7 Traits of People Who Make A Difference

Many definitions are attached to the word “success.” Some would include making it to the top of your profession, earning a great income, becoming famous, winning awards, or gaining influence.

While success can encompass these descriptions, a major ingredient that should be included in any definition is making a positive difference in the lives of others. As my friend Joe Martin once told me, “I want to do well in my career while doing good for others.” This sounds like a winning success strategy to me!

Here are seven character traits of successful people who do well in their careers while also making a difference in the lives of others.

7 Traits of People Who Make A Difference

Hard (and Smart) Worker. There is no such thing as easy change, easy impact, or easy success. Making a difference takes a lot of hard (and smart) work. If you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves, the likelihood of you doing well for yourself or making a positive impact in the lives of others is slim.

Persistence. How many life-changing stories are never written because people give up too soon? Success comes to those who consistently show up over the long haul. This is why veteran teachers, business people, coaches, and leaders can tell story after story of how they have seen peoples’ lives changed for the better. They’ve been around the block a few times, and their stick-to-it-tiveness has been a catalyst for positive change.

People-Person. This is not to say introverts cannot make a difference in people’s lives—THEY CAN. In fact, some of the most dynamic difference-makers I’ve met are shier than I am. But while our styles differ, we are passionate about the same thing—seeing positive change in others. Simply put, how can you make a difference in someone’s life if you are not interested in that someone?

Truth-Teller. It’s tough to share hard truths with others. However, difference-makers are willing to engage in tough conversations because they know the truth, when shared clearly and compassionately, can lead to growth. At the same time, difference-makers know how to balance directness with gentleness because they also know boiling water can harden eggs or soften carrots. This means they are careful with how they communicate hard truths to others.

Solutions-Provider. Problems are a fact of life. But instead of complaining about problems, successful people seek answers and fixes. They view problems as opportunities looking for solutions, and this mindset empowers them to run at problems instead of running away from them.

Lifelong Learner. Successful people who make a difference are always looking to add new crayons to their crayon box. Why? To use another analogy, they realize when they think they are ripe, they rot. But as long as they stay humble and green, they grow.

Deliver the Goods. A business is successful when it over-delivers value. In the same way, difference-makers gain success by seeking to over-deliver in relationships through active listening, encouraging others, and looking for ways to serve.

Photography Copyright: 123 RF Photos / William87

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In this FREE RESOURCE, learn about five personal habits that can greatly enhance the flavor of your leadership. What makes this list different than others is that many of these habits are often overlooked.