Remember that old saying “You Are What You Eat”?
I do. I remember posters in the school cafeteria, ads in magazines, and a lot of chortled high-school jokes, most of them in good fun.
“Don’t be a grouch. What’d you eat for breakfast, anyway — prickly pears?”
We got the message.
My colleagues in the National Speakers Association put a different twist on this concept. Ron says, “You are what you do, not what you talk about doing.” Chris says, “Talking about writing isn’t writing. Writing is writing.”
I get those messages, too. So much so that I have a saying posted in my house that says, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”
When I hear people talk about taking a class, or learning to knit, or improving their professional skills, I think it’s great! They have made a proclamation. What is even better is when they take their first real step.
Three weeks ago a client told me that he wants his department to work more collaboratively. He told me that they work in silos, each doing their own thing. I asked him, “What’s your plan?” He chuckled and said, “My plan was to call you and have YOU figure it out.”
Recently, my friend told me that she intends to run a marathon in May. Even though she is currently running just a few miles a day, taking the first steps (literally) builds momentum. When she showed me her running plan, I believed she would do it. More importantly, she believes she will do it. And regardless of when or if this marathon occurs, she is getting more fit and more determined each day.
Let me invite you to consider, whether your goal is an individual goal or a group goal, whether you set your own milestones or work with a partner, that you are what you act on. You are what you eat. Your intentions aren’t you, your actions are you.
I am thrilled that someone I coach is starting a new business. He’s been talking about it for years. Recently he put together a business plan and he opened a business checking account. He is diligently working on a website. How fabulous!
Our lives aren’t happening somewhere else, or at some other time. We aren’t the people we are going to become — we’re the people we currently are. Living in the present means doing what we believe in, now. Let me know what goals you are living.
There is only one person in the world you can control. And you know who that person is!! Go look in the mirror! And while you’re there, give yourself a thumbs up.
It’s not easy to bring your best self to work everyday — but you do. OK… maybe not last Friday, but who’s counting? Do you take time to truly appreciate all you accomplish throughout the day? That’s why I’m a big proponent of the concept of self management:
Being your own boss even when your paycheck is cut by someone else.
But self management requires a shift in attitude, an acceptance that effective praise does not have to (even though it is nice when it does) come from outside sources. You know when you’ve put in your best work — and the effort it took to get it done.
So before you move on to your next task after filing that complex budget report, step back and acknowledge what you’ve achieved with a good old “Yay Me!” Maybe even take yourself out for a coffee. Not only will you notice a self-esteem boost, you might also see a surge in productivity, just like when you have a boss who is good at delivering positive feedback.
And do you appreciate yourself when a colleague says something snarky, and you choose to hold your tongue? Or when you see something really inappropriate, and you find just the right time and place to address it one-on-one? Or, for those of you who have trouble speaking up, do you silently applaud yourself when you pitch an idea at the meeting? We need to appreciate both our tangible work efforts AND the way we notice and manage our emotions and interactions.
While it’s true that you are the only one you can control, it’s also true that your opinion of you has a huge impact on your ability to succeed. So look within, and in 2018 be the best manager you’ve ever had!
“What are you doing?” my daughter asked as I fumbled around my dashboard. “I’m looking for the seat heater,” I replied. On the car I had owned for two years, I might add. She rolled her eyes (as only daughters can do) and effortlessly punched the button that had eluded me.
I had earned that eye roll. I was so overwhelmed with driving, thinking, and talking, that I simply couldn’t successfully add another task. I would die of embarrassment in admitting this, if I thought I were the only one to have a seat heater moment. But I know I’m not. I watch people at work all the time doing their own version. They’re on computers, with two screens going, and they’re checking email, and they’re trying to have a conversation. And they aren’t doing any of them well.
Our minds are fabulous muscles, and can do all kinds of things, but they can’t do them all at one time. We’ve bought into the multi-tasking-is-good mindset. But I’m here to tell you, it’s a hoax.
Here’s the real secret to time management:
- Focus on one thing at a time.
- Take frequent breaks.
- In between even small tasks, take a long, gentle, calming breath.
- Shut off those email and text notifications.
- Stay on-task and in the moment.
You’ll be more productive, attentive, and calm — and maybe even avoid an eye-roll or two!