It’s What You Do Not What You Say That Counts

There are few truer quotes than “actions speak louder than words.” You can talk all you want, you can make promises, but until you follow through with those promises, no one is going to put much stock in your words. As Henrik Ibsen says, a single action will always leave a greater impact, positive or negative, than even a thousand words.

Stay accountable to your words

This is important advice to keep in mind when you are at work. If someone asks you to do something, and you say you will, that’s the first step. The second step is doing it. The impression you leave if you don’t will be far greater than anything you can say as an excuse. In the same way, taking action can have a big impact. Whether you help someone with their project, or do a little extra work rather than sucking up to the boss, those actions speak louder than tooting your own horn.

It’s also a reminder that any deed, no matter how small, can have a dramatic effect. Don’t shrug off small things because they seem inconsequential. Take time to do the little tasks, and to do them well. Each one of those tiny things leaves a greater impression than a bunch of words. Become a person of action and you’ll see the benefits quickly.

“I think ‘FEARLESS’ is having fears but jumping anyway.” – Taylor Swift

When we look up to our heroes, be they comic book heroes, celebrities, family or friends, we give them attributes like courage, valor and fearlessness. We come to expect them to take on every challenge without hesitation or fear. We idolize these people because, while we wish we could have these attributes ourselves, we doubt that we do. 

We think that because we are afraid of things, we couldn’t be called fearless. This quote from Taylor Swift gives that thought the boot. As Taylor says, being fearless isn’t never being afraid, it’s feeling that fear and going headlong into something anyway.

The truth is, your heroes are the same. They feel fear, they get nervous and they worry they aren’t good enough. The reason they were able to overcome those nerves and that fear? They jumped straight at the thing that scared them. 

So if you’re feeling afraid, don’t worry, everyone you look up to feels the same fears. The only question that remains is, will you be fearless in the way Taylor Swift points out, and face down the thing that’s making you afraid? Chances are you’ll be able to conquer your fear, and if you do, soon you may find people are looking up to you, and calling your fearless. 

You Have The Power To Influence Change at Your Workplace

The good news is that you don’t have to get bit by a radioactive spider and turn into Spider-Man to have great power. We know you may not feel like you have a lot of sway at your current job, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to influence and change things at your workplace. The question is, will you take the famous advice of Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben and use your power for good, or will you just try to serve yourself?

It all starts with the right choices

From the moment you step into the workforce you’ll have a million choices to make. Everything from what your career path looks like, to how you choose to get there. Will you help others and give them credit, or will you take credit for yourself? It seems like the choice would be easy, but the options won’t always be so clear cut. 

And don’t worry, Spider-Man didn’t find the choice easy all the time either. Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t obvious, and often the right thing to do is the harder of the options. Responsibility doesn’t mean always getting it right, but it does mean trying your best. 

You may feel powerless at times, but even with a small amount of control, how you hold yourself and operate when you’re at the start of your career will often carry through and be how you operate when you’re the boss. 

Some People Can’t Believe In Themselves Until Someone Believes In Them First

We want you to succeed. We want you to do amazing things. To surpass all of your goals, but we want that for others as well. If you go through your career looking out for only yourself, you’re going to find it’s pretty lonely at the top. If you choose to step on others to get where you want to go, you’ll see that you have fewer and fewer friends willing to help you through the tough spots. Your other choice is to help others along the way

It’s easier to believe in yourself when someone else believes in you first

So today it’s your turn to help someone else out. In the movie Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams played a psychologist who attempted to connect with a young, under-achieving genius played by Matt Damon. Williams’ character, Sean Maguire, shares an important lesson for those looking to help others. Many people simply find it impossible to believe in themselves, until someone else shows belief in them first.

Small acts of encouragement make a huge difference

In Good Will Hunting, it is Sean Maguire’s belief in Will that allows Will to grow and mature. You can take his lesson and share it as well. Let your coworkers know that you believe in them. Give them an encouraging word and tell them you think they are right for the task at hand.

Sometimes, even this small action of encouragement can make a world of difference for someone who is feeling down on themselves.

It’s A Beautiful Day

Make the most of what the day brings

When you’re on the city bus or stuck in your car on the freeway, it can be tough to think of the day as a beautiful one. You’re on your way to work after all. In U2’s song, Beautiful Day, they mention this feeling. “The traffic is stuck. And you’re not moving anywhere.” And yet, U2 implores us to make the most of each and every day. 

Even Mondays can be beautiful

There is beauty in every single day, but sometimes it’s not easy to see. If you focus on the parts of your day that drive you nuts–like traffic or bothersome coworkers–chances are the beauty of the day will slip past you unnoticed. But if you take a moment and try to find the good in each day, you’ll find that each and every one of them–even Mondays–can be beautiful.

Maybe there is an opportunity to make a coworker smile, or maybe on your way home from work you’ll catch a glimpse of a multi-colored sky as the sun sets. It could be as simple as getting a hug from a friend.

Once a day is over, it’s gone. You can never get the time back. You have to ask yourself, do I want to spend this day focusing on the things I don’t like, or do I want to focus on all the stuff that makes this day beautiful? Follow U2’s advice, and take advantage of each and every day. Don’t let them get away.

Work Together For Success

Work Together For Success

Your relationship with your coworkers is just like any other relationship, it takes work, commitment and determination. Just like family, you can’t always choose your coworkers. Some of them might drive you a little crazy, but if you want to succeed you’ll have to figure out how to work with one another. According to Henry Ford, success comes after you have come together, kept together and found a way to work together.

Coming Together

You’ve probably heard of the “honeymoon period” for people in relationships. Everything is great and awesome and everyone likes each other. The same thing happens when someone new is hired, or you start a new job. Things are looking great and you’re getting along with your new coworkers just fine. This is just the beginning. Coming together is arguably the easiest part.

Keeping Together

Once that honeymoon period is over, it’ll be harder to keep things running smoothly. Little things your coworkers do that you didn’t notice before will start to wear on your nerves. You might find misunderstandings happen more frequently and that your work suffers as a result. Keeping together means working through these issues and finding resolutions. That’s progress.

Working Together

Once you’ve found ways to understand one another and support one another then you can start to work together. Working together comes as everyone starts to focus on the common goal of the business. As Henry Ford points out, this is where success is found. It’s not an easy stage to get to in a relationship, be it with your coworkers or otherwise. But once you’re there, you’ll find success.

“Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.” Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen facebook

Before we proceed any further I have a confession. I have spent way more time than is healthy or warranted worrying. The kind of worry that robs me of sleep and makes getting out of bed an ordeal. The sort that turns all situations black or white because it robs me of the ability to see a middle ground.

 

What do I have to show for all those hours of worry? Baggy eyes, a bad attitude and the beginnings of an ulcer. Just about anything can set me off. The people I work with. Something I said, something someone else said, an impending deadline.

 

Worse than pointless

I speak from experience when I say worry in and of itself is pointless and detrimental. However because I know worry is my kryptonite I’ve learned to be vigilant at circumventing it and beating it to the punch.

 

Worry is stagnant. Action moves

I’ve learned I can spend inordinate amounts of time turning situations over in my head while I worry away the possibility of sleep or any possible enjoyment of life for days on end. Or I can go ahead and have a conversation I’m putting off. Or I can go for a run, or write out all possible outcomes and create contingency plans. If there’s nothing I can do to change anything, I can decide to simply accept what comes and move on with the rest of my life.

 

I may not like the answer I get, but at least I have an answer. Running doesn’t change anything but it does get me out of my head for a while. It’s important for me to see a world outside of all the doom and gloom accumulating in my brain. I’ve learned that worry is self perpetuating. It’s a weed in the garden of thought. That’s why it’s so important to fertilize the garden with action plans and positive thought and physical movement.

 

I cannot say I never worry anymore. What I can say is, I’ve found ways to stop worrying from taking root and in so doing my proactive actions have actually brought benefit to my life.

Don’t Let Autopilot Take Control of Your Life

Don’t Let Autopilot Take Control of Your Life

Do you wake up everyday, roll over and do what you can to squeeze in just a little more sleep? Or do you throw off the covers and leap into the day? Probably if you’re like most it’s a combination of both. However, you also probably incline in one direction or the other.

 

How much of your life happens without your direct input?

Going through your day you are asked to do things, big and small. How do you approach those? Do you complain about being asked? Try and foist responsibility on to others? Worry you aren’t capable and lament your miserable life?

 

Or do you relish the opportunity? Seek out the advice and help of others? Look at the request as an opportunity to learn and develop yourself and your capabilities? Once again you probably do a some of both, depending on the situation. And – once again you probably have a fall-back response for how you generally respond.

 

Automatic responses create an automatic life

These are important questions because our fall-back responses, the things we do automatically without much conscious thought at all are the things that end up directing the course of our lives.

 

By letting ourselves fall into patterns of behavior we create ruts in our lives. We stop looking at the possibilities and potentialities of each moment. We simply react as we always react. Those ruts worn into our days by habit ultimately become our lives.

 

Just because you are inclined to want to stay in bed doesn’t mean you can’t choose to throw the covers off and embrace the new day. Even if you don’t normally like to take on new challenges press pause on your automatic response and look at the potential upsides. You may learn something. Or end up helping someone. The experience might ultimately make you feel really good about yourself for one reason or another.

 

Allowing fallback responses to dictate your days is essentially the same as letting autopilot run your life. Paying attention to the moments and actually choosing what you’re going to do and how you’re going to react puts you in the driver’s seat. The driver’s seat is where you want to spend your days and ultimately the rest of your life.

Learning to Cultivate Patience

Learning to Cultivate Patience

When you ask people if there’s anything about themselves they’d change, an answer that almost always makes it near the front of the line is more patience. All of us have goals and desires and once we’ve settled on them we’d like to see them DONE as soon as possible. Yesterday would be nice.

 

What we can’t seem to get our heads around is that doing something worthwhile takes time. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Not every single worthwhile thing takes time and all things done quickly aren’t worthless. For instance, Paul McCartney dreamt the Beatles song “Yesterday” and scribbled it down upon waking in about a minute. There’s an example of brilliance finished – Yesterday! But in general, we’ve got to work longer and harder for our worthwhiles.

 

Time is the active ingredient in success

Let’s think about dinner. Sure, you can tear open a box of Kraft Dinner, boil, mix and have your meal ready in ten minutes. If you use the microwavable kind you can probably do it in a minute. That’s a perfectly serviceable dinner. However, if you want to have a worthwhile dinner experience you’ll read up on recipes. You’ll plan a menu, go shopping, cook, create ambience in the room, decorate the table. You will go to all kinds of lengths to make the experience memorable. All of that takes time. And  patience in the preparation.

 

The dinner experience can be extrapolated out in all kinds of ways. For instance, maybe you want to start running, but you’ve never run anywhere except to catch the bus. You might be able to run around the block right off the bat. And if that’s your first run, you’ll probably feel pretty good about that. But now that you’ve decided running is your thing, you have your heart set on the big race. A marathon.

 

Now you’re in preparation phase. You have to run every day. Set up a training schedule. Get the right shoes. Make a commitment to your running future. Unthinkable hours for the foreseeable future. When you finally cross that finish line after the race will all that time spent preparing be worth it? Absolutely.

 

Time spent is an investment in your future

Whether you’re looking to accomplish a specific goal, or land the right job, learn to play an instrument or become a motivational speaker, it won’t happen as fast as you wish. You will have to learn and practice and fail and do it all again. But all the time you spend doing those things is an investment in your ultimate success. Worth the time spent.

Make Your Choices Count Toward Your Future

Make Your Choices Count Toward Your Future

Some people are born great at something. Maybe it’s painting, or piano playing. Perhaps they are exceptional leaders from the get-go. That is fantastic. A potential career/life path is laid out for them and all they have to do is follow the yellow brick road to success. (Notwithstanding the work they have to do to actually get to Oz – or wherever their success destination is).

Choosing to aspire

Most of us though, look out over the horizon and rather than seeing ourselves succeeding at this thing we were born good at, see possibilities. The possibility that with work and determination, we could make ourselves good at X.

Turning a potential future into a manifest one

Imagining a possible future is all well and good, but without follow through that possibility on the horizon will never be anything more than a mirage.

You don’t have to be a born writer to eventually write a best seller. You do have to take writing classes and write all kinds of terrible things on the way to writing something good. You will mostly likely endure more rejection than your frail sensibilities feel like they can endure. You will have keep working at your craft every single day.

Continuing to write in the face of rejection is a choice. Taking more classes is a choice. So is the willingness to persist in the face of persistent rejection. Each choice we make today helps add weight and substance to the mirage on the horizon, thereby manifesting it into reality.

Choices create abilities

You don’t have to be born with an ability to eventually have it. Who you are and what you can do is the culmination of the choices you make every day. When you are born your future is an unwritten book. The choices you make will determine what is written on those pages.  Whether it is a story of success or complacency.