I am occasionally asked to speak to students from different universities. I try to convey the lessons I’ve learned over the course of my life, both personally and career wise.
Here are a few of them, in no particular order -rather candidly…
Be proactive – take charge of your life, no one is going to do it for you. There is only one person responsible for your life –that’s YOU.
Life is difficult; once you understand that, you can move on with it…
- You come from a divorced family? – Too bad.
- You feel you got a bad break in life? – Tough.
- You have little money in your wallet? – Go earn it.
- You feel your boss is hard on you? – Sorry, do your job to the best of your ability.
Life isn’t always fair. You’re going to have some bad breaks. You’ll be at a disadvantage from time to time. You’re going to have unlucky streaks. It’s your tenacity that counts, your perseverance.
“Own” your actions “Be Candid” – Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, talks about being candid all the time. It’s hugely important to be candid with not only other people, but with yourself. That doesn’t mean you say hurtful things to others, but by not being candid, that can be hurtful in the end.
Words really don’t count but your actions do. Tell the truth, always, even white lies aren’t good. By telling the truth you’ll find some people that won’t like to hear what you’re saying, but there is a personal relief knowing you’ve done the right thing in telling the truth.
Do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through and follow up –even on the little things. Never compromise honesty.
Some definitions of my own interpretation;
- Integrity – is doing the right thing when no one is looking.
- Respect – is when you demonstrate honor to others.
- Kindness – going out of your way for someone just because…
- Lastly, is Character – is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.
Begin with and end in mind – what is the outcome you are seeking? How are you going to get it?
- Can you visualize the outcome?
- Do you have a plan? Did you write it down?
- Where do you want to be in ONE YEAR?
- Where do you want to be in FIVE YEARS?
- Where do you want to be in 10-YEARS?
Write it down on a yellow pad and pencil. Spell out details such as “financial goals, retirement goals, personal goals (do you want to go hang gliding?), get married, own a home, have kids? Store that letter in the top draw of your office desk. Read it every 6-months. Are you getting closer to your goals? If not, why not? Make the appropriate adjustments.
Important – develop ONE NEW AND SIGNIFICANT PROFICIENCY a year. Personal growth, continual education and measurable improvement is a must to succeed!
Things that come first;
- Personal and mental health – without it you are no good to anyone. Take care of yourself.
Put First things first – attention to detail…! Stay organized, prioritize and know what’s important and what’s not.
Life is wickedly short. It may not seem that way now, but trust me, it goes by very fast.
Think Win/Win – life is about people, how are you going to make others feel good? How are you going to win your customers faith and loyalty – and keep it? The outcome for you and others (customer, friends, co-workers and family) must be a WIN/WIN –it’s not all about YOURESELF. Remember that.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Negative attitudes, negative people are NEGATIVE to your own welfare.
- Be sincere. No one likes a liar, exaggerator, arrogance.
- EMPATHY! Put yourself in other’s shoes…understand their pain.
- Be likable
- Be friendly
- Have fun…!
Important – “you are always on DISPLAY!” When someone first said that to me I thought that was brilliant.
Personal privacy, especially on-line, is a thing of the past. Would you want your boss to see your Facebook writings and pictures? Are you comfortable with that? Clean up your social media and your on-line reputation (Have you searched your own name on Google?)
What is on the web and associated with your name affects everything from your job offers, business opportunities and your credit score.
Your personal actions CAN and DO affect your work-life and career effectiveness. Bad judgment can cost you your reputation and career!
Seek to understand, then be understood – sharpen communication skills, writing skills, listen first, listen very well and then speak…listen some more!…
- Ask questions when trying to understand someone.
- Have the courage to make sure people understand YOU. Be crystal clear.
- Solicit feedback from your co-workers, especially your boss. You’ve got to know not only what you’re doing right, but what you’re doing wrong. Ask for it, demand it. I cannot stress this point enough.
- Put your cell phone down. There is no need to check every incoming e-mail and text incessantly, especially when you’re having a conversation with people. (I know it’s hard to do..!)
Synergize – create positive energy!
- Synergy takes into account a WIN/WIN approach and the skill of empathetic communications; it creates a common bond, common goal with people and organizations.
- VALUE the differences between people – create opportunities, seek to understand.
- Take criticism and different viewpoints as a “gift” – learn from it, improve from it.
Sharpen the Saw – DAILY!
- Take care of yourself, your body, exercise, eat right, sleep, limit drinking, mentally re-charge, religious/spirituality, take time for yourself.
- Do something different today, and every day. Learn a new word daily (download the dictionary.com APP).
- Try something new, see if you like it and see if it works for you.
- Commit to write down specific “sharpen the saw” activities every week – a TO DO list…evaluate your own performance at the end of the week.
Every day good habits take awareness and hard work to get it right.
We know we’re not perfect, we know we are going to make mistakes. In fact, don’t be afraid to take some chances, perhaps have many mistakes and outright failures.
Without making mistakes, you’re simply not trying hard enough and stretching your abilities. I believe that.
Just avoid the catastrophic mistake and always understand the lesson learned after a failure. You’ll be ok.
Want to learn more habits to incorporate into your life? Buy my book and learn how to stretch yourself and grow as a leader.