By TMoM Team Member Dennette Bailey
As the season of autumn is upon us, the time to review and renew may be an ever-present mind-set. This is an opportunity to reflect on our lives, be thankful, and make a renewed attempt to better ourselves.
For some of us, even when we try to avoid it, our career gives us a sense of purpose. We may even feel sometimes that our careers define who we are. How to have a sense of purpose regardless of work titles, however, is another blog. More pressingly, we will address five ways to a career of positive impact.
1 – Worry About Yourself
Years ago there was a funny video of a dad asking his young daughter if she needed help clipping in her seatbelt. After his prodding, the young girl eventually told her dad “Worry about yourself.” The video went viral and was quite funny because the child was so young but also because-now this is my opinion- the young child displayed a capacity to understand that she could focus and do her work if her dad would just stop interrupting her. She felt confident that she could accomplish her goal and that if she needed help, she would have asked for it. She makes this clear and clips herself in.
This could be a great lesson for us in our careers. So often we concentrate on what our co-workers or our leadership are not doing. We may become frustrated by their badgering us about our work. We may not realize that we could do our work, even if it took a little while, if we just focused on the parts we could do, believed in ourselves, and possessed the courage to keep going. It is hard to make the best of it when we are focused on what we cannot do because we believe someone else is pestering us, not helping us, or not doing, what we perceive as, their part. So, method one- worry about yourself.
2 – Seek Expert Advice about Your Career
It is ok to admit we do not know everything. It is even better to want to know more. If we do not feel comfortable seeking the advice of a direct supervisor, we can seek advice from experts in the field. There are many social groups that could correspond to our field. Seek these groups out and ask questions. Sometimes we may find that the person in leadership, even if they do not know how to communicate in a way we appreciate, are experts in the field. Seeking the advice of others could help us receive the advice of these supervisors in the future and help us separate the ineffective communication from the correct advice.
3 – Act Like You Own the Company
A company owner with a balanced work life that is. While bringing our work to the dining table will not be healthy for us or our family members, acting like the company is ours may help us appreciate better our role in the company. It may help us understand how we can go the extra mile to make the company and thus our own work life impactful. We might become better attuned to whether we are taking advantage if we viewed ourselves as the company owner who would not want the employees hurting the companies’ bottom line.
For example, we should try not to think of it as the company owing us the right to take supplies or an extra 20 minutes in lunch because we are not paid enough. Instead, we can make a commitment to do our best work. Then, when we need to say what we will not do (working extra hours without pay for example) we can say no confidently, because we know we are workers of integrity.
4 – Enjoy your Career
Make a commitment to enjoy your work. It is quite possible that at some point in our lives’ we will have a job, if not even a career, that we do not enjoy. Sometimes, we have not planned or been able to stick to an original plan and thus we just do not enjoy the job. We may be compelled to get rid of that career and find a job we enjoy. May I suggest though, that we consider first finding something we love about the career we already have. Find something. Even if it is just being able to be the person doing the part of the work no one else wants to do. See yourself then as the one saving everyone else from the “awful part” of the work and enjoy your miracle like powers.
If we can decide to find something to enjoy, when we do discover the career we love and enjoy, we will appreciate it that much more. I can remember myself working in a daycare center decades ago. It was the job of the daycare teachers to take turns cleaning the bathrooms and mopping the floors of the classrooms and halls. It was a dreadful job. Morale in the daycare center was exceptionally low because everyone felt they did not have the opportunity to be respected professionals since parents would come in and see them cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors.
Let me preface that cleaning is an honorable job. However, if we are not doing our dream job it does not feel good. That goes for cleaning or operating on patients. Admittedly, I too hated this part of the job. But one day I went to the director and asked her if I could be the person that cleaned the bathrooms and mopped the floors. She was in shock but elated that she would not have the job of dictating which teacher would have the dreadful cleaning job. This turned out to be an action that benefited me in more ways that I can mention in this blog. But I must tell you that morale amongst the teachers improved…in my opinion- 1000%.
I was a part-time employee, but every day I came to work all the teachers were happy to see me. The directors were happy, and children were being treated better because the teachers were not full of anxiety that they would be yanked out of the classroom to clean bathrooms and mop floors. In addition to cleaning skills, I learned that every job is important, regardless of how little it may seem. Doing this prepared me to be a business owner myself. This choosing to do the grunt work made me better.
5 – Be who You Want to Be
Having an impactful career is a choice. It is not based on your income or your title. It is based on you making the decision of what your work will look like each day and then bringing that to fruition. If we typically go to work unenthusiastic, we must start imagining ourselves’ enjoying going to work. We must see ourselves walking into the office and people appreciating us being there. We must see ourselves’ solving problems and motivating coworkers or clients. See it first and then believe it will be that way. Do it every day. We might pray and or meditate on a successful career that provides satisfaction. We should see ourselves’ making a positive impact and receiving positive impacts in return.
Notice that all these suggestions deal with us deciding and doing the work. We can only control our own actions, perceptions, and attitudes. If we wait for other people to make us feel valued or significant it will be difficult to have a steady, positive, and impactful career.
Today could be the start of your best career ever, not because of anything outside of you, but because of you!
For other ways you can make an impact this year, catch up on my blogs!