Successful People Traits

The topic of achieving success comes up a lot in discussion with our clients but even more so with the millennials. As we talk about their desires for the future, they share career aspirations and discuss what kind of jobs they would like to have and whether they are on a path that will get them there.


Millennials get bad press for being lazy and not wanting to do much, and maybe there are many for whom that is true. But we do not find that to be the case with our clients of that generation. What we do find sometimes is that their expectations of when success will come is faster than prior generations.


We read an article a while back that helped adjust perspective and focus more on the right things. It was “10 Brutal Truths About Success No One Wants To Hear (Except Those Who Hunger For Success).” Two of those brutal truths directly relate to misplaced focus and unrealistic expectations. Based on that, we have two recommendations for young people who are planning for a successful future.


  1. See success as an outcome, not a driver.

If what you are chasing is success in and of itself, you are almost sure to fail. This is especially true if your definition of success is solely making a lot of money.


People who have a passion for what they do, feel like they can change the world by doing it, tend to be happy and well-compensated for their work. They achieve success by focusing on their “why” and view compensation as the reward, not the driver, of their success.


On the other hand, people who make decisions based on the money or success they hope to gain from their choices almost never achieve the success they are after. Success only comes as a result of pursuing a tangible result with passion and hard work.


  1. Don’t expect too much, too fast.

We often hear millennials say things like, “I’ve been working at this for five years and I don’t seem to be getting where I want to go.” When we dig a little deeper to see what they mean, we find out that they do not see themselves as successful yet because they don’t have everything the previous generation has now. There seems to be an epidemic of people wanting to accumulate a bunch of stuff before they can afford it.


The thing we must remember is that our parents haven’t always had what they have now. That nice, big house you envy? Well, they did not get it until they were 50. Those of us who are in our early 30s are not supposed to have the same living situation as your parents. Do not drive yourself crazy – or broke – trying to immediately get a lifestyle it took them 25 or 30 years to achieve.


Ask anyone who’s successful, and they’ll tell you it doesn’t come overnight, and it won’t happen without perseverance. Ask them to share their story with you and learn from them. Slow down, enjoy the journey, and be proud of the kind of success that is appropriate for your stage of life.


-Marshall Rathmell and Clay Wood-

Marshall Rathmell

Marshall Rathmell

Marshall Rathmell CFP®, CPA/PFS is the CEO, Shareholder and Financial Planner with BCR Wealth Strategies.