I read an article recently which asked the question,
‘What would you have said to your 20 year old self, knowing what you now know?”
An interesting question that got me thinking about my 35 years in work and the lessons I have learnt from personal experience and also from listening to my colleagues, bosses and business contacts. Whilst there is no magic formula, I strongly believe that there are certain things that if you do, you are more likely to say at the end of your working career, “That was a great experience, I enjoyed it, learnt a lot and developed and grew as an individual.”
At the end of the day, we’ve only got one shot at our career, and it takes up a lot of our life, so it’s really important that whatever we do, we enjoy it. Far too often when I facilitate learning workshops or speak at conferences, I hear people saying how they hate their job. My reply is, in that case, do something about it. Whether that means finding a new job, or doing things differently so you begin to enjoy it.
Personally, I can say, hand on heart, that in the 35 years I have worked, I’ve only had about 6 months, covering two separate situations, where I did not enjoy myself in work, so I took action and did something about it. Interestingly enough, both situations did not relate to my job role per se, but to the bad behaviour of colleagues.
Below are the lessons I have learnt that I hope will help you enjoy your working career as much as I have enjoyed mine.
Accept feedback gratefully. Whether it is positive or negative, take it and use it, it will help you develop and grow as an individual.
Be positive. You are in control of your attitude and being positive is proven to have a beneficial impact on your mental state, outlook on life and health.
Create opportunities. On rare occasions, opportunities will just happen, however most people that are successful are constantly looking out for opportunities that will work for them and help them to achieve their personal goals.
Deliver your best. Mediocrity breeds mediocrity. If you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability.
Embrace your challenges. These may be challenges with your job role or with people. Embrace them and learn from them.
Forgive your critics. It usually means that you are doing something right and they are jealous. In any case, it is their perception and often isn’t reality.
Give freely of yourself. People see through those that have ulterior motives.
Help others. People will remember you and what you did to help them and you will be repaid by them, when you most need it.
Imagine possibilities. Take time to dream and imagine. Our minds are extremely powerful and will often come up with the solution we need, we just need to give ourselves time to daydream.
Judge nobody. Often you don’t know the full picture of what is going on in their life and therefore may misjudge them.
Know yourself. Both your positive and negative attributes make you the person you are and enable you to reach your full potential.
Laugh often. Laughter is known to have many positive benefits on your health. It also fosters positive bonds between yourself and colleagues.
Make memories. Studies have shown that our brains get positively stimulated for a longer period of time with memories than they do with possessions. Have that nice meal, see that show or concert, take that holiday. Experience life and make memories rather than getting the quick fix or buzz with possessions.
Never give up. If there is something that you really want to do or achieve, keep going. Often the things we want most require our greatest efforts.
Open your mind. Listen and appreciate what others have to say. It may be they have the solution that you would never have thought of.
Play to your strengths. It is a fact that those that play to their strengths whilst accepting their challenges do better and achieve more.
Question things. Don’t take things on face value. If you are unsure, ask for clarification.
Respect diversity. We have different views, religious beliefs, behaviours and experiences. Appreciate and respect the diversity that exists in people.
Share your knowledge. There is so much joy to be had in helping others to succeed by using your knowledge and experience.
Trust your intuition. If something feels wrong to you, the likelihood is that it is wrong, so don’t do it.
Use your skills. Whether they are technical or behavioural, use your skills to best effect.
Value relationships. Our life is built upon positive relationships with others. Value and nurture them, you never know when you will need someone else to help you.
Welcome change. Change happens all the time in our lives, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. Learn from both experiences.
Be eXcited about life. It’s the only one you have got so make the most of it.
Yell, “I am unique.” There is nobody else like you, celebrate your uniqueness.
Be Zealous about something. Whether its work or a pastime, have something that you are really passionate about and do it.
If you would like the image related to the above, please use this link, the A-Z of Happiness
Yours behaviourally, Nick
Q & As
Who am I and Ngagementworks?
I’m a former Change Director of Barclays PLC, a behavioural psychologist and have. I founded and am CEO of Ngagementworks, a learning and development company that helps many well-known brands succeed through developing their greatest asset, their PEOPLE.
I am also an award-winning conference speaker on behaviours, leadership, team effectiveness and engagement and creator of the Team DyNAmics© model of team engagement. (the link will take you to a short video explaining it).
You can contact me direct to discuss how I may be able to support your individual/team development objectives or about a conference that I may be able to help you by speaking at, via firstname.lastname@example.org
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