1. Punctuality – So, I am not the best at being on time 100% of the time. I tend to come rushing in at the last second or be running a few minutes behind. Then there are the rare days when I make up for all my tardiness by showing up thirty minutes to an hour early. But being on time is not only kind and considerate to your friends and coworkers, it is also a kindness to yourself. I don’t like being late. It sets me back, stresses me out, and disorients me for the better part of my day. Consistency and dependability are important. Showing up on time is important, giving your boss notice when a crisis emerges or you’re sick is also important. Be reliable. Be on time. Be consistent.
2. Work Ethic – I never considered myself someone with an intense work ethic. In fact, I am pretty sure I was one of the laziest kids in high school. Not only that but I have always been a huge procrastinator. Over the last few years I have discovered the many benefits of continually working hard and how simple it really is. It doesn’t take a prodigy to get out of bed every morning and go to work, come home and do the laundry, wash the dishes, etc. When I am tempted to put off a task, hit the snooze button (again), or forego completing a chore, I remind myself that ultimately I will regret this decision tomorrow when the job is still waiting for me. I also remind myself that other people depend on the work I do and when I procrastinate and fail to follow through, I disappoint and hinder the people in my life.
3. Effort – You don’t have to possess copious amounts of talent to put a good effort forward. Too often we get hung up on our lack of talent and we let this keep us from even trying. I don’t push for perfection in my piano students as much as I push for practice and trying again and performing even when you don’t have it perfect. Put forth effort every single day, even if you haven’t been blessed with an abundance of genius or talent. Effort will not necessarily give you an advantage over someone with more talent, but it is a commendable quality in and of itself. Put forth effort every day and you will not disappoint yourself.
4. Body Language – I hesitated to include this on the list. Body language does not take talent as much as it takes intuition. Maybe you are not naturally intuitive, but all it takes is a little of the above effort we discussed to develop a little more awareness and sensitivity to control how your body language effects those around you. I could write a whole post on body language, but for now I will leave you with one helpful tip—when someone is talking to you, listen and show them that you are listening by watching them and responding with your looks and gestures as they talk. Don’t constantly glance at your phone during conversations. Be engaged. Be all there.
5. Energy – Once again, energy does not take inherent talent, but it does take a little effort. Some people are born with an abundance of energy. Others, like me, get easily drained of our limited supply of energy, especially if we fail to take proper care of ourselves. When I don’t eat well and fail to stay hydrated, my energy plummets and with that my mood. Consequently, everything else suffers. Take care of yourself. Sleep well every night. Stay hydrated. Don’t eat junk. Your body will thank you and so will everybody else.
6. Humility – You should never make a doormat of yourself, but there is something to be said for never being too good or too talented for the simplest, meager jobs. For instance, my boss is great at taking on the small menial tasks whenever he can, tasks like turning the lights on and off at the start and close of a day, turning on the coffee pot, making coffee, etc. The smallest jobs are often the underappreciated and overlooked jobs, the ones that are taken for granted and the more qualified we are, the more we might be tempted to convince ourselves that we are too good for those kinds of jobs. When you see a need, be quick to fill it, even the job seems beneath you, even if you go without any thanks. Trust me; your willing attitude will not go overlooked.
7. Passion – I used to think passion was reserved for the boldly successful, ingeniously creative, brilliant, and highly educated people. But passion can be exhibited in the smallest of tasks, no matter how menial or inconsequential the task may seem. Whatever you do, do it well, and be passionate about doing it well.
8. Being Coachable – This point goes right along with humility. I don’t care how talented or smart you are. If you always have to be right, I don’t want to work with you and no one else does either. Be willing to learn something new and be willing to be corrected. Adaptability is one of the most esteemed qualities in the work force and all the rest of life. I think Proverbs also has something to say about the wise man accepting reproof. Being coachable is about maintaining a humble and adaptable attitude, but it’s also about being willing to reform your habits and actions if need be.
9. Go the Extra Mile – Doing what you are supposed to do is great, but do you know what is even better? Going the extra mile. Doing extra communicates genuine care and interest. You are not simply concerned with doing what’s expected of you, or doing your job, you are more concerned about making the people in your life genuinely happy and satisfied. There are few qualities as unattractive as someone who refuses to do more than the minimum of what is expected of them and then on the rare occasion when they do something extra, they do it very begrudgingly.
10. Being Prepared – And this is the point when everyone raises questionable eyebrows and asks if I am really qualified to write this post. Didn’t I just mention that I am a terrible procrastinator? And it follows that as a chronic procrastinator, I am rarely prepared for anything. But the fact of the matter is, I love to be prepared and I hate showing up to life unprepared. I am a procrastinator, but I hate procrastinating and I hate being a procrastinator. There’s nothing satisfying about waiting until the last minute and showing up unprepared. I hate not knowing what to expect and there is no worse feeling than feeling others cannot reliably have expectations of me. The first key to succeeding at life is showing up every day. The second key is showing up prepared.
11. A Sense of Humor - Being able to laugh at your circumstances and at yourself from time to time is essential for thriving in this world. It's too easy to get hung up on your mistakes or to let life stress you out. There is a time to be serious and solemn, especially when you've done something wrong and you should have done better. But we all make mistakes. We all embarrass ourselves. It's okay to look like a fool every now and then. It's better to take risks, look like a fool, and laugh at yourself later than it is to never try because you're worried about what people might think of you. Besides, everyone loves a person with a sense of humor. My favorite people at the workplace and favorite friends to be with are the ones who make me laugh. These are the people who inevitably lighten the mood, cheer up your day, and motivate you to do a good job.
12. Kindness – This is my addition to this helpful list because being kind does not take talent. All it takes is a smile, gentle respectful words, and some forethought and consideration here and there. It takes a little more awareness and sensitivity. Once again, even if this doesn’t come naturally to you, put forth the effort to put yourself in someone else’s shoes each day. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro. Being kind and gracious does not cost you anything and it enriches the lives of everyone around you.
There you have it! Now go be awesome.
What do you think of this list of awesome attributes? Is there anything else you would add to this list?