Over the weekend I was in a discussion forum with some people and shared some personal stories and life tips with them. I feel compelled to share two of the lessons here hoping that someone out there might benefit from my message and experience.
The First Lesson. Make Every Contact with you Count
Impact. Make it a matter of personal agenda to make impact wherever you find yourself. No matter how short your stay at a place (be it workplace, camp, school, social gatherings, meetings, religious events etc.) is, make it memorable, not just for yourself, but for those you ever come across. Make every contact or experience with you an impactful one.
At meetings or conferences, make inputs. Reasonable contributions, I mean. At work, be the one that makes things happen. While other colleagues are holding back on a project, you be the reactivator. If you’re not an ‘operational’ person, then be the idea box that thinks up solutions.
No, this is not just about visibility or let-them-see-me thing. Impact is about leaving a mark on the sand of time. A simple courtesy, smile, a firm handshake, or opening the door for someone you meet for the first time, petty as it might seem, could just be the game changer in your future relationship with that person.
Impact. Be nice to people. Being tough-talking is no synonymous to being cold. Don’t be unduly cantankerous and rude to people. Help colleagues out at work. Refer clients to friends, associates, and even to strangers, without expecting ‘a cut’. If you’re able to give out contract; give it out without expecting commission (kickbacks). That same contractor or vendor might become your helper tomorrow.
Focus more on your character and creating impacts; your personal brand will take care of itself. If you’re hired for a role even for just a month or few weeks, make it worth the while. Do something beautiful worth being remembered for. How poorly paid the job is, or unfriendly work environment is, doesn’t matter. As a student, make your stay in school a memorable one. Let your fellow students remember you for something beautiful. Make every day of your life count.
Impact Making isn’t about who you’re helping, but your person and your future. You’re the ultimate beneficiary of your impacts in the world. Living an impact-driven life is deeply empowering. Trust me, it is.
The second lesson. Don’t burn bridges. Be the bridge builder.
I dread controversies, but heck! Your mother’s ‘enemies’ from father’s side or vice versa aren’t necessarily your enemies. Your family’s ‘enemy’ isn’t necessarily your enemy. Be wary of taking side in a family dispute whose origin predates your birth.
Remember, you have many personal battles ahead of you. Don’t add to them. Life is just funny and complicated sometimes. These are the realities my personal life stories have proven. I don’t know if they make sense to you. But that’s what life stories and trajectories have proven.
I say it again, don’t burn bridges. No matter how horrible your boss or project supervisor is, don’t bad-mouth (speak ill of) him/her anywhere. If you’re leaving a job, by all means, leave on a good note. Obviously, there are employers that would rather have you sacked than have you hand them your resignation letter. Wisdom is everything. No matter how unfriendly your boss or employer is, leave him/her on a friendly note. Keep your conscience clean. I’m not asking you to forgive the terrible things said or done to you. Forgiving is your prerogative. But the sad reality is, with the way the string of life is wired, we’d always need each other at some point in time. Your worst enemy could just become a helper at some desperate moment. If you’re fortunate to have good past bosses, keep in touch. I sometimes consult for some of my past bosses. Thanks to my mastery of this principle.
Finally, sorry to say this, if I’m interviewing you for a role, and in the course of discussions you say terrible things about your boss or employer, I will mostly not hire you. No, I’m not being wicked. Talent is not enough.
Just a recap.
- Develop an Impact driven mindset and live up to it.
- Don’t burn bridges. Be the bridge builder