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Powerful Practices for Excellence in Work (and in Life) – Part Two

By Patricia G Omoqui

Did you take steps towards being your personal best after reading last week’s article?  If so, great job!  Keep going.  If not, this is your week to get started.

Please remember that the journey to excellence should be fun.  Being your best is not about putting pressure on yourself or trying to please others.  It is about learning to see the opportunity in every circumstance.  We have choices:  do we get bitter or grow bitter?  Do we complain or do we seek wisdom?  Do we judge or look for the best in others?  When we choose to find the gift in everything, life becomes an unfolding adventure of self-expression and self-expansion.

Enjoy trying these steps towards excellence.

1. Life is your stage.  Give your best performance.  Shakespeare said, “Life is a stage.”  Each role you take on, each project you do, each title you have is a chance to express yourself and shine.  Give each day the most energy and enthusiasm you can.  Imagine going to a concert.  If the performer walked onto stage low on energy and high in self-doubt, how would the audience react?  The answer is obvious.  So why do we sometimes approach our work this way?

If you are depleted, facing personal challenges or not getting adequate rest, then you need a way to fill your energy tank.  You need strength and focus to do your best on the stage of life.

Your best may vary from day to day but you are not in a competition with others.  Compete with yourself to be your personal best.  Cooperate with others and be inspired by their achievements.  Tell yourself, “That’s great.  If he can do it, I can do it too.”  Make the most of this play of life.

2. Dress and Act Professionally.  Take a second look at the way you dress for work.  Be conscious of the image you create with the clothes you choose.  Be sure you are dressing for respect.

Women, don’t distract men with seductive clothing.  Don’t compromise your standards and think that your sexual appeal or performance will help you climb the ladder.  This a short-term measure that can ruin your long-term reputation.

Men, keep gender issues out of the office.   Give your attention to the ability of your female co-workers not their sensuality.  Make sure your compliments are work related.  What we give out comes back to us.  Who knows, a woman you pressure sexually today may decide your salary tomorrow.

It’s good to be friendly and cooperative at work.  Personal connections can strengthen professional relationships.  However, too much talk of personal dramas could hinder your performance and even diminish the level of respect you receive from colleagues.

3. Be Positive:  What you focus on is what grows.  How often do you complain to yourself or aloud about your job, your co-workers or your boss?  Ask yourself whether you are contributing to a negative environment or generating a positive atmosphere.

Take this one-week challenge.  Every day, purposefully choose to notice anything-even the seeming small and insignificant things-that you like about your job, your co-workers and your boss.  Refuse to participate in negativity.  If you are usually critical, this may feel a bit uncomfortable.  People may be surprised if you are quiet and shocked if you say something uplifting.  That’s okay.  Give this a genuine, wholehearted try.  You might even ask friends and family members to join you in this challenge.

After a week of practice, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover all the good things that you had overlooked.

Even difficult work environments have some pluses.  Happy people aren’t those with perfect conditions; they are individuals who maintain positive attitudes and an optimistic outlook.  They are also people who generate more energy and power to enjoy their lives and reach their goals!

4. Seize opportunities. – Do you ever have inspired ideas for ways to improve things at work?  What do you do with these thoughts?  As author Curtis Grant said, “Having the world’s best idea will do you no good unless you act on it.  People who want milk shouldn’t sit on a stool in the middle of a field in hopes that a cow will back up to them.”

See inefficiencies as an opportunity to find a solution.  If the improvement is within your power to change (with no need for approval) then do it!   If it isn’t, follow through by approaching your boss.  Use diplomacy.  Be aware that suggestions that change the status quo may make people uncomfortable.    Be sensitive not critical.

Be willing to think outside the box and be willing to put care and creativity into your work.  Average workers and business people tend to be talk-oriented; those who excel and succeed are action-oriented.  When you seize opportunities they have a way of multiplying.

5. Be Persistent.  Don’t get upset when your plans go awry and your expectations are disappointed.  Instead, choose to view seeming roadblocks as opportunities to learn and grow.  Consider the words of Thomas Edison, the man who attempted 3,000 different designs before inventing a successful incandescent light bulb:  “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Give your best consistently no matter the situation.  You are sure to be rewarded over time.

“Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records” (William Arthur Ward).    Be a record breaker!  Apply determined focus and perseverance.

6. Create a lasting impression.  Be friendly.  Smile.  Take time to connect with fellow employees and customers in a way that builds understanding and extends kindness.   In doing so, you will leave a lasting mark wherever you work.  Look into other people’s eyes.  See the best in them just as you would like them to see the best in you.  Build rapport that keeps people coming back.  Consistent courtesy and thoughtfulness leaves a lasting impression.  Keep people coming back.  Show them you value them.  Go the extra mile.

Your assignment this week is identical as that of last week.   Choose one of this week’s steps that resonated with you and give it your full attention.   Try to integrate the concept into your work.  Once you’ve mastered one step, you may want to start on another.
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