Eight Ways to Make This THE Most Successful Year Ever!
By Denise Read
Happy New Year!
Right now is a wonderful time to reflect on the past year and set goals to make the coming months even better. Resolutions run the gamut – cutting down on vices like smoking, drinking and junk food, exercising more, joining a gym, being nicer and more appreciative of others. Sound familiar?
You may have your own business or work for others, but chances are good that you would like to improve your work life as you would like to improve your personal life. Your work and your personal life are both important. They are intertwined fingers on the hands of life. Your family, groups you are involved in, and mankind as a whole are also part of our daily lives and choices, whether we realize it or not.
The actions taken in each of these areas of life affects the others. When you eat too much junk food, your body feels tired, heavy and lethargic – and when you are tired, it’s hard to get off the couch to exercise, much less volunteer at your church or start a new activity in your neighborhood. If you decide that your work is more important than your family life it won’t take long before you will find yourself with an unhappy family. Finding balance is key.
The road to make your goals can be better traveled by remembering a few small things. Creating a more satisfying workday, not getting bogged down in the minutia of your work tasks, having a more positive and uplifting work environment – not to mention making more money! – can be achieved.
Here are eight simple components to success. They are definite actions you can take in your work life that will undoubtedly add quality to the other areas of your life as well.
- Tell the Truth. Seems simple. But how many times have you avoided an argument or hurting someone’s feelings by fudging a response that wasn’t totally true? If what you have to say could be taken negatively, instead of fibbing, focus on something positive (anything!) and communicate that. For example, someone wants to know what you thought of a recent project they worked on and you didn’t like it. Instead of saying the blunt truth, say something constructive, like, “I could tell you worked really hard on it. I liked how you focused on the _________. You were headed in the direction of providing __________ too, which would be great to add to the next one.” You are not saying you loved it, but you are finding something to appreciate.
- Focus on your goals. When you have goals, you have a direction and you have something you are interested in accomplishing. This will lead you farther than aimlessly wandering through life, going through the motions and doing what is expected of you, not necessarily what you A goal is a purpose. It’s a specific reason for doing something. If you don’t have a reason for your actions, you will very likely find yourself feeling bored, and you will certainly end up doing things you don’t want in an effort to fill the time you would be working toward your goal. Write down your goals, re-write them and go over them daily.
- Stay positive. In today’s society, sometimes it’s hard to stay positive. With social media making it easy to avoid face-to-face interaction, it’s very easy to be critical and negative. After all, you are not speaking to a face and your “venting” makes you feel better. Doesn’t it? Negativity only breeds negativity. TV, radio, the internet, etc. can tend to focus on what’s wrong with our world, instead of what’s right. Remember that you have a say in what you are involved in, whether it’s a career, a relationship or a conversation. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t make you feel better, happier and smarter, change it. Question what doesn’t make sense to you. When you gather data, evaluate it and make your own determination about it, you gain power. And the power you will get from making educated choices will give you the confidence to focus on the positive until it becomes second nature.
- Help others. Don’t be a know-it-all and help because you feel sorry for someone else and know that since you are so amazing, you always know what others need to do because they are stupid. This isn’t help, it’s mean. When you truly help, you see something that you feel you can assist with, you offer it and then you let the other person decide if they want it or not. If they don’t want your help, don’t give it. By allowing others to know that you are there to help in any way you can, and then leave them the choice to accept your help or not (and accept that), you are empowering them to look at their own lives and make improvements, which is the only way, really, you’ll be able to help them anyway. No one likes to be pushed into changing, or pushed into anything for that matter. People like to feel powerful in making choices that are right for them at that time. Let them and you will be helping immensely.
- Pick Your Battles. In the workplace, as in life, sometimes it’s a hard determination to decide to fight the fight or let it go. If your co-worker is spewing negativity one day, but he’s usually more positive, what you say could just make it worse – even if you keep it positive. When someone is angry or just having a bad day, the best thing to do is ignore it. After all, how far can an occasional bad attitude go if it’s ignored? Your efforts at a pep talk, or trying to reason with an angry person could put fuel on a fire you’d rather have extinguished. On the other hand, if your boss seems to have a chip on his shoulder regarding just about everything you do, the best thing to do is to confront him. Do it nicely, calmly and behind closed doors. When you’ve got your nose in your work, the added (negative) attention can only be a distraction.
- Follow Up and Follow Through. It’s such a small thing, but do you know how often a customer will say, as a reason for buying a product, “I know they will be there when I need something. They’ve been very responsive and always follow up.” Or, when they give the business to the competitor: “I wasn’t sure I could trust them to be there for me. They were hard to reach and never checked back with me to see if they could help.” When you call on someone, call on them again and again. When you are trying to make a new customer you need to keep reminding them of your presence. “I wanted to follow up with you. Where are you at these days? Anything I can help with?” That’s it.
- Strengthen Your Positive Actions, Squash The Negative Ones. Have you noticed that when you make those extra calls instead of putting them off, you feel great? Or, that when you don’t engage in mindless chit-chat so much with your co-workers you have a more positive outlook about your work? There are little things in our lives every day that affect our moods and outlook. When you really pay attention, you should be able to pick out a couple of very small things that, when strengthened (or squashed), really make a big difference!
- Always Strive To Do More. Easier said than done, I know. You are already doing so much every day. Take a minute to really think about what you are doing and how you are managing your time every day. Cut out any wasted actions and focus on the improvement actions. Stay out of auto-pilot! That’s a killer and will only mean you get less done. To the extent you “check out” is the exact extent of how much less control you have in your life. Yesterday you made ten calls and scheduled two appointments. Today, strive for 12 calls and three appointments. The extra activity is so slight you probably won’t notice, and the challenge to do more will motivate you and keep you excited about your daily activities. This game will keep you in the present. This works at home too – make a slightly healthier dinner, walk an extra five minutes with the dogs… you get the idea.
A new year is a fantastic time to evaluate what you are doing in all the areas of your life and see where you can improve it. Talk to strangers. Appreciate others. Show that you understand another’s point of view. Even in line at the grocery store, engage! Everyone enjoys being appreciated, paid attention to and acknowledged. Just a little of these things can go a long way in making you feel powerful in your life, making others feel good in theirs, and improving your chances and opportunities to do more and better things in 2015.
What could be better than that?