As we near the end of year, this is a great question to contemplate; a wonderful way to step back and assess your own performance. I recently read about a young woman who was asked “How would you like to be remembered? What would you want to be known for?” As she contemplated those questions she realized that if you asked her friends, they’d probably all say that “She had issues. She complained a lot but never did anything about her situation.” This revelation shocked her and she immediately vowed to begin to take responsibility for her life. If she didn’t like something, wasn’t happy, needed to apologize – whatever the action – she’d take it instead of simply complaining about it.
So what about you? Are you a whiner? The person who can see all the faults in everyone working with you? The person who finds themselves saying often “If I were the boss, I would do X or Y…” The truth is that you are the boss – the boss of yourself. And before you go trying to fix things, and fixing others – begin with you.
I remember once during a long term consulting engagement, I had the experience of dealing with an employee who would not quit. He fought tooth and nail, against every rule, every company procedure, and every safety process. He didn’t like how anything was done. Regardless of what was put forward, he took the opposing side. Even with his own suggestions – when we attempted to implement – all his colleagues would comply except him. Did he have great suggestions sometimes? Sure! Did he occasionally spot an issue worth attention? You bet! But everyone working with him did not feel uplifted and positive. Instead they felt depleted and drained. Eventually when a decision was made to terminate his services, he was in shock. He said “But I’m happy here.” Alas he was in the minority.
The Robert D. author of ‘20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Life Right Now’ asked the following questions in a blog post titled ‘Dear Minimum Wage Workers’, “Are you the kind of employee who would empower the entire corporation? Are you the type of entrepreneur who will turn non-paying people into raving fan customers? Are you the kind of person who will go the extra mile, and another mile, and another mile—if necessary?”
If you owned the company wouldn’t you want to work with the person who says, “I can do it. Count it done if you give it to me. I will find a way to make it work.” You would want the winners—not the whiners right? You’d want to hear “the cans—not the cant’s.” You would want those with a smile—not a frown. Well wouldn’t you?
Employees usually find it harsh when a boss points to the gate and remind them that if they’re not happy – there’s the exit. But truthfully – you are not shackled to the company that you work for. So many people behave as if every morning, the company undertakers come – put them in a straitjacket and cart them off to work. Once they get to there, they are tethered to a desk for the day and made to endure the worse torture possible.
Might I remind you that we all have CHOICE. You have the ability and the right to move anywhere you want; to start again anywhere you want, including starting your own company. Robert continues “A huge awkward, uncomfortable position to take: you are responsible for where you are. Every aspect of your life was a choice, a decision, a settlement of one kind or another. Everyone experiences bad things they can’t control—but you do control how you respond to those bad things. Once you fully understand the power behind that statement, you will feel empowered at least for a moment. The key is to generate that empowerment continuously. On a moment’s notice you can pull this power from within. It is there now. You might have to practice it over and over again. But it is there.”
Bottom line: you have to take ownership of your life and the direction it is growing in. Many people love to talk about how wronged they are and how unfair where they’re working is, and that might be true. But what are YOU doing about it? Oh yes, you’re doing the worse possible job that you can. You’re putting out the least amount of effort because “you not sweating yourself out for that small money!” Erm… and WHO is it hurting exactly? The only person you’re hurting is yourself.
Alice Walker puts it nicely in this quote: “Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.” If the present you’re constructing is mess and mayhem where you are – guess what your future will look like? Don’t go blaming it on bad luck or “the way things always turn out for you” as if you have no hand in it.
So ask yourself: “Do I go above and beyond? Do I truly WOW those who I expect to pay me? Can I come up with the solutions people are looking for? It’s up to you to make it happen and you will begin to do that by being your BEST self and doing your BEST work – ALWAYS!