How to be a Super Star at Work!

by Per Wickstrom on October 16, 2014

Why You’re There

In order to perform at the maximum on your job, you need to first have an excellent grasp of why you’re there in the first place. If you are only there to clock in and out, collect a paycheck and advance no further, then it would be a good idea to take a broader look. You may wish to advance up the ranks and achieve a managerial position. You may look upon your current employment as preparation for entrepreneurship, or as a learning experience for a Superstar at Workposition in another company you have your sights on. You may have a genuine personal passion for what you do that goes far beyond monetary reward.

A Climate of Instability

An unstable economic climate can make holding and keeping your job a constant struggle for survival. Another factor that affects your job is your superiors’ and co-workers’ knowledge – or lack thereof – of the subject of administration. Then there’s basic common sense, communication skills and an understanding of human behavior – far too many lack these as well. Getting fired for no particular reason, people around you quitting without warning, and a slew of other workplace disasters are all pretty commonplace in our volatile work-a-day world.

Building Your Skills

These factors and many more make survival on the job a formidable task. But regardless, if you’re on the job you should be good at what you do. Whether it’s a stepping stone or what you want to do for the rest of your life, it’s your job at least for now. No matter the circumstance, your prosperity is based in no small measure on your knowledge, your skills and your ability to adapt. Here are some ways to do great at work or in any sphere of activity:

Complete Each Task You Start

When you start an individual job, see that all its steps are done and complete it. The same goes for projects that have many steps. An incomplete job or project isn’t much good to anyone. It is true that you must often drop what you’re doing to attend to pressing business, but at the nearest opportunity, finish what you started. You’ll gain a reputation as someone who works conscientiously, and you’ll feel better about your work and yourself.

Handle & Report

Anyone who’s ever been a boss knows it can get a bit stressful. It is very helpful when people report back when something is done and provide valuable information. This does not mean you must provide continual “progress reports” or demands for decisions. Anyone in a company who makes a habit of completing tasks and handling situations, and then reporting what is done and handled, is an asset to that company. Too many people make a point of dumping a bunch of problems on a superior or an associate. You need not be one of them. Build a reputation as someone who gets things done and reports back.

Get Organized

Want to impress people? Get organized. All too often people’s version of “organized” is to stuff the papers in a drawer and forget about them. Having a place for everything and putting things back after use is a good start. Keeping a tray system for in-progress work, a labeled file system that can be used for easy reference, and having your needed tools at arms’ reach all contribute to organization and efficiency. When you get a piece of paper, do you set it down to be “taken care of later” only to wind up with papers scattered all over your office? Or do you handle the document right then and there, and then file it or send it to the right person? It may seem like a small point, but it is not. Neglect of the little things adds up to big disasters. This goes for your computer files and emails as well.

Plan Your Day

Get Organized

Get Organized

Plan your day as well as your week and even your month. List out what you wish to get done today. Start with the urgent and pressing issues. Make sure to include steps that correspond with what your company is attempting to do as an overall strategy. Put a line next to each action. When you complete an action, mark the line with a checkmark or a “DONE”. I doubt anyone you’re working with does this. Such a daily plan sets you apart, keeps you focused and able to get more accomplished.

Keep Statistics

By “statistic” I mean measurement of your productivity, how many phone calls, interviews, units sold, deliveries made, etc. Metrics and analytics in online marketing is another example. By tracking the numbers, you can remedy those factors that impede expansion and reinforce that which contributes to expansion. Managing by hearsay and rumor is not only useless, but destructive. The facts and the numbers tell the true story.

Write Down What You Do

If you’ve been on job a while and know what you’re doing, the management (if they know what they’re doing) have no intention of letting you go. If you get a better job offer somewhere else, there can be friction. They don’t want to lose you and get upset when you leave. There is a way to fix this and smooth things out besides the usual two-week notice.

Write up everything you do: your daily routine, how you go about things, the technical details, who you see for what, and the peculiarities of your job. That way your successor has a written record of the job. The management can eventually work these things into stable company policy if they wish. You can even apprentice your replacement if time allows. These actions have the added benefit of helping to maintain amicable relations with a former employer, a connection which can pay off later.

Be a Team Member

The company loves the “company man” but the worker does not always concur. The company man – in the negative sense – leaves the worker behind or even throws him unjustly under the bus. There is however nothing whatsoever wrong with being a team player. The malcontent is not a team player. He’s trying to bring the team down. Team members get along with each other. They let one another know what is going on. They, in a word, coordinate. They are almost telepathic in how they know what the other fellow is doing and thinking. They are friends, comrades-in-arms, if you will. Being on a real team is a rewarding experience.

Elevate Efficiency

Efficiency doesn’t just mean saving time and money. Efficiency breaks down into three major points:

  1. Speed
  2. Skill
  3. Physical Layout

The first, speed, is pretty simple. It means quick and accurate customer service, transportation and just plain moving fast from point A to point B. The second, skill, includes how you do things, technical expertise and the ratio of time to motion. The third, physical layout, includes the building itself, equipment used and geographic location. Things like the computer programs you use, and how you use them, fall under all three points. If you can wrap your wits around these things, you can see how to improve your job and your department. You can be a better employee and even start your own company.

Awareness of Spending

Any employee should be aware of how to save money. Just because you are not the GM, doesn’t mean you should be oblivious of waste, saving and spending. Many employees conceive they are just cogs in the wheel of a mighty machine. But I do not subscribe to that philosophy. I believe everyone is important, and the so-called small details can make or break a company. Everyone’s input counts and that includes how to avoid waste and spend more wisely.

Check Your Own Work

Don’t assume someone else will check to see if you did a good job. When you submit something, you should have already checked it over to make sure it is up to snuff. Any company ought to have quality controls, but you should always nonetheless do your own quality control. People will start to get the idea that when you hand it in, it’s DONE and is of high quality. There is another side of the coin: The person who is so obsessed with quality that they never get it done or it’s always late. So there is balance to reach and a judgment factor.

The Buck Stops Here

In a bureaucracy, an employee gets a request, sends it to someone else, and a week later it comes back for him to handle, at which point he sends it to another department! This is lunacy. People should be responsible for specific things. If you get something and it’s someone else’s job, give it to that person. That person should then handle it. If something is your job, you handle it. If there is confusion as to who handles a specific thing, take it up at the next meeting so it can get sorted out. “The buck stops here” means responsibility. A staff that exemplifies responsibility will take a company to the next level.

 

 

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10 Ways to Stop Feeling Like a Failure

by Per Wickstrom on October 5, 2014

Nothing cripples us quite like our own lack of confidence. When we accumulate a few failures, we start assuming that “failing” is simply what we do, and it goes downhill from there. How do you think you’ll succeed at something when you expect yourself to fail from the very beginning? You can probably think back to a few times where you wholly expected yourself to fail without realizing it. Factually, that has a lot to do with it: Your attitudes and decisions affect the outcome more than you may realize.

Feeling Like a Failure

How to Stop Feeling Like a Failure

A fundamental point to know is that just because you failed once, does not mean you must fail again. You can change your mind instantly. About as fast as it takes to think a thought (which is instantaneous), you can decide to succeed. You can make up your mind to stop beating yourself up. But it would help to have a modus operandi (Latin for “way of operating”) to move oneself over to a more positive state of mind. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Failure does not exist.

The only way to fail is to quit. That may seem somewhat unforgiving, but it is one of the most complimentary things anyone could ever tell you. It means that you can, with enough determination and persistence, you can. “Can’t” is just another way of saying “decided to stop”. Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” He also said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” You’ve failed you say? You’ve fallen down? Get back up and start again. Even if you gave up in the past, you can always start again.

  1. Start small and work your way up.

I tell people to “think big” and “do big” all the time. But you can take it step-by-step. You achieved a small victory? Excellent! Achieve another, and another, and another. Take it one small increment at a time. By building yourself up in this manner, you find yourself taking on more and more territory. The small accomplishments add up to bigger and bigger ones. Just like a staircase, you go one step at a time, and eventually get to the top. When you were learning to drive, you first learned how to accelerate, how to break, how to turn. You took it slow in a parking lot or a lonely street, then a busier street, then a highway, then the interstate. You get the idea.

  1. Disregard the negativity.

Some people want to bring you down. In fact, some are thoroughly dedicated to bringing others down at every turn. They can be very subtle in how they go about it. They can tell you “as a friend” that you really aren’t cut out for it and should try something less ambitious. They’ll tell you it can’t be done or you aren’t the one to do it. Ignore them. Confront them if you have to, but in many cases the tactic is “ignore”. Why? Such individuals are kind of like vampires. They lack life themselves, so they try to suck it out of other people. These are your “haters” but can also include those who appear as friends. Their actions and intentions are what set them apart. When you react and get upset, they feed off that energy in a parasitic manner. So the best approach is often to not give them any energy or feedback whatsoever, and they eventually get apathetic and fade away. Meanwhile, you and your real friends flourish and prosper.

  1. Find that peaceful place.

You can probably name places and activities that put you at ease, where you feel better about yourself, where you can detach from the pressures and re-build your energies. Some people get their best ideas when they are out walking or running or bicycling. Others pick up a musical instrument and lose themselves for a while. Others spend some quality time with their kids or their family, or they read a book, or get up early in the morning and watch the sunrise. The point is that it’s different for everyone. Take a look back at what gives you peace, or come up with something new. Once you’ve decided what it is, when you feel stressed out and overwhelmed, go to that place. Then go back and attack life again. In many ways, that is what life is, an attack and a withdrawal, repeated again and again.

  1. Get physical.

People who use their minds all time, working in an office, staring at a computer screen, can become lost in the “significance” of it all. If you work at a desk all day and then get home and switch on the computer or television and zone out, you may find yourself in a depressed state of mind. The thing to do is to get some balance. Go out and mow your lawn, paint a fence, build a birdhouse. If you don’t have no lawn to mow and no fence to paint, mow someone else’s lawn or paint someone else’s fence. You can even get paid for it. Help your cousin, the general contractor. Help your friends who are moving to another house. Do some physical work. Make sure you get sweaty and dirty doing it. Also recognize the value of taking care of your own body. Exercise regularly and eat right. You’ll feel better and less trapped in your own head.

  1. Stop swiping and clicking.

Social media can make you feel like a failure. What people present on social media is not reality. It can be extremely negative or unrealistically positive. Those compelled to hate and crush others (noted above) flock to the internet to preach negativity and defeatism. Conversely, if you are inclined to feel jealous, your friends on social media can feed into your “got to keep up with the Joneses” mentality by presenting an overblown image of their own prosperity. In truth, they are struggling just like you. There is nothing wrong with good news. But people get addicted to the internet, social media and video games – and they end up neglecting their own lives. Put the phone back into your pocket, close the laptop, switch off the tablet and the gaming console – and live some real life.

  1. Learn about success.

Without succumbing to jealousy, study the successes of others. Do so from the viewpoint of a seeker of knowledge. How did someone else make it? How did they go from rock bottom to top of the mountain? You can find inspiration in these stories, and get practical and highly applicable advice. You can find out that someone who had it way worse than you achieved massive success through ingenuity, force of will and determination. Read about the out-of-the-box thinkers, the originators and the mavericks. You’ll find in many cases that they were rejected at every turn, failed again and again, but they stuck to their guns, never lost sight of their dream and made it into an actuality.

  1. Get paid.

Many people don’t get what they want because they don’t think they deserve it. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to drop that mentality. What do I mean by “get paid”? Do I mean in money? It could mean that, but that isn’t the essence of it. You can get paid in dollars – nothing wrong with that at all – but money is really just a means to an end. Why do you do what you do? Why do you work hard? You seek positive sensation, camaraderie, communication, the feeling of a job well done, a feeling of brotherhood (or sisterhood) with others. The way to “get paid” is simply to get paid. Another way to put it is to be in the moment, rather than stuck in the past or worried about the future. This may seem impossible, but at least consider it. Better yet, live it.

  1. Play a bigger game.

I talked about “small steps”. But there is another approach. Maybe you just aren’t playing a big enough game. I’ve seen it countless times, especially with young people. A person is playing a small game, commanding a relatively small sphere of activity. They are capable of much more, but since they’re operating on a small scale, they create their own problems just to have something to do. They do this sort of automatically, without even being fully aware of it. When given a bigger game, a larger sphere of influence, they simply drop the nonsense and do remarkably well. One way is to simply help others. Help someone else with their problems and yours can miraculously disappear. Having problems? Maybe you just need more of them.

  1. Work with link-minded individuals.

No one owes you anything. No one is going to roll out the red carpet and hand you your golden ticket. That said, there are others seeking success and happiness just like you. And they’re not all your competition. In fact, you could team up with a few of them and prosper as a result. If you have a skill, team up with others whose skills complement yours. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

No one makes it as an island. Even a solo artist needs a backing band or at least some technical support. Perhaps you have been betrayed. You’ll have to get over that if you wish to move forward.

That in essence is what is necessary, the ability to move out of the past, exist wholly in the present, and build a better future for yourself and others.

 

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