Success in the Work World

Justin Walter 16. The Sixteenth Year Business Business:Category Business_And More Business_Productivity Business_Small Business Business_Solo Professionals iStock New Articles


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My first “job” was in the 1960s as a part-time waitress in my hometown while I was in high school.  I earned one dollar an hour and thought I had it made!   Since then, I have worked in government, private and public organizations as well as building my own professional private practice.

Throughout the decades I have learned from watching others and making mistakes.  Following are some tips that will help those in the workplace who are employees, partners or owners of businesses:

  1. You are the business – No matter what you do, you are the one who brings value to the market and earns income in exchange. That means that you need to do more than clock hours.  You need to give a day’s work for a day’s pay.
  2. Work harder on the business than you do in the business. You don’t build a house without a blueprint, and you don’t grow a business without plans.   For years, I haven’t booked clients on Wednesdays so that I could study, plan, do administrative tasks, communicate with referral sources and take other steps to move forward.   If you are an employee, think about ways that you can improve the system and discuss them with your supervisor.
  3. Know your gifts. Imagine a circle with three things that you do easily and with good results. I have been told that I am gifted as a therapist, writer and speaker.  Outside of the circle are your skills.   These are things that you know how to do but they can burn you out over time.  I have learned to stay in my circle as much as possible, so I am effective, satisfied and a “good tired” at the end of the day.   That way I can also earn enough to pay others to do the things outside of the circle.  Win/win.
  4. Enhance your value. We all benefit from professional development.  Learn how to do things more professionally and in less time.  Years ago, I encouraged a friend who worked in a bank to borrow a video from the bank’s library to develop better customer service techniques.  She enjoyed this and then ordered another and another and another.  I then suggested that she keep a listing of the videos for her annual review.  She was thrilled when the bank gave her an unexpected five-hundred-dollar bonus!
  5. Protect your reputation – So many people appear to achieve “success” and then lose it all in an instant by doing things that steal it! When you break the law, have affairs, develop addictions or tell lies, you risk everything.
  6. Be on time – There isn’t such a thing as being “fashionably late”. When you don’t arrive at the scheduled time, you show others disrespect and lack of organization.   Don’t kid yourself by saying “It’s okay.”   It isn’t and even if the other people don’t confront you directly, they store this information in their minds as you not being dependable.
  7. Focus on the majors. There are only a few things that, when done daily, will build your business.   If you are an employee, ask your boss to clearly define these for you.   As a business owner, define and focus on the top three priorities:   Offer excellent service to the clients, make sure all the reports and paperwork are completed, ensure that financials are in order (invoicing, bank deposits and payables).  Procrastination is costly.
  8. Keep the hopper filled – A hopper is a container that is used to hold grain during harvest. The grain is valuable, but you don’t get paid for it right away.   The same is true in business.   Often there are accounts receivables that take time to process or problems with collections.  It is therefore important that you always keep working to fill the hopper with work that will give you a steady flow of income and peace of mind.
  9. Find good mentors and referral sources – If you want to do better, you need to find people who can teach you what they have learned. You also need good referral sources who will send you new customers.   Many of my clients over the years have come from “word of mouth”.   If your contacts are satisfied with your work and manner, they will tell others.
  10. Make giving part of your life. Choose how you can share your blessings without jeopardizing your work responsibilities.   I sometimes agree to speak to a charitable group or write a helpful handout.   My website also has over 1100 published articles on a variety of topics that can be read or printed by the public without cost.  Also, always remember to give thanks!

One of the most important tips that I can give you is to learn when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.   Ask yourself: “Will doing this build my reputation, increase sales or streamline processes?  If so, the answer is “Go ahead and do it

Also ask yourself: “Will this increase risk, steal productive hours or harm others?”   If so, the answer is “no thanks”.

Use your common sense and make sure that every day you are doing at least one thing to add value to your life and the world.   That is what success really means.




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