Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do

I know its been awhile since I’ve actually written a piece here rather than just a bit of motivation in the form of a quote, and that’s going to become more of a dynamic mix moving forward.

At this very moment, mankind is facing one of the toughest times we’ve had in a long time.  Millions of people in Canada alone have lost jobs, hours are cut, businesses are going under.  Whether you’re an essential worker grinding it out everyday, or you’re sitting at home trying to budget every dime and keep busy until this passes, we all have one thing in common, one hell of a mental battle.  Though the virus is taking its toll on humanity, and we’re all taking precautions to limit the spread and do everything we can, we’re all also facing a mental battle of our own.

For some this mental battle is a battle of will to keep pushing to serve patients, or clients, for others its a battle to maintain your sanity while you’re sitting at home for days on end trying to find the next show to binge watch.  There is some simple steps we can all take to get through this.

  • Exercise, whether its a jog at some point throughout the day or a full on home workout, we need to do something to keep our body active to help keep ourselves healthy, and also to help ease our minds by focussing on something else for a few minutes.   I’ve started doing a cardio workout each day, and doing pushups on the basis of hourly alarms, so no matter what I’m doing every hour I need to take a break and exercise briefly.  This is a great way to “reset” your mind throughout the day, similar to the breaks you would take in a Pomodoro method for working.
  • Read a Book, turn off the screens for a bit each day, and pick up a book, now this book doesn’t have to be some motivational or self help book, even a good novel will do.  Reading a book will not only let your eyes rest from staring at these screens all day, it will also allow you to use your imagination and relax your mind.
  • Find a Hobby, for me this is becoming a puzzle hobby, I found myself the other day working on a puzzle for hours on end, and not even realizing how much time had passed.  For somebody like me who is constantly needing to be doing something, and constantly staring at a screen this was a shock to me.   I was able to keep my mind occupied for an extended period of time doing something almost rudimentary.  I was able to direct my focus to something and channel my energy.

The moral of the story here is no matter who you are, we’re all in battle right now against common enemies, both a deadly virus and our own minds.    Let’s those of us at home focus on staying home and keeping ourselves busy, using this time to maybe develop, and all the while we’re doing our part to combat the virus, while everyone on the front lines does their jobs.

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe, Stay Sane.

AM

Success Is Not Measured By How Hard You Work

Many people, including myself are guilty of devoting far too many hours to their work, even when it becomes detrimental to other aspects of their lives.   I lived with the assumption for the longest time, that if I worked longer hours, put in more time, and got more done than everyone else that I would be noticed more, and rewarded for my efforts.   For a while this was true, when you’re in an entry level position going the extra mile will get you noticed, and will help you to advance quicker to the front line supervisor and management positions.   This is true at that level, the harder you work, the faster you’ll be able to move up, because you’ll stand out.

Once you get to a middle or senior level management job though, this is no longer a part of your success.   This occurs for a number of reasons.

Once you reach a middle management level position a few things change:

  • The amount of people that depend on your work increases substantially.
  • The impact your work makes on the rest of your team grows significantly.
  • You carry a responsibility over a larger portion of the business.
  • You will have substantially more stressors in your work life.
  • You will already tend to have to be more available if an issue were to come up.

At this point, if you spend all of your time working and just try to accomplish a greater quantity of work than anyone else you’ll most likely find yourself burning out.   As somebody who has burnt out multiple times so early in my career, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.   Secondly, this push to work the largest number of hours can cause 1 of 2 things to happen:

  1. You will try to accomplish a larger number of tasks than is expected.
  2. You will allow yourself more time than needed to complete each task.

Let’s look at why both scenarios can be detrimental to your success.

When you try to accomplish a larger number of tasks than you are expected to, or than you need to, some of these tasks will end up being an exercise in futility.   If others did not need to do this to be successful in this position, then the probability that you NEED to do them is also low.  Secondly, you will most likely find that the quality of your work will be lessened as it is nearly impossible to focus 100% for extended periods of time.

When you allow yourself more time than needed to complete a task you will most likely fall into yet another trap I’ve been guilty of many times.   When I give myself too much time to accomplish a task, I begin to overthink things, and second guess myself.   When either of these things happen, you may end up with a reduced quality of work, and less confidence in the end result versus had you complete the task in a more reasonable amount of time.

The moral of the story here, if that sometimes you need to take time for yourself, and remember that you only need to work as much as you need to work to complete your job effectively.   Don’t put in a bunch of extra hours just because you think it will help you to stand out.  There is people that look up to you at this level, and that’s not the impression you want to teach them either.

Until Next Time,

AM

Weekend Motivation

“Success isn’t about what you accomplish in life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.” – Steve Jobs

Let’s go forth this weekend and focus on not what we can do, but what we can inspire others to do in the upcoming week. Be the best that you can be, not only for yourself but also to help those around you.

Above all else, have a great weekend everyone!

AM

New Year, New Decade, New Opportunity.

It’s finally here, we survived the 2010’s and made it through to a new year, a new decade, and most of all a new opportunity.   This opportunity is whatever you make of it, the opportunity to be your best self, the opportunity to build a new career, the opportunity to build a new life!

Be your best self, stop setting unrealistic goals for yourself, like telling yourself that you’re all of a sudden going to go to the gym every day, or stop eating fast food, or quit smoking or drinking all of a sudden.   This is unrealistic, and you’re just going to feel even worse when you inevitably fail.   You will inevitably fail, unless of course you have an iron willpower, and if you do, I can assure you it wouldn’t take New Years for you to set a god damn goal and finally try to achieve something to better yourself.

Set a reasonable goal, and make a path of progression to get you there.  Don’t expect changes overnight, don’t live in this imaginary place where the world is all butterflies and rainbows.   The consumeristic society we live in spends literally millions of dollars a year to spend your money on what they want you to do, that won’t be stopping anytime soon.    Set your goals with reasonable progression too, for example if you’re trying to start working out, commit to the following:

  • January – Commit to 2 Workouts a Week, even if they aren’t the best workouts, just get yourself In there twice a week.
  • February – Commit to 2 Workouts a Week, and a 3rd Day where you go for a scenic walk or hike.
  • March – Increase your workouts to 3 times a week.
  • April – Increase the intensity and length of your workouts.
  • May – Increase to 4 Days a week.

5 Months later, you’ve built a routine that you should be able to stick to.   It takes 21 days to build a solid habit, so in each of these months you’ve build easier habits, and added bit by bit as these small changes become habit as well.

This is your time to be your best self, don’t let it slip away.  More than anything else, don’t be afraid to get some help.   Have a friend keep you accountable, use an app to help you along the way.  Personally I pay for an app that tracks my workouts, and an app that tracks habits and how I’ve performed, and the reminders drive me absolutely nuts.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to fail, is my example scenario there, a week in January where you only make it to the gym once isn’t a failure, it’s a week that is now over, and the next week is a new week for you to do your 2 workouts.   1 bad week doesn’t change your goal, it doesn’t change who you are.  It’s a minor setback, so let’s treat it that way.

Let’s make this the best year yet.  Comment below what your goals for 2020 are, I’ll be publicly posting mine later this month so every single one of you reading these can hold me accountable.

Onwards and Upwards.

Alan