Are You Going Above and Beyond at Work?

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I love having employees who are always open to learning and personal growth.

Over the past two decades, I have mentored hundreds, if not thousands of young professionals and often get the same question, “Why am I not getting a raise or promotion at work?”  And I usually tell them that simply showing up and doing no more than what is expected is the main reason why they are not being promoted.  If you want to move up in your career and professional life, giving an average performance will never result in accolades and high praise. Only those that give outstanding performances at work will get the desired rewards and recognition. Coming from my position as an employer and a client to a vendor, if you have to ask for a promotion or more money from me, that means I think you are doing a good or average job, not AMAZING. I don’t need reminders to acknowledge or recognize someone when I observe the value that they are contributing to my business and clients.

What do I mean by outstanding performances? Years ago, I hired a college intern and told her that since she had never worked before, it would be a non-paid internship, and she would be on a probation period for 90 days. After 90 days, I would re-evaluate the situation based on her performance and decide whether to keep her on or let her go. Can you take a guess what happened? Within 30 days, I was so impressed with her strong work ethic, professional attitude and eagerness to learn, and how receptive she was to constructive feedback that I offered her a part-time position and paid her the same amount as I would someone who already had years of work experience.

Here are a few of the many reasons why I did that:

  1. Proactive Honesty – She shared ideas and suggestions, and was not afraid to speak up if something was bothering her instead of waiting for me to ask.
  2. Punctuality – Even though she was not getting paid for the internship, she showed up at work every time, usually early or right on time, and she always stayed later than expected to learn and prepare herself for the next time she came in to work. (Reminded me of myself when I was younger.)
  3. Polished and Professional Attitude – Her manners and communication style were formal and polished. I never worried about her making me look bad when communicating with clients in person or virtually.
  4. Integrity – She was a very reliable and ethical employee. For someone young, she kept her word once she gave it.
  5. Strong Work Ethic – She worked hard to solve problems and get things done and never once showed any sense of entitlement.
  6. Attention to Details – She was fast but efficient, and I rarely had to correct mistakes.
  7. Coaching and Feedback – She appreciated constructive feedback and was open to opportunities for growth and further learning to improve her skills.
  8. Grounded Energy – She was grounded, unemotional, and sure of herself. This made it a great fit working for me given that I am a passionate, expressive, creative and emotional entrepreneur with a thousand ideas every day. So she balanced me.
  9. Good Listener – Not only was she present at all times, but she was a good listener, and I rarely had to remind her on anything or repeat myself when giving a project for her to work on.
  10. Success-Driven – She was competitive, smart, and results-oriented. While others at work would spend time chit chatting with each other during breaks, she on the other hand would be reading something new and interesting to develop her skills further, or would be catching up on current events to keep up to date. Also, if I suggested a book or introduced something new, she embraced it with excitement and took initiative to explore more.
  11. Accountability – She took ownership of her job and responsibilities and had no problem saying sorry or admitting when she was wrong about something.

There are so many other reasons why I promoted this young intern, but the most important reason for me was that she always had an attitude of gratitude. I loved that she said “thank you,” instead of thanks, and always used the word “please.” Even when working under tight deadlines that were stressful, not once did I hear a complaint about the long hours. I remember complimenting her often and she would share with me about how her parents raised her. And it made a lot of sense. I got my very first job at the Fairfax City Chamber of Commerce as an office clerk at age 14, and my parents advised me to respect my superior, be grateful that I had a job, and always give more than expected. Kudos to her parents for their similarly wise guidance.

So when I hire people to work for me, employee or subcontractors, I usually pay attention to the above in addition to their being service-oriented and problem-solvers with basic common sense. 🙂

I have very high expectations for myself to always do my best and move forward in my life. Working with others that think like me makes it so much easier.

Do you know people who have been in the same job and position in their company for a long time and wonder why they are not being promoted? Perhaps share this post with them. 🙂

Three Life Principles Not To Live By…

photoWant some advice on how to make your life easier?  Then do not apply the three common life principles listed below!

Sure, you might hear these phrases repeated over and over by your friends and family, but honestly they may actually do more harm in your life than good.  Below are some useful advice from Steven Gaffney‘s perspectives on these principles and why he believes they don’t always work.  My own thoughts are shared in italics.  If you’re ready to change your life for the better, then read on to learn more.

Principle 1: Live in the Present
It is good to enjoy the moment, and I do live by this principle – to an extent. For instance, if I’m spending the day with family or friends, I try to focus on them rather than obsessing over business while I pretend to listen to them. In that way, living in the present is great advice. But the trouble is that this principle of living in the moment doesn’t always offer the right perspective. How can it possibly help you make effective business decisions, career decisions, financial decisions, or family decisions? Those decisions require long- term thinking. I love McDonald’s – in the moment. But afterwards McDonald’s doesn’t make me feel so good. Living in the moment is important, but it can make us shortsighted.  I think this is true.  When I was young, I used to live by this principle only, but now I enjoy the present, but plan for the future. And as a result I am much more strategic with my life and business, which has helped ground me.

Principle 2: Treat others the way you want to be treated
The Golden Rule. Hard to argue with, isn’t it? The trouble is that we are profoundly different from one another. Treating people the way you want to be treated often only works with people who are like you. Suppose you’re a meat lover and you’re having a family of vegetarians over for dinner. Should you serve them meat? Of course not ! Life demands that we develop greater flexibility than this principle suggests. The best leaders and managers I know have expanded their capabilities and developed the muscles to adjust to other people’s styles and personalities.  Absolutely true, have you heard of the book The Five Love Languages?  I have learned to understand the love languages of those around me and close to me.  I find that it is very effective and I am able to empower and influence others more easily.

Principle 3: Treat others the way they want to be treated
This sounds kind and loving, but sometimes what people say they want is not what’s best for them. If your friend is an alcoholic and he says he wants a drink, should you give it to him? Or, to be less extreme, think about people who say they want honest feedback but in the next breath tell you that they only want feedback in a particular area or in a certain way. As I discuss in my seminars and coaching sessions, when people set conditions for honesty, it limits honesty because others will use those conditions as a reason not to be truthful. The result is missed opportunities for growth. This may be the way these people want to be treated, but that doesn’t make it the best. This assessment got me thinking about what makes a good guiding life principle. It didn’t take me long to realize that for years I’d been observing a valuable life principle in action, but simply hadn’t realized the power it could have for me.  I am not sure if I agree with this one, but it does make some sense. Your thoughts?

Well, what do you think? Do you agree? If not, I would love to hear your comments. If you would like to read the rest of this, click here for the full article. Stay tuned for Sunday’s post that I will share with you about colors and how they can make a difference in your life. Until then.

~tu-anh

The Marriage Advice That Every Man Needs To Read

Yesterday I was watching The Today Show when a particular guest caught my attention.  His name is Gerald Rogers and he is a life coach and motivational speaker and what he shared made my heart melt with emotions.  Gerald just went through a divorce after 16 years of marriage and recently he shared on Facebook his 20 tips of what he would have done differently in his marriage.

I am moved by his honesty and courage in writing this list and exposing his inner private thoughts to help inspire husbands out there.  Read his list below. Although it is written for husbands, I think everyone in relationships would benefit.  I relate to every single one of them, but what resonates with me most are #1, #3, #8, #10, #11, #12, #16, and my most favorite is #20.

In the end, it’s all about love.  You would not know the meaning of life if you have not experienced love.  In my opinion, that is all you need to live life fully. So gentlemen, if you have that special woman in your life that you are crazy madly in love with who causes a tingling sensation in your body, heart and soul, I suggest you follow this list and don’t let her slip away.  Trust me: I am a woman and I know what I am talking about. 🙂  Which ones from the list below are your favorite?

Gerald Rogers and his wife on their wedding day

Gerald Rogers and his wife on their wedding day

MARRIAGE ADVICE I WISH I WOULD HAVE HAD:

Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had…

1) Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.

2) PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.

3) FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER and OVER again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.

4) ALWAYS SEE THE BEST in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.

5) IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.

6) TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.

7) NEVER BLAME your wife If YOU get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.

8) Allow your woman to JUST BE. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.

9) BE SILLY… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.

10) FILL HER SOUL EVERYDAY… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.

11) BE PRESENT. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.

12) BE WILLING TO TAKE HER SEXUALLY, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.

13) DON’T BE AN IDIOT…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.

14) GIVE HER SPACE… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)

15) BE VULNERABLE… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.

16) BE FULLY TRANSPARENT. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don’t know i she will like what she finds… Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.

17) NEVER STOP GROWING TOGETHER… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.

18) DON’T WORRY ABOUT MONEY. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.

19) FORGIVE IMMEDIATELY and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.

20) ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.

In the end MARRIAGE isn’t about Happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come.

Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.

These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late.

But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I LOVED being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.

If you are reading this and find wisdom in my pain, share it those those young husbands whose hearts are still full of hope, and with those couples you may know who may have forgotten how to love. One of those men may be like I was, and in these hard earned lessons perhaps something will awaken in him and he will learn to be the man his lady has been waiting for.

The woman that told him ‘I do’, and trusted her life with him, has been waiting for this man to step up.

If you are reading this and your marriage isn’t what you want it to be, take 100% responsibility for YOUR PART in marriage, regardless of where your spouse is at, and commit to applying these lessons while there is time.

MEN- THIS IS YOUR CHARGE : Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from you.

Be the type of husband your wife can’t help but brag about.