“Cruise Control is the enemy of success. We resist change because we overestimate the value of what we have and underestimate the value of what can be gained through change.”
When faced with change, there is often a feeling of disorientation. One minute you are cruising along in a certain direction on a path that you believed was leading you towards a desired goal or certain future, and then . . . BAM.
But is what you originally envisioned your only future?
A New Palette
After graduating with a degree in business, Erik Wahl became a high-powered executive at a corporate firm. He had charted his course and knew where he was headed. Then, after eight years, he lost his job when the dot-com bubble burst.
It was then that he shifted his focus to art, and in particular, speed painting.
To most, this was a complete turnaround in that he went from suits and cell phones, to paint brushes and canvasses.
However, and because he was able to adapt and imagine a new future, Erik Wahl is now one of the country’s most sought after business speakers. His speed art presentation called “The Art of Vision,” has enthralled audiences and motivated business professionals from organizations such as AT&T, London School of Business and Ernst & Young to see beyond the familiar to achieve greater outcomes.
At the heart of his message is the belief that it is more important to be creative than to be stable, especially in times of change.
The question is how do you go from resisting change when the rate of change is not going to slow down. What’s the secret for embracing unpredictability? The following four steps will help you to get there . . . wherever your “new” there is.
1. Your First Reaction Is Not Your Best Reaction
Beliefs are at the core of our foundation, and influence our desire to change or move or try something else. This is a principle that I covered at length in my first book, entitled Customize Your Career (2004). Beliefs or “perceptions of self” determine your values and ultimately the goals you both set and work toward achieving in terms of your future success.
As a result, and whether expected or not, change actually threatens your belief system. This is why you may – like so many people, summarily resist it, because it shakes up not only your view of the world, but your view of yourself.
This is why you have to look beyond your initial reaction and open yourself up to the possibilities associated with change.
You may very well discover that what you initially considered to be an upset is, in reality, the doorway to a bigger and brighter future.
2. Be Willing To Let Go
I once saw a picture on a friend’s office wall of a baseball player sliding into base. Above, the caption read, “You can’t steal second with your foot on first.”
Are you someone who likes to (or needs to) hang on to the past? Do you spend your thought power on looking at what has already happened, instead of influencing what will happen? For most, there is comfort and certainty in the familiar. However, sometimes these are not accurate indicators that you are on the right path. Sometime they can actually mask the fact that you are in a rut.
An essential step to embracing change requires you to let go. A priest recently shared his wisdom with his congregation, where he said that if you live in the past, you will live with regrets! But if you live in the present, you’ll live with passion and opportunities. Are you ready to take on the world of possibility?
3. Believe anything is possible
When my Mother turned 88, I remember asking her how she felt about getting old. Her response was most inspiring. She said: ”Roz, when I get there, I’ll let you know.” My Mother lived her life to the fullest and taught me that attitude is the force that makes the impossible possible.
For me, I never believed that I would be travelling around the world, privileged to be speaking to Fortune 500 companies. What’s the change you see possible for yourself, and are your looking through a clear and fresh lens of objective enthusiasm?
Take a step back, and pretend that you are at the beginning of your career when everything is new and all things are possible. At this stage you’re likely not invested so much in your present vision of what the future should look like. As a result, you have an elasticity in terms of options, and are open to trying new things. This is the spirit you want to bring to the table when a change is happening in your career and life.
In other words, look to the future for possibilities, but use the present to lay the foundation.
4. Find Your Undiscovered YOU
Change does not mean that you compromise your values, or attempt to do something that is clearly outside of the scope of your unique abilities.
However, change may actually enable you to discover an untapped well of capability and skills that you have never used. I call this finding the “undiscovered you.”
The questions you need to ask yourself is simply this: Do you have a hidden talent and capability? Is there a gift that you possess that is muted and hidden under the obfuscating belief of what you think you are, as opposed to what you could be? What do you enjoy doing that inspires others to recognize your talents? What type of work energizes you and gives you enormous pleasure?
Going back to my story about Erik Wahl, a sudden and unexpected change was the best thing that could have ever happened to him. Why should change treat you any differently?
Are You Adaptable? Here Are The 5 Characteristics That Ensure Sustainable Success In A Changing World
“Why are we changing . . . we have always done things around here the same way?”
You have probably heard that statement at least once if not many times during your career. You may have even had similar thoughts yourself, when you were faced with a directional shift that either caught you off guard or made you feel uncomfortable.
Don’t worry or feel bad if you have, because I can assure that you are not alone!
Over my many years as an executive coach and personal branding expert, I have helped countless people to navigate the shifting tides of the corporate world. Like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, change ironically is one of the few things that you can always count on.
The question is how do you respond or react when your view of the world is shaken?
Do you resist and lament change, or do you adapt and move forward?
In today’s post, I will share with you the 5 characteristics needed to ensure your ongoing value and success in a competitive and rapidly changing world.
1. Know What You Stand For!
The introduction to my book The Future Of You: Creating Your Enduring Brand is aptly titled “Before We Start Remember . . . To Thine Own Self Be True.”
To be truly adaptable, you have to look for ways to continually align your abilities with both your work environment and your job’s expectations, while remaining true to your authentic self.
This is the key to being adaptable.
Adaptability is not a matter of acquiescing to change, because you would be merely surrendering to a situation rather than becoming a productive force within it.
When faced with change, upon what is your reluctance or resistance based?
If it doesn’t compromise your values or integrity, then you should be open to change. It doesn’t mean that you will automatically like it but, with an open mind, you’re willing to give proposed changes a fair chance.
2. Keep An Open Mind
Speaking about keeping an open mind . . .
You must always check your ego at the door. In other words, go into any situation with an open mind. Regardless of what you hear, avoid being defensive or over justifying your position. Do not think about change in the context of being right or wrong.
Instead, embrace it as an opportunity to see a situation from someone else’s perspective. Let’s face it, no one has all the answers, or knows the best way of doing things all of the time.
Keeping an open mind also means that you have to trust the motives of the person facilitating or championing the change. Do you know the person well? Do you understand their reasons for wanting to make changes? If you don’t, then don’t be afraid to ask them. It’s important for you to do so in a manner that does not appear being judgmental.
Open by saying, “I am very excited to learn more about the changes you are proposing. I’d like to gain a better understanding of why you believe this is the way to go. In this way, I can support you and make a contribution to achieving the desired results.”
3. Curiosity Doesn’t Kill the Cat
Just as asking questions is meant to open a dialogue, curiosity opens up a world of new possibilities.
By being curious, you are always looking for ways to do something better, to improve upon an idea or strategies for solving a complex problem.
When you are curious, you don’t jump to conclusions based upon a narrow view of the world. Instead, you will naturally seek to learn more – even before a proposed change is introduced. In fact, those who possess a curious mind and a courageous spirit, are often the ones introducing or leading change.
4. Be A Risk Taker
Lewis Carroll once said: “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
Do you have the courage to consider a new path? Are you open to letting go of what you thought was the only way to do things, and embrace something different.
I have often found that resistance to change has more to do with a fear of not being able to adapt or moving outside of your comfort zone, as opposed to a belief that the proposed new idea is a bad one.
In this context, change is really about having the courage to take a step of faith. Do you have faith in yourself to succeed in any situation? If not, what is really holding you back?
5. Find Your Inner MacGyver
Back in the mid 1980s, there was a hit television show called MacGyver. In fact it was so popular, that the reboot of the show is scheduled to come out this September.
The main character, Angus MacGyver, was a secret agent who was incredibly resourceful and could solve complex problems by making things out of ordinary objects. In other words, he used whatever resources were available to overcome new and unexpected situations or challenges.
He didn’t lament what he didn’t have, or wish that the circumstances were somehow different. He adapted by being creative and thinking outside of the box.
- Are you a creative and resourceful thinker?
- Are you able to recognize the opportunity beyond the present circumstances to see the bigger picture . . . and your bigger future?
Elevate your Adaptability Quotient
To thrive in an environment of change and risk, you have to act quickly to read and act on signals of change. Build your brand reputation as someone who adapts strategically to uncertainty. In this way, you will be seen as relevant, resilient and resourceful.
If you had to do it all over again, would you still chose the job you are now doing?
It is a simple question with far reaching consequences. Especially since the lions share of your waking hours are spent at the office.
I am not talking about the occasional off day, when one wistfully contemplates their what could have been childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, professional athlete or someone famous.
What I am talking about is your reaching a point of total disillusionment. A point where the chasm between original career expectations and the reality of unfulfilled job satisfaction widens with each passing day.
“In a poll of 15,000 job seekers, 87.2% indicated that they wanted to leave their present employer within the next 12 months.”
In my last post I had made reference to a Gallup Poll which found that 87.2% of respondents had indicated that they wanted to leave their present employer within the year.
While 52.6% said their reason for wanting to make the change was due to the fact they did not trust their current boss, one thing is clear . . . dissatisfaction is not limited to a select few. Just as an aside, if you are one of the 52.6% who have a trust issue with your boss, check out my previous post for tips on what you can do to turn things around.
What Are You Prepared To Do?
If you are unhappy with your present job, the obvious question is why do you stay? Why not make a change?
I am certain that you have many good reasons for maintaining your present state of inertia. You undoubtedly have bills to pay, or kids on the verge of entering college or – if you are a Millennial – see your present position as a means of striking out on your own in an exciting, new world of total independence. In short, you find yourself stuck between the irresistible force of personal dreams and unrealized aspirations, and the immovable object of having to earn a living.
As a result, you get caught up in what I call career paralysis, and the resulting hopelessness of believing you are trapped.
But you do have a choice.
You can continue to sit idly by and watch your days of discontentment turn into weeks, months and then years – which really isn’t an option.
Alternatively, YOU can decide to take action, starting with identifying the reason or reasons why you don’t like your present job, and what you can do to make things instantly better.
The following are three of the most common reasons why people hate their jobs. There are without a doubt other reasons, but the manner in which you will learn to deal with these will provide you with a proven guideline for dealing with the others.
1. Perceived Low Pay
According to a Psychology Today article, what you make versus what you believe you should be making, is the number one reason for employee dissatisfaction.
Ironically, and based upon the universal tendency to accept the first offer from a potential employer, you may have unintentionally created your own problem. Like the mighty oak that grows from a tiny acorn, the longer you go without addressing your concerns regarding your pay, the more monumental the task to correct it becomes.
Before going through the job interview process, do your homework with regard to industry pay scales. Knowing the position you want, find out what it pays at both the low and high end. This way when you receive an offer you can either accept it if it falls within the industry’s range or, make a counter offer citing your research.
One word of caution . . . resist the temptation to just say yes out of fear of losing the job. Good employers will almost always respect your candor and the fact that you took the time to do your homework, as this demonstrates your work ethic and commitment to details.
What if you have been with your present company for some time?
It is never too late to write a new ending!
If you believe that you should be paid more, then do your homework as if you are looking for a position within the industry today. Either you will discover that your pay is in line with the going rate or, you will be able to demonstrate that it is indeed time for a raise.
Besides checking your emotions at the door, what is a key point to remember when you approach your boss about a raise? It will likely cost your organization more to replace your experience, than it would to pay you a fair and reasonable increase.
2. Lack Of A Challenge
How do you feel about the actual work that you currently do?
For example, if you are you new to the workforce, do you feel that your skills are being fully utilized by your employer? Do you believe that you are making a positive and meaningful contribution to you organization’s goals?
Conversely, are you a long-time employee who is in a secure but mind-numbing rut? Are you simply going through the motions of what were once new and exciting tasks?
Either way, creating satisfaction in terms of your role and responsibilities is actually up to you.
” If you can’t do great things, do small thingsin a great way.” – Napoleon Hill
If you are just starting your career, recognize that it is in the basic, even mundane tasks that you build creditability relative to earning the opportunity to take on greater responsibilities and challenges.
If you are a seasoned veteran, you need go outside of your comfort zone to actively seek out new opportunities. Is there someone you could mentor? How about volunteering for a tough assignment. Chances are, your company will be more inclined to assign the more difficult tasks to someone with whom they are familiar and in whom they have confidence.
The key is to not wait for opportunity to knock on your door, but to aggressively seek out the unexplored needs within your organization and fill them.
3. Employee Turnover
Unlike bygone days when people stayed with the same company throughout their entire careers, the current workforce is increasingly mobile. In fact, it is not uncommon for employees to change jobs every 2 to 3 years.
For many, this revolving door scenario can lead to feelings of detachment and a why bother to get to know someone attitude.
Unlike the issues relating to pay or a lack of being challenged – both of which originate with you and can therefore be addressed by you, there is little if anything you can do regarding employee turnover. In fact the only thing you can do, is learn to live and thrive within the scope of this new reality.
This means that while making lasting connections with coworkers can be difficult, you can still build meaningful relationships by adopting an entrepreneurial mindset.
As an entrepreneur you have a higher degree of independence and accountability to self. This will enable you to maximize the value of the time you spend with co-workers, without becoming completely dependent on them beyond immediate projects.
I am not suggesting that you turn into a lone wolf, operating on an cool,arms-length basis with everyone at the office. What I am saying is that you have to adjust your way of thinking to become self-reliant and self-sufficient.
Interestingly enough, by taking this approach your relationship with co-workers might actually be more productive, as your combined efforts will be tasked-focused. This means that you will collectively increase your productivity and levels of success. Success as you know is is not only a great way to build better teams, it is also a positive force in boosting overall employee morale.
In The End It Is Up To YOU!
Hate in and of itself may be too strong a word. However, the fact that you have to really care about something before you can hate it, demonstrates that there is still a pulse in terms of your having a persevering interest in your job.
This believe it or not, is a positive.
However, once you get to the point of apathy, it is usually too late to turn it around with your present employer. It is not that you can’t take action, it is just unlikely that you will. In this instance, looking for a new and and exciting challenge with a different company might be a good idea.
This is the reason why your future career path and job satisfaction is in your hands.
So I ask you the question once again . . . what are you prepared to do?!
“In 1978, Michael Jordan was just another kid in the gym, along with 50 or so of his classmates, trying out for the Emsley A. Laney High School varsity basketball team. There were 15 roster spots. Jordan – then a 15-year-old sophomore who was only 5’10” and could not yet dunk a basketball – did not get one. His close friend, 6’7″ sophomore Leroy Smith, did. The team was in need of his length. “It was embarrassing not making the team,” Jordan later said. He went home, locked himself in his room and cried.” October 17th, 2015 Newsweek article
Have you ever been disappointed, perhaps even devastated in your career?
Perhaps you didn’t get the promotion you expected, or landed that big account or, worse yet, were let go not because you didn’t do the job, but because of circumstances beyond your control.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are not alone.
Not Limited To NBA Stars Or Nobel Physicists
The Newsweek story about NBA legend Michael Jordan, who many consider to be the greatest NBA basketball player of all time, not making his high school basketball team, is just one of many examples of how no one is immune to life’s setbacks.
If sports isn’t your thing, simply do a search of Walt Disney or Albert Einstein – both who had similar experiences to those of Jordan, but rose to the top of their respective professions.
Of course you do not have to be an NBA star or Nobel winning physicist, to taste the bitter pill of disappointment.
In my book The Future Of You, I share a story of Julie. For 15 years, Julie held a senior position within the healthcare industry as a senior event planner. Overseeing her company’s venues in both the United States and Latin America, she had built a tremendous reputation for being an on-the-ground, front-line manager whose presence at exhibits and events exemplified the term “personal service.”
In essence, she was the face of the company, someone who was well liked by everyone. Even after her company had been acquired, there was no sign that she would lose her job. However, and despite a glowing track record and having strong relationships with members of her original company’s senior management, Julie was blindsided, when she suddenly found herself out of work.
My story is similar to Julie’s. Reflecting back on my own past, I remember the excitement I felt in my second year of management. Feeling very confident due to the outstanding performance of my sales team, I was thoroughly shocked when I was asked to leave the company by the President. As I later understood, it was not that I did not meet my objectives but rather that I did not know how to play the political arena. During my employment, I believed results spoke louder than relationships and I therefore made no attempt to build sponsors with senior leadership.
Both Julie’s and my story are even more troubling in that we both experienced feeling letdown when we believed we were at the top of our games, and were not only meeting, but exceeding expectations!
The question is, therefore, not one of how to avoid disappointment or failure – because you may not have control, but what to do when you come face-to-face with it.
In this month’s eNewsletter, I will provide you with 3 critical tips on how to face life’s disappointments so that you can use the experience to turn a setback into a win.
1. Feel The Burn
When faced with a setback, you have probably heard or been told directly of how it is important to pull your socks up, and how when you get lemons, you should make lemonade.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this advice unless . . . it forces you to deny or push down your understandable feelings of anger, disappointment or grief.
Let’s face it, when you experience a setback, it is tough.
Look at Michael Jordan.
After he found out that he did not make his high school basketball team, what did he do?
He went home, locked himself in his room and cried. He allowed himself the time to feel the burn of disappointment.
Of course he didn’t wallow in it, because as the article reports, he “then he picked himself up and turned the cut into motivation.” I will talk about this more in the next section.
My point is that you cannot overcome a setback or disappointment, unless you acknowledge that a setback has occurred.
So how do you feel disappointment?
- The first thing you should do is to take some time to be alone with your feelings. Find a safe and quiet place where you can cry, yell into a pillow, binge watch (with snacks) your favorite television series, yell some more etc. In short, let your feelings have their due.
- Do NOT under any circumstances, strike out against anyone whom you feel has had a hand in your situation. If you really feel that something has to be said, make certain that you have had your feel the burn moment, and can then speak from a position of control as opposed to emotion. Follow the edict of the old acronym H-A-L-T . . . never say or do anything when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
- Talk with a confidante or trusted friend. While they may not be able to solve your problem, having a friendly ear to bend will help with easing the pain of your situation. Just don’t wallow in commiseration.
- Finally, and always remember . . . tough times never last, but tough people do!
2. Time For Lemonade!
Then he picked himself up and turned the cut into motivation. “Whenever I was working out and got tired and ﬁgured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it,” Jordan would explain. “That usually got me going again.” – October 17th, 2015 Newsweek article
After he was through feeling the pain of his disappointment, Michael Jordan then turned it around and used the setback as a tool for motivation.
Carrying what was described as being a “sizable chip on his shoulder,” when he did end up playing at the Junior Varsity level he excelled on the courts.
Eventually, his size – he grew 4 inches by the time he started playing for the Senior Varsity squad – coupled with his determined work ethic, put him on the course that led to his ascension as professional basketball’s greatest player. During his professional career his team, the Chicago Bulls, won six championships – three of which were in consecutive years.
So what is the takeaway lessons from Michael Jordan?
- Use your disappointments as a source of motivation to reach higher and farther than before.
- Never lose faith in the fact that through determination and faith, all things will ultimately work together to your good if you are willing to stand up again and dust yourself off.
- Remember, hardship not only forms our character but also reveals it.
3. Take The Time To Find The Greater Lesson
You have probably heard the saying – which is more of a wistful lament “if I knew then what I know now.” It is more times than not associated with an expression of regret for roads not traveled, and actions not taken.
However, I also believe that it is a powerfully reflective statement that comes wrapped in the moral of your story or experience. When you come through a difficult period and are looking at it from the other side, what have you learned?
While you may never fully understand why the cloud of disappointment hung over you for a period of time, you can (and will) gain a better insight into who you are, your values and your character. This in turn will enable you to make better decisions going forward, and in the context of a bigger picture.
It will also make you stronger, and believe me when I say this, you are much stronger than you ever imagined for having gone through the difficult times.
From my own experience, after I went through the shame of getting fired, I can now look back with gratitude. After all, I would never have learned the essentials for career success unless I understood the consequences for not managing my reputation. This experience propelled me years later to open my own company, specializing in helping my clients to differentiate, network on all levels and showcase their best self by creating an “enduring brand”.
In this context your should ask yourself the following questions:
- What have I learned from this experience about myself . . . and others?
- How can I use the lesson or lessons from this experience moving forward?
- How will this help me the next time I experience a disappointment or setback?
Into Each Life . . .
The old song Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, is a reminder that everyone in every walk of life experiences difficulties.
During a time of trouble, it is easy to believe that no one can understand what you are going through or, that the light at the end of the tunnel is dim if not outright black.
Just remember one thing, no matter how bleak things may seem, there is always another side through which you will emerge stronger, smarter and more able than you were before.
The future is yours to embrace and celebrate!
We are all familiar with the term “don’t shoot the messenger,” including what it means. In short, never blame the bearer of bad news.
For those of you who are history buffs, you will undoubtedly recognize the validity of the saying as the messenger rarely, if ever, had any direct involvement with the bad news they were delivering.
However, and in terms of taking personal ownership or responsibility in today’s world, there is a general belief that this saying now invokes a certain level of excusability in which one is almost encouraged to deflect as opposed to face, a difficult situation. In short, bad news of any kind or the hint of failure, is hastily submerged in a flurry of explanations and defensive justifications. This unfortunately offers little in the way of providing meaningful insight into what went wrong, and how it can be addressed going forward.
I think it is important at this point to highlight the fact that in our lives, we have all failed or missed the mark at one time or another. In fact, I would confidently predict that there are going to be more than one or two missteps in everyone’s future.
Similar to what Aristotle had to say about avoiding criticism, the only way to avoid making a mistake is to do nothing, say nothing and be nothing. This of course is not an option.
Now that we have all agreed that failure like success, is inevitable at different times in your life, the question shifts from avoiding the admission that you made a mistake, to dealing with it.
In this regard, there are three very important rules for admitting a mistake and responding to it in a proactive and professional manner.
1. Stay In The Kitchen
Harry S. Truman once said “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”
This is the first, and most important rule of being able to admit that you made a mistake . . . you have to stay in the kitchen and take the heat.
I can remember very early in my career being given some important advice by my then boss. He said that the surest way to get fired if you make a mistake, is to “beat around the bush in terms of telling me about something you did wrong.”
His reasoning was fairly straight forward . . . “I can respect someone who is willing to admit they made a mistake and take ownership of it. While I may be upset – even angry, I know that when a person is willing to take the heat for something they did, they will also work doubly hard to find a solution.”
“Conversely,” he went on to say “someone who attempts to hide or minimize a mistake – including blaming it on circumstance or worse – someone else, will also dodge the responsibility associated with making it right.”
2. Be Factual And To The Point
Far too often you might find yourself tempted to frame or package the admission of making an error with a superfluous explanation of why or how something happened. This is for the most part a natural human tendency in which we are all, to varying degrees, vulnerable.
My only advice is to fight this inclination.
With the same conviction that is associated with the encouragement to “let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No!” you need to tell it like it is, in a direct and succinct manner.
What this demonstrates is that you are more focused on getting it right, than being right.
When you want to be right, your inclination might be to explain or defend your actions. However, when you want to get it right, the focus shifts from what you did, to what needs to be done to rectify the mistake.
While this might seem like a subtle distinction, it is nonetheless a telling demonstration of both your character and your values.
3. Offer A Solution Versus An Excuse
Following-up on the previous two points, when you decide to take the heat and openly acknowledge your mistake, you will then be free to make things right.
In essence you will make that all important transition from giving an excuse to providing a solution, turning what is at first a setback, into a moment of real victory.
To do this however, you have to have a clear plan of action in mind. This includes knowing where you went wrong, demonstrating how you will get it back on track and, what you will do going forward to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
By doing this, you will have empowered yourself to take control of the situation, as opposed to the situation taking control of you.
Don’t Be Defined By Your Mistakes?
One final word of advice . . . do not be defined by the mistakes you have made.
Instead, be known for your ability to admit when you have missed the mark, and your determination to make it right.
In the end, and to borrow a powerful statement from a commencement speech that Denzel Washington gave a few years ago . . . always fall forward!
I just read an article in which it was reported that if they had it to do over again, 50 percent of all procurement professionals would choose a different career path. That’s right, 50 PERCENT!
Of course when it comes to having seconds thoughts about your career, procurement professionals are not alone.
The author who provided the above information, then made reference to a January 11th, 2015 Forbes article titled 1 In 4 New Doctors Would Change Careers If They Could Start Over. According to a survey, 25% of new physicians would choose another field if they could. The main reason for their disenchantment centered around their concerns that they may not “have a life” outside of the profession.
This raises an important question . . . who is responsible for your satisfaction in terms of your present position?
Everything Comes From Within
In a January 6th, 2014 post I wrote that happiness is an inside job, and that you “shouldn’t look for happiness – you should create it.”
When it comes to job satisfaction, it is essential to possess this outlook in terms of overcoming the inevitable frustrations and set-backs you will face on a regular basis. Or to put it another way, I can’t control what happens to me but, I can control how I react to what happens to me.
Getting to this stage of positive reaction doesn’t just happen on the fly, or in the heat of the moment. It requires a pre-existing mindset or attitude that is practiced and honed day in, and day out.
In today’s post I will share with you the 5 things you must do to create greater satisfaction with your current job.
Before we get started, I want to warn you that there is a degree of heavy lifting, in that the onus will be on you to ignite that spark of satisfaction. This can be a challenge, especially in situations such as having a bad boss or an unreasonably demanding customer.
But here is the thing, you can’t change the negativity outside of you, by focusing on the other person or circumstances. Doing so is the same as hoping to change a rainy day into a sunny day by complaining about the weather. Bad weather may not be your fault, but you still have to deal with it.
1. Perform Every Duty With Joyful Enthusiasm
This is more than just putting on a happy face, or grinning and bearing it.
It is embracing an attitude of joy and enthusiasm even when executing the most menial of tasks.
For example, I enjoy cooking (although at best I am mediocre) – I hate to clean-up. However, when I look at cleaning-up as part of the whole experience, it not only changes my approach to the job at hand, I actually find ways to do the undesirable job more efficiently.
Now when I am cooking, rather than simply tossing the pan or utensils into the sink and getting to it later, I wash them as I go along. When I am done preparing the meal, I no longer have a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink to deal with.
Taking a more positive outlook to a difficult task (or circumstance) removes the cloud of disenchantment, and provides you with a clear view through which you can find usually better ways of doing things.
2. Approach your Job – Your Entire Job, With A Servant Attitude
There is a world of difference between having a servant as opposed to subservient attitude.
When it comes to working for someone else – which you ultimately do, even if you are self-employed – knowing and living the difference between the two is critical.
Robert K. Greenleaf first coined the phrase “servant leadership” in his 1970 essay The Servant as Leader.
Like the stark contrast between servant and subservient, Greenleaf describes the difference between a servant-first and leader-first mindset. When you adopt the former, “it manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.”
As you ponder Greenleaf’s words, ask yourself the question . . . am I doing my job with a clear understanding of how it benefits others? Very few people take the time to think about the impact their actions have on the career and lives of those with whom they come in contact.
When you incorporate this added filter, you will most likely gain an entirely new perspective on what you do, and why it is important.
I have always liked the Aretha Franklin song, Respect.
More than just being a catchy tune, it speaks to the one thing that everyone seeks and would like to have . . . the respect of others.
I am not talking about the kind of respect that constantly looks for the approval of others as a means of validating one’s worth.
What I am talking about, is a kind of respect in which even those who do not necessarily like you, acknowledge your contribution.
But to get respect, you must first be willing to give respect.
So what does it mean to give respect?
It is more than just saying the right words. You give someone respect through your actions.
If you say you are going to do something, then do it. If you have a meeting scheduled, be there on time and ready to go.
Often, people will not hear what you say, but they will see what you do. If you approach every situation with an attitude of respect – respect for your job, respect for the people with whom you work, respect for the opportunity to be of service to others, then they will respect you. And even if they don’t, you will still have earned the most important form of respect . . . self-respect.
Like respect, diligence is also a self-defining word, the meaning and importance of which is instantly apparent.
Described as being one of the seven heavenly virtues, diligence is a reflection of one’s work ethic.
While you already know the importance of ethics or having ethics, work ethic reflects your belief in the value of putting in a good days work, regardless of what the work entails.
It is a self-sustaining perspective that goes beyond the individual tasks or duties of your position. This means that you execute your responsibilities to the best of your abilities, because the ability to work in and of itself is what you value most.
5. How Do You Spell Trust . . . O-b-e-d-i-e-n-c-e
Obedience is doing more than just blindly following orders, or simply doing what you are told by your boss because they are your boss.
Obedience is founded in trust.
When your boss asks you to do something, do you hesitate? Do you wonder if he or she knows what they are doing? Are you responsive in that you take action immediately – whether it is a suggestion as to how you should make improvements in certain areas, or undertake a particular assignment?
Think of obedience in the context of professional sports.
Here you have well paid athletes who have scaled the highest of heights to be one of a select few in the world to make it to the professional ranks. To get to this position, these athletes understand hard work and diligence, respect for their skills, making their time and physical bodies servant to strict training regiments, and executing on the field with a high level of enthusiasm.
Despite possessing all of these necessary attributes, they still require a coach. Someone who has a master plan that brings together the diverse personalities and unique skill sets of everyone on the team so that they can – in unison, perform successfully.
To be successful, the players must trust the coach and obey his or her directions. If there is a breakdown of trust, then no matter how talented the individual athletes, the team as a whole will not succeed.
Your boss is like the coach. They have the same responsibility in terms of both assessing and managing the individual talents or capabilities of everyone under their charge.
So here is the question . . . do you trust your boss enough to obey them?
If not, ask yourself why, and then try to see if there is a way to build that trust so that you can follow their directions with confidence.
If however you don’t trust your boss, and can’t find a way to do so, then it is probably time to find another team.
In the end, your job satisfaction starts and finishes with you, and the attitude you bring to work with you each and every day.
While following the above 5 ways will not always be easy, they will almost always create a happier you.
You may not be able to control the probabilities of change occurring in your organization, but you can still control the consequences. It begins with the courage to be present, proactive and provocative.
Test your reality quotient to see if you are setting yourself up for disaster or triumph. It’s really your answers to the following six categories (or observations), as opposed to the questions themselves, that will impact on your career success.
The reason is fairly straight forward. Over time, you can unknowingly fall into a trap of outdated thinking, in which your view of the world and how it works, could be ingrained so deeply that the possibility of thinking any other way is unfathomable.
What I am talking about is more than just your brand being outdated. What I am talking about is a kind of chiseled thinking that is likely holding you back without your even realizing it.
As a result, I would invite you to ask yourself if any of the following six points apply to you. Or, to borrow a page from Jeff Foxworthy, you know if your thinking is past the expiration date when . . .
YOU ARE WEARING ROSE-COLORED GLASSES IF . . .
- You believe that networking is disingenuous
- You believe that you do not have to engage in politics in your company
- You believe that tooting your own horn is distasteful
- You believe that small talk (schmoozing) is time-consuming
- You believe that investing in current accessories such as eyeglasses, narrower ties, updated hairstyles, shoes, bags, etc. is totally superficial
YOU ARE SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE FOOT IF . . .
- You believe that attending business/social events sponsored by your company are imposing on your personal life
- You believe that avoiding team building events hosted by your boss will not impact on your career
- You believe that dressing business casual in formal customer meetings is your right to self expression
- Your believe that how you dress will not impact on career opportunities
- You believe that mentoring individuals outside of your department is a waste of time and energy
- You believe that business etiquette is necessary only for senior executives
YOU SEE WISHES AS HORSES WHEN . . .
- You believe that hard work should speak for itself
- You believe that job opportunities are advertised
- You believe that senior leadership knows what you have accomplished
- You believe that your past successes will be remembered
- You believe that announcing you are unable to relocate will not impact on your future
YOU POSSESS AN 8 TRACK MIND WHEN . . .
- You believe that a LinkedIn profile is optional
- Your photo of two years ago hasn’t been updated
- Your LinkedIn photo was taken when you graduated
- You believe that updating your resume is a waste of time
- You believe that your presentation skills do not need to be refined
YOU CAN’T SEE THE FOREST FOR YOUR HEAD WHEN . . .
- You believe that working overtime should be rewarded
- You believe that doing a great job entitles you to a great bonus
- You believe that your boss is responsible for your success
- You believe that longevity in the company deserves priority treatment
- You believe that exceeding expectations deserves special recognition
- You believe that you are indispensable
- You believe that because your customers love you, you can treat internal staff as you see fit
- You believe that going above your boss to complain will get the results you are looking for
AND . . . THE BIG ONE
- You believe that Executive Presence applies only to executives
For more than 20 years I have seen how the above thinking has derailed even the most promising careers.
If you answered yes to any of the above, take some time and take a step back, to think about where you are today and, if it aligns with your true potential.
If you are not where you want to be or, think you should be, recognizing and addressing these career killers will put you on track to become all that you can be, and all you were meant to be!