Work is a place the majority of us spend most of our waking hours either loving every minute of it or killing ourselves slowly. It is a place that provides many opportunities to build character, to learn new skills, and to discover the phenomenon of working with others. Above all, that seems to be the hardest part of working.
I don’t know about you but I would rather love every minute of my work than to allow it to ever placidly suck the life out of me. You can begin to incorporate a few simple steps in your daily habits to help you make the most out of work. Here are seven simple keys that can help transform your working life from a boring and insignificant one to an enjoyable and important one.
1. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:23
Being in the present is a great thing, that includes being enthusiastic about the work you are doing right now. So, WHATEVER you do –making a presentation, taking out the garbage, answering phones, writing the needed reports –put your entire heart (100% +) into it.
Every job is a preparation for the next job. It is an opportunity to develop you in ways you may not be aware of. Luke 16:10-12 states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own.”
It is helpful to keep in mind that is a test of not only your skills but your attitude as well. Your attitude towards life and your work in particular determines your level of enjoyment. A negative attitude that encourages continuous griping and complaining does not facilitate the creation of joyful moments.
Proverbs 12:24 provides that the “diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” One of the ways to facilitate enjoyment in our work is to determine to add value to the organization, its people, and its daily mission. When you feel that you are making a difference, it does something inside you–it makes you feel needed and significant.
You are needed. You are important. You are significant. That is why your work cannot be haphazardly put together. That is why your work cannot remain undone.
Success sounds wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to have it? So many have made it sound so easy and beautiful in every way.
However, that is far from reality. Success requires hard work and is at times not very beautiful.
Achieving daily success includes:
Waking up early to review your goals and to perform your morning routine.
Pushing back the “I don’t feel like doing it” to the aside and proceed to your agreed commitment to yourself.
Working hard when others around you are having “the time of their lives.”
The truth is success is hard and it is not for the faint of heart. It requires consistency.
Inherent in the word consistency is the promise that if you take consistent action towards your goal, you will be rewarded with consistent success. We get better at things when we do them repeatedly or consistently.
Consistency does not in any way demands perfection.
Consistency is a decision to:
Do something every day no matter how small it seems to you.
Refusing to give up when you face negative people, obstacles and emotions.
Keeping your eyes on the goal.
No matter what the pursuit, consistency is the key.
Because being brave is a decision and you make decisions every day.
Brave is not a word people often use to describe themselves. It is too grandiose and lofty. It is too far removed from how we see ourselves on a daily basis.
It is a word used to describe warriors, soldiers, and fighters because they face danger and pain willingly. The reality is BRAVE is a word that describes YOU when you:
Do things others will not.
Greet a stranger.
Ask for what is important to you.
Take the first step knowing that you will not be perfect.
Admit you have all you need at this very moment to start making a change.
Feel the fear and do it any way.
So being brave is not about having all the answers, because you do not. It is not about not being afraid. It is all about acting unafraid and pursuing your goal anyway.
A valuable strategy that can be helpful is acting as if. You can pretend bravery — encouraging yourself to actions that are out of your comfort zone. The more you take action, the better prepared you will be to be brave when the next opportunity present itself.
The fish does not climb a tree because it was not created to climb a tree. It has its special intelligence that equips it to navigate its environment with ease. The water environment and the skills necessary to thrive there is empowering not self-defeating.
So, why do we belittle ourselves and hinder our progress on the basis that we are not intelligent enough. Let’s be reminded that “God does not create junk.” The problem occurs when we place ourselves in the wrong environment and engage outside of our skill set.
We don’t have to spend our lives thinking that we’re stupid simply because we are in the wrong environment, doing something we are not prepared to do.
Remember, we have the potential to learn and become better at anything we put our minds to. According to Merriam-Webster, intelligence is defined as the ability to learn or understand or to deal with difficult situations.
Some people naturally possesses or are drawn to a specific type of work. That is wonderful. That does not in any way diminish our ability to learn that type of work or skill.
Einstein says it best, the measure of our intelligence has very little to do with where we are right now. Our ability and our flexibility to change makes all the difference.
We can improve our intelligence on a daily basis by:
Take a workshop or a seminar
Spend time with people we want to learn from
Take daily action toward change
Feed our minds everyday
Be nice to ourselves–often
So don’t decline that promotion, we will be surprise to see that we know more than we think we know. Knowing that there is nothing new under the sun, we can find people and resources to help us no matter what we may face.
That looks like the recipe for success in life, work, and business.
Surprisingly, these are myths. They do no weight as much as we think they do.
The experts and researchers have affirmed that the number one thing that holds people back from success is their ATTITUDE.
DEFINITION: a way of thinking or feeling about something, someone, or an event that is usually reflected in one’s behavior.
As trivial and insignificant that may sound, our attitudes has much to do with what we do in life and how we do it.
This is awesome, very encouraging, and literally life transforming.
According to Charles R. Swindoll, attitude is everything: Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.
We certainly have little control over what happens to us in life. We can take precautions to decrease the likelihood of something hurtful, damaging, or devastating from happening to us, but we cannot guarantee it.
What we can be certain of is that we have the power to react in positive, uplifting, and life changing ways. We can choose our responses. We can learn from the experience helpful lessons and throw away the rest. From that experience we can begin anew with a different skill set.
John C. Maxwell, the very successful New York Times Bestselling Leadership Expert is one of my many mentors. From him I learned that we learn best from EVALUATED EXPERIENCES.
It is not enough to say “I learned a lot from this experience.” We must break the experience down and study it to determine lessons worth learning. In that way, the experience will become an asset rather than a hindrance.
So, let’s check ourselves to see how our attitude is holding us back from:
Taking that critical first step to pursue a goal
Seeking the help that can change our lives
Asking for what we what we need
Taking the necessary risks
Even in the business world,
There are a few jobs where straight
up skills are all we ask for.
Perhaps in the first violinist in a string quartet.
But in fact, even there, what actually separates
winners from losers isn’t talent,
The bottom line is people like to be with, work with, and do business with people they like. If our attitudes are constantly negative, who in their right minds will want to spend time with us?
Please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.
What a wonderful blessing it is to have friends who truly listen when we speak; they stay in the present with us and value what we have to say. It is also quite invigorating to have friends who accepts us unconditionally; they know what they can get from us and what they would be crazy to ask for. In this way, we do not have to stress each other out by demanding things that are not in our skill set to give. That brings me to the fifth tip for attracting and developing lasting friendships.
5. Be a Significance Disseminator
Every single person in this world is seeking to be significant to someone, to a cause, or to a community. That is how we deride our meaning, zest, and passion for life. So, make it a point to impart significance. Help make people feel that they matter and they have something special to contribute to this world in this very time that we are living that may transcend their time here on earth. In Romans 12:10, Paul declares that we “Honor one another above yourselves.” People are looking for others to lift them up. The research is clear here as well. We only need ONE person to believe in us to help us accomplish great things. So make it your business to notice and to give a word of encouragement. Be a significance disseminator.
6. Be a Peacemaker
We all love to have peace in our homes, schools, work, churches, and communities. How do we get peace? Does it happen all by itself? No, to have peace we must actively make it happen—we must get involve and actively look to resolve conflicts that are around us. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” That is according to Matthew 5:9. We are aware of certain people in our lives that thrive on turning people against each other, and who uses harsh, hurtful, and damaging words. They thrive on conflict and they will do anything to see a fight. Stay away from them and seek those who have healing and peaceful words. Let’s be mindful of the words we use because they have the power of life and death.
Be a Lover of People
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). What an amazing verse. When we practice love, our buckets are never empty; it is a well that keeps on giving. When we love, we care deeply. When we love, we forgive often and quickly. When we love, we share with each. When we love, we practice patience and kindness on a daily basis. When we love, we stand up for others and protect them the best way we know how. When we love, there is no such thing as giving up knowing that there is nothing that is too big, too tall, too strong, or too weak that love cannot conquer.
We all want at least one good friend who will accept us no matter what, who will not judge us when we fall, and who will stick around not just for the good times but for the trying times as well. However, so many of us find ourselves alone wondering, “Does anyone out there care?” Indeed, there are people out there who would have showed up for us, but quite often we neglect to do the prep work that is essential to attracting and keeping good friends. Like every good thing, good friendships does not come out of nowhere. We have to be intentional about creating and developing them.
Here are seven keys to building lasting friendships.
That goes without saying. To create and to develop lasting friendships, you have to be friendly and be genuinely interested in other people. Proverbs 18:1 states, “Unfriendly people care only about themselves.” If we are only about ourselves and the only person we can talk about is “me,” then it will be difficult to show people that we care about them. Some of us carry a “mean and don’t approach” demeanor around. We refuse to smile and say “hello” to people. How will the door be open if you intend to carry daily your “NO, DON’T APPROACH” face?
Be Not a Complainer
We all have fallen short of that once or twice. We complain about things, people, work, and environment we don’t like and expect people to be willing to listen to our toxicity all the time. People get tired of that—they want to be lifted as often as possible not dragged down by all of the baggage we are loading on them physically and mentally. Phillipians 2:14-15 commands us to “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Complaining does not attract good friends, it repels it.
Be a Good Listener
There is a very good reason why we have two ears and one mouth. We were met to use our ears much more than our mouths. But it is totally the opposite for some of us. We like to talk and others will listen whether they want to or not. To begin to change that, we need to practice James 1:19: “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.” We will find it very hard to get to know people if we are always running our mouths. We may keep the avalanche coming because we don’t know what to say. In that case, we need to learn the skill of asking revealing questions. “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out” Proverbs 20:5). Asking good questions will help us to understand others better and put them first during conversations.
Many of have this deep desperation to change people to our liking. The only problem with that is that –that is not our responsibility and frankly we do not have that power. We must learn to accept people just the way they are. The apostle Paul in Romans 15:7 admonishes us to “Accept one another…just as Christ accepted you.” We are all broken and in much need of love. Let’s not ask people for things that they cannot give us. Let’s not sacrifice ourselves to mold them in way that they do not want to be molded. We will find ourselves exhausted beyond measure and disappointed in the results.
Since the friends we choose reflect the person we really are, we have to look into ourselves carefully to make sure that we are first a good friend before we can expect that from other people. Proverbs 27:19 states, “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is like is shown by the kind of friend he chooses.” Therefore, our choice is as much about who we are and where we stand at specific points in our lives. Proverbs 12:26 admonishes us to choose our friends carefully. Here are three friends who will stand by us in good and not so good times.
The challenger is a friend who challenges us in different areas of our lives. We may need a friend to challenge us spiritually. Proverbs 13:20 states, “He who walks with the wise grows wise.” We may need a friend to support us physically, emotionally, academically, and in many other areas of our lives. The challenger is always positively pushing us to greater heights and is there to help us understand that all things are possible.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). A sign of a supporter shows that he or she has been there for not just the summer, but the winter as well. The supporter stays when everybody says “This is too much, let me get out of here.” This is a friend who is there to help us “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). The supporter is there for the job promotion as well as the unexpected cancer diagnosis, and will stand by our side no matter what.
Everyone is looking for a friend to strengthen them spiritual, professionally, and in many other areas of life. First Thessalonians 5:11 commands us to “encourage one another and build each other up.” Hebrews 10:24 urges us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Imagine having a friend who can see potential in us that we cannot see in ourselves—a friend that believes in us even when we doubt ourselves.
Friends like these are hard to find. That is why it is imperative to be that kind of friend first.
As we dig deep into our goals this year, this is the time that we look around us to see and briefly study the people surrounding us. If we intend to accomplish anything significant, we must have the right people in our corners. These people are usually our closest friends. Since we spend much time with our friends, they have the tendency to rub off on us, influence our thinking, and behaviors. So, consider the following types of friends and determine how your friends measure up.
Hard work is a foreign concept to these people. What they work hard on is not working and feed on anything that they can get for free—that means things you have paid for. If they have a job, they work on doing as little as possible. Second Thessalonians urge us to keep away from “all believers who are living a lazy life.” Lazy people are usually takers not givers, so they are less equipped to help you reach your goals.
“Don’t make friends with people who have hot, violent tempers. You might learn their habits and not be able to change” (Proverbs 22:24-25). How incredible is that? Angry people influence your life in a way that robs you of your destiny. Their influence is so strong that you may never break away from them.
It is task to process all the images and messages that bombards us on a daily basis, why in the world would we choose to be around a person who lives a double life? They claim to be one thing, when they are actually another. First Corinthians 5:10 urges us to “not associate with a person who calls himself a believer but is immoral or greedy or worships idols or is a slanderer or a drunkard or a thief.”
Every relationship allows each party to give and take. There is a constant exchange to ideas and resources of many forms. If a party habitually demands exorbitantly from the other, but refuses to replenish or reciprocate, the relationship will eventually die. Let’s not partake in friendship with people who are always keeping score of what is given. Proverbs 23:6-7 admonishes that “for he is the kind of man who is always counting the cost…his heart is not with you.”
There is power in numbers. When two people agree to do something together, very little can stop them. They become even more powerful when they have the same mind and share the same belief. Second Corinthians 6:14 commands “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.” There will be little to no progress in your growth because you will be going against the current.