Personal growth of the leaders helps the organization grow and evolve.
John Mackey, Co-CEO, Whole Foods
Even in the current turbulent economic environment, there are a lot of people thriving in their careers and helping their organizations – be the organization for-profit or not-for-profit – succeed, grow and achieve impact. How is that? With their personal approach, attitude, knowledge and expertise, they have made themselves invaluable to their company. They understand that as John Mackey stated at a recent talk for his new book, Conscious Capitalism, that their own personal growth can help an organization grow and evolve. They’ve moved away from thinking that a company owes them and have taken full responsibility for their own career and well-being. They’re committed to working on themselves. They don’t use lack of time (or money) as an obstacle to advance in their life and career.
What are some of the ways that these high performers approach their self-development? They’re focused on:
- Providing value. No matter what level someone is in an organization, when they feel they aren’t being compensated appropriately, appreciated by their staff or higher-ups and overwhelmed with responsibilities, they pull back or complain. Look for ways instead how you can create value even with the emotions you’re feeling. People emulate others who just focus on contributing. It’s almost like the keeping us with the joneses effect.
- Inspiring themselves. Don’t expect your boss or company to do this for you. Go to talks or networking events that feature other leaders who you admire. Buy books written by executives who have followed a path you want to follow. Have coffee or tea with someone who gives great career advice and who lifts you up when you spend time with her. As Zig Ziglar said: “Motivation is just like a shower; you need both every day.”
- Embracing optimism. Even when your company is struggling or you feel like your frustration has reached its max, look for solutions and ways to remain optimistic. You want to focus on boosting your own energy to keep you moving forward. Pessimism and negative thinking can pull you into a downward spiral that is hard to pull yourself out of. Give yourself quiet time to detox from any negativity that may going on around you to nurture your optimism spirit.
- Demonstrating commitment. Show the company that you’re committed to its success. Continually look for ways to improve processes and systems that positively impact the bottomline. But first educate yourself on the company workings to understand how everything operates instead of just complaining or criticizing about what you don’t like or what you perceive to not be working.
- Showing loyalty. This one can be tough, especially if you’re frustrated with your boss. However, having one foot in the door with the other one poised for the run, you’re wasting a lot of energy. I was very guilty of this myself in my own corporate career. I could be chronically discontent at times and didn’t always think that my boss deserved loyalty. When I finally realized that this wasn’t impacting my boss, but my own well-being, I decided to shift my perspective.
- Helping others. The easiest way to get yourself out of self-pity mode at work is to look for someone who you can help or mentor. A lot of times, people at work focus on “what’s in it for me” instead of how can I best serve. Individuals who have successfully embraced the servant leadership approach, have found that things seem to just flow for them instead of continually just being a struggle. In this fashion, you’ll also positively contribute to improving company culture.
I want to challenge you to embrace your own personal development instead of focusing on what your boss or company owes you. Life on this wonderful planet is far too short to allow yourself to be held back by wasting time on being angry with where you are in your career, why you’re not making more money, why promotions aren’t coming in or why your organization isn’t more successful. Put the focus on you and the rest will fall into place.
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