Ten Things to Stop Doing To Yourself
As Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Bringing about positive change in our workplaces, and the way our work works, comes down to making a start. But just as learning new things often involves unlearning old things, making a start often goes hand in hand with stopping a bunch of things that have been holding us back.
Here are some ideas on what to stop, to help get you started:
- Stop ignoring folks’ needs. Including your own. As human beings we have several million years of evolution behind us that has made us, above all, Homo Empathicus. A workplace where we attend to each other’s needs – and to our own – is a constant source of joy and belonging. And an absolute prerequisite for significant positive changes in the way our work works.
- Stop believing what others expect you to believe. In the words of Steve Jobs, “Our time is limited – don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking.” Find out for yourself. Seek your own truths. Be mindful of the many implicit assumptions we all operate under ever day. “If you see Buddha on the road, kill him”.
- Stop working blindly to other people’s priorities. Only when we understand the purpose of what we’re working on can we find deep satisfaction in it.
- Stop doing all those things that impair folks’ cognitive functioning – including your own. It’s no surprise to realise that knowledge workers work with their brains. And that a thousand and one things each day get in the way of that. You don’t know what things impair cognitive functioning? Go find out.
- Stop using fear, obligation, guilt and shame in forlorn attempts to get others to do what you want them to. Ask yourself: what reason would you best like for others to do what you want?
- Stop running from problems. Face them head on. As Ohno said, problems are priceless “kaizen opportunities in disguise”. And “Having no problems is the biggest problem of all”.
- Stop doing things the way they’ve always been done. We can’t get started on changing the way our work works if we hang on to past ways of doing things. “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way’.” ~ Grace Hopper
- Stop bashing stuff out with little care for its quality or relevance. Yes, you may get paid for doing that, but at what cost to your self-esteem and self-respect?
- Stop pursuing efficiency, especially at the cost of effectiveness.
- Stop looking at things rationally. Understand just how irrational and driven by emotions and hidden biases we humans are. Work with that, not against it.