There are a number of things you can do to positively affect your circumstances in life.
And most of them are quite simple. The vast majority of hardworking people who have become successful over time didn’t succeed because they had ‘the right connections’ or a ton of start up cash. They did it by their own merit, determination and grit. If you find yourself in a professional or personal rut, go back to the basics. So few people marry intent and purpose that you will no doubt stand out among the crowd.
Below, you will find a list of “back to basics” that will jumpstart your efforts. And, as an added bonus, everything on this list requires zero money or talent – just determination.
- Be on time. This should be obvious, but promptness seems to have been overtaken by tardiness in our culture. A flagrant disrespect of people’s time (their most valuable resource) will not garner you any positive attention.
- Demonstrate a work ethic. Those who believe that hard work has intrinsic value are already a step ahead of the rest.
- Put forth effort. When you demonstrate a vigorous or determined attempt—whether or not you encounter initial success—you are learning valuable lessons in the process (and showing you don’t shy away from a challenge).
- Be mindful of your body language. Your posture sends a message and will help form another’s impression of you. Ensure you are communicating a positive and confident message.
- Exude a positive attitude. It’s not your boss, colleagues, parents, spouse, or the traffic, but your own perception that creates stress and negative energy. Circumstances are neutral. Keep in mind it is not “if the storm comes,” but rather “when the storm comes.” You are in control of how you choose to respond to adversity. A good attitude will help you overcome life’s inevitable difficulties.
- Cultivate a passion for your work. Do this through seeking and finding the meaning in your work. More people rely on you than you think.
- Be coachable. The importance of demonstrating a willingness to learn from those willing to invest their time in you cannot be overstated. If you can find a mentor, repay them by being coachable and respectful.
- Be willing to do extra work. Don’t settle for good enough. Make excellence part of your personal brand.
- Show up prepared. Do your homework—before every call, every meeting, or any anticipated interaction. Save yourself the embarrassment of being ill prepared and set yourself apart by showing some genuine interest in and knowledge about the person/business/organization with whom you are interacting.
Finally, have pride in your work. Commit to doing your best no matter how menial the task. Get geared up for this by referring to Martin Luther King’s street sweeper speech. In the end, you won’t ever be entrusted with greater or “more meaningful” work if you don’t make an effort to do the small jobs well. Be your own ambassador. These concepts are so powerful that applying even half of them is likely to get you noticed sooner than you cold have ever imagined.