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Five Pointers on Working harder on Yourself than you do on Your Job or Business

Five Pointers on Working harder on Yourself than you do on Your Job or Business

This year if there has been one quote or advice that has STUCK with me, PUSHED me and HELPED me in my career and life – it is this:

Work harder on yourself than you do on your job ~ Jim Rohn

This does not mean that you not give 100% to your work, it just means to focus 100% on yourself first – the value then that you bring to your job or business or family increases hundred–fold. The more you work on yourself, the better things get in every sphere of your life. I have tried and tested these results on me and many others in my extended teams this year meeting with great success. So how do you incorporate this philosophy of working harder on yourself in the daily rat-race?

Here are five pointers to help you achieve this:

Pointer #1: Self Examination – Sorry but as I said it all starts with the Self. This is not about looking in the mirror and asserting that everything is great. As someone wise said : The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. Focus very specifically on what things you need to improve on – is it your self-confidence, your ability to plan and be organized, your writing or speaking skills? Identify the areas and drill down further to the HOW. We are lucky to have amazing resources available on the internet on any topic that you could think of and many support groups to egg you on to achievement. Try http://www.marcandangel.com/ – a personal favorite. Tap these sources well.

Pointer #2: Be a Life-Long Learner – Lifelong learners tend to love what they do, or they at least find some aspect of it to love. Learners love the challenge, if nothing else. It’s the learners who question the status quo, shake things about and are innovators. And of course getting rewarded at their jobs or business is an inevitable side benefit as learning keeps you current and relevant. There are two parts to learning – staying current and learning a new skill. Keep some time aside for reading, there is a plethora of blogs that you can subscribe to – my no.1 recommendation is Seth’s blog which certainly shakes you out of complacency. Another great resource is the HBR site – on any given day, you can definitely find an article that captures your interest or simply browse through the archives. Learning a new skill will help you expand your capabilities – enroll in an online course and make good use of your company’s training department.

Pointer #3: Be Yourself- Realize that You are in control. We all have our own standards of excellence. We also have different priorities and what motivates me to put in 100% won’t necessarily be the same for you. Whatever your own standard of excellence is in your work, whatever you feel passionately about – that’s what you should be true to. Don’t stop doing or keep doing stuff just because some of your colleagues’ standards of excellence are lower than yours or their priorities are different. Your measuring stick for your own achievement should be based on what you want to achieve, not how much or little other people are doing. What excites you most? Feed that passion and find ways to align it with your work responsibilities.

Pointer #4 : Avoid the Negative(And Reinforce the Positive) – What makes you feel tired and drained – it could be people, thoughts or activities. If you want to maintain a positive attitude, consider sharply limiting your daily exposure to such experiences. Don’t show up at the daily complaint sessions at work. If you’ve got family members who are constantly negative, tune them out. Your happiness lies within you – trite but true, practice happiness every day, make it your sacred ritual. No matter what you do for a living, the key to success is great performance, every single day. And that’s only possible if you make optimism, energy, and enthusiasm part of your daily experience.

Pointer #5: Help Others Succeed – I read a beautiful Zulu proverb recently that says it all: “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”- A human is only a human because of other humans. We’re all interconnected! Your Success is assured and becomes more meaningful when you help others succeed. Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows. The more you give of yourself in anything, the more you get in return – especially when you give with no expectation of return. Too often, we build islands of ourselves cutting ourselves off from people who we can learn from, grow with and share life’s experiences. Do what you can for other people, work hard at building relationships.  It is a sure shot method to help you become a personal and professional success and live a fulfilling life.

The inspiration for this post came from my mom and a few of my favorite people at work and twitter (you know who you are) while talking about what’s worked and what has not in the past year. Let us strive to be not just good but a little better in the coming year. Do what you love and love what you do.

How do you incorporate this philosophy of working harder on yourself in the daily rat-race? Do share your experiences on what has worked for you in the last year, the one experience or learning that you are taking with you into the future.

Five Hidden Blessings in Adversity that Make You Richer

Five Hidden Blessings in Adversity that Make You Richer

Sitting with my mom in the hospital as she got ready for yet another procedure made me wonder how she could stay so positive and cheerful even while facing such seemingly insurmountable odds. What happiness sources could she possibly be tapping on while even  her own body was not cooperating with her? I asked her whether she was just putting on a brave face to make it easier for her family or was there really something good that she saw in this whole grueling experience?

Surprisingly, for me, she really believed that adversity does have its blessings too – here are five reasons why:

Blessings in Adversity #1: Sink or Swim

Adversity prepares you to swim, to fight the battles that life keeps throwing at us. Each small victory or failure is one more way to find aspects of yourself that you never knew you had it in you. One more survival skill learnt to prepare you for the future. One more step in the path to self-discovery. Resilience, adaptability, strength, patience are all tested in times of adversity and you emerge stronger and more confident about yourself.

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat.  I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
~Dr. Seuss

Blessings in Adversity #2: Finding the good in people

Everyone is always willing to celebrate in your success, but how many are there for you when you really need them? It throws a strong scanner on your relationships. You learn not to invest your precious energies and time on those that never really cared and appreciate those that do. Adversity brings people closer to you and strengthens your relationships with them who really care for you. Becoming humbler and learning to let go may be lessons that are learnt only through adversity but are also ones that bring much happiness too.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah

Blessings in Adversity #3: Value of Time

Each moment is precious and could be your last. Living in each moment and enjoying the moment while it lasts is a point that difficulties drive home. You realize the pointlessness of wasting away the moments that have been given to us, it could be the last good moment that you have in a long time – savor it, create something of value, be grateful for the moment.

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness; no laziness; no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Lord Chesterfield

Blessings in Adversity #4: Seeing the Big Picture

It sometimes takes a good jolt to shake you out of your rut and make you see the big picture. Adversity brings perspective with it. The daily stresses, the petty worries and the small fears are put in proper perspective when faced with tough times. We are all born, we all die. It is what we do in the between that matters most. You start to realize your place in the world and the purpose of your life, the grand plan for you becomes clearer.

“It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how things are in themselves.  The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Carl Jung

Blessings in Adversity #5: Deepening Connections with the Higher Power

Faith is a powerful source of energy. Faith empowers the belief that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and that this too shall pass. It is in tough times that we fall back on this source the most. We discover what our view of God really is. Putting yourself in the hands of whichever Higher Power that you believe in is a definite fast track to inner/spiritual growth.

“Self-realization means that we have been consciously
connected with our source of being. Once we have made
this connection, then nothing can go wrong…” Swami Paramananda

In life or in business, it is certain that we will never be completely free of challenges or hardships. It is in these times that you have an opportunity to test your mettle and see what you are made of. My mom made me realize that there is no good or bad situation, it is how you respond to the situation that makes it good or bad. And if you learn to recognize and revel in these hidden blessings in adversity, you can only be richer from the experience.

What have you learnt from the challenges that life has thrown out to you? Has it brought out the best in you? Do you look back and think that the experience was actually good for you? I would love to know.