Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Get the chip off your shoulder

I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this has known someone with a massive chip on their shoulder. Maybe you’ve even been that person, who knows?

Well, you probably do—and those around you definitely do.

Have you ever noticed that people who walk around with a chip on their shoulder don’t seem all that eager to knock that chip off? They nurture it like a beloved child. As long as the chip is there, they can say “Woe is me” and embrace the victim role because someone has hurt them.

People can’t make you feel bad. You do that to yourself by interpreting their intent and keeping that chip where it is. We all do it—but it isn’t good for anyone.

Instead, change your interpretation of that remark or action that hurt you. There’s a good chance you can see it in a different light, one that helps you climb up out of that hole.

Better yet, talk directly to the person, even if it’s the CEO of the company. More often than not, you’ll find that the intention was not what you thought. Clear, honest, authentic communication benefits everyone.

The Accountability Power-Up

A study by the American Society for Training and Development shows how important accountability is for success. If you hear a good idea, there’s a 10 percent probability that you’ll actually do it. Deciding to do it moves the likelihood to 25 percent. Commit to someone else, and the likelihood rises to 65 percent.

But if you make a specific accountability appointment with that person, complete with deadline and deliverables, the likelihood of actually doing it shoots up to 95 percent.

That’s what accountability does for success.

There is something so powerful about knowing that someone else knows what you have committed to, even if they don’t say a word. If you make a commitment to Steve, every time you walk by Steve’s office you’ll find yourself wondering whether he is wondering how far along you are on that project.

Of course we can always find a lame excuse to avoid that accountability. “I was too busy.” “There isn’t enough time in the day.” “I tried my best.” “The supplier is a jerk.” “I sent an email and didn’t get a reply.”

If having an excuse is the goal, we will never fail. All you need is a little imagination. But your career will be short and stressful if you don’t understand that “results rule”—and excuses shouldn’t ever be uttered IF you want any respect from your boss or team. To rock your job, build accountability systems for yourself and for those around you. That’s where REAL success happens.

Seeing informal agreements


While my son was in India, he called to say, “Mom, you wouldn’t believe how different it is here. There are cars six deep, all blowing their horns and driving around people who are sleeping in the street, missing them by inches, with cows running up and down the road between all of it. And there are no road signs at all, and no lines on the roads!”

That pattern of behavior describes most workplaces! They have their own traffic jams and people sleeping in the way, right? And they have their own version of cows running up and down the street. And worst of all is that last observation—no instructions, no signs, and no lines.

Imagine if you woke up this morning and the streets on the way to work were like my son described—no lines on the road, no street lights, no stop signs and no laws?

That’s what your workplace would be like if it had no agreements.

Fortunately, there’s no such workplace. Workplaces are filled with agreements, formal and informal, spoken and unspoken. Some are obvious—be on time, don’t steal, don’t divulge confidential information.

Some others are less obvious but just as serious. Don’t undermine others with passive-aggressive behavior, for example. If you don’t have an agreement to disallow those unhealthy behaviors, then you have an agreement to allow them.

When to leave your job

Your job is imperfect. Your boss is imperfect. Your colleagues, boy, are THEY imperfect. None of this is news. The question is what you are doing about it.

If you’re accepting life’s little imperfections, that’s healthy. Giving constructive advice to improve things, good for you! But if you are complaining—aimlessly, pointlessly complaining—then it’s time for you to go. Your company is better without you. If you are taking checks from a company and then stabbing them in the back, you’ve got to think about your integrity. So off you go.

But wait! Before you go, let’s put things in perspective. Did you complain about your last job, too? Your last boss, your last colleagues? If so, you’re pretty likely to complain about the next ones as well. Then I guess you’ll have to cut and run from that one too.

Sounds like a pretty dismal future, don’t you think?

Instead, give yourself 24 hours to think about your situation. Focus on the things that are good, and come up with a strategy for improving the things that aren’t so good. But one way or another, promise yourself to turn off the pointless complaints for good.

Build structures for time optimization

Your brain is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it needs a little help. And one of the best ways to help your brain to be its best is by building structures to optimize your time.

If you are not using a checklist for your job, you ARE going to miss things. There’s simply no way your brain can keep track of everything efficiently without that simple external structure. Whether it’s an app on your phone or a pad of paper on your desk, it’s an absolute business essential. And study after study has found that pretty much every job above French fry cook benefits from the introduction of stepwise accountability measures.

Break down each item on the list into steps, and force yourself to report in to the steps along the way. While you’re breaking it down into smaller bits, be sure to spend time on the big picture as well. Build times into your calendar to work toward key results, or they won’t happen.

Finally, don’t forget to prioritize. A list of thirty undifferentiated items will do nothing but stress you out. Create a simple—always simple—system of dots, flags, letters, or whatever you want to designate high, middle, and low-priority items.

Now here’s the counter-intuitive part: When you lay the items into your daily schedule, don’t put all of the biggest things first. If you have four big projects and you put them all at the beginning of the day, and #2 takes longer than you think, and smaller tasks creep in, and you get interrupted a dozen times—in other words, if a completely normal day happens—you are likely to run out of time AND FOCUS for #4. Instead, lay small, lower-priority tasks between the big ones as buffers. If one big project runs over its allotted time, these smaller cushions can be jettisoned until tomorrow or the next day.

Whether it’s the small picture or the big picture, don’t cross your fingers and hope. Build the structures that optimize your time and ensure that things happen.