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30 Habits of True Professionals

Michael L. O'Donnell -- If you want to be someone people hire, invest in, and choose to associate with, practice and perfect as many of these habits as you can.

I generally dislike lists... this is not a list. These are habits that are practiced by true professionals. They are not things to memorize, but things to be and things to do until they become second nature.

I learned these habits from my first boss and mentor, Durward Owen. He taught them to thousands of college students. He practiced them himself... perfected them. He insisted that every person who work for him do the same. He said it was just as easy to form good habits as it was to form bad habits.

I don't practice all of them... and none of them all of the time, but I have achieved much of what I have in my professional life by practicing most of them most of the time. I also recognize these habits when I see them in others. Those are the people I hire, invest in, and choose to associate with.

1. Dresses equal to or one step above those they are dealing with.

2. Practices good dining etiquette during business and social meals.

3. Exercises regularly, eats right, stays healthy, and looks fit and capable.

4. Gives you their 100% attention when conversing with you.

5. Avoids excesses and extremes, practices moderation in all things.

6. Does what they say they will do.

7. Takes personal time, rests and regenerates.

8. Timely, not trendy, does not chase fads, relies on meaningful values and staples.

9. Tells the truth. Their word is their bond, no contract needed.

10. Manages their finances well, stays out of debt, saves and plans for rainy days.

11. Chooses a life partner that makes them a better person, a more-effective professional.

12. Finishes what they start.

13. Says Thank You a lot, makes others feel good about their role and efforts.

14. Associates with positive, forward-thinking doers; avoids chronic complainers.

15. Writes clearly and effectively.

16. Always has more than one idea, multiple solutions to festering problems.

17. Asks a lot of questions and really listens to the answers.

18. Seeks new and challenging experiences, wants to stretch not coast, and takes chances with manageable risks.

19. Knows what they do not know, aware of their weaknesses, and do not bluff.

20. Admits when they are wrong.

21. Reads, Reads, Reads

22. Never stops learning, see life and their profession as a continuing education.

23. Know themselves, are mindful and aware of their place in any given situation.

24. Anticipates the future, imagines the future, has multiple plans for how things may unfold.

25. Makes a "To Do" list every day, works the list according to most important tasks.

26. Develops a professional network and enrolls people in their dreams and goals.

27. Plans to win, not merely to not lose.

28. Joins and contributes—professional associations, community, charitable and social groups.

29. Always on time and uses time wisely.

30. Does more than what is asked, gets it done now, does not procrastinate.

Source: Ezinearticles.

Michael L. O'Donnell, Principal of writes on topics of interest to entrepreneurs and startup companies. For best practices tips, tools and guides for starting and building a company, please visit

© 2016 Michael L. O'Donnell

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