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Must-Have Traits of Successful Career Changers
August 2010

All the wishing and planning towards making a career change won't amount to anything if you don't have the right traits to drive progress. Each one of us has dreams and goals, but only a small percentage of people actualize their dreams and make things happen. We all know someone who has always wanted to _____ (fill in the blank here). I call these folks disciplined wishers: they spend an enormous amount of time planning, researching, deciding, asking other people, and checking things out, but when it comes time to take action, they lack the necessary traits. What's sad about this is that they are so busy waiting for the "moment", they forget to invest time in developing the traits they need to take advantage of the opportunities and experiences they are seeking.

Here are the traits I have noted in people who have successfully created a career that allows them to do what they love and earn an income that supports their lifestyle:

Being Industrious
Hard work always pays off. There is no single famous individual in history who achieved several goals in life without hard work. Being industrious means working harder than anyone else, studying more than anyone else and sometimes suffering more than anyone else. Industrious individuals understand the importance of delayed gratification as they work towards their goals and dreams. People that are averse to working hard are more often the "haters" that you face. Realizing that they have neither the desire nor disposition to put in the work to make things happen, they opt out of the success walk and choose to become critical spectators.

Discipline and Consistency
Discipline is what separates the winners from the quitters. If you want to make changes in your life, you have to understand the value of doing something regardless of how you feel at times, and maintaining excellent quality and ideal performance each time. Discipline breeds consistency. And consistency intertwines with patience, in which you continue performing well, regardless of any issues and hindrances, to deliver the results you want in the end.

Resilience and Optimism
Problems are a part of life and it is always the resilient person who prevails and achieves his or her goals despite of them. Problems and even mistakes can be an opportunity to learn, eventually resulting in more productive decisions and actions for next time. Some of the most successful people, as well as those who left a mark in history, are known to have faced big difficulties and recover from major setbacks before reaping the rewards of their hard work and discipline. Optimism, especially through the rough patches you are sure to face, is the backbone of resilience. If you cannot keep a positive expectation about the outcome of your situation, you will be quick to back out and quit whenever you feel uncomfortable.

Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
Self-confidence is about believing in your abilities and capabilities. Self-esteem is about knowing that you as an individual, even if you never accomplished anything else ever, are valuable. You need both to make a successful career change.  Having confidence in your ability to learn new skills, to do the hard work, and to make the tough decisions needed to change is good. But if you don’t think that you deserve to have the career, business, or lifestyle you want – you will always find a way to sabotage your progress or squander an opportunity.

The traits listed above will help you move from being a disciplined wisher to someone who is reaping the rewards of making things happen. Nurturing these traits requires nothing more than a decision to be the best brilliant person you can be. Start by reaffirming your commitment to yourself and choose each day to live in your purpose. And remember that your career change is about more than just you getting what you want; there are companies, customers, and even family members and friends who are in need of your gifts, talents and experiences.

The world is waiting for you!


alumni@drexel.edu