Weekly Thought Vol. 43 - The Day-Before-Vacation Attitude

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So..here’s the question: Are you an honest person with at least average intelligence?  Chances are good you gave a smiling "yes" response. 

Next question: As an honest, intelligent person, do you get more work done on the day before you go on vacation than you normally get done in two, three, or even four days?  I'll bet you said yes. 

Next question: If you can learn "why" and then repeat that process on a regular basis, would you become more valuable to your employer and hence increase your employment security — and eventually your income? 

The answer to that one is another yes.

Question: What did you do the night before that day before vacation?  Answer: You probably took a sheet of paper and listed the things you had to get done the next day.  That is short-range goal-setting in its simplest form.  As you made the list, you recognized that it was your responsibility to complete those tasks, so you made the commitment to finish your jobs.  That showed sensitivity on your part and genuine concern for your fellow workers.  That's team spirit.  Chances are excellent that it took you no more than 10 minutes to make that list, and yet those 10 minutes made you dramatically more effective the next day.

Thought: If planning your work makes you more effective on the job, doesn't it make sense that if you plan your family and recreation time that you will have a much more balanced life?  Think about it.

To sum it up, today we've discovered that you're an honest, intelligent person who sets goals, accepts responsibility, is sensitive to others, and is committed to doing your best. 

Those are winning qualities that will give you an honest shot at a better, happier, healthier, more secure life.

Excitement Helps

I was reminded of these facts as I watched one of our Admissions Counselors prepare for a week away from the office.  I’ve watched him focus on setting goals for classes that are coming up and filling them so he can relax on vacation.  Frankly, it’s the most focused I’ve seen him for awhile.  

Now, I know that the day before he goes on vacation, he’ll probably arrive at work a little early and immediately get busy on the list prepared the night before.  He’s a self-starter and typically displays considerable enthusiasm.  That’s the personality that all employers look for.  You focus on what needs to be done.  If anyone comes along to discuss last night's TV show or ball game, you refuse to be drawn into a time-killing situation.  (You've already noticed that people with nothing to do generally want to do it with you.)

When you finish a job, you quickly move to the next thing on your list, especially if it is an unpleasant or disagreeable task.  This is a real plus because difficult or confrontational assignments can make procrastinators out of anyone.  However, on this particular day, you refuse to be side-tracked, so you decisively take the unpleasant but necessary actions. 

That's important because, as this old philosopher down home would say, "Friend, if you're going to have to swallow a frog, you don't want to look at that sucker too long.  He's not going to get any prettier!  As a matter of fact, he'll get uglier the longer you look at him."

You move from one completed task to another; you gain momentum.  The old saying that "success begets success" is true.  Your growing momentum enhances your optimism and positive thinking.  At this point, your experience on the job pays off, your confidence and creativity take over, and your competency expands.  You are running on all cylinders.  Result — you get more done, much more.

Question: Won't performance like this make you more valuable to your employer?  Note: I'm talking about working smarter — not harder.

Working Smarter — Not Harder

When you work smarter, your enthusiasm increases and your team members around you will instinctively pick up the pace.  This makes you an "impact worker" or a leader, and your value to your company goes up dramatically.  Your contribution as an individual is important, but as a role model, you become even more valuable.  You ensure your own employment as well as that of your fellow employees because increased productivity and profitability help ensure the survival probability of your company.  When one wins, we all win.

Interestingly, despite your increased productivity and intensity, you arrive at the end of your day highly energized.  You feel good about yourself, and you take that feeling, energy, and enthusiasm home with you.  Conversely, on those days when there really isn't that much to do, you arrive home absolutely exhausted.  I'm certain you've had this experience.  Lord knows, I have.

Now, let me digress just for a moment and ask you a question.  Do you really think your employer would fire you or anyone else who performed on a daily basis as we're talking about performing on the day before you leave for vacation? 

Please understand that I'm not talking about being a slave to the clock.  The more you plan your time, the less likely you are to fall victim to time-wasting people or situations.  This approach will enable you to run your day by the clock and your life by the compass.

Personal Performance Is the Key

Suppose that you did maintain that "day-before-vacation" attitude approach to life but your company was bought out and your job was eliminated. 

Now what do you do?  Let's look at an analogy that will help you to see the benefits of this approach.  

Let's say that the impossible happens.  The Dallas Cowboys go bankrupt.  The reason I say it's impossible is because the league would not let it happen.  They would find another buyer, but for this analogy, let's say they go bankrupt.  Owner Jerry Jones calls the team together and emotionally gives them the bad news that they've run out of money and can't meet the payroll. He gives each player a two-week severance package and bids them all goodbye.

If you know anything at all about football, let me ask you a question: Do you believe that Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, and a few of the others just might be able to get a job somewhere else? 

Chances are about 4 million-to-one you answered yes.  Next question: Will they get that job because they played for the Dallas Cowboys or because they performed for the Dallas Cowboys?  

Now, let's make it personal.  If your company goes under or your job is eliminated, would you get another job because you worked at XYZ Company or because you performed for XYZ Company? 

Since the answer is obvious, doesn't that really mean that you have a tremendous amount of control and influence on guaranteeing employment security by performing every day as you do on the day before vacation?

Zig Ziglar, in my mind, is the epitome of this “work smart, not hard” attitude.  Even after his ill-fated accident when he fell from the stage during one of his highly animated presentations a couple years ago, he remains active at his craft.  He still works as hard as he ever did, but he works much SMARTER now too.   The result is that we still benefit from his amazing insights and Zig still is a shining example of his firm belief that you will get the most out of your life when you help other people get the most out of their lives.

When you think about it, you will buy that idea and perform accordingly, which means I really will SEE YOU AT THE TOP!