Just the Way You Are
What could possibly need improvement? 1/5/2021 | Mike Schenker, MAS, Uncommon Threads
I admit: I never really understood the whole concept of New Year’s resolutions. What is the arbitrary reason for suddenly changing or improving the way you act, just because the calendar has metaphorically turned the page? I’m reminded of the iconic Calvin and Hobbes panel, where Calvin is berating Hobbes for suggesting that he make resolutions, as he thinks he’s perfect just the way he is. What could possibly need improvement?
Further to the point of stumbling into 2021: just because 2020 has been gate-checked doesn’t mean that circumstances will improve. The pandemic will continue, politicians will still finger-point, our favorite sports stars and/or celebrities will die, I will continue to whine…
Yes friends…it’s another upbeat Mike Schenker column.
All of the things I just mentioned are out of our control (especially the one about me whining). There’s nothing we can do about them, aside from accepting them as part of our lives and moving ahead with or despite them. We can’t fix them, but we can fix us.
And so, keeping with the “no resolution” theme, here are simply some ideas to consider:
Accept and adapt to the new normal. As I mentioned above, this ain’t going away anytime soon, so embrace the technology. If my parents can get into virtual meetings with the entire family, so can you. Maybe not with my family, but we’re a very inviting lot so you never know.
To that end, I saw something earlier today about how, if you’re working from home, you should wear different pajamas than those you wear for sleeping. I am not making this up. Different pajamas??? In the first place, you’re still working. Be a professional. Additionally, let’s call them what they are: “work pajamas” are little more than sweat pants and sweat shirts (insert “t-shirts” if your climate allows for that). Let’s save those for special occasions…like when we’re braving the crowds at Walmart.
Focus. Harder. Do as I’m doing as I write this: email is turned off, my phone is upside down, and I’m laser-focused on finishing this column. It’s easy to get distracted when working from home, especially with kids or parents or partners or dogs distracting us and demanding our attention. This is why doors have locks.
Boss-people: empower your staff. You’ve hired the best people for all the right reasons, now let them do their jobs. With respect and appreciation. I shouldn’t have to mention that, but will anyway.
This next idea is subjective, I admit. If you’re satisfied with your lot in life, stay the course. Do your absolute best and be irreplaceable. If, however, you’ve got greater dreams and aspirations, plan a course as to how to achieve them.
To that end, continue to network. Just because you can’t physically attend professional events doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to grow your network. That new connection just might have the answers you need.
I just read this one and it makes perfect sense: make your goals public. ”JFK challenged NASA to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s by announcing his vision to the world. Literally. Quite the approach to accountability, don’t you think?”. You’re not doing this so that others can call you out on it. It’s more of a touchstone for you to remind yourself, daily, that you can make things happen.
Be realistic. Just as you didn’t lose the fifteen pounds you said you would in years past, you’re going to slip up from time to time. Allow for it. Don’t beat yourself up. As Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose. I either win or learn”. That’s brilliant. Even though it’s really easy, try not to get discouraged.
Keep swinging. Promote, promote, promote. Be it your business, your idea, your service, and/or especially yourself.
Considering that you’ve been locked up for so long, this one might seem odd, but hear me out: make time for you. I know of what I write, having worked from home since before it was chic. It’s very easy to finish dinner and then go back to whatever it is you call your home office (sidebar: I have seen some great ideas using little more than a linen closet!). Shut things down and keep them down. Introduce yourself to those people who seem to be occupying the same space. They may be nice. Maybe they’ll feed you.
By now, I think you know how I feel about resolutions. Just be the best version of you that you can be. Be genuine. I’ll close with one more quote, this time from Judy Garland. “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else”. Just do your best.
Oh…and Happy-ish New Year.
Mike Schenker, MAS, is “all that” at Mike Schenker, Consulting, where he assists businesses entering the promotional products industry, mentors professionals, and offers association management. He is a promotional industry veteran and member of the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) Hall of Fame. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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