You probably have a lot of skills that you take for granted.
Like being able to drive a car.
Or ride a bike.
Or perhaps to be able to swim.
And all these skills were hard won.
You might have rocked up to your first driving lesson oozing with confidence, or terrified you’d be seen bunny-hopping down the road.
You know it took time and practice, and sometimes more time and practice before you were deemed competent and passed the test.
Getting to the point where you can take the trainer wheels off or remove that P plate is a proud moment. It feels good and you know too that while you were the one putting in the effort, it was having a great teacher that made all the difference.
Someone to encourage and support you.
Someone who can show you a better way if it’s not going to plan, without judgement.
Someone who will forgive you when you stuff up monumentally.
(Like the time I missed the entrance to a local hospital where I had a Saturday job and drove the family car straight into one of the 4-metre-high concrete pillars supporting the entry gate. My mother who had been supervising my driving that day was shocked but didn’t say a word. The pillar looked a little less intact. The front of the car was a mess.
And it was a while before she elected to take me out driving again!)
As life-long learners, we never stop learning, or graduating to a new level of competency.
It’s something we’re driven to do.
Which is why having the opportunity to demonstrate your competency is so important in the workplace.
With all the talk about disengagement at work, it’s time to ask the better questions.
“Are you being encouraged to upskill, to step up to a new challenge?”
“Have you been given the autonomy to try things your way, without the fear of being called out for making a mistake?”
Because not being given that opportunity is demoralising.
Sure, you can do your work and do it well, but it’s boring doing the same old, same old without any novelty or challenge to spice things up a bit.
If you’ve been allowed to become jaded and apathetic at work and it seems no one values you or your efforts, going to work becomes a chore. You’re disappointed, frustrated, and waiting for the first exit to come up. You’ll take redundancy if it’s offered.
Being enabled to show what you can do is about being encouraged to,
1. Show up.
If you’re not there, you’re invisible. Showing up is more than ticking your name off on a roll call. It’s about being seen and looking out for opportunities, that are in front of you. You’re in the moment and it shows.
2. Play your part.
When you participate, cooperate, and show willing to contribute you become a lighthouse influencing others around you to do the same. Let’s face it, FOMO (fear of missing out) is something we all try to avoid.
If you’re seen to be having fun (which is fun for you too) working, with a smile on your face, you’re spreading a positive contagion of increased enjoyment for what you do. Happy is as happy does.
3. Speak up.
Lighthouses don’t just shine a light, you are a spotlight willing to call out unfair behaviour, bullying or harassment.
By showing you won’t tolerate antisocial behaviour, you’re setting the bar higher for a more positive, open, and tolerant workplace, where diversity and inclusion is more than something being wished for.
4. Shed the prima donna coat.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone else is suffering but you’re not allowed to help because it’s not your job?
Many moons ago when training as a nurse in London, I escorted a frail old lady down to the bowels of the hospital to the radiology department for an X-ray. The X-ray taken, she sat in her wheelchair shivering with cold in her thin nightie, as we waited for a porter to take her back to the ward.
But none were available.
After twenty minutes, I took her back to the ward myself.
My good deed did not go unnoticed, and I was summoned by the Union representative to tell me my action had triggered a mass walkout by all the porters!
There was a tense discussion where neither of us would back down. Luckily the strike was called off when we finally came to an agreement whereby, I promised never to steal someone else’s job i.e., help, again.
But isn’t cooperation a better option for everyone?
If you see the need and chip in to help, regardless of what your rank and file number is, everybody wins.
5. Stay curious.
When you’re keen to understand, upskill and adapt, change feels less threatening. You’re more resilient, more flexible in your approach to challenges and you can fully thrive.
Choosing to take charge of what you need to grow personally and professionally is what contributes to greater health and happiness.
My question to you is, are you ready to invite your personal guide, coach, or mentor to get you ready to take your trainer wheels off?
Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available for purchase
If thriving in life and work is something you’d like to find out more about, please contact me to set up a time for a chat.