Making a Difference One Act at a Time

Life to me is all about living it to the fullest and enjoying every moment you have.  It is about surrounding yourself with people you love. It is also about living with a passion.  In my opinion, life can feel even more complete when you set goals and reach them.  Here are 5 tips to help you create your goals and achieve them.

Tip 1: Set your own goals

When setting goals it is important to make sure that it is a goal that YOU want to achieve.  It shouldn’t be something that your family or your best friend wants you to do.  You also shouldn’t do something because you think you have to.  For example, if your goal is to visit family more often you should be doing it because it’s what you want to do.  You shouldn’t do it because you feel you have to or your parents are convincing you to.

Tip 2: Create a game plan

Sometimes the hardest part of reaching a goal is figuring out how to reach it.  This is still a key element in reaching your goals.  I find it easier to work backwards by starting at your end goal and figuring out the necessary steps to reach it.  It is also important to create back-up plans.

Tip 3: Celebrate small wins

Once you have a game plan, you can set smaller goals that lead to the ultimate goal.  You should reward yourself when you make any progress and complete one of the smaller goals.  This will keep you motivated and focused.

Tip 4: Seize opportunities

Many times opportunities present themselves when you least expect it.  So it is important to always keep an eye out  for opportunities.  Also be flexible to take an opportunity when it is present.  It may not be as you had set in your game plan, but the right opportunities could get you to the ultimate goal faster.

Tip 5: Keep moving forward

There are always obstacles in life.  The key thing to remember is to “keep moving forward”.  Don’t be discouraged by life not playing out the way you planned to.  Instead think of ways to overcome the obstacles.  Also think of what you could take away from these particular situations.  If you can spin a negative into a positive, it will keep you moving forward.

Workplace Competition

Generation Y has a reputation for having high energy and being very competitive.  They are always striving to be the top dog.  But how does this competitive nature translate into the work place?  Is it a quality you want in your employees?

Being overly competitive could create an unpleasant working environment.  People who are too competitive tend to only look out for themselves.  This could easily rub others the wrong way and possibly drive them to take extreme actions to make their reputations look better.

However I do believe that a little competition in the workplace is a necessity.  It is easy to become complacent doing the same tasks every day.  By throwing in some competition, it gives people new goals to strive for everyday and creates challenges.  These challenges engage employees more.  If they achieve their goal there is a greater sense of achievement for the day.  If they don’t reach their goal, it is still important to thank them for their hard work that day and hopefully it will give them more drive to reach their goals the next day.

I believe that competition in the workplace increases productivity because everyone performs at their best.  It allows employees to compare themselves to others and exposes strengths or weaknesses.  This could lead to employees working together if there is a strong company culture.  As a team we can find ways to work together utilizing everyone’s strengths.  Also by knowing everyone’s weaknesses, we can help each other out by giving advice and coaching.

 

The Byodo-In Temple

Today I was exploring the sites of Hawaii with some friends.  In general, the trip so far has been very relaxing and given me a chance to clear my mind.  However one of our stops today, the Byodo-In Temple, really gave me a chance to think about how I am living my life.

I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about karma.  Karma is the belief that every action results in a reaction that corresponds with the initial action.  In other words, what goes around comes around.  We believe this is a good principle to keep in mind when leading others.

It is fulfilling and more effective if you treat your employees the way you would want to be treated.  Employees should be treated kindly and with respect.  By treating your employees well, you are creating a good work environment.  They will likely feel more open to approach you, which could avoid future problems.

Also when you are motivating to your employees, you will see better results.  The best form of motivation is positive reinforcement and letting them know when they’ve done something well.  Your employees will probably reciprocate and let you know when they believe you have accomplished something great or even just thank you for your support.

This is the type of relationship I have with most of my coworkers and I believe it creates a positive working environment.  We are constantly encouraging each other and giving each other tips if we feel there is room for improvement.  I believe that the positive relationship shows in the work we do.  We work in a job that requires constant customer interaction.  I feel customers can tell that we clearly enjoy working together and it creates a fun and exciting shopping experience for them that they always return.

This doesn’t mean that you always have to be all smiles all the time, because by the principles of karma the employee will have what’s coming to them.  For example, if an employee chooses to do something that is unethical then a consequence such as a written warning or reprimand must occur.

You may not be able to control another person’s actions, but you do have the power to choose your actions and attitude.

Yesterday I gave advice to employers on how to motivate their employees.  Today the focus in on how employees can motivate themselves.  Even if employees has complete support from their employer, they will still not perform fully if they aren’t motivated themselves.  Below are 3 tips for employees to effectively stay self motivated.

Tip #1: Choose your attitude

This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned as a Pacific Ambassador.  Only you can control your emotions and it is up to you to decide how your attitude or mood for the day will be.  Even if something goes wrong, it is up to you to turn a negative into a positive and look at the brighter side.  If you wake up in the morning unhappy with life and dreading going to work, then at the end of the day you are likely to have wished the day had never happened.  If you wake up in the morning ready to take on any obstacles, by the end of the day you will most likely feel accomplished or happy with yourself.

Tip #2: Take action or ownership

Before blaming others or situations when you are unhappy with something, think about what you can do about it first.  When people are upset with something it is easy to vent and rant.  It is harder to think about the situation and consider what you can do about it.  Life would be so much easier if others could fix every problem you have, but the reality is that most of the time you have to take action yourself to make things better.  Lastly don’t be afraid to talk to your managers and voice an opinion if you feel there is nothing you can do to improve things.  Your management team can’t help you if they don’t know that something is wrong.

Tip #3: Find a passion

This is the key to being motivated.  You have to know what you enjoy and love.  If you enjoy what you are doing it is easy to push yourself to do it all the time.  For example, working 2 jobs that sometimes requires me to work 50 or more hours a week while being a full-time student can be very tiring.  When people ask me how I’m able to get up every day to go to work, I respond that I truly enjoy my job.  Even on days where I wake up feeling like I didn’t sleep at all, the second I get to work and I’m surrounded by co-workers who also enjoy their jobs makes me feel energized and excited about being there.

Employees in every workplace have responsibilities to carry out throughout the day.  They can be made more effective with the proper motivation.  If the employees lack that necessary motivation their performance may suffer.  Below are 4 tips for employers to effectively motivate their employees.

Tip #1: Setting a Good Example

I believe this the key to motivating employees.  As a manager, you set the tone of the workplace.  Attitudes are like a chain reaction.  If you are unhappy with your job, so will your employees.  If you show up everyday prepared to work with a positive attitude, it will transfer to your employees.

Tip #2: Recognition

Give credit where credit is due.  Employees will feel more motivated if they feel appreciated and valued for the work they accomplish.  It also sends a message to all the employees that as a manager, you are paying attention to what they do.  If someone knows they are being evaluated or observed, they tend to be more mindful of their work.

Tip #3: Create a Positive Culture

Recognizing your employees leads perfectly into creating a positive culture or work environment.  Employees should be satisfied with their work conditions and excited about going to work.  This can be accomplished by listening to employees and maintaining open communication.  If employees feel like their opinions matter, they will likely be more involved.  It is also important to allow and encourage employees to do their own work.  By giving employees some freedom, allows them to learn and grow with the company.

Tip #4: Proper Training

As the saying goes “You learn something new every day.”  Therefore training is an ongoing process because training is essentially a learning process.  No one is perfect and procedures can change, so it is important to make sure employees are properly trained.  This will improve their performance because employees will feel more confident that they know what they are doing and know exactly what is expected from them.

Unmotivated Employees Pt.1

Unmotivated employees are a constant problem in the workplace and many people could probably relate to being unmotivated at work.  I am guilty of it myself.  As an unmotivated, I blamed the company.  The company had poor policies and procedures.  The company culture was boring.  The managers didn’t really care that I wasn’t satisfied with me job.  Essentially it was the company’s fault that I was unmotivated.

I never considered that the problem could be with me.  As a manager, if I see an unmotivated employee the first thoughts that cross my mind are whether the employee enjoys their job or if the employee has personal problems that are affecting their performance.  Then I consider what can I do to help motivate them.  I don’t think what could be wrong with the company.

Having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I believe that both parties are to blame for unmotivated employees.  With this in mind, the real issue isn’t why employees aren’t motivated rather how can employees be motivated. It is going to require work from both management and the employee to improve things.  Cooperation and communication are important parts of motivation.

Part 2 of this blog will be giving advice to managers on how to create a more motivating environment.  Part 3 of this blog will be giving advice to employees on how to stay self motivated.

* Video blog to come soon. *

I believe that the most important thing to keep in mind when leading a group is that every individual is unique.  Everyone will have different motivational factors and work styles.  Some people are motivated by money, while others are motivated by their loved ones.  Some people need to work with everything precisely planned out, while others are all over the place and need to multi-task.  It is important to observe and embrace these unique personalities in order to be an effective manager.

Embracing uniqueness is a key leadership skill I learned when I was President of Kilusan Pilipino.  During my first year as President, the executive board was made up of 14 very different personalities.  Trying to plan and coordinate events with that many people when everyone had their own way of doing things was difficult.  As President, I had to keep from micromanaging the other board members.  Instead I took the time out of my day to meet up with them and understand why and how they were doing things.  We were a very open group, which kept us from bumping heads.  We understood that we had the same goals and ideals for the organization in mind, but that we had different ways of reaching it.  We allowed each other to operate the way we needed to.  We constantly encouraged each other by offering help if someone needed and would provide constructive feedback for one another.

The best groups in my opinion are those that consist of people who are all different and can bring their own point of view.  It allows the opportunity for new and better ideas to be developed.  By allowing individuals to be themselves, people can feel more comfortable and open which leads to better performance, which is why I would like to end this blog with the following quote….

“Never tell people how to do things.  Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – George S Patton Jr., U.S. Army General

 

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