Follow Through and Realize Success

This post is the last in a three-part series about achieving success in professional careers. While incorporating your passions into your career is a great way to build fulfillment, this series is applicable to anyone looking to succeed. The first post focused on defining goals, read that one here. The second was dedicated to the importance of learning from others, so check that one out here. This post dives into the most important part of creating a successful career.

 Photo via  Flickr

Photo via Flickr

Regardless of how you define success, we all want some form of success for ourselves. Whether it’s building a successful company, starting a loving family, or helping as many people as possible, we want to accomplish goals. There are numerous books, seminars, videos, and other materials about achieving success in life, many of which are great resources.

However, what I think is the most important element is simply this:

Do what you say you’re going to do.

It’s such a simple concept, but it’s so uncommon that people celebrate when we actually do it.

Think of the last time you said you were going to follow up with someone after meeting them at an event. Did you do that? Was it helpful? Chances are if you did do it, it was pretty useful.

I think back to all of the times I’ve actually done what I said I was going to do and how that turned out to be extremely beneficial. I’ve even had someone go out of their way to connect me with their friends for informational interviews during my career transition simply because they appreciated that I did what I said I would do and followed up with him after our first meeting.

Following through is really a sign of being reliable, which is incredibly important when working with others. Imagine how hard it would be to work with someone who says they’re going to do something, and then doesn’t actually do it. In fact, it’s such a universal phenomenon that I’m sure you don’t need to imagine it because you’ve already experienced the frustration that this causes.

A couple of areas where you can focus on this:

As I mentioned, follow up after meeting someone. This can lead to valuable knowledge and connections. It can also lead to a wonderful friendship. Within 24 hours of meeting someone actually use the contact information you gathered and contact them.

Complete a task that was delegated to you. If other are relying on you, completing a task, and doing it well is really what leads to a successful team. If others can’t count on you, they won’t give you important high-profile work, which is what really drives us to success.

Working towards a goal/dream. Many people have ideas of where they want to be, but don't take the necessary steps to make them realities. When you say you want to get up and do something, but don't...nothing happens. But when you actually do what you said, you'll be amazed at how quickly success builds on itself.

Making lifestyle changes. It’s one thing to say you’re going to eat healthier and exercise regularly, but it’s a whole different thing to actually do it. This is where I struggle the most these days, and I’m working to develop a system that will hold me accountable.

When you begin to become that person who is known to be reliable and actually does what they say they are going to do, you start to notice a change in the way that people treat you. Better opportunities will arise for you to show your skills and passion at work. Your family will know that your commitments to be there for them are genuine. Those that you work to help will benefit from a consistent level of aid that they can build upon.

So go ahead and send that email you said you would send, write that proposal you told everyone would be awesome, and schedule that meeting with that amazing person you met. Trust me, it'll change your life.

What has your experience been with people who follow through on their words? Are you one of them? Do you find it easier to work with them? Leave a comment below.

- Ryan