Sometimes life lessons often come from where you expect it the least and it is often in hindsight, no rx when we steal a look into things that went by, site that we get present to the beautiful lessons we learned.
I mentioned in my previous write up about my first boss who I disliked for some stupid reasons. Although, I worked with him for a small time, he taught me those first lessons I required as a fresher.
Here they are:
Slog: I started with an assumption that success comes easy if you are smart and intelligent. A good degree hanging by your neck is all you require to succeed. The way I was taught right from my school to the highest qualification I acquired made me believe so!
Now this manager had built his career selling and one thing he knew for sure was the importance of slogging every single day in the field. His performance (whether good or bad) the previous day or the previous month never stopped him from taking action.
If he failed yesterday he would work doubly hard saying that since the last effort did not fetch him the result he was looking at, it meant that the effort had to be twofold today.
Similarly, if he had a great last day he worked doubly hard saying that he needs to build upon the momentum or that he can’t afford to become complacent.
Most of us, when we start working get misled by the ‘get successful quick’ scheme of the day that stresses upon smart work (cutting corners as one my friends commented on the last post). We want the keyboard shortcuts of cut, copy & paste to be equally true for our real lives!
Unfortunately, while our education system keeps updating on the academic curricula, trying to make each degree / course relevant to the needs of the industry, it fails miserably when it comes to developing the right mindset for growth and teaching the importance of slog!
More and more organizations are looking for people with the right mindset (the ones who can be coached) instead of those who are talented or stamped the best by the best educational institutions. They want people who are willing to roll their sleeves up than those who look for cushy jobs working indoors.
There is nothing called ‘failure’; all there is, is an ‘outcome’: Immaterial of whether he succeeded or failed (as we call it in our language) he would often say there is nothing called as success or failure, all there is, is an outcome. Profound indeed!
We live in an environment where we are trained not to fail. Failure is looked down upon and all our lives, most of us get conditioned to join the rat race.
When we are young we are expected to outshine every other student in the class. As we grow physically, the competition gets tougher, the number of friends decreases sharply and by the time we enter the world of work it gets difficult to spot a real friend around!
We compete against each other, forgetting that the only competition is against oneself only because there is a constant fear of failure in our hearts!
Consider this now, if you start looking upon everything as an outcome, the fear of failure overwhelming you diminishes drastically. When you focus on the process of doing something (of course keeping the end result in mind) without worrying about the outcome, you start living more in the current moment than any hypothetical moment in the future.
I tried this and focused on doing the task at hand to the best of my abilities and it helped. It gave me more freedom and confidence and most often the result is positive, empowering.
Took me some time, but eventually worked for me and I am sure it will work for you as well!
Means metamorphose into the end: I was as confused on the question of ‘ends or means’ as is anyone else on earth. Since, I started my career with sales, the way our organization worked and most of the sales organizations work, taught me that it is the end that counts. I lived my life with this belief for quite some time.
Bosses, their bosses and the top bosses and everyone else spoke of target versus achievement. Achieve and you are lauded, you are a hero; fail and you get screwed, royally! That’s how it is in direct sales specially where there are daily targets to meet.
We didn’t require any training to understand that it is the end that counts and immediately we began chasing the end.I lived with this for quite some time, before the boss shifted the paradigm for me. He told me one day that ‘ends and means’ cannot be different; these are different names for the same thing. In fact, it is the means that metamorphose into the end.
You don’t sow seeds for mango and reap apples! Do you?
He went ahead to say that the quality of your work during the month reflects in the month end when we sit with your achievement in hand. One part of your work, as it completes, makes way for the other and each stage requires conscientiousness and diligent effort to ensure the result is close to what you desired!
So these are some of the lessons he taught me. I am sure about connecting a few more dots in future and discovering few things more I learned from him. These, for now, have become the anchor of my life and I hope you will benefit in equal measure.