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Achieve Success by Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

Achieve Success by Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

You have two choices when taking on a project that you feel is beyond your expertise. You can succumb to the fear of failure and walk away or see it as an opportunity to challenge yourself and develop new skills.

Overcome your doubts by focusing on a successful outcome, developing a positive attitude and following a structured plan.

Here is a guideline to help you take on any task or project.

Get a firm understanding of what you are trying to achieve

Define the goal of the project and condense it to its core objective. It will give you a succinct idea of what actions you need to take to achieve this objective.

Also, take a cursory inventory of the milestones, people and skills that will be involved in reaching your objective.

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    Doubts come from facing the unknown. Encapsulating important information gives you an easy reference to keep you confident and focused.

    Focus on the “what” and not the “how”

    People clutter their brain with an over emphasis on maintaining a budget, delegating people and using complicated project management tools

    Remove yourself from the “how” mindset and become a visionary. Sit back, take what you know from your early notes and come up with an image of what you want to accomplish. Visualize success.

    Confidence in your abilities will come from focusing on the certainty of success, not the possibility of failure.

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    Feel confident about your work experience and talents

    Skills are transferable and your unique qualities will strengthen any endeavour.

    People define a great career by the ever-increasing amount of faith and responsibility given to an employee over many years of service. Consequently, you challenge an employee with tasks outside their comfort zone to test if they are ready to be leaders.

    A new generation of executives and managers are becoming jacks-of-all-trades and masters of some. You may not be able to draw a straight line, but if having that skill is important to the project, odds are you will learn how to do it.

    Maximize every interaction with your manager or client

    A lack of feedback will magnify your fears. In most cases, you are building on ideas and products other people have already developed. Use that to your advantage and do not frustrate yourself by trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, work with the people that have built the foundation of the project. In the end, they are your most critical audience.

    Being dismissive and closed-minded makes your job harder. Take time to digest the material you have gathered, and come back to the decision makers to ask questions that are more specific. This helps guarantee you are making the right decisions.

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    Be aggressive but diplomatic in getting the answers you need. Carefully construct your questions and be adaptable to the answers even if it is not what you want to hear.

    Commit to your plan of attack

    People over think creative endeavours, they wander from one idea to another. However, they never take in to account the chaos this type of flip-flopping causes along the way.

    Be flexible, but at all costs try to stick to your original vision. Once you are dedicated to the path and destination, your job is to delegate, manage and deploy to get there.

    Contribute when you can and ask for help when you cannot

    If you are not artistic, but more of a right brain thinker, you may feel sheepish about offering your opinion on aesthetic issues. However, try to remember that everyone fills different need on a team.

    Ultimately, a good team blends the best of everyone’s talents, and what skill one person lacks the other brings to the project. Your job is to guide them, trust their input, offer your knowledge and lastly, help them flesh out your ideas.

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    Use the internet

    Take your time and see what others have accomplished with similar projects. Inspire yourself with the achievements of others, but beware the many dangers of plagiarism.

    Draw from the many assets your company has to offer

    Make a general request across the company for help.

    This type of crowd sourcing reduces cost by keeping everything in house. It also exposes internal talent, and brings in fresh ideas to any endeavour.

    Remember, it is natural to be hesitant when presented with what first appears to be an overwhelming project. However, you can overcome this challenge by confirming your objectives, believing in your skills, drawing confidence from your experience and standing firmly behind your choices.

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    Last Updated on June 18, 2019

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Making Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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