Advertising
Advertising

Do You Make This Mistake as a Professional?

Do You Make This Mistake as a Professional?
Do You Make These Mistakes as a Professional?

    Broken promises are one of the biggest mistakes that one can make in their career. Broken promises are a problem because:

    Advertising

    • Broken promises diminish the value of your word. People want to count on you when you’ll say you do something. If you regularly drop the ball people will rely on you less. Your reputation becomes one of a partial contributor and you will not be offered opportunities.
    • Broken promises decrease your ability to work for and with others. If you regularly break your promises people will not want to have you on projects, teams, and committees. And, if you’re not on one of those, you’re not working and will soon be out of that job. You may be out of any job that requires responsibility and contribution.
    • Broken promises lessen our own self esteem. We don’t know why we don’t come through on our commitments sometime. Still, knowing that we’re not holding up our end of a deal whacks our own integrity.

    Do you sit in a meeting and take action items then complete only some of them? Do you promise someone in your family that you will be at a game, dinner, or meeting and fail to show up on time? Do you say, “OK, I owe you that,” and inconsistently deliver? Do you miss deadlines? If you said yes to any of these questions, you are breaking promises. And the straight talk on this topic is: you need to stop breaking promises because it’s hurting your reputation and prospects for the future.

    Advertising

    Here are four ways to start building a reputation for reliability, delivery, and contribution:

    Advertising

    1. Don’t forget the things that you promise to do. The #1 way to do this is write it down! When you take action items voluntarily or are assigned them, put them on a list. This keeps the specifics of your responsibilities in one place. And, it keeps them out of your mind where you might forget it or it might be overpowered by something urgent or fun.
    2. You should clarify what is expected of you. Ensure that you and those you work with are synchronized. Match what you believe you’re supposed to be doing with the expectations the other person or people have. Get confirmation in writing. An example of this is writing a summary of a meeting which identifies the action items you are to take and stating: If there is something that you anticipate me doing that isn’t on this list, please reply and let me know right away so I can be sure to do the right thing.
    3. Take on less. The adage we use in sales is “Under Promise, Over Deliver”. There will always be more things for you to do than you can possibly attend to. Do only those things that are of highest importance and be clear that you won’t be doing the rest. Get agreement on what those vital activities are.
    4. Use ‘As Promised’ in your communications. When writing follow-up emails or talking to people state specifically that you are delivering on your commitment. For example, say, “We discussed the trigger list for creating your list of things to do. As promised I’m sending the list to you attached to this email.”
    5. If you might miss a deadline or have to stop one project to give attention to another, renegotiate. You will need diplomacy and tact to deliver your message and get agreement that things have changed. Yet, you will get credit for integrity and keeping your eye on the ball.

    More by this author

    Productivity & Organizing Myth #5 – the right planner (tool) is all you need Put yourself on the line Working at Night is for Raccoons – Not You! Where You Are Depends on How You Look at Things How to Use a Notebook to Make 2008 the Best Year Ever

    Trending in Featured

    1 How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive 2 Simple Productivity: 10 Ways to Do More by Focusing on the Essentials 3 Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed 4 12 Rules for Self-Management 5 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

    Advertising

    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

    Advertising

    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

    Advertising

    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

    Advertising

    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

    More About Continuous Learning

    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

    Read Next