When you go to work, do you just give enough to meet your boss’s expectations or do you go above and beyond? I have never met an ambitious, goal oriented professional who got to the top by doing just the bare minimum.
Your job is not to be valuable to your company, it is your job to make yourself invaluable. All companies hire employees to add value otherwise why hire someone. If you have ambition beyond an entry-level position, you need to develop a strategic action plan to map out your next 1-5 years to ensure that you are in the best position once the right opportunity for promotion presents itself.
Your strategic plan should include two vital components;
- Identify your next role(s) and research what skills, knowledge and abilities you need to have in order to be eligible. Once you know, work with a sense of urgency to gain the competencies necessary.
- Become invaluable to the company you work for by going above & beyond by taking on special projects, assignments, or make time to develop the next level leaders
I highly recommend that you work with your employer to develop an “Individual Development Plan” through which you can identify opportunities to shadow positions you are targeting for your next career move. Conversations with your boss will also allow you to gain insight to what he/she identifies as the key strategic drivers for the business allowing you to focus on special projects that are well aligned.
One word of caution, networking with a next level leader is NOT an interview for a job, it’s an opportunity for you to gain knowledge and experience. Utilize this information to make yourself invaluable to your company and be in a great position for your next career step albeit with the company you currently work for or your next employer.
I’m going to keep it very simple today.
Tomorrow morning, get up a few minutes earlier than normal and take a seat in your backyard or a local park.
Sit quietly for the next 10-15 minutes to soak in the sounds, smells and early morning sun rays. Be reflective & grateful for all that you have today, the small fortunes we tend to overlook. Set aside all the things out of reach for the moment.
Finish your reflective session on visualizing your future, the steps it will require to get there and the path that is realistic.
Practice this at least weekly and you will not only be more grateful for what you have accomplished thus far, it will give you a sense of gratitude as well as we are indeed lucky to live our lives each day.
Be mind fully present each moment in time.
I’m sitting on the fifth floor of our hotel overlooking Lake Champlain in Vermont passing time before my daughter Kim’s big moment. A mile stone she has worked so hard for over the past four years. A capstone to blood, sweat and tears to graduate top of her class. An accomplishment that nobody can ever take away from her again. Kim graduated from University of Vermont with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and Interventionl, as a father, I could not be happier!
Setting goals, aspirations and milestones for oneself is paramount to your success. Becoming a CEO is not necessarily the ultimate accomplishments either, it is reaching your God-given potential that you should relentlessly pursue.
Life catches up with us at times. Some of us have kids early on in life or get stuck in a menial job that provides comfort and security but not inspiration or defined satisfaction.
No matter where you are in your journey in life, it is never too late to set “SMART” goals for oneself albeit finishing your GED, BS, Masters or PhD degrees. For others, it is less about formal education and more about growing professionally, finding inspiration or giving back to society.
Search deep inside of yourself to find the “ONE THING” that keeps your motor humming and your spirit blazing. Set realistic goals and milestones for yourself. Once you reach a benchmark, take a step back and celebrate the moment.
What are you goals and milestone moments?
Why is it so difficult for us to see something that is not there? It could potentially hold the answer to your problem statement. Are we blinded by our own environment or is our brain playing tricks on us? I think it’s a little bit of both.
We know for instance that the brain will fill in pieces where nothing exists, we also know that we become blind to defects if we are exposed to them for a period of time. Can we trust our brain or should we force it to do better? (Brain Games Discovery Science Channel)
To drive new innovation, we need to think “Out of the Box”. How many times have you watched “Shark Tank” on CNBC and thought to your self “If I only had thought of that”! Sometimes the most simplistic innovations have the greatest impact on our daily lifes. These innovators didn’t invent by staying within the box. They noticed a problem and developed a sensible solution by thinking differently. They allow their brains to wander around and conceptualize until a suitable solution is found.
You can do the same, you just have to start by doing some daily “Yoga for the Brain”. Let’s try one together.
- Place 9 dots equally spaced out on paper in 3 rows of 3
- Connect all of the dots with four straight lines without crossing over the dots more than once
- Think out of the box
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
How did you do? It much more difficult that it appears at the surface isn’t it? How many of you stayed within the box? Your brain is most comfortable within the nine dots. However, only if you stretch your imagination will you come up with the right answer.
The moral of this story is simple, to generate new ideas or solutions, force yourself to “Think out of the Box”, don’t just accept what your brain has to offer.
Have fun and live life with Positude!
One of my favorite things to do! It gives me a rush of dopamine and oxytocin in my brain that will sustain Positude for weeks to come. Each day I try to find ways to pay-it-forward albeit through small gestures or significant action.
Actually, I try to make it part of my work practice. Often, we have choices to make each day. Our negative brain will opt for the quickest, shortest and least expensive way to get the job done. Don’t give in so quickly, at times, you are better served by listening to your positive brain contribute to by going out of your way to impact someone else while accomplishing your original objective.
For example, it is much easier to just do it yourself versus taking the time to teach someone as you do. It takes longer, it takes patience, understanding and extra effort to accomplish the same. Let’s think of it a bit differently, when the opportunity arises to teach (pay-it-forward) don’t miss the opportunity to share your knowledge, ability and share as someone did for you at some point in time.
Scenarios like this play itself out all day long. If your aspiration is to become a leader, you should make it part of your core function to teach, to share and to be inclusive.
Positude Leadership is about service, about modeling the behaviors you seek and to give back whenever possible. Paying-it-forward at the toll booth, local dinner or in the workplace, it should be a core value of your leadership style.
What are you going to do today to pay-it-forward? Recommend a friend for a job, support a student by completing a survey for his capstone project, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MNZPVKQ or by going the extra mile to spend quality time with an employee.
It’s a fine balance between less or more however less is more. It’s so easy to tip the scale and give too much, do too much, care or consume too much.
As a frequent public speaker, I’m always consciousness for my audience. I attempt to strike the right note each time with my objective to deliver just enough information. It’s a difficult equation to solve especially on the fly. Be prepared to make adjustment based on the response of your audience albeit a small team of 10 or a room full with hundreds. Keep an eye on their hands and eyes, figgity movements requires a coarse correction before you loose them.
Your goal is to deliver the right message at a cadence that allows for maximum effect. Over the many years of attending conferences, the Advisory Board speakers are generally the best presenters in style, cadence and delivery however their materials are often too much, too high level and too dense to bring back to your own team for replication. It is important to have the whole package. The message, the cadence, your body language, and most importantly content that your audience can metabolize.
I will be a student for life as my struggle is to find the right cadence and giving too much information.
As a countermeasure, I have shortened my talks to only 30 minutes max focused on a single topic and allowing ample time for Q&A.
Less is More, just ask your audience or a trusted friend!
Live life with Positude!
All too often, we react to an event instead of responding to an event. What’s the difference? Just think about it for a minute. In any conversation, do you start formulating an answer while the other person is still talking to you? Most of us do, subconsciously or consciously, it is a bad habit which prevents us from actually listening to the other person. We are all guilty of this each day and actually do ourselves a disfavor by not making a greater effort to listen first and responding second.
It’s likely that you have random thoughts swirling through your brain as you read this blog. Problem is that we as humans can barely chew gum and walk at the same time. We certainly are not capable of reading, writing, listening and responding at the same time.
Next time you are on the phone, try writing at the same time and assess your own ability to effectively listen and process the information coming through the telephone while writing notes. If you are honest with yourself, you will clearly see your own limitations. You are missing information and at times critical information that could have negative consequences downstream.
Break your habit of doing more than one thing at the time and start by truly listening to what is being said, allow the information to be processed before you respond. You will see an immediate improvement in your effectiveness in communications with your team.
To form this new habit, make a commitment to take a “Time-Out” before responding back albeit an email, text or a conversation. Allow the information to sink in and look at it from different angles before providing an appropriate response. Often, you are better served by asking a clarifying question versus reacting based on your instinctive interpretation rooted on assumptions and emotions.
Don’t forget, to form a new habit, it will take anywhere from 21-90 days of repetitive action before it is your new norm.
You only fail if you stop trying!