There’s a mountain of literature on success and what it takes to be successful. You could spend a lifetime reading it.
I have a different idea for you. It doesn’t involve any reading. And you can do it wherever you are.
Here it is: I would like you to focus on a single word and contemplate how it fits in your world, how good you are at it, and how successful you could be if you were really this way.
The word is conscientious.
Are you conscientious? Before you say yes, take a second to understand the meaning of the word.
First, it encompasses a lot of ideas: thoughtfulness, consideration, respect, understanding, empathy, awareness, generosity, responsibility, and a lot more.
Second, it’s something that you are. Conscientiousness is not a part-time job. It’s something you choose to be all the time, both at work and at home.
So, what does it mean to be conscientious?
You might be tempted to think something like “be nice to other people.” But in specific, practical terms, how does it look in your everyday life? Consider this:
- Trying to understand those around you before being understood
- Thinking about and anticipating the needs of your clients
- Meeting project deadlines
- Participating with sincerity and good faith in meetings, negotiations, and other exchanges
- Building relationships
And these are just a few of the possibilities.
Look at those moments in your life when you failed to be successful. Perhaps you were stuck in a position at work and told it was due to your attitude. Perhaps you weren’t able to produce results on time. Or, maybe you did a great job accomplishing things, but how you got your job done—your interaction with others—wasn’t quite as good.
Think about your home life and those times you were less than conscientious of the people around you. Could things have been different if you’d been more aware?
When we think of it in these terms, being conscientious is one of the cornerstones of success.
What does it take to be conscientious? Research has shown that conscientious people are generally:
- Great at setting goals, working toward them, and persisting in the face of challenges
- Forward-thinking, organized, and thorough
- Excellent at time management and self-management
- Less stressed out, less inclined to have strokes, and more likely to have lower blood pressure
Think about the power you have to change your circumstances by being more conscientious.
Examine the various parts of your work and home life, understanding when you’re less than conscientious and how improving yourself and your relations with those around you can give you a giant leap toward success of every kind.