Talent, skill and a will to succeed is one thing but, according to a career expert and psychologist, it is confidence and perseverance that often separates the winners from the losers.
With a background in organisational and clinical psychology, Suzie Plush knows what is required to increase a person’s chances of professional and personal success.
With her experience working with some of the biggest corporate heavy-hitters in the country, like Westpac, Telstra and the Seven network, Plush has helped some of Australia’s most successful business people realise their potential.
GQ sat down with the confidence guru to find out how her tips can enable a person to channel their inner Harvey Specter and get more of what they want.
1.The essentials you need to stay strong, lean, and healthy
1. Build strategic relationships
By working with some of the most influential companies in Australia, Plush has observed that her successful clients place a premium on fostering meaningful connections and expanding their professional networks.
“They focus on building a good rapport with people in other industries as well as their own,” says Plush, “as they understand the value those relationships will bring.”
2. Be Assertive
People who want to be successful don’t shy away from valuable opportunities – in fact, they do the opposite.
“People who aim to increase their chances at professional success apply for different jobs, apply for promotions…they do what it takes to get ahead.
“This places them ahead of the pack by ambitiously striving to make the most of every opportunity, they are able to learn and improve upon their existing skillset.”
3. Have a personal brand
Knowing exactly who you are is central to ensuring professional success. According to Plush, this is grounded in “knowing what your strengths are…and knowing what is unique about you.”
When you have a strong sense of your personal brand, you are innately aware of what you bring to the table. As a result, you can “play to your strengths”, apply yourself more effectively and make a bigger impact.
4. Nobody’s perfect
Amongst her vast clientele, Plush has noticed that striving for perfection is a common error and can potentially hinder success.
“Some people can be very perfectionistic when it comes to their work “, says Plush, but constantly trying to map everything out perfectly puts you at risk of only “focusing on problems (instead of) solutions”.
A much healthier, more resilient approach is to be “creative with problem solving” when issues arise and remember to consider the big picture; this allows you to reflect on what you did well as opposed to purely fixating on setbacks.
5. Acting confident and persevering are central to success
“Even highly successful people can lack confidence”, Plush explains, but the easiest way to build self-assurance is to “act confident” and continue to move forward.
“You don’t need to feel 100% confident before you take action”, Plush says, remaining in your comfort zone can prevent you from getting ahead and achieving your goals.
In the most challenging situations, it is crucial to back yourself, even when you feel the opposite – this is central to building confidence and convincing others to believe in you as well.
6. Have a go
Plush suggests that instead of always waiting for a “perfect opportunity”, having initiative and taking risks is essential if you want to reap the greatest rewards.
Things are not always as impossible as they seem – while it may be a bumpy (and slightly terrifying) process, the benefits outweigh the losses and there is considerable value in being courageous and just “having a go.”
7. Learn to fail, fail to learn
“Whenever you’re failing, you’re learning something”, Plush states.
While your ego may take a hit, we need to “embrace failure” – it builds courage and resilience, and failing ultimately allows you to reflect on what needs to be improved upon in order to ensure success.
“It’s about celebrating the effort invested versus the result gained” says Plush. “If you know that you were true to yourself…that you did everything within your capability and it didn’t work out, (then) you need to celebrate that fact that you tried”
8. Set goals and aim high
If you want to be successful, it is essential to go beyond the accepted parameters of your comfort zone.
There is an inevitable feeling of anxiety that accompanies ambitious goal-setting, but Plush believes that “leaning into the anxiety and doing things that scare you a little bit” can be beneficial in the long-run.
It is vital to “look at the bigger picture and always come back to your values”, and take the time to recognise what truly matters to you.
As explained by Plush, “values guide and goals drive” – constantly reminding yourself of your core values will aid you in your pursuit of professional success.
9. “Will this make me happy?”
According to Plush, this is the most common question her clients ask her.
Unfortunately, within the context of professional success, happiness cannot be guaranteed – “it won’t always be fun but it’s about embracing the journey” and ensuring that you are “heading in the right direction.”
Plush believes that the “ultimate goal” should be becoming the person you want to be, and grounding your work and success in your personal values.
5 quotes from Suits to keep you motivated
1. “When you’re backed against the wall, break the goddamn thing down”
2. “You wanna lose small, I wanna win big.”
3. “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself”
4. “It’s going to happen, because I’m going to make it happen”
5. “I don’t have dreams, I have goals.”