You want a piece of advice? I’m feeling generous today, so how about 10?
Over the past nine years I’ve worked at large companies including Cisco and VMware and have joined smaller start ups like Box (now a public company and Optimizely as well. I’ve also worked at MTV, a small boutique law firm, and UCLA.
No matter where I’ve worked, I’ve noticed a recurring pattern of what creates success at work and have worked on a list over the past nine years.
I’ve never shared this list before — until now. The more I’ve followed these, the more success I’ve found. I hope it helps you, too.
Here’s the list of the top 10 behaviors that could launch your career.
1. Be authentic
Bring your whole self to work! You’d be surprised at how many people appreciate real, meaningful connections at work. You don’t need to be a corporate robot. Sheryl Sandberg has a great quote about this:
“Motivation comes from working on things we care about, but it also comes from working with people we care about, and in order to care about someone you have to know them. You have to know what they love and hate, what they feel–not just what they think. If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind. I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self the rest of the time. That kind of division probably never worked, but in today’s world it makes even less sense… It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.”
2. Be passionate
You care. You want to make a difference. People can hear that in your voice, the way you move. And guess what? Passion is contagious. It can inspire your staff. It can make your customers your champions. It can carry you through the journey.
If you treat work like a grind, it will feel like a grind. If you’re passionate about what you do and how you can make a difference, work will no longer feel like work. It’ll feel like a mission. And that changes everything.
3. Be focused.
At some point, you’re going to have a list of things at work that you can’t get to. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and giving up, focus on what’s really truly important to accomplish that day.
Each day, I try to create a list of three really critical things I need to work on that can have a huge impact at work. Focus drives results.
4. Look forward
It’s easy to caught up in your mistakes. You look back, dwell on the issues and suddenly you can’t focus on the task at hand. This can have a huge impact on your present performance.
Here’s what I’d suggest — it’s called the “10 years test.” Ask yourself: is this a big issue in 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months? What about 10 years? Will this issue matter in 10 years? Almost 99% of the time, the answer is no. So stop dwelling on it, lift your head up high and look forward.
5. Own it
You’re going to be successful at some things, and you’ll fail at others. One of the best things you can do through it all is to own it. People will respect you for that.
Why? Because you’re willing to show them that you’ll own it through both the good and the bad. Most people are only willing to own it when things are good.
6. Be an artist
“Are you an artist or just following instructions?” – Seth Godin
Following instructions is safe. It’s easy. It’s also usually less likely to add a huge amount of value to the company. You create value by challenging the status quo and by pushing the limits of what can be done.
And often, this involves a huge amount of creativity and out of the box thinking. Don’t be afraid of being an artist at work.
7. Stay persistent
Most people cannot handle rejection or adversity well. No one said solving tough and important problems was easy! The ones who remain persistent are the ones that persevere.
Stay the course. AirBnB did (it took over 1,000 days) and look where it got them!
8. Embrace your fears
Afraid you might not be good at a potential job that you’re looking at? Are you afraid of speaking up at work for the promotion you know that you deserve? Are you afraid of trying out a new business idea?
Here’s a better question you should ask: if you never try, how will you ever know? You know what you should really fear? The fear of having a huge amount of regret many years from now, because you never really tried.
Hustle is the antidote to fear. Go and make it happen.
9. Don’t make excuses
Just go and make it happen. I’d talk more about this — but the Holstee Manifesto sums it up perfectly. Just Google it, and you’ll know what I mean.
10. Enjoy the moment
Life is short. Make the best of it. Smile. Inspire someone. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Do a fist pump. Yell out “WOOO!” when you close a big deal. Tell your coworkers how awesome they are.
Go out there and have fun. Because you know what? Awesomeness is contagious.
Nelson Wang is the Founder of
This article originally appeared on Quora.
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