I’ve spent more than 15 years coaching some of the Top Executives, Entrepreneurs, and Athletes in transition – and there is always someone telling me “but how does that work in the real world”. So I thought I would share 9 ways that you can start to implement small things that cost you nothing that will positively impact your personal and professional world. I think if more people in our industry shared actionable things you can do to be aware of- the transparency into the process of personal transformation would be something we would all be open to. Unfortunately, it’s hard to distinguish who the “real coaches” are versus the ones that put you in an endless email sequence you can’t get out of with 15 emails in one day. (For the record, I’m not that kind of coach)
It should be no surprise that I’ll ask you to be the change you want to see occur in the world around you. We can’t make other people be more considerate, helpful, honest, etc., but if everyone were to work on themselves and develop these attributes, our world would be a better place.
But what does that mean?
- Don’t Judge. Look for and recognize the good in yourself and in others, and do your best to do that. We all have “good” and “bad” days, and we all have “good” and “bad” days. They say it’s great that we are not all the same in how we look or think about things. People don’t have to be afraid of being different. It’s not “bad,” it’s just “different.” It’s a good thing that there are so many different things. In the same way, forget about “right” and “wrong.” Good or bad or right or wrong; people are just people. In their shoes, maybe you would act a different way. Or you might not. As a person who isn’t perfect yourself, you might think your own judgment is even worse than the person you are judging. This wastes your time and could cut you off from important opportunities and meaningful relationships.
- Respect. Don’t think your rights are the only ones that matter. Don’t forget about the other person’s rights. Our most important right is to be treated well. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of money or if you have a job with a fancy title. Respect isn’t about money or where you are on the social ladder. It’s about how you treat others. Respect is paying attention to another person’s worth and treating them the way you want to be treated. We all came into this world equal, and we’re all leaving as equals. In between, there are just a lot of different things that happen in people’s lives. It’s better to be poor and care for strangers than to be rich and dishonest. A rich businessman who wears expensive clothes and lives in a mansion isn’t worth as much respect as a poor man who cares for strangers, gives help without asking for anything in return, and lives a clean, honest life.
- Take the time to listen. How often do you pay attention to other people? How often do you think about what you are going to say next while they are talking? When you listen well, you show respect and are better able to understand what the person is saying. You avoid misunderstandings and not following the correct steps. It’s also likely that the other person will thank you for paying attention. People who are interested are interesting. These things go together. Being a good listener goes hand in hand with this. If you want to get to know someone, ask them questions and show that you care about what they have to say. Don’t worry about them taking all the attention. You can have your turn during the conversation. In your life, have you met someone who talks about themselves all the time? Take a look at how many times you use “I” in your talks. It’s very likely that you need to improve your communication skills if you judge, argue points, interrupt the conversation, and use “I” a lot.
- Your heart will tell you what to say. We usually respond to people with our head, not with our heart, because that’s how we think. We make up stories about ourselves, defend our ego, or judge other people or what they say. If we respond from our heart, we can respond with understanding and a sense of connection. This is how we can respond. Find good things to say about people and about people. Build people up, not down. Go with what you think is best.
- Be honest with yourself. When someone says, “Honesty is the best policy,” there is a good reason for it Nothing good ever comes from lying, and there is a big difference between being diplomatic and telling the truth outright, even if you’re being polite. Nobody can believe a liar. In the event that you’ve made a mistake, welcome to the human race! You don’t have to lie to hide it. The way you tell your truth doesn’t have to be “brutal.” There are gentle and tactful ways to tell the truth, and you should think about what you say before you say it. But don’t try to be deceitful, because it always comes back to bite you. In those situations, you’re even worse off than if you had just come clean in the first place, even though it might be uncomfortable at the time.
- Be helpful. We love it when someone comes up to us when we need help. A chance to repay them would be great. You can be a person that people look up to with respect and gratitude in their hearts, and one day, repay the kindness you show them. What comes around, comes around again. If you want people to help you, you must help other people. It doesn’t matter if you’re helping your boss with a project that you can see he needs help with, or if you’re helping a coworker who has a lot of work to do, or if an elderly neighbor is struggling up the stairs with her arms full. It doesn’t matter. People remember acts of kindness.
- Keep your integrity and your dignity. People who keep their morals are easier to deal with in both work and personal situations. It’s clear where they stand and you know where you stand with them, too. When you set your own standards and stand by them, you will feel better about yourself and you will attract people who respect your standards and who have their own. Being a doormat is rude to yourself and the person who walks all over you. It doesn’t let them grow and learn how to do things on their own. Learn how to say no in a nice way. All of us have the same right to have our own opinions and do things the way we want to. Nobody can make you feel bad if you think or feel differently. Remember: “Be true to yourself.”
- Go a little further. As you can see, this can be said in a number of ways. Remember that if something is worth doing in the first place, then it is worth doing well. Is there anything else you can do while you’re at it that will help? It would be better to go to someone like this to get your shoes shined. There’s a lot to like about Mr. A: he does a great job buffing and polishing, and he’s quick and cheap. Mr. B also does a great buff and polish, he is on time, and he isn’t very expensive. He is also cheerful and interested in you, and he whistles while he works. After your polish, you feel like you’re on top of the world! Because of you, Mr. B has gone the extra mile. His job wasn’t just to polish your shoes; he also cheered you up and made you feel good. It’s a good idea to ask if your coworker needs help with stapling or collating documents if you are going to help her copy some documents. Going the extra mile doesn’t have to cost a lot of time, energy, or money, but it can be worth a lot to the person you help. One day, the person who helped you will thank you for it.
- Be clear and remember clarity is kind. It’s better not to be evasive or promise things you can’t keep. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Do good work and people will trust you. Honor your promises and agreements as much as you can. This is all about being honest. Be ready to be flexible if necessary, but know that you don’t have to bend over so far back that your back breaks. You don’t need to be aggressive to be assertive. Being assertive and being aggressive are two completely different things that don’t need each other. As a matter of fact, you are better off without the aggression. If you let people or things not care about your position, you will get that reputation and find more and more people willing to walk all over you and more situations where it happens. It doesn’t mean you’re important to anyone if you act this way. It just means you’re a “pushover.”
Make the world around you the way you want it to be. The world would be a better place if everyone worked on themselves and learned to be more considerate, kind, helpful, and honest. If you are reading this and thinking “This is common sense”- think about the last time you felt disrespected, marginalized or even just plain demoralized.
My sense is if your bosses, colleagues and network could actually implement these “common sense” principles you might not be as frustrated.
And this is why coaching and coaches exist. To move the basic ideas or things we think are “common sense” into action and implementation and to keep your leaders accountable.
CEO, Elevated Worldwide
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