The majority of Americans feel unsatisfied at work, but you don’t have to. There is a certain thrill and satisfaction you get when achieving a goal. Sometimes, you work for months or years for one purpose — to buy a house, finish a project or write a book. All the while you have that one goal in mind as you get closer and closer to the finish line. However, if you enjoy and value the process of getting there, you’ll get there faster
Michael G. Pratt, PhD, a professor of management and organization at Boston College, told the old tale of three bricklayers at work. When asked what they’re doing, the first bricklayer responds, “I’m putting one brick on top of another.” The second replies, “I’m making six pence an hour.” And the third says, “I’m building a cathedral — a house of God.”
This is not a story about finding a meaning for your work — all the bricklayers have that — but taking pride in your work by building meaningful habits and staying engaged in your work.
A lot of articles tell leaders and managers what to do in order to increase their employee engagement, but the most productive employees are the ones who are self-motivated. After all, it doesn’t matter how many times my boss tells me how wonderful my work is, I have to come to the conclusion on my own. In this article, you’ll find some ways to stay engaged and satisfied at work.
Building a habit of working.
Working on your long-term goals is a good way to build meaningful habits and routines. Picking up a habit is not easy and takes work, but it’s long term effects are well known. Studies shows that it takes more than 40 days to build habits. When you’re working on a quarterly or a yearly goal, that is not such a long time.
One of the best habits you can have is reviewing your work weekly. In my recent book, “Step by Step Guide to OKRs” I talk about objectives and key results and the methodology for setting goals. One of the key aspects of that approach is updating your key results (tasks you need to get done) every week. To take it even further, take five minutes to see what you’ve accomplished every day. Make it into a habit, and enjoy daily fulfilment as this is what makes you love your work the most.
Take nothing for granted.
Even on the days your work seems to suck and everything is terrible, you can’t take your job for granted. Remember how many things have had to happen for the project, position or startup to exist in the first place. And you are the one who gets to work on that. This also brings up another important point: you are in your position because you are valuable enough to have it. There is a concept of taking ownership of one’s own work, which means standing up and saying “I’ll do that.” When you own your work, it can never own you.
Using your value for the better.
Most of the things that annoy us in our work are trivial mundane tasks that waste our time. The Pareto Principle states that we get 80 percent of our work done by doing 20 percent of the important tasks. To cut out the fake work, you need to decide each week what the most important tasks are for you. Ask yourself, which task moves me toward my long-term goal? You have to understand how the things you do align with your company’s goals.
Being able to do this throughout the work week is not only important for the production of your office. It’s vital for time management throughout the entire business. This is why sitting down at the beginning of the week and determining what has the greatest effect on your work is so essential.
Take a break.
If all else fails, take a break. Regular breaks at work are vital to stay satisfied and enjoy your work. As Buffer writes, “the human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days. Our brains are vigilant all the time because they evolved to detect tons of different changes to ensure our very survival. So focusing so hard on one thing for a long time isn’t something we’re ever going to be great at.” Our work culture demands us to work 80 hours a week, and this is not productive. Regular breaks make sure you don’t get bored and stay focused.
In the end, finding value on your journey toward your goals is all up to you. Arthur Brooks said, “There is no income level at which people are not desperate for meaning.” You get the meaning by searching for it, by looking for it and by creating it.
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Alexander Maasik
Time catches up with us faster than we think. As an entrepreneur, too much opportunity is squandered while waiting for the metaphorical four-leaf clover of luck to appear. Meanwhile, your prospects dwindle on the vine as you ineffectively struggle to reach your goals by merely hoping for them.
In reality, if you want luck, you have to be in action. After all, how can luck find you if you’re not out there to be found? However, you don’t necessarily need to work harder to achieve success…just smarter. So, it’s time to work smarter and draw luck to yourself. Here’s how.
1. Do More
Inefficiency is the death of productivity and the attainment of that ever-elusive pot of gold. Don’t think you have enough time in the day to get more done? Think again!
Entrepreneurs often labor under the false mindset that they must toil from sunup to sundown, even if the tasks at hand don’t require that much time to complete. This approach is a recipe for burnout and self-inflicted busy work.
Don’t stretch your to-do list to fit the number of hours available. Instead of dragging out a project that could be accomplished in half the time, invest the extra time finding ways to better yourself and your business.
It’s not always easy to recognize one’s own tendency to waste time, so test it out by closely monitoring how long it takes you to cross off daily activities. Know thyself. And once you’ve recovered those precious hours, do more.
Sharpen your skillset by finding and attending networking events. Get out there and get after what you want. After all, there are many valuable reasons why millennials should network.
2. Work on Your Odds
You can’t please everyone.
We’ve all heard this in one form or another, but it’s much harder to live by than to understand intellectually. Believe me, rejection stings even more when you have to learn to embrace it. But it’s worth doing anyhow.
Chances are, the majority of people you encounter will not understand your vision. It won’t matter how unique or compelling it is. Despite this, it’s important to keep sight of the fact that there are those who will “get it,” and encounters with these supporters will outweigh any naysayers.
Don’t let fear of rejection prevent you from seeking out support from others. Use rejection as a source of strength. In fact, let it drive you to put yourself out there even more, increasing your odds of a “yes” to collaboration or funding.
Remember this: If you don’t roll the dice, the probability of a partnership is nil.
3. Give More
In business, we like to imagine ourselves to be lone wolves out in the wilderness, fighting to survive amidst treachery and cut-throat circumstances. The life of an entrepreneur can be extremely stressful, and it’s easy to become self-centered in the face of overwhelming pressure.
But this is a negative way to look at the world, and whether or not you believe in karma, most people agree that positivity can create unprecedented returns.
Let’s dispel the illusion that you can only get ahead by leaving others behind. Stay focused on your goals, but remind yourself that your positivity contributes to an environment that will one day reciprocate it. Go out of your way to be compassionate toward fellow entrepreneurs and colleagues.
On top of that, be mindful that stress can be a detriment to your work life and damage your health. In giving back selflessly, you may find that your stress decreases and new opportunities crop up unexpectedly.
Luck is a finicky achievement at its best and a dangerous delusion at its worst. Somewhere in between, though, is the happy coincidence of hard work, good people, and being in the right place at the right time.
Originally posted by Susie Plascencia on theunicornintheroom.com
Before I started Vanderbloemen Search Group , I was a pastor for many years. And during that time, I had the immense honor and weighty responsibility of officiating several funerals for people who served in our armed forces.
If you’ve ever been to a veteran’s funeral, you’ve probably seen the casket draped in the United States Flag. I remember presiding over both of my grandfathers’ funerals and watching the servicemen painstakingly remove, fold, and present the flags to my grandmothers during the services.
I used to wonder, “Why do we keep the flag? Why not let the fallen soldier take it with him to his grave?” Through the ages, people have sent mementos to accompany the departed. Whether it was enormous treasures for Pharaohs in Egypt, horses buried with departed generals, or even a stuffed animal with a deceased child, we have a long history of burying belongings with the dead. So why not the flag with the fallen soldier?
Then, a few years ago, a friend of mine explained it to me.
This is a significant lesson to keep in mind as we remember our fallen heroes this weekend. We recall their falling with grief, we honor their sacrifice with gratitude, and we celebrate the fact that, because of them, our flag still flies. And because of that, we walk on with hope and courage.
Entrepreneurs, can you see the parallels to the hope needed as you lead your business? For me, I feel called to stay in close touch with the cause behind my business. Without the cause, my spirit might falter every time we run into a challenge or experience a failure. And if I’m not running fast after our cause, how can I expect my team to run fast after it as well? Will you hold fast to the cause for which you are providing a solution or will you falter as problems arise?
The soldier may have fallen, but the flag still flies. We may suffer failures from new ideas, bad hires, or leadership mistakes. We may face setbacks from growing pains, economic frustrations, and difficult clients. But the flag of our mission, our “why” behind all we do, still flies.
When I focus on our larger cause, I’m reminded that those failures are only temporary setbacks, not the death of the cause. When I focus on our cause, I see a new problem as an opportunity to solve a new challenge for our clients. And likewise, when it’s the end of my time at my company and I pass the baton on to the next leader, the flag of the mission will still fly.
Our fallen soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I’m not minimizing that. Nor do I want to over-dramatize our business lives. But today can serve as a timely reminder for entrepreneurs to ask themselves, “Does my business have a cause that can outlast major setbacks and outlast me?” If not, spend time reflecting on the reason you started your business and the cause that fueled your passion to start it.
Take time today to remember the fallen heroes of our armed forces. Thank God for those who have laid down their life to preserve our national freedom. And let that theme guide you to reflect on how you can focus your business around a cause more permanent than ever. It may make the difference between surviving your next bump in the road or not.
Originally posted on Forbes by William Vanderbloemen
There may be a hundred remarkable character traits that define you or your favorite successful small business owner. When you compare the entrepreneurs behind successful small businesses, however, a handful of traits rise to the top.
Here are some of the most common and powerful character traits that describe small business owners who have started successful businesses.
Most small business owners are driven to succeed; they want to see their businesses grow, from startup to established business. Drive is a very common characteristic among successful entrepreneurs because starting a business can be challenging, and some challenges call for a moderate amount of competitiveness, determination and motivation.
Drive can take a small business owner far, provided there is a target to be reached. Without SMART goals and the ability to focus on the actions required to reach those goals, success can be elusive. Most successful business owners take time to set goals so they have clarity about where they are going and how they intend to get there.
Confidence is a very powerful character trait that can instill trust, facilitate respect, and often lead to increased success. The most successful business owners have a steady, quiet confidence that doesn’t border on arrogance or egotism.
It can be very difficult to overcome the challenges of starting and running a successful business without a true passion for your work. Some of the most successful small business owners have either directly developed businesses based on their passions, or they are able to incorporate things they are passionate about into the day-to-day operation of their businesses.
Since a significant part of business success can be related to financial success, most successful small business owners become very savvy at creating budgets and sticking to them as they manage the operation of their businesses. This ability to know what funds you have available, where to reduce expenses, and how to make smart decisions when it comes to spending can often determine the success of a small business.
While building and managing a team may be an important part of some small businesses, many successful entrepreneurs also have a defined self-reliance. The ability to think and act independently, without the input of others, is a very common trait among successful small business owners.
Many entrepreneurs may be self-reliant, but the most successful are also able to ask for help when they need it, give credit where credit is due, admit when they are wrong, and accept constructive criticism. These small business owners have an ability to keep their feet on the ground during even the most satisfying accomplishment, and never forget where they started from.
Being a small business owner comes with its up and downs; there are victories, setbacks, chaos and calm waters. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who are resilient and able to bounce back after an unexpected challenge and get back up after facing a setback.
Many small business owners handle a vast array of responsibilities in their businesses, wearing many different hats during the course of the workday. The ability to block out distractions and focus on the immediate issue, task or goal as well as the bigger picture can be a key trait in a successful entrepreneur.
While focus is an important trait found in most successful small business owners, it’s also important to keep an open mind and consider different perspectives. Small business owners who are willing to consider alternative ideas and try new processes may be more likely to reach significant levels of success.
thanks to Alyssa Gregory from thebalance.com
Ask successful people how they achieved their success and you’ll hear words like “hard work,” “sacrifice,” and “persistence.”Dig a little deeper and you’ll find some other common attitudes and habits, like these:
1. They know their success was only inevitable in hindsight.
Read stories of successful entrepreneurs and it’s easy to think they have some intangible entrepreneurial something–ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity, whatever–that you don’t have. Wrong. Success is inevitable only in hindsight. It’s easy to look back on an entrepreneurial path to greatness and assume that every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion. It wasn’t. Success is never assured. Only in hindsight does it appear that way. If you’re willing to work hard and persevere, who you are is more than enough. Don’t measure yourself against other people. Pick a goal and measure yourself against that goal–that is the only comparison that matters.
2. They decided to choose themselves.
Once you had to wait: to be accepted, to be promoted, to be selected–to somehow be “discovered.” Not anymore. Access is nearly unlimited; you can connect with almost anyone through social media. You can publish your own work, distribute your own music, create your own products, attract your own funding. You can do almost anything you want–and you don’t have to wait for someone else to discover your talents. The only thing holding you back is you–and your willingness to try.
3. They help others succeed, knowing that ensures they will succeed.
No one accomplishes anything worthwhile on his or her own. Great bosses focus on providing the tools and training to help their employees better do their jobs–and achieve their own goals. Great consultants put their clients’ needs first. Great businesses go out of their way to help and serve their customers. And as a result, they reap the rewards. If you’re in it only for yourself, then someday you will be by yourself. If you’re in it for others, you’ll not only achieve success. You’ll also have plenty of real friends.
4. They know that sometimes the best way to finish first is to be the last.
Success is often the result of perseverance. When others give up, leave, stop trying, or compromise their principles and values, the last person left is often the person who wins. Other people may be smarter, better connected, more talented, or better funded. But they can’t win if they aren’t around at the end. Sometimes it makes sense to give up on ideas, projects, and even businesses–but it never makes sense to give up on yourself. The one thing you can always be is the last person to give up on yourself.
5. They do what no one else is willing to do.
The extra mile is a lonely place, because almost no one goes there. Go there–as often as you can.
6. They don’t network. They truly connect.
Often the process of building a network takes on a life of its own and becomes a numbers game. You don’t need numbers. You need real connections: people you can help, people you can trust, people who care. So forget numbers. Reach out to the people whom you want to be part of your life–even if just your professional life–for a long time. When you do, forget about receiving and focus on providing; that’s the only way to establish a real connection and relationship. Make lasting connections and you create an extended professional family. You’ll be there when they need you, and they will be there when you need them.
7. They think, but more important, they do.
Strategy is not a product. Binders are filled with strategies that were never implemented. Develop an idea. Create a strategy. Set up a rudimentary system of operations. Then execute, adapt, execute some more, and build a solid operation based on what works. Success isn’t built on strategy. Success is built through execution. Incredibly successful people focus on executing incredibly well.
8. They know “leader” is a title that is earned, not given.
“Leaders” aren’t just the guys who double the stock price in six months, or the gals who coerce local officials into approving too-generous tax breaks and incentives, or the guys who are brave enough to boldly go where no man has gone before. (If you don’t get that last reference, you’re too young. Or I’m too old. Probably both.) Those are examples of leadership–but typically the kind of leadership that is situational and short-lived. Real leaders consistently inspire, motivate, and make you feel better about yourself than you might even think you have a right to feel. They’re the kind of people you’ll follow not because you have to but because you want to. You’ll follow them anywhere–and you’ll follow them forever, because they have a knack for making you feel like you aren’t actually following. Wherever you’re headed, you always feel like you’re going there together. Creating that bond takes time.
9. They see success as an outcome, not a driver.
Ever heard someone say, “If I got promoted, then I would work harder”? Or, “If the customer paid more, then I would do more”? Or, “If I thought there would be a bigger payoff, I would be willing to sacrifice more”? Successful people earn promotions by first working harder. Successful businesses earn higher revenue by first delivering greater value. Successful entrepreneurs earn bigger payoffs by first working hard, well before any potential return is in sight. Most people expect to be compensated more before they will even consider working harder. Incredibly successful people see compensation as the reward for exceptional effort, not the driver–whether that reward is financial or personal or simply the satisfaction that comes from achieving what you worked incredibly hard to achieve.
10. They wish you knew there really are no dirty little secrets.
Except this one: There are no magic bullets. There are no shortcuts. There are no hacks. Success–in whatever you choose to pursue–is always achieved through hard work and persistence. It’s easier to assume that other people succeed because they have something you don’t have. But in reality, the primary difference is that they are willing to do something you won’t do. So go do it.
By Felix H – LifeHack Daily