Winning at Working: The Next Essential Skill
"Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running." Those words from Olympic swimmer and author Sarah Connor capture the essence of a skill those wanting to thrive in the new world of work need.

We live in a world with constant interruptions, interesting internet rabbit holes to explore, and mobile apps to try. There's more information than we can possibly absorb, consider, and read; more activities than we can ever do in a lifetime. Thriving in today's world requires us to self-manage, or we can drown in a sea of busyness, with our time used up and our results minimal.

There is plenty to keep us busy - we know that. But, people who are winning at working know how to self-manage that busyness from the inside-out around their needs, desires, challenges, talents, and aspirations. They understand the choices they make determine the results they get.

Self-managing people display common sense, but also uncommonly practiced behaviors that enable them to be winning at working. Here are 10 examples:

  • They know what they want and work towards achieving it, using the power of incremental progress.

  • They embrace learning, personal growth, and well-being. They compete with themselves, working to improve who they are, what they can do, achieve, or contribute.

  • They're worthy of trust; they're dependable, reliable, and consistently good to their word. If they say they'll do it, they do it, or tell you ahead they can't.

  • They set boundaries for themselves, making time for what matters to them while understanding life's ebbs and flows can change their priorities.

  • They operate from the inside-out with self-managing essentials such as self-trust, enhanced awareness, self-direction, and reflective choices.

  • They invest time in fixing the problem, training the new person, figuring out new or better ways, and “stopping the bleeding” before moving forward.

  • They do what needs to be done, whether they like the task or not.

  • They're self-motivated and engaged, with what others might call “drive” or “passion.” They want to make a difference with their work and life.

  • They're contributors to the common good, not myopically self-focused, with a “big” team mentality; they help and assist others, build strong relationships, and share their knowledge and talents willingly.

  • They use, enjoy, and invest their time thoughtfully. They have a make-it-happen mindset and are highly productive.

Self-managing people who are winning at working do, while others talk of doing. They plan their day, while others let their day plan them. They motivate themselves, while others wait for someone or something to motivate them. They know the results they get are not about the time they have, but the choices they make in how they use it.

If you want to be winning at working and thrive in today's crazy, busy world, the next essential skill you need to learn is the art of self-management.

Winning at Working Tip

Step Out

Too often we default to our fears, letting them reign over life’s opportunities. It’s the fear that decides if we’re interested in going for a new position, moving to a new city, changing careers, speaking to groups or learning new skills. It’s the fear that hijacks our potential, stifles our growth and constrains us from winning at working.

Maybe you’re afraid of failure or afraid of success, so you decide it’s better to stay with what you know. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll be disappointed in your results so you cocoon yourself into comfort zone confinement. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll look foolish so you opt out of competing, or you’re concerned you’ll be found out as an imposter or disliked if you pursue your passions or step up to more responsibility.

It doesn’t matter what our fears are or why we give them control. What matters is if we let them limit us; if we trade our comfort for our relevance and if we compromise our life’s potential to eliminate that pit in our stomach. And if we do, it’s no wonder we’re not living our dreams.

You stay the same person if you keep doing the same things. Stepping out is a conscious effort to stop your thoughts from stopping you. You're the one who gives your thoughts meaning.

People who are winning at working know stepping outside their comfort zone creates personal growth and development. They push themselves to do things that are "uncomfortable."