people successful

1.       Confidence

People are drawn to confident people. Confidence alone can make one person get promoted over another of the same skill at work. If you are unsure of yourself, it is unlikely you will get someone else to put their confidence in you and trust you to get the job done. Lack of confidence also leads to you being unaware of what you are capable of, therefore you will barely tap into your potential.

How to build it: Work on your body. Your posture when speaking matters. When starting, you will have to fake it till you make it. An outside cannot tell the difference between fake confidence and real confidence, and surprisingly when you act confident, you will also begin to feel confident. Make eye contact, sit up straight, square your shoulders and focus on the positive.

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2. Communication skills

A 2016 LinkedIn survey revealed that having good communication skills was the most desired ability among employers. One employer said, “Everyone coming out of business school seems to have the technological familiarity we require. Soft skills—like communications and people skills—tend to make the difference.” Good communication skills include listening, confidence, non-verbal communication, friendliness and clarity, among others.

How to build them: To be understood, seek to understand. A lot of people only listen to others during a conversation so that they can respond, not with the intention of understanding. So actually listen. Also, master nonverbal communication (both yours and that of others), have empathy, take emotion into consideration (not just logic) and have a positive attitude.

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3.       Self-awareness

This is defined as conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings. You should be aware of your realistic abilities, feelings, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, motivation, interests and triggers. It will help you become more productive and be aware of what others think of you, so that you can work on what you need to improve and gain from what already works for you.

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How to build it: This is one of the things where asking other people that you trust for their honest feedback helps. We are often blind to or in denial of the less flattering aspects of ourselves, yet knowing your weak spots can be a powerful tool, while not knowing them can be your downfall. As George R. R. Martin wrote, “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” In addition, you can keep a journal, which will help you articulate your feelings, and later on help you analyse how you handle various situations. There are also numerous personality tests online that will help you understand yourself better.

4.       Leadership skills

The higher you rise in a field, the more likely it is that you will have one or more people under your supervision. So if you want to advance in your career, you need to work on your leadership skills. Employers also expect you to have good leadership skills, say, in case you ever need to be even temporarily in charge of a project. According to Forbes, global leadership gaps continue to be the most pressing issues on the minds of business and HR leaders, whose eye you probably want to catch.

 How to build them: Take initiative whenever you can, acting where action is needed without needing to be prompted. This will build trust with your employers and they will assign you more responsibilities. Motivate other people, as people willingly follow others who inspire them. Attend actual leadership classes or find endless resources on the topic online. Leadership also means leading by example, so build self-discipline and gain respect with yourself before you can expect to get it from others.

5.       Talents

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We live in a world where few people have the luxury to pursue what they really love because putting food on the table is a more immediate priority. That is the reason “Thank God It’s Friday” is such a popular phrase, because people can’t wait to temporarily flee from jobs they can barely stand. But have you ever heard the phrase ‘time flies when you’re having fun?’ When you love your job you hardly notice it is 5pm and aren’t that excited to get away from it. When you work at a job you are talented in and passionate about, more doors naturally open for you because your competence will be higher than average.

How to build it: Find unique things you can already do well within your job and find opportunities to exploit them further, thus giving you the practice that you need to sharpen those talents. Think you don’t have a talent? Then go on a quest to find it. You will never know if you are a good cook if you have never tried cooking. Try new things and see how well you like them. Build your talent into a skill until you become so good that can’t ignore you.

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SuccessLife skills