Whether it be in terms of career or personal success, I’ve found incredible significance in the truth behind each of the seven lessons below. I thought you may find them worthwhile and hopefully are able to derive some benefit from applying them to your work and personal life.
1. Sometimes good is good enough
Striving for “perfection” can be dangerous. We’ve all been guilty of focusing our efforts so intensely on creating the perfect outcome that we become paralyzed and miss the opportunity to deliver meaningful results. This type of tunnel vision wastes time and energy, and, when done in a team environment, kills morale. I’ve found it’s much better to deliver a good product than to never deliver a perfect one. Besides, you can always make improvements to a good product…but you’ve got to deliver it first.
2. Admit when you’re wrong; it’s a sign of strength
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is to admit when you’ve made a mistake and take ownership. Being humble enough to admit fault when you’ve made a mistake is how you actually learn. Admitting mistakes, learning from it and taking ownership demonstrates character, not weakness.
3. There are always two sides to the story, and then there’s the truth
It is not uncommon for Members to contact me when they feel they’ve been wronged by another Member. One of the first lessons I learned as Executive Director of AIR CRE is the importance of listening to both sides of a story before drawing conclusions. It’s not until you’ve heard both parties out that you can get to the truth. I’ve also found this to be true on a personal level, especially as a father. Taking the time to ensure fairness is invaluable in finding true resolution.
4. Put your money where your mouth is or don’t write checks your mouth can’t cash
I’m a big believer in follow-through. One of the biggest problems I see in the workplace and world today is poor execution when it comes to what is being said and the actuality of what is being done. It’s easy to blow smoke, but you can’t fake results. This lesson is the simplest to comprehend, but the hardest to execute.
The bottom line: if you say you are going to do something…do it.
5. Spend time on activities that deliver the most ROI
Most people don’t spend enough time on high-return activities. Activities like planning, building relationships, improving processes and looking for new opportunities are high-return activities. Most of us spend very little time on those things and too much time on low-return activities, like putting out fires, holding unnecessary meetings and engaging in unproductive emails and phone calls. It’s important to evaluate how our time is being spent and then make an effort to take time from low-return activities and give it to high-return activities.
An example of this from the game of golf: most amateur golfers spend an inordinate amount of time practicing with the driver and very little time practicing with the putter. Although driving is important, all good golfers know spending time with the putter is the best way to lower scores. Once in a while, it’s good to ask ourselves, “where are we spending too much time driving and not enough time putting?”
6. It’s good to have a bad memory
Everyone has been treated unfairly at some point in life, sometimes by those closest to us. Learn to let it go. Rehashing the past serves no useful purpose, and ultimately, can be self-destructive. You will save yourself time and find peace of mind by letting that be a problem for the other guy.
7. Make it personal
Never underestimate the power of the lost art of a hand-written note. A simple correspondence is a rare gesture in today’s world; one that forms a genuine connection and lasting impression by reminding us to slow down, take stock and practice thoughtfulness.