I recently had the opportunity to interview Cary J. Green, PhD, author of Success Skills for High School, College, and Career.

Success Skills book

Why the focus on skills?

There is a difference between not knowing how to do something and not being able to do something. I learned this truth the hard way. I graduated in the top 10% of my high school class, but I earned a D in my first semester of college because I lacked the skills I needed to succeed in college – and I almost dropped out. Once I developed my academic success skills, I was able to eventually earn a PhD. Success skills are important because a well-developed skillset enables you to perform at the level of your ability.

What is your central message to students regarding success?

First, young people should understand that intelligence alone won’t make you successful. Second, new skills must be developed each time you advance in your education and career. For example, many college freshmen realize that the skills they used in high school are inadequate for success in college. Young people should understand that many successful people stumble a time or two on the journey to success; understanding this fact empowers young people to move beyond occasional setbacks and mistakes. Finally, young people should understand that achieving success requires a fierce commitment to their goals.

What would you tell a young person who wonders if she has what it takes to be successful?

As you develop a better understanding of your skills and abilities, you will very likely discover that you are capable of achieving more than you currently think. Believing you can achieve success is foundational to achieving success. Clarifying your definition of success is also foundational to achieving success. But doing so may seem paradoxical at this point in your life because you may not know what you want to achieve. The key is willingness to move forward, believing you will succeed—even though you may not know what you will achieve.

You will see your strengths, professional passion, and abilities more clearly as you progress in life. Coupling this clarity with ever-developing skills and knowledge will empower you to set and achieve big, impactful goals.

Don’t limit your future based on your current skills and abilities. Empower your future by daring to believe in what you will become!


Cary Green, PhD

By integrating leadership skills, soft skills, and academic success skills, Dr. Green empowers students to enhance their academic performance while building career-readiness skills that employers seek. Visit http://www.caryjgreen.com/ for information on his new book, Success Skills for High School, College, and Career.

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