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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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