There are some things in life that are just easier said than done (like, I’m going to go to the gym tonight, for example). As a young professional, there are certain things that are even more difficult to execute on. Tackling some of these, though weighty, actions can improve your mood and performance at work. Let’s take a look at a few.
Stop Gossiping: Gossiping is easy. It makes us feel connected to others that either haven’t heard the news or can share in out knowledge. However, being a gossiper isn’t a label you want to have. There are polite ways to handle gossip. If hearing a piece of gossip, just nod and acknowledge, you don’t have to continue the discussion. And, of course, don’t repeat what you hear and continue to spread the ill word. Unless of course there are any legal or ethical issues at hand, in which case you may want to pursue your company policy on that.
Patience: I received this piece of career advice a number of years ago and it is one of my favorites. Or we can quote the sunscreen song “Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long” We seem to be in the unending rush of getting ahead, being a vice president, and accomplishing everything on our life’s to-do list by the time we are 27. Focus more attention on taking steps towards your goals, accomplishing one thing at a time, and ENJOYING the journey, instead of only focusing on achieving one milestone after another. Only thinking about the milestone accomplishments, you forget about the lessons learned and adventures you have on the journey.
Be Humble: Let your work, actions and character show off your capabilities. Don’t go around telling people how skilled or knowledgable you are. Take on assignments, when possible, that let your skills shine. Offer help to someone if you think one of your strengthens could supplement what they are working on.
Chin Up: While I do highly suggest your best behavior at work, you don’t have to keep the strong facade on 24/7. It is OK to vent to close friends or family. It is ok to breakdown. Stuffing down emotions all the time will only cause them to bubble up later.
Staying Cool: There will be times in your career, like it or not, when things get tense or heated. Someone is attacking your work, challenging a comment you made, throwing you under the bus or making you look bad. Firing back is NOT the way to go. You’ll say something you’ll regret, plus you likely aren’t thinking clearly in that emotional state. Stay calm. Use facts. Address them gently. This one will NOT be easy, trust me, it is very hard to stay calm. But trust me, don’t attack back.
Admitting something didn’t work: One of the hardest things to accept as a young professional is when one of your well-laid plans didn’t work out as intended. For many of my college years and early professional years, my heart was set on an engineering career in manufacturing. However, over time, the more I learned and experienced, that goal was no longer a fit – and it took me a while to accept it, and ultimately, act on it and move to a new role. It is ok to change your mind. It is ok if a risk didn’t play out as intended. Learn something from it and go for something new.
What else have you found as a young professional that is easy to say, but difficult to actually do?
Take Away: It is ok to admit that something is hard. What is more important is taking small steps and action towards overcoming it.