The Marks of Success

Patricia Iyer

In the 24 years that I have been a legal nurse consultant, I have seen attributes that mark the successful professional, whether that person is a legal nurse consultant or an attorney.

The successful professional has a high level of integrity. This person will obtain an honest evaluation of a case, knowing that huge amounts of money can be expended to bring a case to the courtroom. The professional will use integrity in billing practices, refunding unused portions of retainers, and not charging fees that are difficult to justify.

The successful professional does not nurture resentments and harbor grudges. He never burns bridges. He understands that people are not perfect. He leaves the door open so that a person who has wronged him can re-establish a relationship without losing face. He knows that forgiveness wipes the slate clean. The successful professional will avoid speaking ill of his or her competitors. This person knows that it is a small world, and that we can all learn from each other and help each other. The professional understands the meaning of the term “what goes around comes around.”

The successful professional believes in herself, knowing that if she does not know the answers, she knows how to get them. She is not afraid to say, “I don’t know. Let me find out.” She recognizes that there is a vast amount of information out there, and that it is important to know how to access it.

The successful person treats people with respect, and is sensitive to others’ feelings. He recognizes that sarcasm and complaints wound people. A dry and flippant sense of humor can backfire. He understands the meaning behind the expression “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The successful professional welcomes people into the field, going out of her way to be kind and friendly to newcomers. She recognizes that there is plenty of work out there for all, and that a helping hand extended to a newcomer may be one day extended to the successful professional.

The successful business person with employees treats them well. She is considerate and respectful of their opinions. She provides them with an opportunity to participate in the decisions of the company. Their perspectives, suggestions, and concerns are heard and considered in decision making. The business owner understands that businesses have systems issues, and that a client complaint is an opportunity to fix the system.

The successful person is a positive person. My son came home one day and said, “Mom, I had an accident. I hit a deer.” After establishing that he was not hurt, I said, “Congratulations. You did three things right.” He looked puzzled. “First, you did not get hurt. Second, you hit the deer with your ten-year-old pickup truck rather than one of our considerably more expensive cars. And lastly, you relieved me of the burden of being the only driver in the family who had hit a deer.” The successful person focuses on the good in people and in situations. She avoids wallowing in negativity.

Lastly, the successful professional takes time out to play and to spend time with children and family. He recognizes that burning the candle at both ends can result in burns that can not be readily healed. He recognizes that children are little only once and that while a career is important, family relationships are even more important. He recognizes that a balanced life is essential. While satisfying clients is a necessary part of a successful business, taking time to enjoy the sunset, walk in the park or go swimming is also important. He understands that we only go this way once and that we have to make it count. Consider what Emerson said:

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch….to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

As you start the new year, will you be successful? Enjoy your career, but also enjoy your life.

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