The Desk

March 9, 2016

Taking Charge

One thing that can lead to marginalization is turning the human into a non-thinking, uncreative entity (as compared with a sentient being who is capable of making meaningful contributions). There is very little to nothing that’s rewarding and motivating about existing in PVS (persistent vegetative state), except perhaps the appreciation that the speed at which activities are successfully executed is at a stellar rate that can be matched by few, if any.

Some grow weary of the monotony. They see the value is automation and encourage use of robotics so that the opportunity to challenge their minds is more available. Even those with the most minimal level of intelligence delight is being able to conquer a new task. Having that reasonable task put before them is exciting.

There are some people who have been conditioned to believe they will be punished for attempting to stretch their role in an organization beyond being PVS. They fear the unknown realm of persecution and retribution for daring to do more than the repetitious. They have experimented with new endeavors and found success nearly every time they’ve done so. Having been exposed to the sweet taste of adventure and new challenges, they want to emerge into the areas where their friends and colleagues are similarly nudged into more involvement – and recognition.

Use Your Skills

Use Your Skills

That fear of retribution is the inhibiting factor. It needs to be overcome. The only way to do that is to take charge of the situation. If the path of asking permission to be included in the next endeavor doesn’t work out, there are other ways to get from Point A to Point B. Some of them take a little (and some a lot) more effort.

The supervisor or manager seems to have favorites for the project. Sometimes it’s because the manager has been watching the progress of their workers and knows what to expect. They know the quality of the work that will be produced, the amount of attention to detail, the speed at which the work will be done, how well the worker interacts with others, how smoothly things blend. Sounds like networking to me.

How much of a challenge is that task compared to today’s mashed potatoes same as? If it’s the equivalent of going from boiling an egg to preparing a nine-course meal overnight, this may not be the time to experiment. If this is merely turning a boiled egg into an Easter egg (or a deviled egg), this may be an opportunity waiting to happen. How to broach that stupid roadblock of being allowed to get involved is the issue.

Perhaps a facsimile is the answer. “Hey, Boss. I’ve been watching the others working on the [deviled egg] and I’ve been experimenting with making them on my own time. Here’s a sample of what I did on my own. I’d like to do it with the others so I can be involved in doing it in the company style.” Mind you, this is the prime sample that’s being put forth. The BETA version is just not the version that should be used as an example of what’s your best.

Was it accepted? Great! It wasn’t? Get permission to work with the others to learn their technique. Better yet, sidle up to one of those who’s a “friend” and ask them to show you how to make yours better. Sidle up to another chum so that they’ll ask to have you included in their group for the next batch of [deviled eggs]. Or just go to an outside group and make some [deviled eggs] they way they do so that you have practice doing it and an audience that benefits from the fact that you were involved in making [deviled eggs]. No matter which way you go – direct or indirect – you have at least one new skill to append to your resume accomplishments.

It’s one thing to aimlessly drift from one boring and uninspiring situation to the next while waiting (and that’s the critical concept here – waiting) for something better to come along and take you with it. Having a mentor who can push you forward at Opportunity’s knock is great. But sometimes it’s necessary to take charge of your situation and do something to spur your opportunities to open to you.

There will be times when taking charge means quietly looking elsewhere for what’s going to be better in terms of many things you desire and have long-term positive payoffs. There will also be times when taking charge simply means becoming more assertive. Mind you, I said “assertive,” not “aggressive,” that is, demanding what you want instead of stating your case about why you are a great option.

Wait! What was that I heard? Was it Opportunity knocking at your door?

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March 6, 2008

Fear of Failure

Filed under: Career Advancement — Yvonne LaRose @ 7:49 PM
Tags: , , ,

“I don’t try to do it because I’m afraid I’ll fail,” admitted Sam (a fictitious name of a friend) as we sipped our beverages. That was also the reason he’d not taken his licensing examination, nor learned and taken over duties on one of the more responsible pieces of equipment at his job, nor many other things. I didn’t dare to ask how far his fear of failure extended and what forms of avoidance he used. But the fact that he was avoiding so many opportunities and damning himself to secondary and tertiary situations pained me. I wondered whether he realized how much loss he suffers from this attitude. Sam is a very intelligent man. He is very talented. And if he would let himself go, he might be more afraid of the amount of power he has compared with the losses he suffers because of what he attempts to avoid.

Let’s get a grip on this concept of “failure.” Some see it as a death sentence. If you fail, you do not succeed. There are no other chances to “do” again and you’re forever cast into the Valley of Nothingness. Wake-up call! Not true. Failure is simply not succeeding on this particular attempt. It means there were other concepts that needed to be explored or discussed. It means too much or too little was done to achieve the goal (and that may have been attention to details). Not enough pressure was used or else too little. The wrong choice of words or the wrong timing could have contributed to not succeeding at this time.

Did not succeed on this attempt. That does not spell “inadequate” nor “mal-equipped.” It does not shriek “stupid” as much as simply say “not ready” and “needs additional training” or “give time for additional practice.” Knowledge of the steps to achieve the goal are what are needed. Then practicing those steps under all types of circumstances come next. It’s good to develop some of your own unique ways of achieving the desired results once you know the traditional steps inside and out. “Did not succeed on this attempt” means practice more and then attempt again.

Practice is something that will insure success in the long run. Practice means allowing your muscles, tendons, brain waves to develop pathways that allow the process to become automatic. Practice allows thought to fall away from the execution; it flows like pouring water. Thought is required to stop yourself from following through once the initial steps are executed. Practice creates a second nature to whatever is done and a comfort zone that exudes confidence. It reveals knowledge and mastery when we no longer consider it to be such.

To refrain from attempting to do something simply because of a fear of failure is to deny yourself to learn what strengths you do have. It may be that what’s being avoided is one of the biggest payloads that could have happened to you and your career. It may be another microbial step on the ladder to anyone else. But for you and coupled with your background, other experiences, and innovative mind, it’s fodder for creating something else (once the skill is mastered) that will lay the foundation for your own empire.

I think about Sam and his reticence and realize one factor that contributes to his sentence of subordination is that his load is quite heavy. But his work ethic is quite strong and carries him far on his path — even if it isn’t his chosen career path. Sam also has an excellent support network; he’s done well in getting himself established and surrounded by the right types of people with similar cultural and social values as his. Additionally, he is good at targeting others who have good, strong ethics to be friends and new social partners. Sam is good at mixing and very outgoing. He has no difficulty with networking. But he masks his abilities by refraining from doing some of the things that he feels will spell “failure” if he does not succeed on the first through third attempts.

Sam’s asset is his creative, innovative mind. He is capable of coming up with alternatives and successfully exploiting them. How is it, then, that he can be so good at succeeding in the uncharted areas but so desperately fear the ones that are clearly established? Perhaps that is the answer in and of itself. The first is of his own making. The other has a template that needs to be mapped. And Sam feels the map must be precise. Those with extreme discipline or were raised under exacting conditions would have this need to be acutely precise. Sam has strengths in areas where there is a template that allows for innovation. It doesn’t seem that he ventures into those areas very frequently.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where compliments don’t fall off the tips of our tongues each and every time someone does something in a superb way. Most likely Sam could use some affirmations as he moves through his various functions and achieves the small milestones that are leading him to his mountain of success. And it could also be that he doesn’t even see his successes because he’s so focused on the path. In that regard, I feel a bit like a failure, because I haven’t had that epiphany until now.

Hey, Sam!

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