Dr. Judith Wright | October 19, 2016

5 Inspiring Traits
of Successful People


There are a few universal traits of successful people — and you may be surprised to learn they aren’t all that mysterious.

You know when you’ve met an inspiring, dynamic, successful person…

What makes a person “successful”? Is it money? Is it being at the top of their career? Is it popularity?

Before we can examine these universal traits of successful people, we first have to define what it means to be successful.

In a larger sense, successful people are fulfilled. They’re vision-driven. They’re leaders. Are they happy all the time? Of course not. (Who is?) However, they are generally positive because they’re engaged and extracting the most out of every single moment. Successful people are satisfied with what they have but driven to keep reaching for the next milestone, the next peak—to tackle their next goal.

1. They Know Their “Why”

Successful people understand their raison d’être: their reason for being. They have a bigger mission, with a clear goal of where they want to end up.

People who are successful are generally driven by a higher purpose in both their personal and professional life. Not to say they’re always religious, or even spiritual, but they understand their true calling and they’re heeding it. They aren’t focused on simple temporal rewards or only what will get them ahead in the here and now.

Put simply, successful people are mission-driven. They have their eye on the prize and they stay on it with a laser focus, even if the mission is broad.

2. They’re Willing to Fight

Now, this might sound counterintuitive. “Didn’t you just say successful people are magnanimous and higher-purpose driven? That doesn’t sound like someone who’s argumentative and angry.”

There’s a distinct difference between being willing to fight FOR someone or something you want, and being petty, angry or simply argumentative. Fighting FOR something means you aren’t afraid of conflict. You understand sometimes conflict is necessary to reach a larger goal.

For example, fighting FOR the betterment of your relationship (rather than checking out or resorting to passive-aggressive bickering) can be healthier for both parties.

Similarly, fighting for a cause or idea you feel impassioned about at work is healthy and productive. Successful people aren’t doormats. They don’t ignore problems. Successful people stand up and get their point across. They don’t need to demean others or get involved in petty collusion and gossip, but they do rally others to their cause. They share their vision and they engage in conflict because they believe in their cause and they’re willing to go to battle for it!

3. They’re in the Moment

Life is full of distractions. Successful people don’t let these distractions get in the way of their yearnings. They’re mindful.

“If you’re not in touch with your yearnings…you may waste time and energy complaining to friends about how your company is being run by shortsighted leaders. Or you might miss that moment to love and to matter in your child’s life when you’re tucking her into bed and she wants to talk but your mind is jumping to all the “to do’s” left at work. Or maybe you dash off a hurried peck on the cheek to your mate on your way out the door and miss the opportunity to really see and appreciate each other for a moment while nourishing your yearning to love and be loved.

When you are truly in harmony with what you yearn for, you experience every moment in a deeper and more fulfilling way.”

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

In short, successful people don’t allow themselves to waste time and veer off course. They’re more productive and focused. They don’t fall for soft addictions like television, social media, and other methods many of us use to distract and numb ourselves from reality. Instead, successful people are fully engaged and going for it! They’re in the moment, because each moment is an opportunity to engage, grow and get more out of life!

4. They Practice “Know Thyself”

Are all successful people self-aware and self-actualized? One look at our current political climate or the latest corporate scandal will give you a resounding “No way!” That said, people who are the most successful and who get the most satisfaction out of their lives practice a growth mindset.

What does a growth mindset mean? It’s learning from mistakes and constantly exploring ways to be better. It’s figuring out your drivers, your yearnings, and what your heart truly wants and needs, and then identifying ways to get it. It’s not being afraid to roll up your sleeves and do the work to get you to where you want to be.

Learning new things helps us form new neuropathways—new experiences literally reshape and grow our brain. Without growth, we become dulled and stagnant. We become disengaged and checked out. We go on “autopilot.” Without growth, we’re the antithesis of success.

Successful people explore their inner-workings because they want to understand what makes them tick. They do personal growth work; they work with coaches, mentors and colleagues to more fully understand who they really are. They know that unlocking the secrets of your personality, your motivations and your yearnings can help you build up your emotional intelligence—your inner superpower!

5. They Listen and Lead

Just being around successful people can make others feel more successful by osmosis. Transformational leaders become powerful because they share their vision with those around them. They don’t simply dictate their goals and tasks, instead they lead others to realize their own visions and explore how they can overlap to bring success to the entire team.

Successful leaders aren’t barking orders at people. They don’t talk over others or tear them down. They’re assertive and they say what they want, but they also listen. They hear their fellow team members, and they want to learn what drives them and makes them tick, too. Successful people know that they’re only as successful as their team, their spouse, and their social circle. Their bosses love them because they make their boss look good.

Listening can be a powerful tool for success. So often, we want to power through discussions and drag others to our point, when listening, suggesting and guiding would get us our end result just as quickly, while allowing others to share in the successful outcome. Practice engaging with others: listening, staying in the moment, and really hearing what they’re trying to express. Share your vision and figure out the path to get you both to what you want.

Success isn’t a trait we’re born with. Being a successful person takes work, and focus. It takes a willingness to grow and change, to listen and to lead. The traits of successful people aren’t mysterious or hidden. In fact, they’re very clear and attainable to anyone who’s willing to do the work.

For more ideas on how to be successful and discover your path to getting the life you want, visit Wright Foundation. Attend one of our transformational weekend sessions and learn how you can unlock your hidden superpowers to engage with others and live your best life!


About the Author


Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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