Whether you’re working hard, looking for work, or in business for yourself, the theme of the past few years has been that those who provide value thrive. I’ve seen many people get jobs, get promoted, and small businesses exceed their plans in a recession or challenging economies. It sometimes seems as if there are two populations – those for whom hard economic times slowly compacts their souls, and those who seem to genuinely say “Recession? What recession?”
I’ve observed this for some time with fascination. And the “secrets” of those who are thriving, not just surviving, right now include:
Value: It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Provide great value. But there is an element to this that is a bit elusive. There’s value, and then there’s VALUE. People who do great work, and do it big, without seeming to be aware of it or anticipate something in return. They provide value not because it is expected of them, but because there is some kind of internal wellspring of commitment that drives them to do it.
Wow, you might say, that sounds like a lot of work! But to use an admittedly very tired phrase, it can be done by working smarter, not harder. In other words, when you provide tremendous value in what you do, you’re digging into the core of what is needed, and prioritizing well. In the areas that really matter, you’re going above and beyond. You’re making sure that those areas are not just covered, but all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, and a few other letters are judiciously used to really pump things up! As for the areas that don’t matter so much, well, don’t spend so much energy worrying about them! This allows the creative energy to expand and flow in the critical areas.
Strength: Use your strengths to your advantage. If you’re constantly focusing on areas where you can improve, you’re paddling up the river for the entire journey. People who are aware of their weaknesses, but who also fully embrace their strengths use their natural talents the way a kayaker uses the water, the currents, the eddies to get where he or she wants to go more quickly and safely than the poor bloke paddling madly upstream and wearing himself out. Make sure you know where your strengths lie, and get your boat flowing downstream on the power of your inherent strengths.
Energy: By focusing on the right things, and the things that you’re good at, you’ll find that you often gain energy, rather than lose it! Yes, it can seem counter-intuitive — work harder, but on the right things, and it seems like less work? Well, yes! At least if you’re also able to let go of those things that don’t serve you or the business. Those people I’ve observed who are experiencing great success right now have an amazing amount of energy! They light up the room when they arrive, and people are drawn to them. They’re actually having fun! They feel good about themselves because they know what they can contribute. This energy is hard to resist, AND it helps them continue to provide more and more value.
Attitude: Outstandingly successful people generally have a very positive, but realistic attitude. It allows them to take calculated risks, with a degree of objectivity. Those who start businesses with this attitude know that if the business fails, it will not be the end of the world, but they know they can be successful and are willing to work at it. Those who work for others are able to see that if the business is shifting direction, it may or may not be the right call by leadership, but it will surely fail without everyone on the team doing their best to see it through. And those who are looking for work can see the benefit of the job search – what they can find at the end, yet know they have to be mentally strong and disciplined throughout the process. They will look for new ways to network, to connect, to showcase their brand and talents.
The above characteristics are exciting because they feed into each other. The better the attitude one brings, the more likely you will see how you can add value to someone else’s day. The more value you bring, the better you feel about yourself and see your strengths. The more you tap into your strengths and work with your inherent talents, the more energized you feel. And more energy creates a great attitude!
Where will you start?