Last week I spoke to the need for continuous self-improvement. Part of that is continually learning throughout your lifetime.
I have mentioned before that my firm has The JW Way, which encapsulates the firm’s unique culture (http://www.jaburgwilk.com/mission-statement). JW Way fundamental 17 is “Be relentless about continuous improvement.” This fundamental speaks to being a “lifetime learner” and notes that “Excellence is a journey, not a destination.”
You need to think about excellence as a continuing journey. The truth is if you strive for and achieve excellence, there still is more work to do. Continually achieving excellence involves an investment in yourself and in education.
Part of this is searching out the truth of whatever you are learning. That is your duty because if you can’t speak the truth you are simply spreading the equivalent of fake news. Despite what seems to be the trend, facts do matter. “Fake it till you make it” may work early on in some settings, but for most of us it will result in failure in the long run.
Most of us become experts in our given fields or professions over time because we do put in the proverbial ten-thousand hours and stay up on new innovations, information, etc., i.e. we continually educate ourselves. If you do not do this and try to ride the same wave of what you have done before you have higher chance of failure in the future. Or at least a higher chance of not achieving excellence and being mediocre while others in your field achieve excellence and pass you by.
If you are okay with that, with being mediocre, maybe you should be doing something else that intrigues and interests you enough that you will continuously educate yourself and continuously seek to achieve excellence.
You can do better. You can be better. Always. If you don’t think so you are only fooling yourself. You must invest in yourself.
If you put your money in a can and bury it in your backyard, it will earn nothing. If you invest these funds instead, they will have the chance to grow. The corollary is if you do not take the time to improve yourself, to learn, you will become stagnant and, in this fast-paced world, probably be passed by others. If you instead work to improve you will grow.
This also should involve improving in your given business or in your personal life. It can be class related to what you do or guitar lessons or for me, keep up with current legal opinions.
I know you are busy. I know you don’t think you have time. But the truth is you don’t have time not to invest in yourself. If nothing changes, well, you get thee idea.
So think about what you can do by investing in yourself. It not only can make you a better professional or person, it will help improve the world around you, your world.
Fun at work? Exactly. If you can’t have fun at work, then why are you there? Fun and good work do go together. A joke can even reduce tension during stressful times at work. We all know the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” and inherently know it is true.
This doesn’t mean you feel like you have time to joke around with co-workers every day, but, if you think about those type of days, it is likely a minute or two wouldn’t derail you from the task at hand. Fun doesn’t need to take up a lot of time.
I joke around with colleagues regularly. It sure makes my days more fun. On the days when I am feeling overwhelmed by what I need to accomplish the humor may include sarcasm or be darker, but it still is part of my day. And it can help relieve tension and stress, even if only momentarily.
You have to leave your office for food, drink and the restroom, and likely will encounter others. Allow yourself to take a break, even if it is only a few minutes. It will help reinvigorate you to go back and work more. And when you see others having one of those days, see what you can do to lighten the moment for them.
You probably know the line from Dr. Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish: “These things are fun, and fun is good.” Fun is good. And if it’s good enough for Dr. Seuss, its good enough for you!
One way to know if you follow up is to ask yourself if things you want to get done do. This includes tasks you or others, whether inside or outside your company, are working on. I know many of you are thinking you shouldn’t have to follow up for things to be completed. That is a misplaced thought.
How many times have you realized at or just before the end of the business day a task or project slipped your mind that had to be done that day? If you are honest with yourself, you know you have been there.
Despite the best laid plans, I have been there. And what works for me to try and avoid such a situation may or may not work for you. I use To Do lists, as well as calendaring to try and make sure no task or project, no matter how small, slips through the cracks. You may make lists too. Or maybe you have some type of different system to do this.
In dealing with others, these types of systems can be used to remind you to call that vendor about the product or service to be delivered to your company. Or to call, message, or actually walk down the hall, to check in with your employee or team member on that project you gave them or are working on together.
If you don’t do this and something is not on time, you should take part of the blame This is true even though you shouldn’t have to follow up on others completing their tasks. But they are busy like you and lack of follow up can result in late deliveries or completion of work you are waiting on. And it ultimately reflects on you, poorly, and reputation takes years to build and minutes to destroy.
So follow up and don’t let this happen to you!!