You Need A Big Kick In The Pants
Every now & then.
You know we love you, right? Good, because we’re keeping you on your career toes this week with a reminder. Remember, we created The Jolt to give you the tools to survive & thrive in your career.
So welcome to your first Jolt Career Ice Bath. We don’t pull any punches and you might not like how it makes you feel, but if you let us give you a loving boot up the backside to get your career brain thinking about where you are, we promise it’ll be worth it.
At some point, you will die, and so will your colleagues, your team, and your boss. Maybe not in that order, and hopefully not anytime soon, but the sobering reality of our own demise is one of the most powerful ways to make sure we’re getting what we want out of our working life. Don’t waste it.
Status, titles & wealth can make you happy - but also sad. There will always be more glory to achieve & more stripes to pin on our lapels. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are. Achieving more external validation is a path that’s as seductive as it is unquenchable. Chose wisely. Corporate life doesn’t need to be a dance with the devil, and the grass is not always greener elsewhere. The mistake is not exploring what drives you, so that what you do, wherever you are, has meaning because it’s in line with your purpose.
I’ll start tomorrow. Everybody wants to start their goals tomorrow. Like starting a diet on Monday after a blow-out weekend. The hardest thing you can do is start your goals today - before the weekend even happens. If you can decide, right now, to start that thing you’ve been meaning to do for ages, then you just took the first step towards completion.
The company you joined will likely be very different in 36 months from now. It may have the same name, but change will come. Life changes. And just like life, companies shed their skin to survive - people, processes, products, strategy. Or the whole damn thing. Do the same. Keep looking ahead, ask questions, be ready to change before it’s thrust upon you; a wiser you will thank you. Don’t be the sandcastle on the shoreline thinking the tide will never come back in.
Perfection is a disease of your mind. If you have an unrelenting inner critic who drives you to be perfect in every area of your work & career, you will end up unhappy. Worse still, you will end up dead. This kind of existential stress kills, slowly & purposely. Over-thinking through the lens of perfection is self-sabotage in perpetual slow motion. It can drive a deep rift in your physical and mental psyche. Humans were not designed to operate 24/7 to get everything right, all the time, on time. Ask anyone who’s been on the wrong side of it. We know a few.
You’re not irreplaceable. Valued by your company? We sincerely hope so. Talented? Of course you are. Unique? 100%. Irreplaceable? Not in the eyes of the business. The day you think you’re better & more entitled to success than others, is the day your work compass starts to go wonky.
Everyone else is having a hard time too. You may feel alone in your challenges, but you’re never alone. 99% of our work issues are universally experienced by everyone else, all of the time, and often more than we imagine. Share, support, confide & help others in need. It’s how you ultimately help yourself.
Give more than you take. We’re taught to take in business because the more we take, the bigger the castle we can build. At work, this is exaggerated by status, title & wealth. It’s not sustainable. So where you can, give. Give lots. Time, energy, love, empathy, counsel, bonuses, you name it. It’ll pay off in the long run, and the long run is the only thing that counts.
Event + Response = Outcome. This is a Jolt mantra. What happens to you in life (Event), plus how you handle it (Response), creates the end result (Outcome). Road rage is a great example - get cut up in traffic & pissed off? The outcome is 10 minutes of ruminating about your anger or a punch-up in the street. Neither helps you. Get cut up in traffic & accept it as a fact of driving? That outcome keeps you in control, and alive. Work is like driving.
Everything communicates. We wished we’d learned this years ago. Work, in essence, is about managing a constant state of communication. Ask yourself, “Do I need to say this?”, “Do I need to say this to this person?” and “Do I need to say this to this person right now?”. It takes thought, but a moment’s pause to question your motivation can be worth its weight in career gold.
Doing. Be a great ideas person. Be a constant dreamer. Never lose sight of the child in you - ever. But the only way you’ll match the ambition of your dreams is by doing. The key to doing is to start before you’re ready, and trust that you’ll figure it out along the way. You will. Pick up the phone. Take the meeting. Today.
Relationships. We’ve seen careers end & teams torn apart by riffs that were never repaired. They fester like bad clip-art on a PowerPoint slide. Relationships are your greatest asset for a full & happy career, bar anything else on planet earth. Nurture them with the same kind of respect, love & attention you give to yourself.
Invest in you. Of course, read & forward The Jolt. But we’re the small mitochondria in a much bigger organism - you. There’s a reason they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first if the cabin pressure drops on a flight. If you don’t, you can’t help others. Never stop investing in yourself.
Now, out of the ice bath, Jolters. It’s time to go back to the human zoo.
With all our love & gratitude,