In a world of competition and chaos, there are a few things that give a man or woman a real edge on recognition, reward, and respect.
Many, if not most jobs/careers lack the ability to alter or improve process, procedure, and policy. Sadly, most workers — white, blue, or gray collared — find the work eventually repetitious and without challenge. You can change companies, but the spreadsheets look and act the same, the meetings drone on, the TPS reports churn on a weekly schedule.
The wall colors change, the snacks in the machine are different, the bathroom’s spray is more floral than the last place you worked.
What gives some people a real edge is to come to work everyday with a new set of eyes. This is very hard to do, but if you can alter your perceptions, you can often find ingenuity can accelerate your career. And your personal satisfaction.
Here are some tidbits that can ‘alter your consciousness’ and help you create new realities that can lead to breakthrough thinking about your work.
1. CHANGE YOUR SOUNDTRACK
You might have one anthem that plays in your head as you navigate your day to day doldrums. Take that anthem off the loop. Replace it today with something more positive, faster paced, inspirational. Slam that jam onto your phone and get it moving into your life. Music does change mood, tempo, outlook. Find five or six new and dynamic tunes to face the week ahead. Listen to them on the way into work and pump up the volume. You have a few movies that you love the soundtrack — get them on the playlist.
2. BRING A SMALL PLANT FOR YOUR DESK
Everyday spent two minutes contemplating growth. Your plant needs light, water, and some tending to the soil. Add a little nutrient and in a few months that green friend may need a bigger container. Now open your eyes and see yourself in the picture. Outgrow your cube farm by seeing your environment in toto. Not the dog. Look beyond the walls and see the organic nature of the organization and how others can find deeper roots, blossom, and bear fruit. Think beyond your container. Ingenuity thrives on expansion, not withdrawl. Look beyond your boundaries for opportunity to bring impactful thinking to your world.
3. LIKE BASEBALL, A WALK IS AS GOOD AS A HIT
Get up and walk about. Do it at lunch. Do it when you can during working hours. Be seen. Move about. Get visible. Stop and smell the co-workers. It is essential that you interpret your place in the food chain. It can seem discouraging, but those who surround you have great influence on your reputation and the perceived value of your role of the team. I’m not talking brown-nosing, I’m speaking of individualized, controlled integration. If you choose to be an island, don’t be surprised when you find yourself alone. Ingenuity is more often a collaborative in today’s marketplace. Make your friends before you need your friends.
4. SPEED, URGENCY, PACE
Your organization or clients set the tempo for your work world. As much as you would like to do this, you have to adjust and adapt to acceleration of other’s expectations. Unfair? Probably. Realistic? Absolutely. Successful people use the best tools (smartphone apps, typically) to be better organized, better communicators, more efficient in creating reports/analysis/ideas. The currents flow faster now, more whitewater on the journey to success. Laid back is now translated as lazy. Work on your sprint and your marathon tempo and know when to shift the gears to high.
Innovative people are always well read. Maybe fiction, maybe non-fiction, but their eyes have billions of “word miles” on their odometers. Contemporary reading includes blogs, news sites, and social media — but getting long form writing is the real building block of ingenuity and intellect. On Kindle or the bookshelf, authors are the best friends you have in turning your imagination into innovation. Your ability to blend great thoughts and writing into a new mix of mental maturity — applied to your observations and experience — can spawn original, inventive, and gargantuan profits from just your gray matter.
Share this with your tribe. Collaboration is the best recipe for success.