Being a young professional, I am constantly seeking advice and inspiration from just about anywhere to keep in my figurative back pocket. This morning, I came across an article on CBS Money Watch that struck a particular cord with me because the writer does, in fact, the same exact thing.
Steve Tobak reveals in 10 things you should learn to say that he too seeks advice and found that in doing so, “over time, it becomes part of your toolbox, your belief system, your internal compass, what you stand for.”
Below, I give you Tobak’s words of wisdom.
My work doesn’t define me. Work is about business. Mostly that involves a company delivering a product or service to its customers. Notice you’re not in that equation. I don’t care if you’re the CEO. Sure, everybody plays a role, and some roles are bigger than others. While it’s great to be engaged and passionate about your work, just remember that it’s what you do, not who you are.
What should I do differently? Also what am I missing or not seeing? Inertia’s a killer for lives, careers, and companies. If you’re not happy with the way things are going, that’s not going to change until you do something differently. That means sitting down and thinking about what you should maybe do differently. Yes, that takes effort and energy. No kidding.
Do the right thing. This simple phrase that one wise CEO used to say all the time articulates the work ethic that my father instilled in me when I was young. It represents my moral and ethical compass. You can say that what’s right for one person isn’t right for another, and that may be true in some cases. But more often than not, at least on some level people usually know what the right thing to do is. They just choose not to do it.
Tomorrow’s another day. As a senior executive I’ve had managers complain about the lack of resources and cry that there just wasn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. No kidding. It’s not as if I forced them at gunpoint to do x, y and z that day. If I had to pick one Golden Rule of the workplace, it’s this one. I don’t know how anyone can live without it.
What’s the worst that can happen? People are forever taking big risks with stuff they can’t afford to lose while playing it way too safe when they have nothing to lose. The most important things you need to do in life are the things that scare you. It’s called facing your fear and having the courage to act. It helps a lot if you learn to ask yourself this question so you can tell if your fear is justified or not.
How am I doing? It’s truly sad that someone in the human resources or organizational development field had to come up with “360 degree” reviews so managers and executives can find out how they’re really doing. Yes, the anonymity factor is unique, but if your people or peers aren’t comfortable telling you the truth when you ask for it, something’s wrong with your management or leadership style.
What’s my value proposition? Said another way, how can I help my company, customer, organization, or management? These days I guess they call it “servant leadership,” but to me it’s always been a question of what can I do better than anyone else that benefits whoever’s paying me. It’s the same thing with products, services, organizations, and companies. If you can’t articulate what unique benefit you offer, then why should anyone pay for it?
What the heck. The line that defines the movie “Risky Business” is when Miles says to Joel (played by Tom Cruise): “Every now and then say, ‘What the $#*!.’ ‘What the $#*!’ gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.” It’s repeated in one form or another throughout the movie. It’s similar to “What’s the worst that can happen?” but I think of it more like “letting go.” When you learn to let go, good things come to you. Really.
I’m wasting my time and energy. This phrase is a relatively recent one for me, but I suspect that every single one of you will benefit by learning how to say it. Why? Social media. Smartphones. iPads. The blogosphere. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, texting, Pandora, iTunes, gaming, Hulu, reality television — we live in a world of endless distraction, information, and communication overload. It’s too much.
Hope is a terrible strategy. Once you make decisions, having faith that you’re doing the right thing and sticking with it as long as it makes sense is all well and good. But far too many people aren’t willing to do the work. They take the easy way out or take bigger risks than they should and hope things work out. They won’t. When hope takes the place of cold, hard facts and smart decision-making, it’s a recipe for disaster.
What’s the first idiom that comes to mind when you need support or guidance? Tell us on Twitter @uniball_usa