You’re Not Stupid Until

sucessYou betray yourself by arguing for the status quo instead of collaborating on something better.

You rebuff a colleague for attempting to help you, because this is how you always do it.

You stick to your routine when you’ve been told to up your game.

There are 60,000 times each day when you have the opportunity to think about what you are doing and improve it. That’s the number of thoughts neuroscientists believe the average human has each day.

Accomplishments and defeats

But, these aren’t just thoughts you are having. These are the micro-decisions that lead up to your accomplishments or defeats. Some of them you probably have down.

  1. Wake up.
  2. Shower.
  3. Show up at work.
  4. Meet deadlines and quotas.
  5. Consider the consequences of what you are doing and make changes accordingly.

Always consider the consequences

Oh. The list starts to get not-so-easy after “show up at work.” That “meeting deadlines and quotas” thing, isn’t reflexive for most personal brands. Those stellar qualities are reserved for the people who succeed. And, the “consider the consequences of what you are doing and make changes accordingly?” Who does that? Only the hyper-successful.

You know, these are people you at first admire, then envy and finally sabotage. So you argue with them. Or ignore them. Or decide that they are working much too hard, with unreasonable expectations of themselves and others – and you certainly don’t want to be one of those “unbalanced” people!

Unbalanced versus focused?

Unbalanced used to be the polite word for crazy. Now, balance – which used to be a fundamental motor skill that stopped you from tipping over when you walk, is now 16 hours of free time for the eight you generously call work. Apparently, balance is evidenced by people who know which people were voted off Idol, or the island, or Chopped. Maybe worse are the negligently unbalanced: those people who are putting in 12+ hours a day, so you feel like you are killing yourself at work, but the lack of results hasn’t changed a thing you think or do.

Who wants to be one of those laser focused results-oriented, ridiculously hard-working, amazingly creative, powerfully assertive, reliably self-motivated people who refuse to believe that failure is the only option? Has it occurred to you that your latent success gene is being dominated by your “This is what I am comfortable doing” gene?

If your personal brand has a “I work hard – but refuse to work smart” ethic, or a “nobody ever asked me to do that before” skepticism, then we don’t know what to do with you anymore in business. My guess is you have been counseled, coached, coaxed and coddled to no avail – or you’ve been a work around for people who are successfully moving and shaking. There will come a time when you find out that there just isn’t a place, except in dying businesses  – maybe even your own, that you aren’t killing softly every day with how little you think about what COULD be done.

Quick assessment – working harder or working smarter?

Here’s a quick assessment. Are you are making file labels instead of cold-calls? Do you take four hours to write a blog post instead of using one hour and taking the balance of time to jump on social networks to connect with prospects, customers, investors, analysts, suppliers and the media?

A group of managers and I were having a round-table discussion about the best qualities of people we have working for us, and their opposite numbers. Shocking but true, we all had about 25X the “left checks and valuable mail unopened in a drawer” stories for the one that is “the kind of person I would leave my business to if I die, they are so great” story.

Meant to succeed

Personal brands: think about what happens when you go to work. It’s not a place to keep doing all the things that don’t lead to real success for you and your organization. It’s the place where you are meant to succeed, by seeing the possibilities, planning your work accordingly, doing it, changing what you’re doing when it turns out not to work, and surmounting the obstacles and pressure that are necessary parts of life – not just business.

Don’t be stupid. Decide to be bold. Be brave. Be brilliant. Take a fraction of the 60,000 times each day to be smart, and be successful.

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One Response to “You’re Not Stupid Until”

  1. Crystal Paselk says:

    I like all of the above, very thought provoking. Thanks.

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