As you move through your career, it’s important to determine where you set the bar for yourself – despite where the bar is set for the place you work – which will always be lower. I’ve compiled this list of “rules” that I’ve sort of adopted through the years and made my own. Take what works for you and throw the rest aside.
1. KNOW WHAT YOU STAND FOR
Ground yourself in those values. This is especially crucial when things aren’t going well at work. Decide who you are going to be in any situation – and don’t waver. Walk away the bigger person. Look at yourself regularly in the mirror.
2. GET OVER YOURSELF
One of the greatest compliments a boss ever paid me when introducing me to a new staff was “He has no ego”. It was something I never even realized about myself. Ego is just a bunch of bluster to hide insecurities. Be confident in your abilities and there’s nothing to hide. Admit when you’re wrong. Admit when you screwed up. Liars are littered across the landscape. Rise above them.
3. FEEL COMPELLED TO DO SOMETHING? DON’T
Chances are, your fight or flight instincts are activated. Take time to reflect before you react. Being impulsive can be a double-edged sword. Never send an e-mail in haste or in anger. It will come back to bite you in the butt. And never begin an e-mail with the word “I”. It comes across as instantly condescending.
4. TAKE (CALCULATED) RISKS
Move out of your comfort zone. And remain there. Nothing important happens when you’re in a safe place. There is no reward with no risk. Take the word “uncomfortable” out of your vocabulary. Nobody cares if you’re uncomfortable. Life is supposed to be uncomfortable.
5. DON’T ATTEMPT TO MULTI-TASK. IT’S A MYTH
We are only capable of doing one task at a time – period. Multi-tasking is just a buzz word for changing your focus from task to task. Each time you change your focus, you increase the time it takes to complete that task by 25%.
6. DON’T QUIT
The temptation to quit any activity is greatest just before you are about to succeed. Move forward. The past is nothing but a faded cloud of misremembering.
Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Nap when you can. And recognize a regular bedtime. Party on the weekends only.
8. TURN OFF THE TECH
Rarely is any e-mail, call or text so urgent as to demand your immediate attention. Choose times to be unavailable – and enforce them regularly. Being reachable 24/7 is not a trait to take pride in. Don’t take a job where you are required to be “on call” 24/7. You don’t want to work for those people. Don’t buy in to the accepted rules of Social Media. Participate at your own pace.
9. WORK SMARTER
We are human beings. We are not computers. Working 12-hour days at 50% capacity is much less productive than working 5 hours at full speed.
10. PLAN FOR THE BEST. ANTICIPATE FOR THE WORST
Accept the worst thing that could possibly happen & quantify it. Rarely is the worst consequence nearly as bad as what you imagine it would be. Always, always have a Plan B.
11. DON’T REACT TO COMPETITORS
Force the competition to react to you. When you take on the role of a leader, more often than not, they’ll fall in line as followers.
12. SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEMS.
There’s nothing more empowering. Ask your co-worker for an opinion, even if you have absolutely no interest in what they think. Allow people to be heard. Allow people to feel a part of the solution.
13. LIGHTEN UP
Our success is 50% hard work and 50% luck. And so is everyone else’s. Recognize there are some things out of your control. Let other people shine once in a while. You don’t need to always take the credit.
14. BREAK RULES. EVEN THESE
Nobody gets extra points for playing by the rules.