Enhancing personal effectiveness
When you compete in a field where everybody has equal qualifications, same education, exposure and expertise, you are on an even playing field and the only thing you can do to win is to find an advantage or create competitive leverage. Your success will demand that you find an edge!
An edge can be any set of skills that, in the words of Jordan Belfort, “sets you apart from everyone else on the planet”. Something that makes you an exception and not someone that is at the same level as the rest of the pack.
Finding, growing and unleashing this edge is what enhancing personal effectiveness is all about. It’s about going the extra mile to develop and hone your skills, faster and better than others would. It’s like making yourself into a well-oiled performance machine. Such that whenever the demand is placed on you to act, you take action with calibrated precision. You grow your reputation as one who delivers on the task no matter what.
Effectiveness answers to discipline – hence, personal effectiveness is a direct product of personal discipline.
According to Juliet Ehimuan, the Country Director of Google West Africa, “To be effective personally and professionally, there are five disciplines you need to have”.
#1. THE DISCIPLINE OF VISION
A vision is a picture of something you are looking to have in a particular area of your life. Goals make visions to be specific, realistic, and time-bound.
Your vision is what you see in your future life. Visions are often a sub-set of your purpose in life.
Purpose, by definition is your life’s mission. The overarching theme of your life. What your life is really about.
These three questions will guide you to determine your purpose:
• What am I passionate about?
• What do I want to change in the world?
• What are my skills and strengths?
Your purpose is at the nexus of those three things.
Your effectiveness in life is always tied to what you are chasing. What’s ahead of you. It reminds me of what Paul Galvin the founder of Motorola once said to his son, “Always have something to shoot for!”
Your goal keeps you on your feet. It delivers you from the lethargy and uncertainty that characterizes under performers. Being in a constant pursuit of a better expression of your essence is one thing that can keep you ahead of the pack.
#2 THE DISCIPLINE OF HAVING THE “RIGHT” ATTITUDE
It is not a cliché that your attitude determines your altitude. I think it was the leadership guru John Maxwell who wrote a book on Attitude and titled it “Attitude is Everything.” And I don’t think he could have put it any better.
Attitude is your general disposition. The disposition with which you face life. And yes, it determines whether you rise or you fall. It determines whether you will coast as an average performer or you’ll stand out of the pack.
One important attitude is that of gratitude. You may feel hugely disappointed at the moment, but can you step back and take things into perspective and be grateful for your health, for you friends, for your spouse, for your kids, for a roof over your head and for food on your table? And if you don’t have all of these to be thankful for, can you, at least be thankful for life? What gratitude does is that it opens you up to see all the blessings in your life. A positive attitude helps you see what you “have left” rather than wallow in the pain of what you “have lost” or “have not.” A positive attitude is what helps you rise after every fall and take back your life. It reminds me of a line from one of the many Robin Hood movies, “Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.” Now that, my friend, is a right Attitude!
#3 THE DISCIPLINE OF HAVING EMPOWERING BELIEFS
Dondi Scumaci, the leadership development expert, has this to say about beliefs “What we believe about ourselves, other, our future and even our past will shape our growth and influence our results. If we want to grow, we must learn to break the barriers created by self-limiting beliefs.”
Your belief is your inner guide. It’s an inner voice that either allows you to reveal your best self or deceives you into thinking you are not good enough. Your life begins to become powerful when you learn to silence the voice within you that tends to ask you to always shrink and hide. You need to learn to become deliberate about how you deal with your challenges. Your Dreams are valid! You have as much right to succeed as anyone else on the globe. You can if you will!
If you have an unhealthy mindset, you can go online and just compare yourself with others, or you can decide to flip it and see things that can energize you; follow people and organizations can inspire you to become all you are capable of becoming. It’s important to be selective about what you allow, who are the people we surround ourselves with; for really and truly, you become what you behold.
#4 THE DISCIPLINE OF TIME MANAGEMENT
Time is the Master-Resource. The success of every other thing in life is tied to it. As the Bible puts it, “There is a time for everything and a season for every purpose under the Sun.” Time is the currency of life. It is the unit of measurement of life. How you spend your time, what you spend your time on, who you spend your time with, are some of the basic things that determine the quality of your life. Time management is really about managing your priorities and making intentional decisions. It’s about aligning actions for optimal effectiveness.
And most importantly, the true measure of a man – any man – is in how he treats other people’s time. There is this sick concept called “African Time.” I personally believe that, bad leadership apart, this sick concept is one big reason why Africa is as backward as it is today. Time is finite but we treat it like some infinite resource. When you run out of time, you run out of life. As Africans, we need to understand that when we waste other people’s time, and ours we actually wasting lives.
#5 LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY
Whether or not you fall into the class called the “digital natives,” if you live in this age then you need to align with and leverage on the most powerful force of the times – TECHNOLOGY. It has succeeded in shrinking time and space to the extent that something that used to be impossible just a decade ago have become today’s norms. The greatest skill of the 21st Century is tech-adaptability – your ability to quickly assimilate the requisite know-how to use emerging technology. It saves time and optimizes performance. This is one where we can get so much done in such little time, that the traditional definition of hard work, has been thrown out the window. Today, hard work is smart-work.
If you are going to find and keep your edge, then you need to work on these five nuggets because they all affect your life. Start to work at improving on each one of them and never stop.
Do you have limiting self-beliefs that hinder you from performing excellently, professionally and personally?
Do you need to re-examine your vision for the year and for your life?
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