Future of Work Monthly Issue 3: Stop looking for the silver bullet

March-June, 2016

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Hello again, friend.

To be successful at something you need to be awesome at it first. If you’re not awesome at what you do, someday you will be found out, probably humiliated and likely hit a ceiling that will put a halt on your career.

Here’s some good news, though. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, it’s not too late. You can still become awesome and if you’ve already hit that ceiling I mentioned you’re in luck again because it’s breakable.

Here’s where to start:

  • Stop looking for the silver bullet: the journey to success starts at the bottom of a staircase, not an escalator. It’s not called climbing the corporate ladder for nothing. There is no magic potion for success. Insert as many (misquoted) clichés here as you like, bottom line is you need to start working harder!
  • Know what you want: it’s cool to be all like ‘I let my moral compass be my guide in a career that makes a difference’ but you still need goals. There is no career without them. Stop being a floater. Write down your goals and get at them!
  • Know your business, organisation and your job inside out: research your ass off until you’re an expert and you know all you can about your industry/sector!
  • Seek out and grab with two hands every learning opportunity you can: create your own personal and professional development plan. Show your boss if she’s interested and supportive. Make it happen even if your employer doesn’t support you!
  • Become T-shaped: if you’re a generalist, become an expert at something; if you’re an expert at something, start learning about everything else!
  • Surround yourself with people who are successful: success breeds success!
  • Don’t make your career your only measure of success: your personal life, health, fitness, hobbies and intellectual pursuits are important and achieving outside of work will make you better at work. Don’t just aim for a successful career, aim for a successful and happy life!

When you’re old and looking back on your life, what do you want to see? A loser who looked for the cheap, easy way to the top and didn’t reach their potential; or a winner who worked their ass off to achieve what they were destined to?

Keep reading for some of the best reads from around the web.

Enjoy and be awesome!

Ryan


Leadership

What Michael Jordan can teach you about consistency, hard work, recognition and success

“Jordan got calls from the referees because he earned them. Not in that moment. But in the previous decade-plus of blood, sweat and tears in the gym and on the basketball court. Jordan was respected so much for his work ethic and his achievements that when a referee’s call was a 50/50 and could go either way, he got those calls. Every time.” – ryanjrwiggins.com

Five Questions You Should Ask Before Accepting a Management Position

“To most people, moving into a management role seems like a natural rite of passage when climbing the career ladder. But for all its impressive-sounding perks, joining those ranks may not necessarily upgrade your job satisfaction: According to a 2015 Gallup poll, only 35% of U.S. managers actually feel engaged in their jobs.” – fastcompany.com

Fewer Bosses, More Coaches Please

“By definition, a boss directs his employee, whereas coaches develops their players. But isn’t the point of management — or, better stated, shouldn’t the point of management be — to teach and encourage others how to reach their maximum potential?” – Medium.com


Productivity

Run a To-Do List Like a Boss

Adjusting the culture of the modern workplace is a massive task — and it’s become the mission of the smart people at workplace consultancies, as well as sociologists and guys like Jason. But unfortunately it’s not an issue that is going to be resolved overnight. Running a killer to-do list does not involve a special app, it involves a disciplined syntax and a daily regime. It’s an approach so simple that one thinks less about what to do and more time doing the things that matter. – medium.com/futureofworkmonthly

Beyond time management: why we really procrastinate and how to finally stop

“The truth is, procrastination is more about our emotions than our tendencies for laziness or just being “bad at deadlines”.  At its core, we procrastinate to keep ourselves happy in the moment —which makes complete sense, right? That is, until we’re pulling an all-nighter to meet that client deadline we had weeks to prepare for.” – todoist.com

Why you should always be planning your next holiday

“After years of helping athletes perform consistently at a high level under competitive pressure, Jim and Tony were invited by a number of organisations (including hospital emergency wards and the FBI) to help improve staff performance and engagement. It was while working with these organisations that they discovered, and I quote:

“The performance demands that most people face in their everyday work environments dwarf those of any professional athlete…” – ryanjrwiggins.com

How and When to Exercise to Boost Productivity

“You already know that exercise is healthy and important. Sticking with a regular workout can leave you looking and feeling better. And you’ve probably also heard about its mental and cognitive benefits, too. But it’s less well known that the timing and type of exercise it takes to boost productivity is often quite different than the gym routines we adopt for their physical gains.” –  fastcompany.com


Work Smart

How to Say No to More Work

“It’s really easy in the moment to kind of panic with something that looks like extra work, and imagine all the reasons that you can’t possibly. But I really advise you to take a minute to think about it, if you can actually say, can I just look at my schedule and get back to you, or can I think about it and talk to you this afternoon? Or could we discuss what that might involve?” – HBR.com


Personal Development

The Most Inspiring Way to be Happier

“Our findings suggest that happiness is mainly about getting what one wants and needs, including from other people or even just by using money… Happiness went with being a taker more than a giver, while meaningfulness was associated with being a giver more than a taker.” – Time.com

How to make a dent and have a successful career in the new era of work

“The days of ‘cog-in-the-machine’ employment is coming to an end. As the information economy grows and develops, people who can do more than shift a lever or press a button on a production line are more important than ever.” – ryanjrwiggins.com

How Minimalism Brought me Freedom and Joy

“I have one bag of clothes, one backpack with a computer, iPad, and phone. I have zero other possessions. Today I have no address. At this exact moment I am sitting in a restaurant and there’s no place for me to go to lie down. By tonight I will find a place to lie down. Will that be my address? Probably not. Am I minimalist?” – medium.com


Recommendation

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, and the one I can’t get enough of is Freakonomics Radio. From the folks who brought you one of my all-time-favourite books, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, the podcast follows the same theme, demystifying the life through the application of logic and economic theory.

Each episode is easy to digest, so it’s an easy listen on your commute to work or while doing the house work, and touches key themes that can help you be happier, more successful and live a better life.

Click here to check out Freakonomics Radio.


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