300th Post: Thank You and the 5 things I learned

I struggled to write this post. The weight of the 300th post and what it meant to me personally. And then, it hit me. I need to speak freely. Here goes.

2016 and 2017 was a challenging year for me personally. I tasted my first proper failure. I was made redundant from a company that I wanted to retire from. And that shook me to my core.

Now I can regale you with what I felt and how I struggled, though that would serve no purpose. I am here to provide you, my dear readers with some of the frameworks that I used to keep pushing myself.


1. Think Outside of You

When faced with a personal challenge, it’s easy to drown yourself in self pity. Don’t do it. Instead, take all those nerves and focus it on others. How? Volunteer. Now I already volunteer with my local State Emergency Services, however, I chose to volunteer professionally. I used LinkedIn and my own networks to see how my knowledge could help companies professionally. That simple sense of purpose was all I needed to get me going.

2. Try something different

You know what? I went from an office job to working with a landscaper. And after that perspective change, I realised, that even I, no matter how much I packed into my days, do not work as hard with a physical demanding job. And then I see people twice my age doing such jobs and I’m astonished. Plus, as a knowledge worker, when you close down your computer, what do you have to show for your day? A new spreadsheet? A new process document? And then you work with your hands and you have a new flower bed to show. Or a new pool, or a brand new front yard.

And I am so grateful for the above experience. Some people now ask me, why do you work so hard? And I say, I have worked harder. This isn’t it. And I mean it.

3. Learn whom to trust

You will be surprised how the proximity of work can give you a false sense of friendships. Once the facade of work is taken away, you slowly start to realise, how little you have in common with people that you work with. And that’s no one’s fault. It’s just a life lesson you will learn in time.

Plus, some people just want to hear about your struggles so they can feel better about their situation – avoid these people with a passion. You can tell it by how drained you feel after you catch up with them.

4. Grow a thicker skin

Rejection is a part of life. Something you just need to get used to and not allow to affect you. It reminds me of a quote I heard,

A ship cannot sink, unless the water is let in.
Negativity cannot impact you either, unless you let it in.

This doesn’t mean that you just ignore all feedback. There might be some truth to it. Take that message and ignore the spite or malice that may have been attached to it.

And always ask for feedback from job interviews.

Plus, don’t make the mistake of trying to apply for a job/hour. You think you might doing something productive, but you’re not. You’re wasting precious energy on a futile task. Instead hone in on the few places that you really want to work at and then try and catch up with the hiring manager though any networks you may have. If not, go for the cold outreach and who knows, you will get a first hand insight as to whether you want to work there or not.

5. Attitude is Everything

Now, I too, thought this was mumbo jumbo. But when you converse with people, you can immediately tell the difference. Enthusiasm is infectious. You can catch it from a person. And likewise, the negative vibes too.

One of the things I have come to realise recently, is that, most people want to talk to someone that is calm and level headed. When you are drowning (metaphorically) you instinctively reach out yo the closest person. And nothing fills you with confidence than the person staying calm and working through your concerns with them. So be that guy. Don’t given in to worry or fear. And most of all, no matter what you are going through, just know that you should be grateful that you are going through it. You could be dead or dying. Which also reminds me, at the end of the day, you are going to die, so don’t sweat the small stuff.

And a freebie thrown in…

How do you know when to change your job? Well there are only 3 things that make a job great and you need 2 of the 3 to make it enjoyable. What are those three things?

  • The Work
  • The People
  • The Manager

Any 2 of these will make your job fun. Three… is the holy trifecta!

Good work and good people, well, don’t worry too much about the manager. Usually the manager gets moved on before time passes.

Good people and good manager, well then it doesn’t matter too much about the work you’re doing. Until the work is deemed unwanted and the people and manager are all let go.

Good manager and good work, well then the colleagues don’t matter as much. Though this could strain things for your manager.

But if there is only one of these three requirements, even if you do improve your attitude and have tried to fix the situation, then and only then should you look at other jobs.

And that’s it. I said what I needed to be said.

I’m in a great new job, filled with fantastic challenges and quality people – I’ve never been happier. My sense of purpose has been so reinvigorated that I am always looking to improve myself so I provide more value than I get.

And wherever you are, in what ever mental/physical/emotional state you’re in, when you focus on the outside in – a wonderful thing happens.

You suddenly find a sense of purpose.

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