With new lockdown measures across the country many of us have had to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of working from home. To help you navigate your way through these challenging months we have created a go-to guide to keep you positive and focused. Extracts taken from These Cards Will Change Your Career.
I have often wondered why so many inherently creative people are such excellent worriers. It wasn’t until I heard the quote ‘Worry is a misuse of the imagination’ by US creativity consultant Dan Zadra that I made the connection.
Imagination is the amazing gift of being able to ‘see’ things that are unreal. Used well, this talent can achieve amazing things: the designing of a new product, the writing of a screenplay, the creation of an algorithm for calculating great stuff. But when this wonderful gift gets muddied with a lack of confidence, your brain begins to imagine negative scenarios, in life as well as at work: ‘Did I leave the oven on?’, ‘What if my client can’t pay their bill this month?’ Use your ability to ‘foresee’ problems to your advantage (rather than letting it own you) and it will become an extremely beneficial asset.
Short-term targets are accomplishments you wish to achieve in the near future.
The benefits of short-term targets are innumerable.
1.They help you set a suitable direction.
2. They enable you to measure your progress and success, allowing you to action any changes before it’s too late.
3.Once achieved, they give you the motivation to set new targets.
Break down your goals into manageable chunks to make things feel more achievable and to give yourself a sense of urgency. This short-term target setting will also increase your success rate when pursuing long-term goals.
Whether you are stuck for ideas, struggling to solve a particular problem, or in need of advice or inspiration, talking is one of the best techniques to identify solutions.
Talk to a colleague, a mentor, a friend, a partner, a pet, or even to yourself. The cognitive processes required to formulate sentences when spoken can often be just enough to reshuffle the thought process in our minds, making sense of what had previously seemed baffling. Talking will also help put things in perspective, clarify the root of the issue, and release tension.
Humanity and the animal kingdom have been surviving for millennia, but when it comes to business, just getting by won’t always be enough to keep you motivated and/or competitive.
Once you have mastered survival it’s time to thrive: you must keep pushing on, raise that bar, maintain achievable yet ambitious goals. This will not happen overnight – there is no quick fix. But when that success comes and the momentum is soaring, acknowledge it, celebrate it, and reward yourself. Disclaimer: to thrive (to grow, to develop well) is a subjective state, so it is important that you determine what thriving means for you – that way you will know when you have achieved it, rather than forever chasing a moving target.
Your EQ is just as important as your IQ when it comes to being successful. IQ (or ‘intelligence quotient’) is readily understood to be someone’s ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
Less readily understood is the value of emotional intelligence, or EQ, which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is ‘the capacity to be aware of, manage, and express one’s emotions, and to handle a variety of interpersonal situations in an intelligent, judicious, and empathetic manner’. During your working life you will no doubt encounter clients, networking events, team activities, and collaborative projects for
which you will need to be able to connect socially with others. Anybody who works with people on a regular basis (in a big business, in a school, with the public) needs to be able to read and decipher emotional signals effectively, so be sure to look after your emotional intelligence in the same way you would your IQ.
Success requires an energy source. Your mind and your body are both capable of incredible things when pushed to their limits, but constantly working at your limit without refuelling is not sustainable.
You need to fuel yourself properly to get the best results, in the same way you would if you were an athlete – diet and rest are key. Too many skipped breakfasts and late-night dinners will take their toll on your energy and productivity. Keep an eye on your vices, make sure you get enough fresh air and sleep, keep track of your diet, and take supplements and vitamins where necessary. High achievers work hard and you need energy and stamina to do that, so fuel sensibly.
Success, joy, pleasure, satisfaction come in different guises throughout the development of our careers. But a career is a bit of a marathon – 26 long miles full of twists and turns and highs and lows. It takes determination and grit to go the distance.
Your journey will be different to mine, and to the next person you meet. We will all go through periods of hardship and lack of confidence, as well as bemusement, uncertainty, jubilation, shock, and happiness. Appreciate these moments for what they are and remember that when you are experiencing that high, someone close to you may well be experiencing something very different. You can have it all, as long as you don’t expect to have it all, all the time.
You are your biggest asset, so give yourself some time each day for calibration. A successful career takes effort and energy and a lot of time giving yourself to others, so it is important to set aside a few moments each day for you.
This need not be a traditional pampering ,but something simpler: listen to your favourite podcast on the bus; walk the scenic route to work; do ten minutes of yoga to start off the day; buy yourself the good coffee – anything that treats your body or soul, and that isn’t directly connected to your work. This time out every day, that you dedicate to yourself, will help you check in, help you heal, help you stay focused and help you stay strong.