Recently, I was working with a client, Phil, who felt that he was stuck in his work. He was frustrated, tired, feeling bogged down by some new processes which had been introduced and experiencing the inevitable teething troubles any new work of working brings with it. I shared this quote with him –
‘If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.’ Dale Carnegie
We pondered those words for a little while and talked about what relevance they might have to Phil’s situation.
Firstly, we defined what his work actually was – sounds straightforward and like the kind of thing that’s on a job description, doesn’t it? But how often do you look at your job description? When you do, does it sound like what you actually do all day? Not in Phil’s case. He defined his work not just by what he does but also by the contribution he believes it makes. This helped him to understand its importance and therefore establish the strength of his belief in his work.
Having done that, we moved on to listing obstacles he felt hindered him – those ‘seeming impossibilities’ to which Dale Carnegie refers. We looked at distractions and how to remove them. We looked at the best way he could start off each day, on the premise that anything which helped him overcome any initial inertia could only be beneficial. We prioritised, looking at both short-term and medium-term tasks. By the end of the session, Phil was feeling re-energised. He saved the Dale Carnegie quote as his laptop wallpaper and took away a clear plan of action to ‘get the work done’.
When I saw him last week, he reported that he was on track and feeling much happier about his work. We often strive to work smarter, to maximise our productivity and to obtain the best possible return on the physical and mental investment we make: perhaps the best way to start this process is by establishing our belief in our work and then getting on with it.
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: do you believe in your work?
What do you think?