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Work & Leadership

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.

~ Rocky in Rocky Balboa
  1. Try to be the last to speak in a meeting. Listen actively, communicate calmly, be empathetic, and do not talk just to hear your voice.
  2. Take advantage of every minute of your day.
  3. Love your work. But if you are not making enough money and you are working full-time, get a different job or find something to do on the side to make extra money. Figure out why you do not have enough money in the first place and how to get someone to pay you to do something you love.
  4. If it is half as hard for you to do a job that everyone else has a hard time with, that may be a clue as to what kind of work you were built for and probably should be doing.
  5. Self-discipline is more important than motivation, and discipline is a cornerstone of effective leadership. By being disciplined in your own habits and routines, you set an example for your team and those around you to follow. This means getting up early, working hard, and staying focused on your goals.
  6. With your work, one way to enhance your skills is to break down complex processes into smaller, more manageable steps and then fine-tune each step to make the overall process more efficient and fulfilling.
  7. Do not make excuses or blame anyone or anything for your problems.
  8. Do what needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not. You are not exempt from hard work. If you have a job to do, always do your absolute best — even if the job sucks, is boring, or seems stupid.
  9. There is more than one way to do something.
  10. Always communicate the priority and level of effort expected for a specific job or task.
  11. Seek feedback from your team on how you’re doing and ask for suggestions on improving by creating a way for them to provide anonymous input. Cultivate trust so colleagues can bring up any problems and concerns they have and be able to disagree with you.
  12. Be leery of those “get rich quick” work-from-home schemes. There might be some good ideas out there, but do your research and only pursue the work that you love and that aligns with your true purpose.
  13. The best plans are the simple ones. Know what you want to achieve and break it down into smaller, manageable steps. Having clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated on your journey.
  14. Ensure that everyone you work with feels fully valued and accepted for who they are.
  15. Following your passion might not pay the bills, but you are smart. Find a way to support you and your family while you figure out how to work your passion into your life.
  16. Find better and more efficient ways to complete a task. If you are working with a process that requires many steps, evaluate each minute part of each step to see how you can improve upon it.
  17. When you are emotional, you do not make good decisions. Take a step back, detach, observe, and listen. Make the decision based on logic and the best course of action.
  18. You don’t have to be in a leadership position to lead. Be the leader you wish you had, and work to create new leaders.
  19. Remaining passionate about what you do on a daily basis can actually get pretty tricky at times. You can get bored and distracted or start doubting yourself. When this happens, do not question your passion, but find other things related to your passion that you are curious about. This will help you to continue moving forward, strengthen your passion, and will help prevent you from burning out.
  20. Know when to ask for help.
  21. Find the work that you love, first. Worry about making money later. If you are passionately doing the work that you love, the money to sustain you and your work will come. 
  22. Never put your cell phone on the table during a meeting. Set your phone on airplane mode, put it away, and try to pay attention. Keep out your notebook (in case it is one of those lengthy and tedious meetings that you’re stuck in) and doodle.
  23. Be mindful of the cultural differences between yourself and others and their impact on day-to-day interactions. Respect and try to relate to others from diverse backgrounds.
  24. If you must give a speech, presentation, or report in front of a group of people, preparation is the key to eliminating nervousness. Practice it out loud, and if you have written notes, keep them brief and the letters big enough to read if you glance at them. If you’re nervous, pretend to look at everyone, but look about 6 inches above everyone’s head. Remember that everyone watching you wants you to succeed and do a good job, and no one will likely notice (or even care) if you make some mistakes. Stand up straight, breathe deeply, and speak from your belly, not your chest.
  25. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Do it on time and exceed all expectations.
  26. You have to work. You know this. You are not exempt from working and doing your fair share. But this is not the same as having a “job.” And you will have to put in some substantial time doing the work to make something happen that is worthwhile. The key is to be smart about this. Do not just go to work to pay the bills, to help you fulfill your purpose, to reach and maintain the standard of living you wish for, and to live a creative life. Think about ways you can provide value to others and charge a reasonable price for it. This kind of work is the toughest but also the best. You do not have to have a “job” to do the work you were made and can get paid for. But until you find this special way of working…get a job.
  27. When you take a vacation, consider not going anywhere. Take time to rest, think, and reconnect with yourself (and your family) and to disconnect from the rest of the world.
  28. No matter how much you make, how high you climb, and how successful you get, remember that no task is beneath you.
  29. Never waste valuable “downtime” when you could be actively working to improve your life and the world around you. If you are at work, do not wait for your boss to tell you what to do when there is downtime. Proactively find something to do.
  30. Even if you love your job, there will be days when the work is hard or boring or dumb or frustrating. Power through it.
  31. Profits are better than wages.
  32. We live in a world of constant change. Even though you might be working for stability and permanence in your life, do not fight or run from change but embrace and flow with it.
  33. Like you, everyone is just winging it some of the time. When you are in meetings, it is okay to secretly feel like you are the dumbest person in the room, but keep in mind that most everyone around you is just faking it. A good indicator of this is when someone talks a lot with no clear point and seems to like the sound of their own voice.
  34. If you work remotely, you must do everything you can to ensure that you communicate with your coworkers often and be very responsive to any requests, even to the point of being annoyingly responsive. When you are not in the office, it is easy to give the impression that you are not working. Be as visible and vocal as possible in meetings, email, and with text messaging to ensure there is no question of your presence at work.
  35. It is a good day at work when you have spent it pursuing and living your dream, but a bad one when following someone else’s dream.
  36. Ensure that everyone in your team has clearly defined responsibilities and performance expectations. If they don’t meet your expectations or live up to their responsibilities, work to find out what underlying circumstances might be causing them to struggle.
  37. Understand your worth. Be aware of the value you bring to the table and have confidence in your skills and experience. Don’t undervalue yourself, as this can lead to undercharging and compromising your potential earnings.
  38. Do not be a puppet of someone else’s goals. Know what goal or set of goals would justify the suffering of your life.
  39. Proactively address any behaviors that disrupt trust, inclusion, and collaboration.
  40. Avoid charging by the hour for a project, as this way of working can punish you for being efficient and good.
  41. Always do more than what you are getting paid for. Think of it as an investment in your future.
  42. Find a place where you can serve well. If you have a shitty job, continue to do your absolute best and work yourself out of that job and into something better. Never stop looking for new opportunities that you can jump to when you’re ready.
  43. Happiness comes not from what you get but from what you become.
  44. Go after the things you want and do it your way. Focus on the type of person you want to become, not what you want to achieve.
  45. Never assume that being loud is strong and that being quiet is weak.
  46. Do not be afraid to put in the effort for the things that truly matter to you. Remember that not everything that is difficult is necessarily good, but most of the things that are truly worthwhile and fulfilling often require hard work and dedication to achieve.
  47. Discover your “why” and understand the deeper purpose behind your work. This will serve as a guide and inspire you through challenges.
  48. Lead with empathy. Recognize the emotions and needs of your team members to create a supportive and collaborative environment.
  49. Always double-check your work. You are never too good or smart to QA your own work. Do not get lazy and expect others to do this for you. Fully test your work before passing it along as “complete.”
  50. Practice being fully present in each moment, enabling you to lead with clarity and focus. Don’t be at work with your mind and focus at home or on the beach.
  51. Foster a workplace where team members feel safe to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of judgment or retribution.
  52. Create an environment where team members are comfortable admitting when they don’t know something. Encourage personal and professional development for yourself and your team members.
  53. Build authentic relationships with your team based on mutual trust, respect, and open communication.
  54. Promote teamwork and cooperation, recognizing that diverse perspectives and skills lead to better outcomes.
  55. Having a debrief when a project has been completed can help you identify what went well and any problems you ran into. You can use these to better plan and prepare for future projects, and it can be with just yourself.
  56. Regularly express appreciation for your team’s efforts, acknowledging their contributions to your shared success.
  57. Be humble and recognize your limitations. Be open to learning from others, regardless of their position or experience.
  58. View mistakes as valuable opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as setbacks. Embrace the failures.
  59. Encourage a healthy work-life balance for yourself and your team to maintain well-being and prevent burnout.
  60. Give your full attention to others when they speak, and strive to understand their perspectives before responding.
  61. Provide your team with the best equipment, resources, and support they need to reach their full potential. Prioritize the needs of your team and serve them with humility, helping them grow and succeed.
  62. Always communicate your vision and goals clearly, ensuring everyone understands their role and responsibilities.
  63. Do not take credit for someone else’s ideas or work.
  64. Own your decisions and actions, and be accountable for their outcomes, both positive and negative.
  65. Meaningful progress takes time. Resist the urge to rush or force results.
  66. In a performance review, always provide constructive criticism when needed, balanced with a positive appreciation for good performance. Always be sure to provide areas for improvement, even if the person is at the top of their game.
  67. Recognize and celebrate the successes of your team, reinforcing a positive and motivating environment.
  68. Fight for what is right.
  69. You are destined for big success. You have incredible opportunities and potential, and everything that happens to you is part of the process and journey to get there. You are capable of so much more than you can imagine. Do not underestimate yourself or sell yourself short!
  70. Being “busy” is not a virtue.
  71. The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next one. So keep climbing, looking ahead, and moving forward. Remember that “two steps forward and one step back” is still a step forward.
  72. Be transparent with those you do work for. Clearly communicate your pricing structure and rationale to your clients. Help them understand the value they’ll receive from your services and be prepared to negotiate if necessary.
  73. Consider offering tiered pricing. Provide multiple pricing options to accommodate different budgets and needs. Tiered pricing can help you reach a broader client base while maintaining profitability. And continually reassess your pricing. As you gain experience and your skills evolve, your pricing should reflect your growth. Regularly review and update your pricing to ensure it aligns with your current value and market conditions.
  74. The best way to find out if your idea will work is to bring it to fruition.
  75. Learn to say no. Don’t be afraid to turn down projects that don’t align with your pricing or values. Saying no to the wrong opportunities frees up time and energy for projects that are better suited to your expertise and financial goals.
  76. Share your knowledge and experiences with others to help them grow and succeed. Giving back not only benefits others but also enriches your own life.
  77. Always keep in mind that “stress” is working hard for something you do not care about. Working hard for something you love is called “passion.”