All these years I've looked at the successes and failures of people I've known and that includes myself. Sheesh, there are so many issues that contribute to any outcome. Having said that, there is one main thing that seems to be the most important.
The factor that I see determining outcome more than anything is follow through. Following up on opportunities seems to have more to do with success than almost anything, including talent. I'm not talking about obnoxious pestering of people. I am talking about following up on opportunities in a responsible timely manner. I have met legions of people who drop the ball on things that present themselves that are there for the taking if they would engage in a timely manner. But time after time I see people not following through. This is the reason for the most disappointing failures in my own life as well. The successes I've had have rarely, if ever, been because I was the most talented person in the world. The successes I've experienced have been because I was alert to opportunities or potentialities and followed through to monetize that moment, that intersection of possibility.
The companion to following through is appropriate manner of interaction. We must be unforced and natural in our communications with people. Our efforts to follow through must not be a display of our own insecurities or distorted egos. We have to be the kind of people we want to work for. We have to be the kind of person who seeks opportunity and then thanks the universe by making use of it when it appears.