Ever wondered why some communicators are so successful yet others struggle?
What success means
Ever been curious about why one communicator is more successful than others? Or what success looks like in our profession or, more fundamentally, do you have your own definition of career success?
For some, success is the money they earn or the titles they hold. Others see it in the achievements of their campaigns. Because there are so many interpretations it might be easier to ask what distinguishes a successful communicator form their peers. What sets them apart and makes them stand out?
After 25 years working in communications I see three traits that mark out truly successful communicators – energy, knowledge and persistence. And these characteristics are shared by the successful, regardless of industry experience or where they work.
Energy is the life force of our physical world and the life force of our profession. Energy is as vital in our world of ideas as it is to powering a rocket ship. The successful people I meet are those who are constantly “on” as they move along their career paths. They are the ones who irrespective of immediate tasks are always thinking, questioning, probing, plotting and looking for better ways. Driven by enthusiasm and an ambition to prevail, they exude an energy that inspires – and at times intimidates – the rest of us, and their levels of physical and mental energy are obvious to all.
Communicators know that to succeed they must be across the details, disciplines and the skills of our profession. Yet highly effective communicators see such mastery merely as a starting point. They are the ones who always overreach, search long, deep and hard for answers and novel approaches, learn from their past and interrogate the future. Driven by curiosity they relentlessly hunt new ideas and overcome their personal limits through self development. Whether it’s embracing new material, taking courses, attending events or seeking out conversations, they go out of their way in pursuit of fresh ideas, skills and knowledge.
Like the rest of us successful people rarely triumph at first try. But eventually they break through because of unyielding persistence. These communicators accept – not lament – the problems they face, recognising them as part of our often fraught profession. They draw deep breath and apply themselves when boulders block their way, always looking for ways to overcome the issues they face. They have sticking power and even as success looms into view still ask is there more I can do?
All of us want successful and fulfilling careers. The good news is energy, knowledge and persistence are not the province of the few, the senior or the wealthy nor are they limited to one group. Rather they are traits each of us – at whatever level – can focus on in our quest for a rewarding profession.