Talking Points
February 2024

What Successful People Do

Everyone has his or her own idea of what it means to be successful. Professional and personal goals are reached by what we do rather than who we are. A good place to start, or take stock of one’s achievements to date, is to look at some of the traits of other successful people.

Create SMART Goals
The most successful people choose priorities first and then drill down to specifics in naming and outlining real goals. You may have seen this one but it bears repetition. Make your goals:


Seize the Moment
Successful people take decisive, fast action. In other words they don’t procrastinate. Seize the moment and decide when and where to take each action in advance. Be precise, and then act.

Track Progress
Achieving any goal requires honest and regular monitoring of progress—know exactly how far you have left to go. The most successful know how well they are doing and adjust their strategy accordingly—weekly or even daily depending on the goal.

Learn from Mistakes
Successful people do not view mistakes as failures but as learning opportunities to improve on the future. Our intelligence, aptitude and personality are not fixed. From our mistakes we can learn that we can get better and develop new skills to reach our goals.

Focus on Productivity
You may be busy but not productive. Successful people ensure that they engage in something that adds value or helps realize a goal. It comes down to actively managing time wasters. Make a choice to limit non-supportive interactions that drain energy.

Keep It Simple
Many successful men and women seem like they have everything figured out. But there is no magic formula. What many successful people do is choose one field or area of interest and specialize in it. They are persistent, patient and master the basics. No one does everything perfectly. Go for efficiency.

Make Logical and Informed Decisions
The secret of successful people is making the right decision in view of the present and prevailing circumstances. They always try to make decisions independent of emotion or bias.

Develop Grit and Willpower
Successful people have a willingness to commit to a long-term goal and to persevere in the face of adversity. When you find yourself ready to give in, give up or just not bother—don’t. Conquer one activity at a time, step by step. Self-discipline and willpower are skills that can be learned and consistently improved.

Chances are you’re already utilizing some of these principles in your own professional life. If you have any additional thoughts you would like to pass on to our readers, let us know at

Johnny Harper, Mindful Smack
Heidi Grant Halverson, Forbes


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