Becoming a successful employee typically means maximizing your strengths, addressing your weaknesses… and acquiring new skills that make you more valuable to your company. That’s why seminars, workshops and off-sites are an integral part of many organizations.
But what if our plates are already full? What if we take on more responsibilities and work longer hours because we’re dedicated and it just seems like the right thing to do? While loyalty and professionalism is admirable, you can’t ignore the law of diminishing returns. At some point, if you’re not careful, fatigue can eat away at your enthusiasm and your performance will suffer. Burnout is the worst-case scenario.
In his article, 13 Things You Should Give Up if You Want to be Successful, entrepreneur, educator and blogger Zdravko Cvijetic explains the importance of stepping back and critically examining your life to determine what may be standing in your way.
For example, Cvijetic quotes Winston Churchill in illustrating the problems of multi-tasking, which we’ve been conditioned to believe is a sure-fire trait of a good employee.
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” –Winston Churchill
Cvijetic’s observations aren’t necessarily eye opening. He talks about eating better, exercising and spending too much time with television and social media. But several of his recommendations are timeless and worthy of thoughtful consideration.
Four steps for success:
- Do not associate with toxic people. Negativity is contagious; gossip is poisonous. You’re not obligated to listen to someone’s rambling complaints. Politely excuse yourself from conversations that start to head south.
- Stop with the excuses. Admit responsibility when you screw up. Human beings make mistakes. Don’t blame others – even if they’re culpable. Take the high road. Always.
- Accept that not everyone is going to like you. That’s life – particularly if you are a manager or involved in an innovative venture that may pose a threat to others. Most of us want to be liked; it’s just not always possible. Try not to take it personally.
- Learn to say no. Our people-pleasing instincts often compel us to take on responsibilities for which we simply don’t have time. But we agree to anyway because we don’t want others to think of us negatively; we yearn for approval.
“Who you are today . . . is not who you have to be tomorrow.” –Zdravko Cvijetic
Change will not occur overnight. But in time you’ll realize you’re happier, healthier and more productive. And that’s quite enough, thank you.