We are not actually going to talk about pens today. What we really wanted touch on, is the importance of written communication. Although the majority of what you write escapes out of your fingers through your keyboard, The Triumph of Typing didn’t seem to quite hit the topic with the same punch as The Power of the Pen.
Long Live The Written Word
Once you’re out of school you might be inclined to think it’s okay to leave your writing skills behind with all the text books you either packed up to never look at again, or left in the last room you had occasion to open them. Not so. Good writing is an indicator of good thinking and will set you apart from average thinkers (and no thinkers). Don’t worry, we are not talking about good writing as in – I just completed my first novel! Or What rhymes with orange? We are talking about well thought out, easy to understand, comprehensive writing.
Organizing Your Thoughts
The difference between writing out your thoughts and speaking them (aside from you hear one and see the other) is often time. Sure you can scribble something down nearly as quickly as you can blurt it out, but if you’re trying to make yourself understood you’ll probably take a lot more time to write it out. The process of writing slows you down, it makes you think about what you’re trying to say. Re-reading what you wrote, you often change the order, expand on some parts and cut back on others.
Listen To Your Editor
The key to good writing is to keep it to the point and simple. Longer doesn’t mean better, it usually just means the writer didn’t take the time to edit out what was unnecessary – like repeated thoughts and sentences. Repeating something doesn’t make your point stronger, often it only results in that oh-so-important point getting diluted in the ocean of words.
By planning out your words through the slowed down, organizing process of writing and then listening to your editor you are far less likely to come away from the communication with the dreaded I wish I didn’t say that. Or, If only I’d thought to say this. You’ve had time to edit out what you didn’t want to say and add in what you did want to say.
Good written communication is less ambiguous than spoken communication. It gives you the opportunity to express exactly what you need to express. Access your power. Pick up that pen. Or hit that keyboard.
When people start on a new venture they often scan the long road ahead and wonder if there’s a way of getting to their destination a little faster. So they spend time searching for shortcuts to that destination.
Some people find the answer quickly, others take longer, but eventually everybody comes to the same conclusion. The shortcut to success is hard work. Work hard at learning everything you need to know about what you’re doing or what you want to do.
No magic bullet
If you’re not expecting to somehow run into the magic bullet for success you won’t waste time searching for it. You will spend your time wisely, working diligently on one thing to the next. You will set goals and work toward them, one at a time.
Hard work is a state of mind
As much as anything, hard work is a state of mind. It’s the decision to put all your efforts and dedication into what you’re doing instead of wasting time searching for an easier way. In the words of the great coach John Wooden, “Success travels in the company of hard work. There is no trick, no easy way.”
Work hard. Fail or succeed at each task before you, learn from it and move on to the next thing. That is how you will find success. Hard work will inspire you to search out people who can help with advice or suggestions.
With the right mindset hard work doesn’t feel hard at all
Each accomplishment takes you closer to that destination you’re heading for. That sense of accomplishment inspires you to keep going and keep working. With the right mindset, hard work doesn’t seem hard at all. It feels like the shortcut you’re looking for!
How do your favorite people treat you?
Think about your favorite teacher in school. If you’ve had a boss you really enjoyed, think about them for a moment. Do you remember what you liked about them? Were they kind, or friendly? Did they treat you as not just a student or employee but someone who could be trusted and shared with? Did they treat you as you could be, rather than what you were? Was your potential cultivated?
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey points out how one person can have a tremendous effect on others. Most of us have been in a position where we felt like we didn’t have much wiggle room in our work or assignments. For the most part our teachers have treated us like students. This doesn’t sound so bad, they’re there to teach. But what if, instead of treating you like a student or an employee, your teacher or boss treated you like someone who could run the company some day?
That could be by offering you more responsibility and bigger tasks. Tasks that you can handle and excel at, that will enable you to grow your role. You’ll feel more respected and important, and in turn you’ll start acting with more confidence in your work.
This isn’t just for people who have others working under them either. You can do this for your coworkers as well. Treat your coworkers as people who can both help you and bring new ideas to the table, rather than just people you work with. You may find that they’ll go out of their way to help you in the future.
Feel like your days could run a little smoother? Here are four easy things you can do to improve each day.
1. Wake up early
Why would you want to wake up early when your bed is so comfortable and inviting and you don’t actually have to get out of it yet? The reason you want to get up earlier than you have to is to give yourself some mental space to think about what you want to do with the day. To plan and to simply breath without worrying about whatever has to be done next. You’re early, you have time to set your mind and spirit for the day.
2. Work harder than you did the day before
Imagine how much you could accomplish if every day you made a point of working harder than you did the day before. If you gave each day 100% of your attention and focus. If you managed to find a little bit more energy than you thought you had.
We exercise to get stronger to look better and feel good about ourselves, but do you realize exercise is as important for the mind as for the bod. Exercise helps clear negative emotions, it helps us feel more alert and it’s energizing. You may not be able to do a full workout everyday but you can certainly go out for a walk. Don’t sit around for long stretches of time. Insert breaks into your day to move.
During your downtime after working harder than you did the day before, all you may want to do is flake out in front of the TV and rest. Rest is great, but some rest is better than others. Although from the outside, reading and watching TV look pretty similar, TV is passive. You are sitting there while things pass by. Reading (whether for pleasure or learning) is active. Your mind and your imagination are engaged. It’s exercise for the brain.
These are simple suggestions, but by incorporating them into your life each day and guaranteed your days will run smoother.
What motivates people to do their best? Financial rewards? Yes people will work hard for financial rewards? Prestige? Yes again, an advanced position or impressive job title in recognition of a job well done with are certainly going to encourage individuals to work hard. As motivating as money and job titles are, those might not always be in the cards for every boss and every employee, but it doesn’t matter because great leaders know one of the most motivating things they can do for their team is also the one they have the most control over. They have learned to be great communicators.
If you want people to do a great job for you, you need to make sure they know exactly what you expect of them. Tell them when they’re on track and when things need to be improved and how. They need to feel like they make a difference, like they’re not just another cog in a rolling corporate wheel.
Help them feel good about themselves
People will work well if they feel good about themselves and what they’re doing. Great communicators give people reasons to feel good about themselves. They say things like, “I have total confidence in you.”
They give people an opportunity to shine, to use their natural talents and strengths to accomplish something, and those people invariably rise to the task.
Acknowledge a job well done
Leaders expect their people to do a good job. That’s why they brought them on. Even so, people always do better when their efforts are acknowledged. When they feel like what they’re doing matters. Great communicators are not stingy with praise. They let their people know exactly how they’re doing.
They also know acknowledgement is a two way street. A job poorly done is also acknowledged. Leaders that engender the greatest respect don’t simply complain about a job that wasn’t well done. They discuss the situation with the team member. They’ll ask, “What went wrong? How can we improve next time?”
A person that is included in the process this way also feels acknowledged and will always do their best to improve and gain the approval of the boss who treats them with so much respect and consideration.
Share the vision
People will work better when they see the big picture. The big picture gives the group a common goal to strive for. It keeps people on track and motivated. Great communicators always ask, “Do you have any questions?” keeping the lines of communication always open.
In every office you’ll find all kinds of people. The introverts, the extroverts, the technical minded ones, the artistic ones, the list goes on and on. All sorts of different people with different temperaments thrive and get ahead. However, besides the specifics of a person’s personality and skills people can generally be sorted into two distinct categories, the waters and the doers.
Wanters expect things to come to them
Wanters are the ones who always want to know when they can expect to get a promotion or a raise. They look out for what the company can do for them. When things aren’t working to their satisfaction, they want change, but they don’t necessarily do anything about it. In general wanters are their own number one priority. When five o’clock rolls around, they want to get out of the office and move on the next thing they want to do.
Doers create what they want
Doers on the other hand, are prepared to do what it takes to get a job done. They don’t ask when they will get a promotion they ask what they can do to get that promotion faster. They realize there is only one way to get ahead and that’s through merit. Not time, not the people they have drinks with not good intentions or talk.
If a job isn’t finished when it’s time to go home, a doer will stick around to make sure it gets done. If something isn’t working as well or as efficiently as it should, they don’t just complain about it or work around it, doers address the problem. They find better ways of doing things. If they have to improve themselves then they take the course or they ask us to put them in touch with a mentor.
Wanters might talk about how they want to make a six figure income one day. Doers spend every day going that extra mile to ensure they achieve their wants.
Not every famous person is billboard famous
There are many potential ways to be famous. There’s fame where everyone knows who you are because you are a superstar singer or actor or athlete or scientist or inventor – spotlight famous.
There’s also famous within smaller spheres. Like being president of a company – making you famous to everyone that works in that location. Dial it down a little and you can make a case for people being famous all the way up or down the ladder within an organization.
You can also be famous within your family or school or on your team for accomplishments over time or a single outstanding moment.
Perfectly wonderful everyday people
There may be many potential opportunities to be famous in one capacity or another, yet the majority of us will not be more than another person in the crowd for the majority of our lives. And we are here to say that’s perfectly wonderful.
Not everyone will be or needs to be famous, or a head turner, or the talk of the town (or dinner table). A person’s worth has nothing to do with how famous or well-known they are. It has everything to do with what they bring to this experience we all share called life.
Purpose and service have nothing to do with fame
The people most deserving of our recognition and our esteem are those that realize no matter how far apart or how different we may all seem from each other, we are essentially one big family. Thus the most important thing we can do is help each other in whatever ways we can. That may be as small as helping someone standing confused at a bank machine terminal. It may be as regular as a weekly volunteer stint at a soup kitchen. It may be through the donation of time or money to causes close to our hearts.
The greatest people among us are not the most famous. They are the ones who share their hearts with others.