Approach with care

A slight time delay in typing this one...

26/07/10 - UK

There are some things which crop up in both of the major areas of my life - work training. Just as well really, it helps to confirm my belief that hobbies promote and develop behaviours and attitudes which can prove invaluable in the work environment.

The one that baffles me in both is nested in people's approach. "I want something different to the outcome that I'm getting now. But I'm going to resist at every turn the suggestion that I should do anything different from that which I've done to this point."

Maybe it's just me but I don't understand! A different output requires a difference in its creation. However, while we are busy not changing, the world around us, or at the very least, our competition, is shifting. In these circumstances we find that although we've not done anything differently the result is not the same.

So, what to do? Well, for many, frequently even the very bright, the solution is to keep doing the same thing and hope the situation changes back. When I was a student a friend and I dubbed this "pulling the duvet over my head until it [the issue/monster] goes away". Curiously, it never worked well with assignment deadlines; housemate issues or work problems. I can tell you that it is categorically the wrong approach to take with a beer and curry hangover.

There is, I feel, a degree of entitlement lying at the heart of this. "I am here, I am me, I deserve more".
"For what?" Quoth I, a whizz with the repartee.
"Come again?" goes the riposte.
"What are you doing differently? What have you done to expand your offering? Have you developed yourself or your focus? What is on the move that was stationary before?"
"Ah, I see" says the blind man.

You see, if I look at myself in a work environment. I am paid x amount for my role, it is a rate agreed before I started. I have grown a little. So, I might hope that I would get paid to reflect that. However, I do not get much chance to employ these new resources and in any event, the world is such that the business is not growing the way that we might like. So then, why should my salary? My job at this point, my mission at this stage is to identify:-

  • The opportunities to do something different.
  • My inclination to seize these opportunities

I should be doing this anyway but now it is a matter of survival and growth- my own and my business. Get these right and our mutual earnings might start to better reflect it.

So, back to the point -

  • What are you getting at the moment?
  • What do you need to do to ensure the results stay as you'd like them?
  • If the results are not what you want, what can you do to change it?
    - get somebody to do something different
    - do something different yourself
    - walk away
  • What's the result you want? (If you can't figure that out, you don't have an issue. Deal with it!)
  • What are you prepared to do? (These last two are frequently different)
  • What do you need to take this action?
  • If you are not prepared to take the action required, STOP... Stop whining!

So, you've identified a choice and several options. Not taking them is a matter of priorities - yours do not lie in the resolution of what you had considered to be a problem. That's not a value statement. It is neither good nor bad, it just is! But if it is and it is your "is", please stop complaining - after all, you are in essence just complaining about yourself. Don't do that, there are more than enough people ready to do just that!

As for comparing yourself against others, please stop that too! Their being, their circumstances, their conditions are not yours and unless you are going head to head in an event, there is no comparison. Even in that situation the outcome is absolute but it does not necessarily reflect who has achieved more to that point.

Be your own arbiter. Yes it is good to compare others, there is a degree of satisfaction to be had from appearing better than them but what if you seem better from less effort? How do you judge that unused potential? How do you compare them? Sure, we'd all take it, but think of the implications for you...

In truth that comparison is for somebody else, and a pat on the head is nice, but if you spend your whole life waiting for, looking for somebody else's approval you are likely to spend a lot of time disappointed and frustrated.

Learn to be comfortable with yourself. Only then will you begin to be able to recognise the choices open to you, the opportunities to change...and be more likely to seize on them.

But then, in the short-term at least, it can be easier to just keep doing what you've always done!

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