SHOW DATE: JULY 17, 2013
Wake up. Eat breakfast. Go to work. Eat lunch. Back to work. Go home. Eat dinner. Rest. Sleep. Wake up.
Does this cyclical pattern describe your workweek? This is not oversimplification or dramatization. This is what millions go through on a daily basis, and you may be going through these exact motions without even realizing it. Don’t believe us? Answer these simple questions:
a) When was the last time you read a book about your specific job or the industry you work in?
b) When was the last time you went to a helpful seminar on your own time and on your own paycheck?
c) When was the last time you created a system at work that made things easier and more efficient for everybody in the office?
d) When was the last time you decided to light a fire under an employee’s ass because they weren’t doing their best?
If you answered “three months ago” to “never” for any of these, then you’re complacent with your performance at your job. You’re afraid of rocking the boat and shaking things up; you’re fine with keeping things the way they are now because if you try something new you’re going to have to deal with all the muck that comes with it.
Ask yourself, what’s the best thing that can happen if you stick with this attitude? Answer: you stay where you are now, you don’t get demoted and you don’t earn more money. Hey—some people are fine with that. Worst case scenario? Here’s a hint: it’s Trump’s iconic catchphrase.
Don’t start moping just yet. There is a way to not only inspire and reinvent yourself on a day-to-day basis, but also help others do the same as well. Here’s a set of steps to help you transform yourself and those who work around you:
1) Admit that it’s your fault: “but I do inspire and motivate myself! It’s my employees who are being complacent!” It’s easy to blame others—the responsibility goes out of your hands and you’re left powerless to do anything, so it’s not your fault. But how do you ever expect to be in a leadership role when you take the easy way out? Here’s a great way to start empowering yourself: admit that’s it’s your fault. When something is your fault, it’s you who decides how to fix that problem, and it’s you who takes action and gets people motivated to overcome that problem along with you.
2) Take responsibility and take action: you have an employee that’s slacking big time. He’s waiting to be handed clients on a silver platter, and he does the bare minimum day in and day out. You’re thinking of firing him, but are concerned with the hassle of confronting him, the tax issues, finding a suitable replacement, and all the time and energy required to make this happen. You know what you’re being? You guessed it: that dreaded “C” word… complacent. By being complacent yourself, you allow others around you to become complacent as well. Take responsibility and take action—either fire the employee, or, if your mentality is along the lines of “why blow up the machine if all it needs is oil,” then light a fire under his ass and inspire him—get him excited for the job again. And the only way you’re going to get him excited is if you’re excited yourself.
3) Get excited: start thinking in terms of how exciting change will be. Think of what a great experience it will be getting someone new instead of getting nervous about the repercussions of firing someone. Or get excited about reinvigorating that complacent employee and breathing new life into him and your team.
4) Reinvent yourself—daily: the minds behind Apple and Microsoft constantly reinvent themselves in order to stay ahead of their competitors. Olympic athletes train to get a little better every single day. Actors like Gary Oldman are unrecognizable in the various roles they play. These are the people who are repulsed by complacency, stagnancy and settling for the bare minimum. Follow their lead and reinvent yourself daily.
5) Don’t just work hard, work smart: mules are extremely hard workers, but that doesn’t mean they run the world (maybe in a few millions years). Just because you work your ass doesn’t mean you’re not doing it by following the same wrote motions you follow every day. In order to get inspired and grow in your industry, you have to work smart. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Do some research. Read a book or an article on you industry.
- Go to industry training—on your own volition.
- Try a new idea out in your office. The worst that can happen is that people don’t use it, but at least you’ll be known as the guy who tried.
- Network with people in your company and in your industry who you don’t know. Meeting new people creates new opportunities, new connections, new jobs, new ways for your company to grow, new everything. This is a connected world and you can’t just disappear into your shell and expect to succeed.
So what are you going to do? Are you going to further your career and reinvent yourself and your team on a daily basis, or stay complacent with scratching your butt and wondering what the hell to do next?
By Aleksandr Smechov