Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Shake it Off!

One of the kids takes a hard hit and is lying on the ground. The coach runs over, sees that she’s not seriously hurt, then says the mantra of coaches everywhere: “Shake it off.”

At first that might sound harsh, but it’s actually great practice for life. If you’re too hurt to play on, you’ll be helped off the field and cared for, no problem. But if you’re well enough to play on, even though it hurts a bit and the wind has been knocked out of you, the best thing to do is shake it off and get back in the game.

Whether in sports or business, winners know that to win, you have to play hard. And when you play hard, you WILL get hurt once in a while.

Failures and mistakes are common and necessary. Winners know how to shake it off, get back on their feet, and move on from failure, quickly adjusting course without wallowing in the bruises to their egos.

The next time you find yourself momentarily on your back, ask yourself—How bad is it really? Do I need to be helped off the field? Or can I shake it off, take a deep breath, and get back into the game?

The ones who get back in the game are the ones who win. Be that winner.

Do What Others Are Unwilling to Do

I have some friends, a married couple, who have worked out an agreement. He hates to talk on the phone. Every time their home phone rings, even if they’re in the middle of watching a movie, he looks up at her, and she answers it.

In exchange, he is in charge of all killing in the house – spiders, silverfish, mice, the works. Both of them probably grumble a bit when they do their assigned job, but in the end, each is grateful for the other’s willingness to take a hated task off their hands.

There’s a great message in this for anyone with aspirations to rise through the ranks in business. Every workplace and every industry includes some tasks that are less desirable than others. Everyone knows what they are, and when the boss asks for a volunteer to take one of these tasks on, you can practically see tumbleweeds blowing through the office.

Imagine how disheartening that is for the boss—and what a relief it is when you step forward to accept the job.

While most people spend their time procrastinating or complaining, winners take on the least desirable parts of their work without question or complaint. And in the process, they make decision makers grateful.

That’s a surefire way to climb the ladder to success.

Practice Isn’t Enough

You’ve probably heard the old joke about the man stopping a cabbie in New York to ask for directions. “Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Sure,” said the cabbie. “Practice, practice, practice!”

Nice gag, but practice by itself in any field will not guarantee success. Practicing the right things in the right way will. Winners find the best of the best as their mentors and coaches and are relentless in applying and practicing the guidance they receive. The greatest artists, scientists, and athletes hook up with teachers that know more about the craft than anyone else, then they follow their advice.

The same thing applies to business. Don’t think that doing something over and over is enough to achieve mastery. Find people who’ve been there before who can tell you where to focus your attention and how to practice your skills. That’s the ticket to success that really works.

If you had half the resources and a quarter of the time…

Ask yourself this: If you had half the resources and a quarter of the time to do your job, how would you do it differently?

I know what you’re thinking: “No way. It can’t be done! I’m barely making it as it is!” But humor me for a minute. Imagine that you have absolutely no choice but to do everything you currently do with half the resources and a quarter of the time. No choice at all.

Now…what would you do?

The first shift would be in attitude. It would HAVE to be. Once the shift in attitude is made, you are willing to do whatever it takes. Resentment doesn’t build up and defeat your energy. Suddenly the impossible becomes possible.

The second shift would be in organization. You would be forced to get very organized, very quickly, with daily, weekly, and monthly checklists.

Now imagine what would happen to your productivity if you adopted this attitude now, today, even with all the time and resources you have. Nothing would ever stand in your way again.

Celebrating stories of success

History books are one person’s opinion of what happened. Need proof? Tune in to MSNBC and FOX News reporting on the same stories on the same night, and you’ll get two wildly different interpretations of what happened that day. An event described as a soaring success on one side of the political aisle is often described as a wincing failure on the other.

The very same thing happens with organizations. Is Apple the greatest thing since the light bulb, or the ultimate force for evil? It depends on who is telling the story.

The same is true of your own company. And as a member of the team, one whose success or failure are tied tight to the company’s success or failure, you have every incentive to be a cheerleader for your company.

Do you use your company’s products? If you work for Pepsi, are you serving Coke at the neighborhood barbecue? When you talk about the work your company does, do you share stories of success or failure?

What are the positives you can share with customers? What are the success stories you can tell them, the differences your products and services have made in the lives of others? Of course there are also less flattering stories. Every company has those. But for the company to thrive, and for you to thrive along with it, you want to find and tell the positives.

This isn’t just a job for marketing. It’s everyone’s job to pass along those stories and to institutionalize them. Stories of success, told again and again, are at the heart of every great culture.