I was thinking: "if there were 5 things I could tell my son about what I've learnt in 40 years of self employment and 5 years as an employee of a company, what would they be? It took 10 seconds to come up with them, then two hours to explain it. This article is roughly the result.
1. Look after Yourself
If you don't have a life - work becomes too important. If work becomes too important the fun and joy goes out of it. I tried always to make work a part of my enjoyment rather than separate from it. So, in the worst times of my business life, I was playing hard outside of work (includes my sporting career) and just surviving, exhausted at work. The result of not looking after myself was always disappointment in my work life because work fed my ego and I was hoping for success because I simply felt like crap at home. That didn't work. Sometimes it was the opposite. I was having such a great home life, in love, scuba diving, surfing, playing Olympic hopeful that work became this horrible black hole that kept me from what I loved. So, I now define looking after myself and turning up in all the areas of my life, happy. Blur the Line between work and play.
2. Work is a Mind Game
You don't need a psychologist to iron out your mental spaghetti, you need a good job that challenges you to do something you think is important. In this little adventure all your mental spaghetti will be flushed to the surface by customers, peers, boss', partner, and of course, your self talk. Just remember that blame doesn't work and if you have any sort of reaction to any sort of person and take anything that happens to you personally, (revealed as stress and exhaustion, anger and frustration) it's your shit, not theirs. The most important business skill, )career skill) is the ability to grow out of your judgements and emotional reactions into enjoyment again. Rebound, but be careful. There's a massive amount of quick fix medicine out there to trick you into thinking you unravelled your mental spaghetti but really just parked it. Emotional intelligence, meditation, corporate coaching and changing jobs are just a few (oh, and alcohol). Work is a mind game, your beliefs will make and break you in your career. Make sure there's no "parking" of judgements about people and clear your mind of doubt. (this is what I do for clients) "Believe in Yourself"
You know me. I've been to hell and back in relationships and love. It's been my initiation of fire. Running my companies and working with change around the world has been a cakewalk for me compared to the fire of relationships I've been through. But that's taught me something so key to business it's not even funny. Without love, people die. When depressions or addictions are on the table for people, it's the lack of love in their heart that's causing it. Love is, after all, the end result of being a human being. We are born to love. Love is not a possessive quality, love can be for a flower, or for three children you don't see for years, or for a job that hammers your head against a wall, or for that driver who runs you off the road, or a shit boss or client. Love is your only freedom and if you want to be successful at work, you need to empower yourself to love people, love work, love clients, just like you love a flower. Anything else is simply ugly and giving your power away. Believe me I've tried both paths. The loveless work life, fails. The love filled life, creates great work.
4. Trust Yourself
You are different. You might look like someone else, you might speak the same words as someone else, but you are different and people will tell you night and day, don't be. Ignore that. You'll only be happy, successful and respected for your unique differences not your "me too." Avoid buying into corporate culture but choose instead to comply with it. Avoid organised religion but choose to comply with it. All culture rules and laws are created out of fear, so, comply means respect the values and culture you live in but don't for one second usurp your own values. Just work out how to play in the game. Jesus said it "be in the world (conform to cultural expectations) but not of the world (know yourself and your truth.) This separation builds trust in yourself and leads to so much calm you'll live and love long enough to spend the money you saved from work :-). Be different and yet conform.
5. No More Nice Guy
Business and work is a sport. Friendships made at work are fragile. Be friendly, but best not be friends. Skip the social boozy events with work colleagues. Treat work like a sporting event. It's really a smile to everyone at the start of the race and maybe collaboration in training, but at the end of the day, who crosses the line first, gets the best results, will be remembered and rewarded. Everyone else sinks into the list of "who's out next." The art of business is rationalisation, less people, more profit. (Unless you're an internet startup or pharmaceutical firm where costs are virtually inconsequential to profit). In most business, the less people we can employ to get most work and profit done, and the less we can pay for those jobs that aren't vital, the better. Consider all work a competition to be at the top, and not just emotionally which will be called bullying or harassment, I mean performance results (sales etc). All the rest is a fog. Life is a Game, Play it.
After consulting to people and business now for 45 years, I know the cause of failure and success. Evolving. One man who attended my training said "I thought I'd had 15 years experience selling real estate but now I realise I've had 1 year experience, 15 times. Grow, evolve, learn, challenge yourself, go back to school, not emotional but in leadership, business. Learn to do something that adds value to your unique offering in the world. Evolve past your past. Move into new fields. Try things but do all this off line. What do I mean? Well, an airline pilot does not learn how to fly a new plane in real time. They do it in simulators and now we have online universities and training, you too can qualify as a heart surgeon from the internet (not really but you get what I mean). Be coached, mentored and always look for opportunities but, and this is it, learn a new skill before you look for a new job, not through it. Grow Yourself Young.
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