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8 Habits More Important to Success Than Raw Talent A passionate person with good work habits and sufficient talent is more likely to succeed than a brilliant person who can't show up on time.

By Sherrie Campbell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


At any elite level of success most people equal out with regards to skill or talent. What sets the great successes apart from others are the success habits they practice on daily basis. These practices, or habits, are ingrained into their work performance and push them to the top where they often surpass those who may even have more skill and talent then they. To follow is a list of practices to adopt to push you that extra mile.

1. Being on time.

Being on time shows you are dependable, diligent and organized. It indicates that you honor your commitments, have a respect for your time and that of others, and you can be trusted. One attribute common to the successful is they view their time as their most precious commodity. When you are late to appointments with people who value their time, you will have wasted one of their most valuable assets.

When you are late for a person like this there is a good chance they will see you as self-centered, rude, disrespectful and irresponsible. When you are organized with time you are more confident because you develop a great reputation. Reputation is everything when it comes to success.

Related: Arrive Late to a Big Meeting? How to Recover.

2. Work ethic.

Doing the bare minimum and depending upon skill or talent alone is not what will get you to the top. To be successful you must have a strong work ethic ingrained in your DNA. The integrity of who you are and how you operate must stretch throughout all aspects of your job. First and foremost you must respect what you do and those whom you work for and with.

When you possess an unwavering commitment to your work ethic, it is this character trait that will foster good relationships with clients, employees, coworkers and superiors. Make sure you're a team player who views each person as valuable. People will be drawn to you for being fair. You will establish a positive network of people who trust your advice because they know you live by high moral standards. You must conduct yourself with a strong sense of responsibility. Most importantly you must place a strong emphasis on the quality of work you put out.

3. Effort.

To achieve true success, work hard to reach your fullest potential. You need the right attitude, self-discipline and the ability to put your goals before your own needs. You must put in the effort and have the discipline to do so. It takes a certain level of commitment to finish your tasks for every day. There is no room for entitlement, special treatment or needs for favor.

There is no substitute for hard work. Henry Ford brilliantly stated, "The harder you work, the luckier you get." When you are driven towards a goal, learn to enjoy the hard work it takes to achieve it. Cultivate the competitive nature that will motivate you to put in the extra effort necessary to get you closer to your aims. From this type of mindset hard work and effort are inspired rather than viewed as an uphill grind. Nothing in this world comes easily, least of all, success. Accept this. Embrace this.

4. Positive mental attitude.

You must work on your attitude before anything else. Make sure to adopt positive beliefs and frame all events in a positive mindset. Don't talk negative. Ignore whiners and complainers. Only use positive vocabulary. When challenged, see the benefits in your hardships. Attitude does not emerge from what happens to you, but from how you decide to interpret what happens to you.

There is nothing more contagious than a positive mental attitude. If you have skill and talent but a negative or entitled attitude, you are missing the x-factor of success. The greatest successes may not be the most talented but they have the most optimism, expectancy and enthusiasm that makes everything in business easier for them.

5. Energy.

The biggest commitment to maintaining the high energy levels necessary for success is to take care of your physical body. If you are not healthy physically, you will not be at your best emotionally or mentally. There is no way to function at peak performance levels on fried food, lack of sleep, caffeine and nicotine. You may burn bright but you will fizzle fast.

Take care of your health. Eat clean, get enough rest, drink a lot of water and get a workout in sometime during each day, ideally in the morning before the workday starts. When your energy is good, so is your ability to work effectively and maintain a positive mood. Further, schedule necessary breaks into your workday to allow your brain time to recharge and be ready for whatever is next on your agenda. Choose to be that person who has the energy to go the extra mile.

Related: The 4 Habits You Need to Be Successful

6. Passion.

When you are passionate you exude confidence. It is this confidence that helps you lead the way and show the way to others. Passion creates excitement that is shared and creates an organized value, not disorder. When you are excited you create enthusiasm all around you. You will be viewed as great support for the success of your team and coworkers.

When you are passionate you motivate those around you and everyone wins. With passion you will maximize the energy of your team and be viewed as a mentor. Without passion you cannot lead or inspire others. You spend the majority of time in life at work. Do what you love, so you can live a life you love.

7. Being coachable.

The only way to learn and grow is to be receptive to feedback and open to personal development. You must listen with the intention to learn rather than to show what you already know. Learn to keep your ego in check and have the courage to ask the necessary questions to clarify the feedback being given to you. Asking questions in search of deepening your understanding shows you are willing to play an active role in your own development.

Being genuine in your interest proves you are open to improvement and it minimizes any defensiveness. By trusting your superiors and mentors to be truthful in their guidance, you will eliminate horrible feelings of discouragement or rejection. Stay positive and confident that your superiors are there to help and guide you. Trust yourself to be capable of making the necessary changes you need to make and to be shapeable by those leading and teaching you.

8. Being prepared.

The more prepared you are, the better your chances are for success. Your clients deserve your best. They expect a knowledgeable, reliable professional on their side. Before you ever walk into a meeting room or even speak with a client, ask yourself, "Would I be impressed by my preparedness?"

All too often, you walk into meetings without having done the work beforehand to ready yourself for the client's specific needs. You "wing it." Your clients want personal attention. If you are not prepared, they are not important. Further, when you are not prepared your lack of confidence will be obvious to those working with you. Do your homework. Your client, and your business, will thank you for it.

These practices, when cultivated and adopted, will provide you those necessary extra ingredients that will push you out in front of your competitors. Never rely solely on skill or talent. At any elite level, skill and talent are nearly indistinguishable from one candidate to another. Stand out by adopting work habits that will sustain you for the duration of a lifelong, meaningful and passionate career.

Related: 4 Musts to Prepare for a Comfortable On-Camera Interview

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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