Successful people are self-starters. They don’t require managers or supervisors. They wake up each morning bound and determined to get something profitable accomplished. They’re not happy if progress isn’t made. They show real initiative!
To guarantee success, a task needs to be broken down into steps, and the one-at-a-time approach will gain yardage if you stick to it. What if there are numerous tasks to be done? Prioritize and work your list, but don’t ignore the less pressing entries. A little done today will protect your backside if you suddenly realize that your priorities were off!
There will be a time when you approach completion of a task that’s taken some time to work through. That’s when you should break off and focus on this task until it’s completely done. I said completely! This sense of accomplishment will provide some encouragement as you move onto the next task.
I would warn that there will be a desire to kick back after a big task is completed. Instead of taking a mental holiday, it’s best to work on a few lower priority, less stressful tasks to fill the time. It’s important to be conscious of human tendencies and fight against them, or allow for them, with certain diversions and rest. When you work day in and day out, you cannot be expected to work at a frantic pace all day, everyday. This is a recipe for burnout. But most people aren’t nearing their breaking points! Every job’s tough if done for long periods of time. Develop the stamina you need to produce!
I glossed over the essential need to plan. From a plan comes priorities. To keep your plans well-conceived, there needs to be a level of seriousness applied to planning. To some, planning comes easy. To others, it’s just too easy to begin work on something that’s simple or someone else’s priority.
A word of caution. You’ve got to be careful not to take on other’s work. Try to stay out of someone’s path of delegation if at all possible. You’ll need to be assertive to avoid being dumped on. In many cases, this is impossible. This makes planning all the more important! There will always be “best laid plans” that are blown away before you can get started. There is a saying in war that goes something like this, “A battle plan typically doesn’t survive the first shot!” So, perhaps plans need to be fluid. The important thing is to always be adjusting and thinking how progress can be made by the end of the day. Planning is never ending. Planning is habit. Planning is at the beginning not the end.
Before planning you need to know your purpose. In many cases, your purpose is non-negotiable. For a law enforcement officer, it’s to “serve and protect.” This is a good example of a lofty objective within the confines of dispensing what could be unbending justice. We’ll always need to find the higher good in what we do. If there is none, you’ll have a hard time understanding your purpose. You’ll have to root it out or shoot for something else that has a higher calling. If you’re crafting the very best pillow in the world, every stitch will be important. Your purpose is that, not sewing.
A good perspective is essential to operating as a self-starter. Once you find out what is “par for the course,” you’ll not get as discouraged. This requires awareness and observation. What are the certainties in your job? Will there always be customer complaints? Is there a creative way to head them off at the pass? I found out early to tell it like it is. We all want to avoid bad news, or to avoid vocalization of information that might evoke a negative reaction. For example, the price of something. Perhaps early on you set the stage for your cost issue by alluding to an item’s benefits as being expensive but well worth it. Or how about the riskiness of something. Is there a way to defuse a potential issue down the road? This is best done by educating the other party, the person you wish to persuade. Then you’ll feel like a problem solver, rather than a guy who’s hawking some product or a naysayer.
You keep a good perspective when you find out how to deliver your work at a much higher level. Be that person that when some irate person calls up about his internet going down, he hangs up thinking the person on the other end of the line at least had some empathy! But perhaps if you know that you’ll always be dealing with irritated people, you’ll learn some tricks of the trade. Experiment with your high calling in mind.
The chances of you having a good perspective are much higher if you are at peace. Inner peace comes from the assurance that God’s in control, that he can be appealed to, that he can resolve your problems. You acquire this peace through prayer. Purpose comes from him, wisdom comes from him, understanding comes from him. At a more basic level, simple roadblocks can be broken through with his intervention and power. Relationships can be strengthened with an awareness of what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. Adversity can be withstood. Laziness can be conquered. Motivation can be infused where there is none. Energy can be restored. Anger can be abated.
It’s difficult to get started on your own. Many need a catalyst. For me, it’s my real boss, the Master whom I serve.
Work can be pure drudgery or an exciting challenge. Make some progress with priorities set through planning with a purpose. Get a good perspective from praying for the power to overcome life’s obstacles from the One who possesses an unlimited supply.