Here’s a question. One you should have an answer for. Despite that, it’s a question for which you’ll always be looking for a solution. The question is this: “How do you make this better?”
What is the “this” you’re trying to improve? It could be your job. It could be a business. It could be an organization. It could be a relationship. It could just be your life in general. How do you make it better?
There is an answer. Think on it. There is a way to improve things. There is. There always is. It might be something big. It might be something small. Whatever it is, find it. And then act. See through whatever you can to upgrade the situation.
Know this, however: No matter the improvement, there is still room to progress. Nothing is ever perfect. When you get to this point, again ask: How do I make this better?
In Michael Maher’s January 2020 Weekly Words of Wisdom Newsletter, the author and referral consultant shares: “You may think a situation is impossible, a person is impossible to deal with, or a goal too high. Remember the word itself says I’m Possible. A simple apostrophe and space changes everything and that is so true in life.”
As Maher implies, there is no real “impossible,” but just a mindset issue. A small tweak in thought and you’re on your way to conquering what you might not have thought possible.
But it starts with you and your line of thinking. The situation, the person, the goal won’t change until how you think about it does.
So, ask yourself, what could I do differently? How can I think about the situation differently? What are some things I have not considered? Who could I reach out to for some guidance?
In summary, as Maher challenges in his newsletter, “What will make your impossible, possible?”
In life, no one is undefeated. Every sports team has endured a loss. Every notable achiever can point to a disappointing stretch on the road to greatness. Every relationship, no matter how wonderful it might be, has endured a rocky patch or two.
Your life is no different. While you hope to have a career, business or life that continually trends upward, just like the stock market, occasionally you need to give back some gains.
When these moments hit, take solace in the fact that everyone has these moments. Everyone! So, don’t be afraid to acknowledge your failings. Don’t shy away from admitting that you could have done better.
In short, have the courage to fail. And do so with a degree of humility and a resolve to improve from the experience. In the end, this candor will draw others to you, making you more connected and better equipped to move forward on your journey of success.
There is little question when you express your appreciation to someone, you make them feel good. But do you know who really benefits from this simple communication? You!
In October 2016, self-proclaimed neuroscience geek Melissa Hughes shared in an article entitled, What Happens Inside A Grateful Brain? that “A genuine expression of gratitude to someone else gives your brain a bigger reward than the person you thank!”
Hughes explained that when you make this expression of gratitude to someone, your body releases a neurotransmitter called oxytocin. This little mind drug makes you feel warm and fuzzy, as oxytocin is known to enhance your feelings of trust, empathy and affection.
In short, when you go out of your way to tell someone that you really appreciate something about them or their effort, you’re the one who benefits most. With that insight, drop whatever you’re doing and find someone to thank. Your brain will give you a little something for the effort.
Best-selling author and personal development specialist Lewis Howes shared on Twitter, “Stop being jealous of people in their winning season. You don’t know what they lost in their losing season.”
Howes’ tweet is impactful. It can be easy to become envious (almost jealous) of the achievements of others. Whether it’s a promotion at work, accolades for a business or even a social media post that seems to have inexplicable popularity.
But you need to remind yourself that that those wonderful, notable moments never tell the full story. You might have forgotten about the failures or setbacks, if you knew of them at all. You’re not privy to the heartache or seemingly endless toil that led to that one glorious instance.
As Howes implies, be happy for the victories of others. They’ve earned them. Moreover, it should serve as a beacon of hope that it’s possible for you to achieve the same thing too.
To a degree, being successful requires that you dig into whatever you do and become a master of your craft. After all, we live in an increasingly specialized world where serving a niche well is imperative.
With that mindset, it can be easy to get holed up in a niche-driven silo – whether your office or another workplace – busily doing what you do. Serving clients. Wooing prospects. And learning how to become better at each of those things. Don’t do the easy thing.
Yes, doing what you do will bring success. But that success will eventually plateau and begin to wane. Growth and lasting success come from outside your niche-driven silo. It’s there where you’ll meet wonderful new people and reconnect with colleagues and friends. It’s there where you’ll find groundbreaking new opportunities and fresh ideas.
Yes, dig into your craft and hunker down to serve your clients well. But remember to build into your week time to get out of your silo.
When you invite someone into your home, you go to great lengths to make them feel welcome. You try to make them feel comfortable and relaxed. You endeavor to create a standard of hospitality. You want them to want to come back. Moreover, you hope they share about their experience, so others know of your hospitality.
Obviously, you can’t have everyone to your house. After all, much of the day you’re not even there. So, while you can’t invite everyone into your home, you can and do invite people into your presence.
Be welcoming to them to. Make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Exhibit a level of hospitality for being around you so they want to come back to visit. Create an experience that they share about with others.
If you consistently do this, you’ll have no shortage of great people in your presence. And nothing but good can come from that.
Wharton School of Business Professor, Dr. Adam Grant shares that “When you’re torn between being polite or being honest, err on the side of sincerity. It’s better to be disliked but respected than to be liked but disrespected.” Grant goes on to indicate that in the long run, the people we trust the most are those with the courage to tell the truth.
The reality is that the truth may sting, but, done right, the truth you share offers value. This is because your candor can really provide a path to improvement. Depending on the situation, it allows someone to be better or do better.
This does not mean that you should be brutally honest with your thoughts and opinions. After all, no one likes to feel injured. But there is that middle ground. You know: Where the feedback you share might not be complimentary, but is constructive and well-intended in nature.
Simple math says if you subtract a larger number from a smaller one, you get a negative number. If you spend more money than you make, you go broke. Yet in networking, you give more than you expect to get and somehow that formula leads to prosperity. How can this be? Simple.
Much of what you give to others – referrals, information, and contacts – is not depleting you.
If you referred a job-hunting friend to an ace executive recruiter, what are you really out? Nothing, beyond a little time. To the two people you have connected, however, you have conveyed real value. And, in time, what will likely come back to you are things of significant value to you.
This is incredibly powerful stuff. The gist of this in networking terms is that what you give may not compare to what you get. It’s not an exchange of like-kind items. For this reason, networking arithmetic doesn’t follow conventional wisdom. So, you can’t go broke by giving to others.
No one ever said that life would be fair. Some people have more money. Others are taller. Some have super blue eyes. Still others seem to be in the right place at the right time. Life is “not fair.”
However, as much as life is “not fair,” it is “not unfair” either. That is, there is no great scheme to defraud you from getting your piece of the American dream or derail you from the goals you aspire to.
Understanding this, you should generally avoid the temptation to carry on as if somehow you have been cheated. You haven’t. Moreover, this attitude is counterproductive. You see, few people can really identify with this “I have been wronged” attitude and even fewer people want to associate with those who believe this. And those who do, you don’t really want to be around.
No, things are not perfectly equal. Accept that. And then move on. Everyone will respect you for it.