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Create Your Best Life at Work with One Question

Create Your Best Life at Work with One Question

On ManagingWithAloha.com we have been talking about the Hawaiian value of ‘Imi ola this month; it means to create your best possible life. Let’s consider this; How do you accomplish ‘Imi ola while you are at work?

The biggest bang for the buck strategy is to choose the right work to begin with. There is a lot of basic common sense in the notion that you’ll never toil at a job again if you’ve chosen the right work for you in the first place. The “right” work is the kind you leap out of bed for each morning; work which makes your heart sing because you’re fully engaged in getting each of your talents to fire on all cylinders. It’s work that you’d do every single day if you possibly could because you enjoy it that much; getting paid for it is just icing on the cake.

What’s that? You don’t have that kind of job yet?

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It’s definitely something you can have; your first order of business is to go about making it happen. Keep looking till you find it!

Meanwhile, if there are reasons you’ve got to stick it out for a bit in the job you’ve got right now, how can you still make the best of it? How can you create your best life at work?

You milk it, by continually asking yourself, this one question: What’s in this for me?

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When I am called in to a company to coach, I study workplace behaviors. The one thing that saddens me most, is the amount of time that people willingly give away in their lives. They perform their work robotically, without energy or joy, in the most routine, blah sort of way because they are doing it for someone else or to pay the bills. Period.

You shouldn’t be so easily tamed.

When you create your best life at work, you milk it for whatever it can possibly mean to you and for you, even if it’s not your best possible world – yet. You have the attitude that, If I have to do this anyway, I may as well get the most that I can out of it. Value your time and make it yours. Value your life and make it yours. How can you give away something so extraordinary? How can you give away something so uniquely yours and so precious?

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Reinvent. Learn more. Go for the unconventional. Get others involved. Tweak and experiment. Do it louder, goofier, or fancier. Ignore boundaries or limits, and push toward edges. As the saying goes, Whatever turns you on.

Who knows? You just might find that ho-hum job of yours begins to reveal that job of the lifetime you’ve been looking for. You’ve experienced ‘Imi ola; creating your best possible life instead of simply allowing life to happen to you.

Related Post: To Do and To Stop with ‘Imi ola – a different approach to the traditional To Do List.

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Post Author:
Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business. You can also visit her on www.ManagingWithAloha.com where she regularly writes about value alignment in business, as with ‘Imi ola.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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