Coaching Minute
Issue #27: Ask Not...

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Ask Not...

 

One of the keys to fulfilment is the desire to make Servicing others a priority. In Daniel Goleman’s research on Emotional Intelligence, Service-orientation was found to be a trait that distinguishes star performers apart from the rest.

 

The converse to this is the attitude of entitlement. This is often at the root of comments like “they don’t’ pay me enough to do this” and “if my company wants me to do more, they should first pay me more”. Not surprisingly, this is the last attitude their managers feel like rewarding.

 

While some may be guilty of this, this attitude is often unknowingly perpetuated by parents, managers and governments who have a tendency of protecting or spoon-feeding their children, staff and constituents rather than coaching and empowering them as a priority. I too, have been guilty of this. How often have we said “no” only to capitulate to pressure? The message we end up giving is that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no”. Whilst we think we are doing this for the benefit of our charges, we fail to realise that we’re doing this for ourselves, to gain acceptance, or simply find it more convenient to do it this way, without realising the harm we create.

 

A sorry example is illustrated in this recent article in The Australian titled “UNIONS that championed the carbon tax are now seeking wage rises to compensate workers for higher living costsclick here. The comments made by many of the readers sadly show how prevalent this culture of “entitlement” is. Note: the point I’m making is not whether I am for or against the carbon tax – what I am suggesting is that the behaviour of the unions is symptomatic of the underlying cancer called “entitlement”. Such behaviour only serve to weaken a community, not hold them accountable to the higher standards they’re capable of.

 

Conversely, when was the last time we consciously observed and acknowledged the positive behaviours, of proactivity, going the extra mile, acts of kindness, etc.?

 

This realisation has helped Sue and I adopt the following philosophy with our children – “that they can have everything they want in life as long as its good for them, and they are willing to earn it”. Similarly, we’re conscious of providing feedback even more effectively for our children, both positive and negative. Whilst I’m cognisant we’re very much work-in-progress with this, we do our best to ensure our feedback leave them feeling empowered.

 

The attitude of wanting more without first creating more is totally misaligned with how the Universe works. A wise man once said to me that life is like a farm. Imagine a farmer expecting to reap more than he’s sown just because his personal needs have grown or the cost of living has gone up! To harvest more, a farmer must be even more diligent in preparing the soil, planting the seeds, watering and nurturing the crop. At times, even with the best effort, the crop might get wiped out. He’ll even experience lean years. Inclement weather, locusts, crows… But learn from every experience, keep persisting and eventually, he too shall be rewarded with a good crop.

 

For sustainable success, increased returns needs to be preceded by elevated levels or quality of productivity. At the breakneck pace of progress we’re experiencing today, this means we have to deliver more with less to just get the same as before. Today’s good is yesterday’s mediocre. The key is to always be proactive about growing more – our skills, our emotional intelligence, our creativity – in order to create even more.

 

To experience even more fulfilment in whatever you’re doing, simply remember how you felt when you were first told you were successful in getting the job. Stay grateful for the opportunity and express that appreciation through your efforts. Secondly, remember the commitments you made at the interview? How you were a keen learner and wanted to contribute and make a difference? Fulfil that promise. If you’ve done that for a sustained period of time and feel the environment is just not empowering you to be the best you can, then perhaps it’s time for a change. Life really is too short to not enjoy your job.

 

A good friend shared this quote with me today which I thought is relevant – “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

 

Have the most outstanding day you deserve!  

Dominic Siow

 

 

 

 

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