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Complacency: The Art of Career Self-Sabotage

Complacency: The Art of Career Self-Sabotage
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It seems to come out of nowhere. Boom. Blindsided. That’s complacency. It’s career suicide. Sounds harsh, I know, but the job market is highly competitive and companies are under pressure to grow in a time of uncertainty.  They are looking for employees to add value each and every day.  In a perfect world, leaders would be phenomenal mentors guiding your career development. We don’t live in a perfect world. Although there are some truly outstanding bosses out there, that doesn’t always equal a great career mentor.

The reality is you own your career. You know yourself better than anyone else so why leave something so important in the hands of others?

Being complacent can derail your career rather quickly.  You have enough to worry in life so don’t use complacency as a means to self-sabotage.

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Here’s 8 quick tips to keep you on track:

1. Be the problem solver

Revolutionary ideas are seldom born from the status quo. Problem solving is the essence of a visionary employee. Bosses love problem solvers. It makes their life easier. And, being viewed as a problem solver can accelerate your career; they are in high demand.

2. Don’t be satisfied

Having healthy discontent is good.  Being comfortable is being stagnant and being stagnant doesn’t add daily value.  Accomplishments and success are driven by discontent.  Use the power of dissatisfaction wisely.

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3. Build your network

Build your network now.  Build it before you need to use it. You will use your network for mentors, for expertise you are lacking, and if you ever need to find a job.  Building a strategic network takes time so it’s best to devote proper time to do this.

4. Be engaged

Your best work will be performed when you are engaged. Highly engaged employees have focus, energy, and are driven for results. You’ll also experience a deeper connection to the company and to your co-workers when you have a sense of engagement.   Engagement and innovation create high-performance results.

5. Keep exploring your passion

A passion felt at age 22 may not be the passion felt at age 32.  Life changes and life transforms.  It is important to conduct regular reevaluations of your goals and visions.  Once you have your goals clarified, ask yourself how passionate you are about your goals.  If you are going to be successful in meeting your goals, you will not be able to do it without passion.

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6.    Know your personal brand and personal identity

Jobs come and go but you need to live with yourself 24 hours a day.  Be sure you like the person you have become or you won’t be very happy with the results.

7. Professional development

Don’t be left behind. It is crucial to keep up with industry knowledge and technology trends.  Become the subject matter expert in your field.  This means people will need you instead of you needing them.  That’s the best way to own your career.

8. Take your vacation

Sounds like a no-brainer but it’s not.  You will never be at your best if you are tired, run down, or just mentally drained.  You will always be dragging your butt instead of leading the way.

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“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

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

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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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 Creating 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

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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