And now, for something a little different . . . .
As you may recall, the Bloblesness Project for 2011 encompasses much more than fitness. Blobiness may describe your fitness, your academic acumen, or your professional ambition (or, for some of us Super Blobs, all three!). Given that the first major goal for this year (Austin Half Marathon) is right around the corner, the posts here lately have been almost exclusively centered on fitness. But you know there’s other blobiness going on! Right around the turn of the year I lost my mentor at work to another company. (Good for him, sad for me.) As you may expect, I have been more or less furiously treading water to avoid drowning in the work load that my mentor used to hold down seemingly effortlessly. As you may also expect, this increased daily workload has been my number one excuse for blobbing it when it comes to my professional ambition.
I read this week in the Twitterverse (you know I’m there, now, right?) that “Work is the number one enabler.” That rings so true for me. Work IS the number one enabler. When things at work get crazy, I feel supremely justified in eating worse (I HAVE to grab something terrible on-the-go, because I have NO time after work), working out less, (I’m TIRED after working so much), and slacking off on my professional striving (The last thing I want to do when my work is done is MORE work). But it’s time to snap out of it. Just because I’m really pushing toward my major fitness goal right now doesn’t mean I get a pass on the professional side.
But I need a little motivation to get going here, which brings me to a new topic I plan on posting under in the future, as well – Goods and Bads. Goods and Bads is not my idea, it’s an idea I learned from one of the most professional, ambitious, and successful people I know – Dad.
Having worked a lot of years in a lot of different situations for a lot of different bosses, Dad derived a logging system which I think most of us do in a less organized, less formalized, and frankly less effective way. You and I know Dad’s Goods and Bads as “When someone finally puts me in charge.” Goods and Bads is a running list to keep track of poignant moments in your work life, good and bad, that leave an impression on you. Something your boss did that really made you want to work harder for the team, that’s a Good. Something your boss did that made you want to throw your monitor out the window and flee the ofice fast enough to watch it meet the pavement, that’s a Bad.
By writing these Goods and Bads down in a little journal somewhere, or perhaps a running Word doc tucked in the back corner of your hard drive somewhere, really helps. Not only does it help you cope with the frustration of a Bad by swearing to yourself that you’ll never repeat that behavior, it helps you keep yourself focused on that day when you’re finally put in charge of something. And that day WILL come, so it’s best to be prepared!
To jump-start my professional ambition engine this morning, here are a few Goods and Bads I have culled since college:
Value the input of someone far below you in rank and even in experience.
Allow people more responsibility than they are accustomed to. Believe in everyone’s ability to rise to the challenge.
Vigilantly keep in touch.
Take credit for someone else’s idea or work product. (This may be the greatest of all professional sins.)
Post every award and accolade you’ve ever received in your office. The standard accolades suffice (diplomas), but after that, skip the 3d Place Kickball Ribbon and pose something interesting.
Insist that your work or your life is more difficult, demanding, and stressful than someone else’s. You really wouldn’t know.
Allow yourself to believe people are lucky to be in your presence. (EG: Taking time to shake every hand in a crowded room may seem generous with your time – and of course it is. However, taking everyone else’s time to watch you shake every hand in a crowded room comes across as somehow TOO generous. Point: You are never doing anyone else a favor by merely shaking their hand, so don’t act like you are.)