With Valentine's Day Sunday, I find myself once again in the woods of Vermont this morning with a -4 degree temp and "yet-another-dusting" of four inches. Just enough that it will ice unless attacked by "Big Orange", my brand new 30" Ariens delivered by the superb sales guys up the road a piece at Brown Enterprises. For variety, I work out of the NH beach Monday through Wednesday, drive to Boston following Wednesday's Tufts class, check on the now-vacant office, pick up the mail and then drive to VT.
I work here in VT on Thursdays and Fridays...and then, depending on the weatha' for the weekend, stay or leave. I love the variety of the rural VT woods and the NH sand. It's my own own stress-reducer keeping my head screwed on and the entire weekly process reaffirms my love of what I do.
After 30+ years of management consulting including 20+ of teaching at MIT and Tufts, I have the opportunity to work with the management of hundreds of companies every year and hundreds of both students and alums at both universities. I love the work, the challenges, the extraordinary variety of both problem solving and creating new sales opportunities along with the inherent management coaching that goes along with it. This is all I do, and I can't imagine doing anything else except a little snowboarding in the winta' (but not this year) and surfing in the summa'
So, with Valentine Day, a couple of observations about The love of your work
- If you don't love where or how you work, just change it! It's as simple as that!
With Covid and whatever new crisis lurks around the next corner coupled with a productive work life of maybe 40 or 50 years, the reality of life is that life in itself is way, way too short! If you're working in a job or a career where you are always going to be negative to yourself and those with whom you work, just simply make the change! If you are always tied to the past and not looking forward in your work, just simply make the change! If you are always complaining and consistently negative rather than encouraging and innovating with your team about the future, just simply make the change!
You're bright, you work wicked hard, you have a pretty good idea of who you are and your best skills so just change! There are plenty of jobs available no matter what you hear on the nightly news, and there are new businesses to start, so all that is between you and a job you love is "the marketing of you". It really is as simple as that!
- You gotta be happy at your work!
I see so many senior execs who are just miserable! They complain, they look to the past rather than the future, they block out any openness and they crush any innovation or creativity among the team. And, then they complain about the fact that no one talks to them?!? When I speak to their managers who seek me for advice on how to work with their boss, the environment is typically caustic at best with everyone just keeping their head down so that it won't be chopped off.
What a terrible way to work both for both the boss and the managers!
For the senior manager, if we're working on a business plan or creating a new sales process in a company, I often provide an objective sounding board coaching that person to look to the future both corporately and especially personally. Many times it works, but quite frankly, many times it doesn't especially if the boss is just too old in their thinking about what management and leadership need to be in today's very different work environment.
- Be human
What we've all learned over the past 12 months is that tragedy can be immediate and totally disrupt our lives no matter how careful we are. What this period of time since last February has taught me again and again working with our customers and my students, is that we all need to be much more human in our work in the fullest interpretation of that word..."human". I would also add to that recommendation that we should not overthink every decision and make the complex more complicated.
- Raise your hand!
If you want a view of the world outside your own too-tight cubicle or your desk next to the furnace or in the garage, consider breaking out of the norm and volunteer for a tough project at work, or create one yourself among your colleagues. Create, make, and build something rather than tearing down and complaining about what's wrong. If you're already working 50 hours a week, think about adding another 10 with a small team to solve a problem, create a new source of revenue or take on a major task such as creating more diversity in your workplace.
- Bottom line: You just gotta' be positive!
Wake up happy by putting yourself in the rhythm of doing something positive or healthy every single day...anything that makes you feel good about yourself and your work. I can't say that I actually enjoying waking up Mr. Peloton next to the NH furnace every winter morning or going out to shovel more VT snow this morning, but both are examples of very positive and healthy experiences that begin my day. Whether it's exercise or simply squaring away your workplace at the beginning of any day, what I do know is that positive activities that start your day will have a very positive effect on your own work and the team members with whom you work.
A CONFIDENTIAL SOUNDING BOARD
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for Sales, just connect with me at any time. Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a pretty good listener.
Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.