Ever thought of running your own business?
Have you wondered who you might go into a partnership with?
If you have, then here is one clinching factor that always seems to determine whether or not I end up with them.
Do what you said you were going to do. Always.
I find that those who value that principle are of a rare breed. Today's generation tends to make excuses, show up late and delay work. Some people promise the world and never follow through. I'm guilty of it sometimes too. Some of us say we'll be there and never make it. This isn't supposed to be a depressing article about how unreliable we are, it's a challenge for us to become more reliable.
If you're watching what you say because you know you will be held accountable, it's a lot easier to underpromise what you're going to do, and then overdeliver/exceed other people's expectations. This is, of course, in direct contrast to people who over-promise and under deliver.
We find that the biggest reason we don't do what we say we are going to do is because we don't feel like it. Doing a project can be pushed off by choosing to go to a party or choosing to stay at home to watch tv. Relationships and friendships can be moved to the forefront over work or school because it's the easy way out.
Albert Gray said it best: "The most successful people form the habits of doing the things that unsuccessful people don't like to do."
Having a person who sticks to their commitments is one of the strongest assets you can have on any team, whether it's work, sports or school group projects.
The question then, is the following:
Do you always do what you said you were going to do?
Have you ever run into one of those people who are constantly complaining about their life? Granted, getting a parking ticket may suck, or getting a lower grade on a paper may not be what you expected, and sometimes we complain about this, but I've noticed a distinct difference between how happy each person based on how they look at their past.
Some look at their past with anger, frustration and regret; they lament why it could have been so much better. Others look at their past with respect, humility, acceptance and appreciation.
However, in both cases, they have the same yearning: to make things better.
The latter individual pursues the future by focusing on the present and positively appreciating the experience of the past. The former harbours negative feelings about the past and a lack of contentment for the present.
You have a simple choice about how to see things, with self amusement or self pity.
Which one will you pick, circumstance-to-circumstance?
Chronic Dissatisfaction - displeasure with how life is
Contentment and growth - an eager desire to make things better combined w/ being at peace with how things are
I hurried from the student union building heading west. I was early, not by much, but I wanted to set up in time. Words of advice popped into my head "If you're right on time, you're late." Argh
My phone vibrated.
"Hey bro! Can't make it to the meeting, sorry, see you next week"
Again? I sighed and kept up the brisk pace.
Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.
The building was quiet. Not surprising, considering it was pitch black outside and daylight savings had fallen back recently. I got to the meeting room and smiled. People were already here. They looked up at my arrival and nodded and smiled back. The same five people who were always early were here before me again. I'm glad they have the discipline to be accountable. It's great that they're eager to be here too. Less dragging on my part.
I was only 3 minutes early, so I set up the agenda for the day and chitchatted with everybody, checking to see how everybody was doing. Andrew and Josh were relaxed because their midterms were all over, Pam was chilling with Michelle, and Brian was finishing up his report.
They say that the hardest thing is motivating people, especially if they're volunteers. Why? Because it's an excellent sign when you can motivate people who don't get paid.
In my various roles as a leader, I kept on hitting the same wall.
I would invest large amounts of time and effort into creating new concepts/outlines for my group to learn, new projects for them to do, new assignments that would push them to teach themselves, and new deadlines for them to fulfill the roles/tasks they had signed up for.
I felt drained and feeling like I was dragging an elephant to a waterhole.
I'd ask myself questions like
"Why won't they do their job?"
"How do I stop babying them?"
"How do I get them to take initiative?"
I felt lost in trying to motivate those in my group do the things I wanted them to.
Then it hit me. I was approaching it the entirely wrong way.
Some things were clear, some things weren't. Here were some concepts that were obviously valuable to the group, but I had to question whether they were being utilized.
1. Effort from a leader: Check.
Of course you're going to want to put in effort into your organization to get something out. People like seeing that their boss is working too. That wasn't it, that was something I did well and perhaps too much of.
Potential problem: Nurturing/babying the group.
2. Proposing new ideas/deadlines/assignments for the wellness of the group: Check. Kinda.
But I could improve on that - because all the new ideas came from me, and not them.
Potential problem: Again, over-nurturing.
I was coming at it from an approach that implied "I want us to do this." I was being accountable to the well being of our group and it was for "us" - but the concept of "we" was barely there. I'd throw out ideas, my group would like some, turn down others, and take some of them and roll with them.
The downside was that it was tiring for me to continue racking up my brain to improve the groups productivity. It also shouldn't be me all the time. The group should want to contribute ideas...right? Why should they do that and How?
3. The view that people should be accountable: Check.
If you're going to sign up for a role, then I will make sure that you are accountable to doing what you said you were going to.
Potential problem: Again, it was me. Should I be the person holding everybody accountable or should it be a group effort?
4. The view that people should take initiative. Nope.
This is a good thing that was not there.
The question was how to increase 'initiative'. This was missing.
This situation was pretty complex. There was a need to figure how/why people take the initiative to propose new ideas/projects and PARTICIPATE.
I needed to motivate them to be creative and hardworking.
Daniel Pink, author of Drive, posed that Autonomy leads to creative motivation. If a person feels that he/has the freedom to do his/her job, then motivation increases, along with creativity and flow.
Sad thing is, I still don't have the answer.
For the past 8 months, I have been EXTREMELY content with my life because I am goal-oriented and all my actions align with bettering myself as an individual. I rarely complain, and I feel like I start off the day right, every day.
How do I do this?
IT'S SO SIMPLE!!!
Here's how to start your day off right:
I have a daily event in my iCal, with a reminder at 6:00am every morning that pops up on both my iPhone and my iPad.
The title of the event: What are you thankful for?
What I do every morning is edit it and add in 3 new things I'm grateful and thankful for.
The result? Your perspective begins to change.
You see things in a positive light from the start of your day, and as a result, every event that occurs throughout the day seems less overwhelming and WAY less negative, even if it is a negative event. How great is that? It's AWESOME!
Give it a try, trust me.
Little things like this take little time (1 minute to 2, at most)
But at regular intervals, it can change your attitude towards things IMMENSELY =D
Your schedule is your lifeline
When asked how I consistently work over 80 hours a week during school, I always turn back to a simple rule - your schedule is your lifeline.
I generally wake up between 6:00am and 7:00am everyday, depending on when my first appointment is. If it's at 9, I get to sleep in til 7:30/8:00am! I have a general routine for the morning: stuff like shower&shave, boil 1-2 eggs, make toast and coffee/tea, eat breakfast, get dressed, pack my bags and head out the door within the first hour of being up.
I'm at school working between 8am-9pm most days, each hour is filled with meetings, interviews, class, and networking. I feel lucky if I get an hour break anytime between appointments because I always pack it hour-hour back to back.
Each week is in the calendar with my top priorities plugged in, green in color. Any appointments that are moveable are in orange. When I look at my schedule, I always make sure to reflect on how evenly my activities are spread out across work, relationships and friendships, health, personal development, learning and religion to make sure that I'm not neglecting anything major over the course of a month.
You're going to have weeks that are more specific to one area of your life, but I make up for spent time in other activities that are important to me the following weeks after.
Life is so much simpler - I don't ever have to think about what I have for the following day, because everything is in my iCal! =D I look at it in the morning, so I know what to pack, and refer to it during the day so I know what I have to prepare. I rarely have double bookings too, because they come up when I am plugging in a new event.
On top of all that, I set reminders for task-oriented events to pop up a couple days/week beforehand, so I can adequately allot time to it.
The ease of commitment
Have you ever been stuck when trying to make a decision? Staring at the menu and deliberating between the penne Alfredo chicken or the mushroom lamb burger because both choices seem amazing? Wondering whether to pick between the latest action movie or a romantic chick flick? Deciding which firm to go to? Which vacation spot is better - Barcelona or Australia?
We've all been there. Making decisions is never easy. Or is it?
One thing a friend reminded me of recently was the concept that commitment actually makes life a lot easier and less painful. I once heard that 'you never make a right decision. You make a decision then you make it right.' It is SO true!
My friend explained the ease of commitment to me. The minute you make a decision, all other options are now irrelevant and you don't have to worry about them. When you make a decision, all of a sudden, your brain switches frames from wasting energy deciding what to do and instead focuses on how to do it.
You become focused on how to get to the result of that decision and begin to solve problems critically. You look at obstacles and potential setbacks the one option you've chosen and become goal oriented instead.
Worry comes from uncertainty about the future. By deciding on an action or a path, you take a majority of the worry away. What is left remaining is what specific actions you need to take to get there, so worry becomes productive!
Aah, the ease of commitment, who would've thought. Stop wasting your time deliberating in circles and get moving!
The racket whizzed by my ear ferociously, narrowly missing the better side of my face.
Tightly-bound strings connected with the black rubber ball with satisfied confidence and solidity. My eyes followed the ball to the bottom right hand corner of the wall, my body accompanying the split-second understanding that I would do everything I could physically do to get to it.
Lunging forward, my quadriceps burned straight down to my calves, much like the cheetah's sprint towards its prey. Extended out then snapping forward, my wrist was in complete sync with the force of my forearm.
In the moment, nothing else mattered but that next ball.
Welcome to the world of Squash, my new favorite sport. At levels of high intensity, squash epitomizes my definitions of success. Effort, focus, hard work, re-calibration, timing, foreshadowing, and being in the moment are all requirements to win against any worthy opponent. Ultimately, the victory belongs to the individual who can maintain a consistent unison of all these necessities over time. But what's the biggest lesson one can take away from squash? I would venture to say that although the message is simple, it is quite key.
Keep hitting until it's over. Always.
Any successful hit may win you the point, but it takes a series of successful rally's to win the game. You have to keep going in each rally, continuously hitting, then spotting the ball and figuring out where it's going to be, and then you have to be there when the ball is too.
Therefore, your biggest obstacle is figuring out your opponent's habits and methods of play. Additionally, even when you don't know your opponent, you have to adapt quickly to where most of their shots go to. Or you lose.
Hit after hit, sprint after sprint, one well-placed shot is not enough.
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.