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Make Mine Personal

Make Mine Personal

When I do book-signings for Managing with Aloha I am continually surprised by the different things people will dictate to me as the inscriptions they want when purchasing the book as a gift for someone else. I’ve even had someone ask me to sign it as Rosalie to pretend that my real name was the same as the person the book was intended for.

Other times, it’s extremely rewarding. I’m able to discover what the book has done for people oand what it has meant to them.

After a presentation I did last week, a young woman came up to me with two copies of my book. One was hers, and she took great delight in showing me how she had underlined and flagged any reference I’d made about my feelings that work is personal. There were stars and happy faces in bright colored pens all over page 97 where those three words show up as a chapter sub-heading. The second copy of my book was to be a gift for her dad. She’d flagged and highlighted the same parts, and she asked me to write,

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“With my aloha for George, because work is so very personal. Ho‘ohana (work with passion, purpose, and full intention) and ‘Imi ola (seek your best life at work). It will lighten your load and make your heart sing, and it will make your daughter happy. Manage with aloha, and live with aloha, Rosa Say.”

She then explained how she’d had a long standing difference of opinion with her dad about how work was indeed such a personal thing for her, when he’d instead advised her repeatedly that she’d never be
a) happy that way or
b) thought of as professional enough by everyone else if she continued to think like that.

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She felt that my book was a huge acknowledgement for her, that yes, she could be happy making her work personal, and she had every intention of doing so. As much as she loved and respected her dad, she wanted to be happy at work, and she wanted her work to be about her.

Well, this time, I happily did the inscription she wanted, because George, I do agree with your daughter. Work IS personal for people, and it always will be. It consumes a significant part of our lives, and because it affects so much of what we do, who we are, what we are identified with, and perhaps most importantly how we think, it is VERY personal. Generally my experience is that the more personal we allow our jobs to be, putting a signature on our work, the more fulfilling our professional roles tend to be for us.

Now I’ll grant you that there are many people who are much happier at work because they have deliberately worked at not making it personal. They prefer the detachment, or they have other good reasons why they’ve chosen to keep their work as separate as possible from the realm of their personal lives. If that works for them great, and I’m not one to argue the point and try to convince them that they are somehow deluded or cheating themselves out of richer possibilities (even when that might be my opinion.) However I’d bet they just have a job, not something they consider to possibly be their life’s work; build-a-legacy, make-a-difference work.

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Where I strongly and vocally differ with George is in telling someone else who wants to personally invest in their work not to do so. For goodness sake, don’t be the one to rain on someone’s parade! I completely concur with these words written by Sally Hogshead:


“A career worth loving is not an indulgence, a privilege, or a fluke. Passion is an imperative. Joy is an imperative. Loving your career is a non-negotiable necessity for breaking through client and consumer skepticism. And for reaching your own greatest potential. And for making any kind of difference in this world.”

I’m with Sally, and I’m wholeheartedly in support of George’s daughter and all of you who want work to be personal. You better believe my work is personal and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I love to teach timeless principles and mentor with values, and in particular, I love coaching managers. I love maximizing strengths in people and helping them in the self discovery of their innate talents. I love the science of business and the democracy of free enterprise, where ultimately the customer rules. I love reading, I love the written word and I love the study of how language can influence relationships between people. I love the new global possibilities of networking and the synergy of community. I love the notion that we can choose our own destiny and create it. I get passionate about all these things, and you bet I make them personal. By indulging my passions I gave life to Managing with Aloha.

Just imagine what you can do when you make your work personal.

Thank you for reading, I’ll be back next Thursday. On every other day, you can visit me on Talking Story, or on www.ManagingWithAloha.com. Aloha!

Rosa Say
, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

Previous Thursday Column:
The Real Rules of Engagement.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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