If you’re like most people I know these days, you may not feel like you have enough energy to meet the increasing demands that are coming at you – both at work and at home.
Technology is great, but it also means people expect more immediate communication, and you may find yourself needing to make tough decisions without much time to really think about the possibilities. If you’re like me, you may also be juggling responsibilities of work and family – both kids and aging parents.
I’m going to expand the focus of today’s post a little bit from the normal subject matter. Most cardiovascular marketers I know are pretty stressed out, and I think this post from Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project offers some good tips:
Here are his 10 enduring principles to make choices that reflect openness, integrity and authenticity:
1. Always challenge certainty, especially your own. When you think you’re undeniably right, ask yourself “What might I be missing here?” If we could truly figure it all out, what else would there be left to do?
Reminds me of a great quote from John Naisbitt: “Understand how powerful it is to NOT have to be right.
2. Excellence is an unrelenting struggle, but it’s also the surest route to enduring satisfaction. There’s no shortcut to excellence. Getting there requires practicing deliberately, delaying gratification, and forever challenging your current comfort zone.
Makes me feel better about badgering my kids about their grades. It also validates the proven processes we employ for strategic planning (even when we are pushed to take shortcuts.)
3. Emotions are contagious, so it pays to know what you’re feeling. Think of the best boss you ever had. How did he or she make you feel? That’s the way you want to make others feel.
I also think of the best client I’ve ever had and how that person made me feel – like I was smart and capable – that I could figure out a great solution to challenges even if I had never faced them before. I sure hope that’s how I make my team (and my kids) feel.
4. When in doubt, ask yourself, “How would I behave here at my best?” We know instinctively what it means to do the right thing, even when we’re inclined to do the opposite. If you find it impossible, in a challenging moment, to envision how you’d behave at your best, try imagining how someone you admire would respond.
Someone I admire a great deal lives by this credo: “Never tarnish your good name.” Sure seems like a good litmus test for decision-making.
5. If you do what you love, the money may or may not follow, but you’ll love what you do. It’s magical thinking to assume you’ll be rewarded with riches for following your heart. What it will give you is a richer life. If material riches don’t follow, and you decide they’re important, there’s always time for Plan B.
As I approach middle age (maybe I’m already there), it seems like there’s less and less time for Plan B. Fortunately, I’ve been able to make a good living doing something I love, but there’s a secret part of me that still wants to be a travel writer. Hmmm……..
6. You need less than you think you do. All your life, you’ve been led to believe that more is better, and that whatever you have isn’t enough. It’s a prescription for disappointment. Instead ask yourself this: How much of what you already have truly adds value in your life? What could you do without?
Pretty powerful. Cutting through the clutter seems critical these days, especially as we’re inundated with more information than ever before.
7. Accept yourself exactly as you are but never stop trying to learn and grow. One without the other just doesn’t cut it. The first, by itself, leads to complacency, the second to self-flagellation. The paradoxical trick is to embrace these opposites, using self-acceptance as an antidote to fear and as a cushion in the face of setbacks.
This is why I feel so fortunate to work with young, energetic people who are constantly challenging my thinking and keeping me “current.” From giving me tutorials on how to best use TweetDeck to teaching me the definitions of words from the Urban Dictionary, they keep me on my toes, and I love it.
8. Meaning isn’t something you discover, it’s something you create, one step at a time. Meaning is derived from finding a way to express your unique skills and passion in the service of something larger than yourself. Figuring out how best to contribute is a lifelong challenge, reborn every day.
Certainly a good personal credo. I would argue that the best brands also live by this philosophy.
9. You can’t change what you don’t notice and not noticing won’t make it go away. Each of us has an infinite capacity for self-deception. To avoid pain, we rationalize, minimize, deny, and go numb. The antidote is the willingness to look at yourself with unsparing honesty, and to hold yourself accountable to the person you want to be.
Reminds me of the Michael Jackson song, “I’m looking at the man in the mirror.” Tough words, but definitely true.
10. When in doubt, take responsibility. It’s called being a true adult.
Boy, there sure are some people I know who need to take this to heart — both in my professional life, and in a group of youth sports parents I know. (But that’s a story for another day.)
Thanks for indulging me in some personal musings with this post. It’s been cathartic for me. I hope you got something out of it too.