I’m sure these are the moments parents live for. The moment their child says remember how you used to tell me to do this, wow… you were right.
I have these moments often as I reflect back on the wise words that my father used to and still does share. Sometimes it’s something I’m doing that makes me think back and other times it’s watching someone else doing something. This time I was reminded of how my father always used to explain the importance of professionalism when in a place of work. He didn’t just talk about being good at what you do, but also emphasized the importance of how you carry, dress and conduct yourself.
Professionalism doesn’t just encompass being intelligent when it comes to what you know (IQ), it’s about being emotionally intelligent (EQ) when it comes to how you carry and conduct yourself. Emotional intelligence is defined as, “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express your emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
We’ve all been there alongside the co-worker who walks in every day with another personal problem to share, another topic to complain about or another person to gossip about. However, perhaps worst of all is the coworker who chooses to lash out at you because they didn’t take the time to address their own issues.
Last week, I was advising a friend on how to handle a situation where their colleague inappropriately addressed them in front of other people. This isn’t the first time this issue had taken place, the person had a reputation for being somewhat aggressive and let’s just say didn’t possess the best people skills.
The advice given to the colleague was to not take it to heart, as the person was the way they are because they had had a tough life, was separated from their significant other and was overwhelmed with their responsibilities.
While I can empathize with all of those situations, I don’t believe they qualify as an excuse. It’s those same situations that lead us down many other terrible paths and often times at work can be the reason you don’t get that promotion or why your colleagues may not choose to include you in certain activities. In the case that this person is in a leadership position it can destroy the trust and relationship that you may have with others, poisoning the culture of your workplace.
As I was listening to the series of events that had unfolded, I was reminded of how important it is to not let your personal issues intrude into your professional life.
Here are three strategies to bring your best self to work every day.
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.” - Steve Jobs
Whether it’s another degree, a new project or giving a helping hand, knowing when to say no is essential. Without a good time management system in place, it’s easy to lose track of what your responsibilities are and how much time you have to dedicate yourself to things. There’s no shortage of productivity tools out there, find one that’s right for you and put it to use.
Health and Wellness
“Saying YES to yourself is not the same as saying NO to someone else.”
When things get stressful and overwhelming, we often put ourselves at the bottom of the list harming our own health and wellness. We tell ourselves, I’ll eat out tonight instead of cook, I’ll skip the gym and go another day or can we reschedule date night I really need to finish up this project. Harold Kushner once said, Nobody on their deathbed has ever said "I wish I had spent more time at the office."
Pencil in “me time” whether it’s going to the gym, cooking a meal or spending time with loved ones, those are the moments where we rejuvenate and find the strength and energy we need to be our best selves. Not taking care of yourself is not an option.
Focus on the Positive
We often times lose ourselves in focusing on everything that’s wrong that we forget to be grateful for everything that is going right. Focusing on the positive is something that we hear often, and it isn’t always easy to do. If you struggle with this, like anything else it’s always about starting with small steps. For example, start each morning and end each night with one thing and one person that you are grateful for. Let your struggles be the driving force behind building something and becoming someone better. It is through embracing and learning from our struggles that we ultimately become the best version of ourselves.
So the next time you decide to bring that negativity to work, remember emotions change, impressions last. Bring your best self to work every day.