Part Deux

You deserve a gift too.

Yesterday we talked about giving gifts to colleagues and how easy, authentic (and affordable) this can be. It’s important, for the more we give the more we receive.

But what about yourself? Don’t you need a gift or two? Judging from the interactions I’ve had with many professionals over time I’d say yes.

Many of us in this work-a-day world measure our efficacy on how busy we are. How wrong that is. Anyone who’s ever tried to stop a broken water line from spraying H2O all over the house knows you can stay maniacally busy with little to no effect. You’ve got to find the cutoff valve.

Our careers are like that too. We can stay very busy tracking down answers, returning phone calls and emails, stopping by the latest meetings and on and on, and at the end of the year have little to show for it. I call this the transactional blues. Much like futball there’s a whole lot of running around with not much to show for it.

You need a gift.

Call it the gift of a re-set or a do-over. Remember (“‘member” is what we used to say…) when you were kids and the game got all katty-wampus (this is a real phrase) until someone yelled, “Do-over!” You need a do-over.

In a month’s time many of you will rethink goals around money and health and relationships and in a somewhat maudlin fashion you’ll craft resolutions which you will then forget about in just a matter of days. This ain’t that. The gift I’m talking about is simple: find two-three trusted professional peers – a college chum you still talk with, an office mate who knows you well, someone from a professional group you hang with – and ask two simple questions:

  • What are your personal keys to effectiveness at work
  • What’s one thing you think I could stop or start to become more effective?

You’ll find people love to talk about themselves, even the introverts. And you’ll also see that when invited people will give you professional feedback. Most of us have an opinion or perspective on co-workers and peers we interact with a lot, but we have been conditioned not to say things out loud. Yet – if invited – we’d likely have a serious bit or two of input to give someone.

How is this a gift? Think about it. If someone came to you without strings and just asked these two simple questions how would you feel? Probably compelled to be helpful and honest. That’s a gift. To learn how others adapt their own behaviors to improve – and pick up one idea about a Start/Stop exercise – that is a gift.

Treat yourself better. Its one of my mantras as I say it again and again. Why? Because we can and we should. We can do simple yet powerful things for ourself and our presence in the workplace for giving ourselves a few simple gifts including honest input.

So happy holidays. Stop running around so much and give yourself a gift.


2 thoughts on “Part Deux

  1. Chris…as usual…I always seem to find your blog at times when I need it most. Work has been especially overwhelming recently due to turnover within my section, increased workloads due to our annual appraisal season, and all the other things HR deals with on a daily basis…I literally found myself despairing at the amount of work piling up all around today…and I started to question my organizational approach. Your post confirmed that I need to explore that avenue a little more with other peers! Thanks again my friend!


    • I am always pleased when my thoughts strike a chord with people I know and respect Ernie: thank you for your mind acknowledgement sir. I hope things are improving!

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