Why Lawyers Should Eat Bananas by Simon Tupman is a book that caught my eye both because of its unusual title and because I often coach lawyers who are starting or growing their practices. The book cover says it gives “Inspirational Ideas for Lawyers Wanting More Out of Life”
Much of what Mr. Tupman writes about is appropriate career advice for anyone, lawyer, businessperson or manager. He is an advocate of “Working smarter not harder” and so am I. I really liked his list of attributes for smart workers and number 8 on the list particularly appealed to me because it underscores much of what I have been saying in this newsletter for the three years I have been writing it.
Number 8 says that smart workers “stay in S.H.A.P.E." Each letter of course stands for an element that he believes is vital in order to stay marketable.
Today all workers have a responsibility to keep their skills up to date. If you are waiting for someone else to pay for your training you may wait yourself into obsolescence. If you are in business, someone else will take away your business if you let your skills stagnate. If you work for someone else, your employer may find that another employee who has more advanced skills can do your job better or faster. In my AT&T days the Internet was just coming into general use. Those people who could support it technically were the ones whose jobs were more secure.
It is something you may take for granted but you need to be proactive about your health. Proper diet, enough sleep, and exercise all help you to have the energy you need to do your job. Often my clients will say to me that they just don’t have time to exercise or have a well-balanced meal. They say they have other priorities. I ask all my clients to make themselves their number one priority. You can’t be good to others (clients, family, co-workers, friends etc.) unless you are good to yourself.
How do you approach a problem or something new? If you believe you can’t do something, you won’t be able to. As a sales manager I found it was so much easier to work with sales executives who were proactive and saw lots of possibilities rather than the ones who had a negative attitude and whined about their problems. People with positive attitudes attract success.
Life has its ups and downs. Everyone will have the experience of trying something that doesn’t work out as planned. What do you do when this happens? Do you quit or do you use the failure to learn and grow? Thomas Alva Edison said, “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work.” Rather than being upset by failure regard it as just one more data point on the road to success.
What is it that keeps you working at your job, business or job search? Somewhere in your mind you must have a vision of what you want to achieve that really excites you. Having enthusiasm for the end state (your vision) will get you through the toughest days.
As you can see the critical element here is knowing yourself. Look at each of the 5 elements and ask yourself how you stack up. Is there something that is holding you back?
1. Identify the area that you would like to improve.
2. What is one step you could take to improve yourself in that area?
3. What are your challenges?
4. What steps can you take to overcome those challenges?
5. Take the step and start again.
Having difficulty? A coach may be able to help you to overcome the obstacles and move forward.
Alvah Parker is a Business and Career Coach, Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst, and SCORE(Service Corp of Retired Executives)business counselor.
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