Whether You’re 22 or 82 – Quit Holding Your Greatness Hostage!

Regardless of how old you are – you can make a difference. Every single day you are given an opportunity to do so. How are you using that privilege? Or do you hold the belief that it’s impossible for you to make a difference because you are too young or old?

Your being too old or too young or any other excuse you may choose to offer, are beliefs you hold about your situation and it is these beliefs that drive your behaviour. In fact if you changed your perspective you could begin to change how you see yourself.

You don’t need an age change, or a circumstance change, or any other change that you think you need. All you need is a MINDSET change.

There are countless reports and tons of research indicating that at least two thirds of the working population are NOT ENGAGED. Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Engagement though is highest amongst managers and millennials are the LEAST engaged generation. (The earliest proposed birthdate for Millennials is 1976 and the latest 2004 so with regard to work therefore Millennials can be anywhere from 18 to 39 years old.)

greatness selena jCooper, the CEO of a 9-figure publishing company, overseas a team of 250 employees. He’s conducted over 1,700 employee interviews and over 3,000 weekly meetings. His wisdom on helping you advance in your career is second to none. This is his advice to those of you who have jobs. His claim: “If you’re willing to shift the way you think about your job and career, I guarantee your income will be much greater in a year from now. Just as important, you’ll love going to work each day.”

Cooper suggests that we all need to take an owner’s approach to our careers.

How does an owner think about the business?

  • An owner thinks about his reputation and how he wants the business to operate a decade from now, and acts accordingly.
  • Because reputation matters, an owner treats everyone with respect: Customers, vendors, staff, and peers.
  • When an owner encounters a problem, he takes responsibility for the problem and works to fix it.
  • An owner is brave. He’s not afraid to ask hard questions. He’s not afraid to take action. He understands that sometimes he’ll make mistakes and he accepts this inevitability. He sees these mistakes as just part of the process so he’s quick to forgive himself and others who make honest mistakes.
  • An owner wants to get better every day. He sees the potential in people and works to encourage them. He sees the potential in the business and isn’t satisfied until that potential is realized.
  • An owner is never a victim. He accepts responsibility for his circumstances, the good and the bad.
  • An owner is a builder. He loves brainstorming new ideas, but knows that taking action is the key to success.
  • An owner takes initiative. He gives himself permission to act on good ideas and to do what he thinks needs to be done.

One of my friends recently had a birthday dinner for her husband. The person delivering the food was late. The guests had already started arriving before the food. When she asked the delivery person why he was late, he told her that he got lost. Being a business owner herself, she asked him if he ever heard of Waze – the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. He hadn’t but said that he would let his boss know about it. She could not believe what she heard. She said to him “You don’t need your boss’s permission to download and install Waze on your phone. You can do that for yourself and begin improving the service of the company by getting to customer destinations on time, with the help of this application.” The guy kind of shook his head, obviously not convinced.

Cooper shares this story – “Our business has long needed a collaboration tool for projects. I asked many individuals to explore different tools and see if they’d work for us. Years went by with no progress until “Kevin” from the web team decided to act like an owner. Kevin learned about Slack, a real-time collaboration tool, at a conference and he had a hunch that it would work for us. He didn’t wait on an official mandate from “management.” He set up the tool and encouraged others to use it. Use of the tool has expanded beyond the web team to other departments.”

  • Is there something you think your company should do to make things better?
  • Have you wondered why nobody is doing anything about it?
  • Is there a project you’d like to take on or a problem you want to fix?

Don’t wait for a “mandate” from management… Instead, take action and test out good ideas. The only path to growing your income and to advancing your career is to start acting like an owner TODAY.

And what about those of us at the end of our careers…approaching retirement? Sir Richard Branson shared this in a blog post – dated August 14 2015. “On my 65th birthday I announced that I have no plans to retire. While some people look forward to their 65th birthday as a milestone after which they can slow down and kick back, I can’t imagine giving up working. The idea of backing off now just seems like such a waste of everything I’ve learned.”

Sir Richard’s mum Eve Branson, continues to be an inspiration to him. “A pioneering entrepreneur in her own right – always seeing each day as a fresh chance to achieve something new – she gave me my zest for life and business. Now in her 90s, she’s working hard as the Founder of the Eve Branson Foundation, with a mission to improve the lives of women and young girls in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, by providing access to education and health care to those in need.”

And because I know you’re thinking it, let me quickly say – you don’t need to be famous or a political power to work towards making a difference at an older age. In an article by Audrey Gillan in the English Guardian, dated August 1 2015 titled “Not the retiring type: meet the people still working in their 70s, 80s and 90s” – she showcases Jean Miller, 92 still taking coats at Vidal Sassoon, immunologist Ivan Roitt, 87, department head, Tom Swan 79 – who runs a sweet shop, and Evdokia “Ducia” Stafford, 90, who has run the Beehive Inn in Pencader, Carmarthenshire for 60 years. She is originally from the Donbass region in Ukraine, and her British husband, John, died 14 years ago. She lives alone at the pub, has no staff and opens every evening.

There’s a surprising amount of opportunity in the jobs we do have. Almost anyone’s situation contains the raw materials of greatness, whether the person serves as a janitor or a CEO. In the words of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva (1567-1622) “Bloom where you are planted;” – don’t hold your greatness hostage!

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Image from http://www.selenaj.com

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