Romer: Here are the 10 C’s of success for grads and others |

Romer: Here are the 10 C’s of success for grads and others

Local graduating high school seniors have limited time remaining in their secondary school careers. Thirteen years of elementary, middle and high school has led to this. Some will enter the workforce, others will attend post-secondary two- or four-year schools, and others might have a gap year planned.

Any one of us could easily look-up the definition of success (“the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”) and share results with graduates. However, figuring out how to achieve everything that definition could encompass is a far greater feat. Numerous lists exist on success, from luminaries such as Brian Tracy to over 818 million results when you search the term on Google.  

There are some common themes that lead to success regardless of what path students might choose. The 10 C’s of success that I’ve seen across various professionals from varying backgrounds include:  

• Character: Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility are all traits used to describe those with strong character.  

• Competence: Competency is more than skills and knowledge; it is having the right attitude and displaying appropriate behavior. Competence is the means to achieve the ends.  

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• Confidence: Displaying confidence is essentially having trust in yourself to do well in any given situation, not to be confused with arrogance (which is unmerited confidence).  

• Compassion: kindness and empathy are increasingly important to individual and organizational success. In today’s increasingly polarized world, compassion can help you stand out from the crowd.

• Common sense: If common sense was common, many people would not make the kinds of decisions they make every day. People with sound judgement are typically seen as reasonable and reliable.

• Curiosity: Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history, from flints for starting a fire to self-driving cars, have something in common: They are the result of curiosity.

• Collaboration: Simply put, collaboration is working together with others for a common purpose. Regardless of your chosen career path, collaboration will be vital to individual and organizational success.   

• Courtesy: Being polite and professional — having generally acceptable manners — is a simple skill and yet is undervalued in today’s society. Simply showing respect and being kind will give you a head start.

• Courage: From the Cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz to numerous fairly-tale heroes, we are brought up with examples of those showing courage. Simply put, courage is facing fears, taking risks, and showing perseverance in the face of adversity.  

• Calm: Staying calm under pressure is a valuable skill; changes and unexpected events, problems or challenges can and do occur regardless of how well-planned or organized you are. The ability to respond effectively to pressure and stress will be beneficial throughout your career.

The dictionary describes success as: “attaining wealth, prosperity and/or fame.” I don’t think it’s that easy; I think success is a journey, not a destination. Consider those that you admire and respect; they are likely to exhibit all or many of the characteristics above. There is no shortcut to success and achieving the textbook definition of success requires daily commitment and intentional efforts.

You are far more likely to enjoy the journey to success if you exhibit good character, focus on competence, use common sense and compassion, remain committed to collaboration and curiosity, demonstrate courtesy and courage and remain calm under pressure.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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