Taking a Step in the Right Direction

28eb105f2f33b9635d7f603894ac92bdAs a colleague of Nan’s I regularly post here about work and sometimes life. My family and friends have been known to describe me as a people watcher. Take me to a sporting event and I’m checking out the fans, at a concert I’m scanning for the groupies and in a busy airport my head is on a high speed wobble! This time of a year happens to be my favorite for people watching. I love observing excited vacationers for hours on the beach and the boardwalk. You can learn quite a bit. In the same way, I’ve learned the value of watching myself. It’s a bit harder than watching others but here are three ways I do it:

Schedule Self-Appointments

I schedule dedicated time on my calendar every week to think, plan and analyze. I review my to-do list. I check my progress on projects. Assess my someday-maybe list. I ask myself questions like: What is working? What isn’t? What do I need to move forward? How should I do that? Focused attention brings real results.

Listen to Your Words 

Our words matter. The connections between words results are powerful. Most of us have read the children’s book, The Little Engine That Could. Throughout, my career I’ve worked with people who are often quick to share all the reasons why something can’t be done versus what can be done. Listen for the words you use that stymie your optimism, resolve or determination. Then, replace them with positive, encouraging and motivating ones.

Watch Yourself

Take time to watch yourself. You can develop a habit by continuously acting in a particular way. Some are good ways; some not so much. The other day, I noticed piles of folders on my desk clearly labeled with current projects. Thinking, I was organized I opened a folder looking for a document. I could feel myself becoming annoyed then frustrated as I searched for the document, after what seemed like a half-hour I found it. Note to self: work on prioritizing what is in the folders. Make time to step outside yourself on occasion and watch your behavior, it may surprise you.

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step. – Naeem Callaway