We all know it’s not your job to replace the lightbulb in the office refrigerator. But imagine becoming known as the “summer intern who changed the bulb?”
Anyone can wait for direction from a supervisor.
What’s in short supply are folks who notice an issue and make it better without being asked.
Watching James Holzhauer dominate Jeopardy, is a reminder that the constraints and rules we often accept without question, could be all in our heads.
What rules should you be questioning?
I walked into the AT&T store today where I hadn’t been for about a year. Luke, one of the young salespeople said, “Hi Paige.”
Last week I left some items at the end of my driveway in case anyone wanted them. I noticed they were gone and felt happy that they had found a new home. Two days later I got a thank you note in my mailbox.
I needed tech help with something annoying. For weeks, my phone would not sync with the mail app on my laptop. Each time I had 15 minutes to spare I would try to fix the issue, but always came up short. I tried one more time on Friday and Dan diagnosed my issue in minutes by asking a few incisive questions.
None of these deeds required any extra education, privilege or giftedness.
But I instantly considered these individuals exceedingly educated, accomplished and intelligent.
In the beginning, “doing things the right way” is the only way.
In the middle, the slog of putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, feels like a waste of time. This is the point that short cuts become tempting and people’s determination peters out.
In the end, plodding along in the right direction for years usually pays off big time.
Hint: This applies to practically everything.
Another hint: You’ve reached “the big payoff” when you hear yourself saying, “I have no idea how I got this lucky.”
In 2001, I realized that it was quite cumbersome to carry around my Palm Pilot and camera and push-to-talk flip phone.
What a good idea it would be to combine all my gadgets into one compact appliance!
Lesson learned: Ideas are cheap without execution.
It’s amazing how many red flags come back to bite us.
It’s true that our gut is almost always correct, but this intuitive power is useless if we choose to ignore, defend and put our head in the sand.
The key is acting on our hunches before they cause damage.
Surely easier said than done.
An expert is someone that can explain to you what “normal” is.
Something that is scary or outrageous to a novice, is usually old-hat to an expert.
A grandma can help a new mom discern between a normal cry and one that suggests illness.
A boss can help their staff understand normal corporate red tape, and shortcuts to circumventing it.
An older brother can help a younger one recognize what normal growing pains feel like, (“Phew, you felt this way too?”).
When I find out that what’s upsetting me is actually “normal,” I usually stop fretting immediately.
Wouldn’t it be great:
-if experts could think back and share their rookie experiences with newbies?
-if we all felt braver about requesting input from people we consider pros, instead of being afraid of seeming inept?
Imagine how much faster we’d all get to where we are going!
This Christmas, I caught up with many of my 20-something relatives.
C & J are newly-married business owners, and already understand how to navigate the potential typhoon of working together. C is the steady force. And J takes the risks.
My nephew and his fiancée are doing the hard work of deciding their division of labor before they tie the knot. Turns out he loves grocery shopping and she doesn’t mind doing laundry.
K aspires to a career in law – and while she’s always been incredibly articulate, she now possesses a strength that will certainly benefit her future Clients.
M is a college freshman and was eager to tell me about his roommate. R just graduated from college and is making sure he gets a great job before committing to his own place.
I told A some issues I was having at work, and she shared her insights that I’ll put right into practice on Monday.
What can you learn from listening to the young people around you?
Turns out, quite a lot.
Every day at 5pm I’m surprised by the fact that my family needs to eat dinner.
I’m a planner and should be able to knock this task of the park. But I don’t. Surely it would be easy enough to come up with a one-week rotation of meals to have on autopilot.
Related: I’m also startled when my kids’ have a half day of school, despite having every half-day written on my calendar.
Does this happen to you?
This week I had to learn a new software package at work.
And while I’d describe myself as pretty tech-savvy, I had no idea the concentration it would take for me to learn just a few basic things. After the first hour on the first day, I was cranky and snippy.
I’ve always romanticized learning. And what’s most embarrassing is how much this reveals about how little I’ve been stretching myself.
I have to remember this when I put my kids on the bus each morning, and welcome their weary souls back each afternoon.