Being Your Best Self At Work

Passion is the difference between having a job and having a career.

if you have a job and you are happy to do your work with the minimum of effort then this blog article may not be for you. But if you are a person who has a career that you want to advance and progress then please read on.

Most of us spend one-third of our adult lives at work and up to 50% of of our total waking hours during any given working day is spent at work. Our working lives can significantly contribute to our development and well-being while also contributing financially to our upkeep and the upkeep of our families. Work therefore has a unique relevance and importance for us- socially, financially and culturally.

For career advancement we all need to bring our best selves to work. While there we should demonstrate a professional attitude and seek to excel at our jobs if we want to advance our careers. By performing well, working hard and acting professionally our reputation will be enhanced and our careers will blossom.

Before joining any organisation or company you will have researched its mission,  goals, strategies and services so that you better understand your future role and the value of the work you will do when part of that organisation.

Having joined the organisation you will need to demonstrate commitment to its values and work to achieve its goals. Being a team player, collaborating with colleagues and supporting your boss or manager will enhance your career prospects and will be a crucial part of career success. You need to show that you are a good fit for your organisation and that you add real value to your organisation’s mission and goals.

Knowing your boss or employer is not the same as understanding him/her. You need to understand his/her values and vision for the organisation but also their likes and dislikes. You don’t really  need to like your boss but you certainly need to understand your boss as this is crucial for your career success. Have a strong desire to do your best and perform well.

Employers are always looking for dynamic individuals who fit into the culture of the organisation. They want employees with the right mindset who are creative, flexible and willing to learn. They will want people who are willing to work outside their comfort zones. This may involve you doing tasks that may occasionally fall outside your job description . If doing so contributes to the common good of your organisation and team then showing your commitment and flexibility in this way will enhance your professional reputation.

That is why you must bring your best self to work each day. Getting in the right frame of mind from the moment you wake up is an essential first step.

Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day– Dalai Lama.

Having a positive mental attitude and willing to go that extra mile is a sure way to excel in your working life. Arriving to work early, ready to succeed and determined to overcome obstacles are the hallmarks of a successful career optimist.

There are common characteristics which all employers look for when recruiting for their organisation. They want to recruit people who have a strong work-ethic, show ambition, demonstrate integrity, are flexible and have good interpersonal skills so that they can connect with work colleagues, both socially and emotionally. Having been hired you must  demonstrate these characteristics if you are to be an asset to your organisation. It is therefore important that you can manage yourself if your are to successfully manage your career.

Knowing your real self may prove to be a challenge and this is where you need balanced self-reflection to really know what you want in terms of career advancement. To realise your career ambitions you will need commitment,determination and self-belief. To perfect your skills you will also need to commit to lifelong learning and ongoing self-improvement..

If you are ambitious to  advance your career  you should  set out your strategy and  goals. You should also reflect on how you currently present yourself at work and how you could improve in the immediate future. Try to assess what could make you valuable to your organisation and to others in your organisation.

Know your personal goals by having a clear picture of where you want to go in your career. Goals are not tasks; they are aspirational, strategic and focused.They focus on the big picture and help us to focus on what’s really important and what should be  prioritised. Therefore you should always keep your career centre stage in your mind. A good idea is to dedicate uninterrupted time each day to focus on how you can achieve your career goals They don’t just happen so you should remember to remain goal-orientated at all times.

As well as planning your career goals you will need to align these goals with the goals of your organisation. You will need to prioritise and set milestones as stepping stones towards the realisation of your goals. To perform at your best focus on your goals as well as your tasks.

When  you have clarified your goals you need to reflect on how you present daily in the workplace. You need to stand out to stand apart. You need to show commitment to your organisation; you need to have purpose and show dedication to your job. You need to be dependable and look the part. But most of all you need to be your authentic self.

Be truly authentic and genuine because people quickly see through the false you. People look for authenticity in others and you will always want to engage with authentic real people who are imperfect like you. Don’t try to be the person you think other people want to see but rather be a real, genuine  person trying to be the best you can be.

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

People always gravitate towards those who exude a positive demeanour so work on your attitude and outlook. Your thinking drives your emotions so opt for positivity by displaying positive emotions rather than sullenness, anxiety, anger, frustration or other negative emotions. To be truly professional you need to manage your emotions so that they don’t manage you. The best way to be assertive is to remain measured and calm.

Good positive relationships with work colleagues, manager or boss are vital for career success. Remember, success is rarely achieved alone and you will need the cooperation and support of others . Seek to build trust and respect by helping others and by offering support to colleagues. Showing compassion and courtesy is to act professionally. You build meaningful relationships by connecting with others socially and emotionally so you need to have a good level of emotional intelligence. Likewise, engaging meaningfully and positively with your manager or boss will give you the opportunity to show initiative and will also provide opportunities for feedback.

Perfecting your communication skills should be a lifelong goal because you can always improve. The rapid pace of new technology means that the world of work now also moves at an accelerated pace. How you relate to others is not just confined to your workplace as it can also encompasses  developing meaningful relationships across the world.

Remember that communication is much more than verbal and written communications or good interpersonal skills. It can also be about your body language; it can be about active listening skills and whether or not you are fully present and attentive when engaging with others.

If you genuinely want to be your best at work and you have a strong desire to perform well you will often need to operate  outside your comfort zone by regularly putting yourself in new situations. You learn from challenges and what you learn is as important as your accumulated knowledge. Treat your work as a journey of discovery. Seek always to be a problem-solver rather than a problem-maker. Maintain an entrepreneurial outlook because showing initiative and going that extra mile will show you in a positive light.

Whether at team meetings or in engagement with your boss try always to be positive and solution-orientated. Look for leadership opportunities as this will show that you have genuine ambition. Employers look positively on employees who are organised,  proactive and action-orientated.

You can also learn a lot from your boss, manager or other senior personnel in your organisation. Emulate those who are successful, observe their habits and routine. Engage with your role models to learn how they succeeded in their own careers.

Recognise too that people in the workplace are usually linked and interdependent. You are not an island so respect the interdependencies between you and others.If you are part of a team you should always aim to add to the team’s collective energy and creativity. Show that you have the ability to work well with others and that you are a valuable team member.

To assist your  assessment of how well you may be performing in the workplace the following checklist may prove useful;

  • Are you fully aware of the mission,values and goals of your organisation or company?
  • Do you have the right mindset, attitude and determination to build your career success?
  • Have you fully clarified your career goals and do they align with your company or organisation?
  • Can you resist distractions, stay focused and remain committed to the full realisation of your career goals?
  • Will you weekly review and assess your work performance with a view to being better than you were in the previous week?
  • Do you act professionally at all times by meeting your deadlines and fulfilling your commitments?
  • Are you a team player and do you encourage your work colleagues or do you see them as a threat?
  • Do you work hard to be strategic by planning and prioritising?
  • Do you show your authentic self at all times and are you a person who others can trust and respect?
  • Are you  willing to own up to mistakes, seek advice or ask for help when needed?
  • Do you have a positive mindset and can you view obstacles as problems to be solved?
  • Do you seek to constantly perfect your skills and engage in related training and development programmes?
  • Are you open to feedback and honest criticism and willing to learn from valid observations about your work performance?
  • Can you resist the temptation to try to achieve perfection rather than excellence?
  • Can you handle pressure, control your emotions, remain calm and ask for support when necessary?
  • Do you maintain your physical and mental health and know how to disconnect from work by having balance in your life?

While the above checklist seems onerous, its purpose is to frame your mindset, change your outlook and focus you on achieving your best at work. You will have bad days occasionally when you will not exude energy and positivity. While occasional rough patches are inevitable, it is how you manage them which really matters because it is you alone who controls what you think, what you say and what you do.

You will be happiest and most fulfilled when you are goal-orientated and know that you are exploiting your full potential by harnessing your talents to be the best you can be. Start your day with determination and you will end it with satisfaction. That is real fulfilment.

( Feature image by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash)










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