There is one two-word trait that requires no special skill, can be done by anybody, and will make you more valuable than any amount of experience and knowledge.

Before we get there, I have a story for you.

I used to have this roommate. He was a great guy, super friendly, but sometimes could be forgetful. I was in charge of the internet bill, so when I got the bill every month I would pay it, then charge him for half of it on Venmo.

You can request money on Venmo, so this made the process easy – err, it should have.

After sending the request, I forget about it because there are more important things to focus my daily energy on than half of an internet bill. Plus, once I had requested the payment, no more reminders should be necessary – this is meant to be a one-time simple task.

A few days would go by, and randomly I would have a mini panic attack. I realized that the internet bill situation was still not resolved. So I would remind him.

Another few days would go by. And another reminder.

He always paid it within a week, but not without 2-4 separate reminders from me. This happened… Every. Single. Month.

When a task or an exchange involves more than just yourself, there’s a degree of trust that goes into the interaction. I had to request the money, then trust that he would see it and fulfill the request.

This became an incredibly frustrating exchange because after completing the task, I had to do the same task over and over again, with the effectiveness of it being completely out of my control.

This was completely unnecessary, and a direct result of the other party not following through.

Which leads me to my point.

Follow through.

These two words will change your life. This is the number one trait you can develop in your personal and professional relationships. Making this a habit is more valuable than any amount of experience, knowledge, or credentials.

This requires no skill, but it does require a small amount of effort.

I’m not perfect, and I have not followed through on many occasions. Looking back, these moments have lead to shame, embarrassment, and a negative self-image.

Not following through causes people to trust you less. You start to develop a reputation of flakiness. You create unnecessary work for the people around you. Commitments that you make lose their meaning, and it starts to become OK to not do something if you don’t feel like it, regardless of what or whom is counting on you.

This is what happened with my roommate. Luckily, it was a meaningless internet bill. Can you imagine if this was a different relationship where there was more at stake? If I had to count on him for my business? For my livelihood? For the satisfaction of customers or employees?

You should approach every interaction you have with respect, follow through and courtesy. Spend the extra small amount of effort and follow through.

You will build your reputation as being somebody who is gets shit done. People will trust you more. You will be the go-to person when somebody needs help or needs something done right. You will save the people around you time and stress. People will go to bat for you. People won’t be so quick to question your judgement. People will talk about you as somebody who is reliable, competent, and respectful.

People will hold you to a higher standard. They will expect more out of you. This will hold you to a higher standard, and so you will hold yourself to a higher standard, and you will be better for it.

This requires no skill, no experience, and no prior knowledge. The cost is so low and the reward is so high. By developing follow-through as a habit first, you will put yourself in a position to gain experience and knowledge from the people around you who want to spend time with you and work with you.

Try it out.