Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
I remember reading an article about Usain Bolt and how he was proclaimed as the fastest man in the world, having just won another gold medal with apparent ease.
The article went on to comment that perhaps he wasn’t actually the fastest man in the world, but was the fastest man who had turned up on the day.
I rather liked the exactitude and honesty of the latter statement and it reinforced the point that half the effort in winning the race went into turning up.
As Peter Cook famously observed, in the guise of his alter ego E L Wisty, ‘I could have been a judge, but I never had the latin.’
I’m sure we all know someone who wants to be a writer, an artist, or to have a job like ours …if only they had the talent of J k Rowling, the skill of Van Gogh, or the money to change career. These people sadden me sometimes because I wonder that they don’t really turn up to their own lives.
Most writers and artists start poor and finish poor, but devote their lives to what they love. I started my business 14 years ago with (literally) a biro and a small, cheap book about coaching. I didn’t own a laptop, or a car, or have a golden piggy bank to raid. I started anyway and worked it out as I went along. And I’ve never looked back.
The other week I visited a food festival and ate free sausages (the best kind) and enjoyed visiting stalls and having fun. It struck me that a lot of business colleagues were there too and it was lovely to say hello and enjoy a morsel of social networking.
All I had to do was turn up and the rest took care of itself.
In business, as in life, turning up is one of the essential ingredients of success. We might be tired, or nervous, or wondering if we should be somewhere else and yet if we want to succeed we have to be there on the day.
If we want to be the fastest man in the world we have to turn up to the race. If we want to be the best sausage producer in the area we have to turn up to the food festival. If we don’t ‘have the latin’ we can go to evening classes.
Turning up is an easy choice we can make, so this week what event, or meeting, do you need to turn up to? Opportunity follows those who are there and not those who are absent.
Next week: What’s The Problem With Knees?
A faster car, a bigger house, a smarter smartphone …we are all prey to advertisers imploring us to upgrade and increase our material assets.
Maybe we are proud to wear the right kind of trainers, or we enjoy purchasing clothes with the right logos on them.
Even though we might scoff and say that we are imune to the power of the brand I bet that we all have our favourite items, whether they’re jelly babies or jeans.
We like to own things and there is nothing wrong in that.
However, how often do we ‘own’ our behaviour?
It’s tempting to blame others when things go wrong, or shrug our shoulders and say there was nothing we could have done differently.
If we pass the blame then we are failing to own our part in our failure. In doing this we rob ourselves of the ability to reflect and learn and to make changes next time.
If we can own branded clothes then we can be big enough to own our behaviour too.
In practice this might mean saying sorry, admitting we took a guess, or revealing we expressed anger when we really felt disappointment.
We might also book some time with a friend, counsellor, or therapist to enable us to increase our own personal awarness. I’m a big fan of getting help as it can be so hard to see ourselves as we need to.
Equally, if we are leading a team, we can encourage our colleagues to own their behaviour as well. We can operate a no-blame culture and invite them to be honest about their reactions and what they could do differently next time.
This week, if we mis-communicate, we can pause, laugh at ourselves and share what was actually going on for us in that moment. We can own it!
Next week: Turning Up
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Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in
Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish
Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age
Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish
An insider's guide to working for yourself
Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish