Magazine article Training & Development

Practice Your Own Successful Habits

Magazine article Training & Development

Practice Your Own Successful Habits

Article excerpt

In this column, I often write about what you can do to enhance your employability or find a new job. But this time, I want to take a stab at other subjects that I think are important if you want to have personal integrity at work and lead an "intentional" professional life. However, you may not find what I have to say politically correct.

Be an original. Try being an original at what you do, not a carbon copy of what you think business professionals are supposed to be like. It's a curious thing about the business world: Though it's often suspicious of creativity and originality if those are expressed in too-artful ways, it also craves such qualities for new products and services and as core elements in everything from marketing to management approaches.

Thus, I think it's important that you not sacrifice too much of yourself just to fit in. Oh sure, we all have to be team players. But I've often marveled at how far some people will go to fit in at work, to the extent of sacrificing their individuality, personality, and creativity. Be careful about checking too much of your identity at any employer's door. You may wind up feeling you've squandered yourself - and for what?

Of course, there can be costs associated with being creative. Perhaps you've known the aggravation of being "ahead of your time" with an idea at work. Or maybe others have saddled you with the label, creative. Some people think that's a career stopper. But if you happen to be creative, isn't it worse to squelch that just to conform? If you can't be creative at work, it may be time to move on.

That could mean a new organization or, at least, a new boss - someone who'll value you because your ideas are different or have an edge that doesn't always sit well with everyone.

Don't take things so seriously. Life's short. I hate to say it, but when I look around some workplaces, I see worn-out, dreary people racing towards retirement age faster than you can say, "Ensure." They are perennially stressed and wouldn't wish you "good morning" for fear it would be taken out of context. Don't let that be you. Ask yourself: "Have I lost my sense of humor? Do I think Dilbert is part of a subversive plot to overthrow the capitalist world? Has it been ages since I thought of myself as a romantic person?"

If you answer "yes" to those questions, you spend too much time at work. Start acting a little more like a kid. Become a proxy for Dilbert by injecting a little levity into that next client call or meeting. Acknowledge the absurdity of life at times and enlist others to your cause. People will appreciate it, and you may find yourself with some new clients or discover that your staff is more motivated. …

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