Yes, of course there are other options. There are always the options to step back, step down or step sideways. So many people sub-consciously choose not to step up just to find themselves somewhere they don’t want to be because they didn’t make that positive choice. Others don’t take any steps and wonder why they feel as if they are drifting away from what they think they want. Progress comes through choice and application of energy. Are you giving your future your best energy?
If you choose to make a brave choice I have some practical ways to help you step up and raise your performance:
- Stop multi-tasking. Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking (or serial tasking) is really shifting from one task to another, and the result is usually a reduction in overall productivity by around 40%. It can sometimes be necessary, but it’s rarely efficient. Practice doing focused work. Stay in the zone for 50 minutes then take a 10 minute break. This strategy will give you the ability to stay focused for longer periods and create high quality output.
- Keep moving forward even if you’re only managing baby steps. Remember that staying in motion creates momentum and this can be a force to be reckoned with. Don’t hesitate to start small with the simple task of jotting down a plan then taking lots of small steps that enable you to experience progress. A little success breeds more success!
- Don’t just write “To Do” lists, also write a “To Be” list. Sometimes we are so strategic at work that we forget to be more strategic about our personal growth. It’s extremely difficult to rise without growing our character and tenacity. For example, in order “to be” a loving partner, wife or husband, you need to express love in the way your spouse likes to receive it, which is often not the way that’s easiest for you. If you want to be an effective parent, it’s strategic to spend weekly one-on-one time with each child doing something they love. Raising your performance at home will always have a positive overflow effect on your work life. You feel so good about yourself and others get the benefit.
- Be a radical change agent by consistently doing the same important things every single day. “Being faithful is the new radical” says business leader and author Michael Hyatt. “It’s more radical than you think. So many people show spurts of greatness only to stumble at the first hurdle and stop. Faithfulness and consistency are the stuff that give strength and significance to social movements”. Chuck Swindoll says “Leadership has more moments of the mundane than the magnificent”. There’s a lot of success for those who keep showing up!
- Commit to be pleasant - reasonable wouldn’t hurt either! Determine to be a person who doesn’t get angry or fly off the handle when things aren’t going right. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, get in the habit of taking 3 deep breaths before doing or saying anything. Self-control is a major step up. It’s not always easy but you can make it a habit by practice.
- Train yourself to have a friendly voice on the phone. Practice smiling as you speak. Smiling needs to become your default position. Your voice will come out much sweeter through a smiling mouth. If you only think you smile you may need a mirror by the phone so you can see if your face is displaying a teeth revealing smile. Remember, smiling makes you beautiful… And a nicer person to follow!
- Use words that inspire and uplift you. Some words encourage and enable while other words help us to believe in ourselves and our dreams. Choose the words you want to hear everyday and say them to yourself. Don’t wait for others - you might wait a lifetime. Many people don’t understand the power of choosing positive, proactive, engaging words for themselves. Try saying the following words out loud to yourself and see how they make you feel. Then shape a list of words tailored to your needs:
Imagine. Dream. Get excited. Act enthusiastic. Be determined. Play with possibilities. Create options. Step up to the challenge. Renew your thinking. Pursue excellence.
Dare to be more. Stand out. Laugh a lot. Be different. Love extravagantly. Always be learning. Listen. Dream. Think some more. Encourage yourself. Begin now. Step up!