Monday, June 17, 2013

6 Ways Toward a Personal Improvement Plan

"In order to be selfless, you first need to be selfish." And even though this may seem counterintuitive to what you probably have been taught -- it is true. You need to take care of your own personal growth and development FIRST before you can be an effective team player. 
So what do you need to do? Here are six effective steps to get you there: 
FIRST, listen to yourself
We never take time to pause. Take time to pause.  Who knows you the best? Of course, you do! Now it is true we all have our blind spots, but for the most part you know your own strengths and weaknesses. Now is the time to step out of your comfort zone and determine what you need to do. During a quiet time of the day, listen to your thoughts.
Thinking about what you need to do is one thing, but springing into action is quite another. Once you know what needs to be done, it is time to develop specific, measurable goals. For example, perhaps you want to be a better listener and stop interrupting your teammates. You decide that you are going to stop multi-tasking while in a conversation, count to three before responding, and make a ticky mark when you interrupt. These are ways to get you out of your comfort zone, and that's when you grow.
THIRD, Prioritize. 
Don't try to tackle everything you want to develop at once. Work on a list and once you complete one habit, you can start on another. It is best to start small and end with your most difficult developmental activity. 
FOURTH, Choose your attitude. 
Even the best laid plans are going to have bumps in the road. It is how you manage those missteps and obstacles that will determine your success rate. If you are at peace with the fact that much of what happens in the workplace is out of your control and you are not responsible for the actions of others, this frees you up work on yourself and control your own attitude. 
Here is a brief video highlighting how you can bring a great attitude to the workplace every morning: 
  
Stop blaming others for your misfortunes. Blamers are victims.  Blaming is giving your power away.  Say you are sorry, fix the problem and move on. 
SIXTH, Be thankful. 
It is impossible to be thankful and depressed at the same time.  No matter how bleak things look in your world, there is always something to be thankful for -- including having a job, home and family. As one of my friend's says to me quite often, "I am thankful every morning that I am above ground!" What a way to think about life!