Whatever phase of work life you are in, I can assure you that peak performance and focused intensity are a big deal to somebody. If you are a small business owner like many of my readers, then it’s likely that person is you! You may be currently be employed and working on your small business on the side–if so, you are in a unique position! You understand what it’s like to be the stakeholder, while at your day job, you are not one.
The Importance of Giving Your Best
When you have been hired to do a job, either by an employer or by a client of your small business, you owe it to that person or persons who hired you and entrusted you with that job. There’s a marketplace full of people ready to work, and your employer/client likes you so much that they wanted you to hang around for 8 hours each day–and they’re going to pay you to do it!
Pretty cool, right? I should mention that this has much to do with thankfulness and contentment. As an evangelical Christian, I thank my Lord and Savior every day for the opportunities He has given me. Do things always go exactly how I want them to? Of course not! But I am certainly thankful for the opportunities I have had.
Whether you believe in God or you don’t, the best way to remain focused is to set your mind on something higher than yourself. There has to be a cause outside of yourself, because at times, self will be your absolute worst enemy.
Let me give you the three steps I use as a person who is both employed and self-employed to remain focused and intense at work. I call them the ABC’s of focused intensity.
1). Act Like You Own the Place
Now–don’t misunderstand this. If you DON’T own the place, don’t literally try to act as if you do! What I am referring to is your attitude around how you “steward”, or manage, your employers time and resources. By the way, YOU are a resource for your employer!
Hiring managers like to see individuals with drive and a strong sense of accountability/ownership. If, when you are interviewed, you come across as a person who will take initiative to get things done and show responsibility for the outcome, you probably have a better chance of making the cut than the person who is more talented than you at the “job”, but lacks these skills.
Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership book/division hones in on this. You MUST be willing to show up and give it your A-game as if your name was on the building; even if it isn’t.
The other element to this is that maybe you are the owner! In that case, you MUST begin to act like it! So many business owners come of situations in which they were once the employee, and now run their business as if they are inferior to the clients who have hired them. It should not be this way!
You are a business owner just like the person who has hired you–ACT like it! Stand your ground when needed. Provide advice for a better way to do things if you see areas of improvement. They could hire anyone they wanted to “do the job” or “make the widget”, but they hired you and your business! Go above and beyond, and show them that not only did they make the right choice, but they would be foolish not to make you the choice again the next time they needed work done.[bctt tweet=”You have a voice in this marketplace. Stand up, and don’t be afraid to shout it from the rooftops! ” username=”northmacsvc”]
2). Become the Best at What You Do
This one, if taken at face value, is a lot easier said than done. You need to find out (or you may already know) what your unique value proposition is. Once you know that, you can become the best at what YOU do. Dr. Suess once said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” The amount of truth there is absolutely staggering. Let me give you a personal illustration:
At my day job, I work in the IT department for a law firm. It is truly the hand of God that I even have this job, but nevertheless, I do. I do not have formal IT training. I know what I know as a result of life experiences, interest in technology, and the learning I have experienced there at my time in that position. My boss is an IT veteran–I mean, he really knows his stuff! I don’t see a way that I can possibly become better than him at what we do, since we largely do the same job.
But consider this: I have unique value. See, there has been a great need at our firm for someone with website experience and content marketing experience. It is still IT related, but it is not the same job. You could say that in our firm, I am the best at what I do. My boss and I do things much differently, and he and I are involved in projects outside of the ones we do together. I am not trying to be just like him–rather, I am trying to be the best ME I can be.
They did not hire me to become another one of him; I was hired to do the best job that I could do in the position that was available. I’d like to think that I have stayed true to that and have worked towards that every day. However, there are times I have failed. You will too! We’ll look at that next.
3). Check Up on your Past Failures
You will never improve if you do not recognize the need for improvement. The danger in “A” and “B” above is a developing a proud spirit. The key to this is humility. So then, we use step “C” to apply humility to steps “A” and “B”. The Bible says it this way, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
If you beat yourself up because of the many times you let yourself and others down, you will never improve. You have to move past it. You have to pick back up again and make a solid commitment that you are going to do better next time. You don’t have to be perfect–perfection is unachievable anyway. But, you can be better, and you can always do better. Check up on yourself from time to time. Ask others to help keep your accountable.
Putting the ABC’s of Focused Intensity into Action
Now that you know what to do, you need to determine how best to put your plan into motion. This is a flexible thing, so you need to do what works for you. You could perform this checkup daily. You could perform it weekly, monthly, annually, or any combination of these!
Here is the key: Don’t space things out so far that it makes letter “C” difficult.
You should be able to clearly identify the areas in which you have “failed” and need to do better. For this reason, it may be best for you to stick to a daily schedule. Take 5 minutes at the end of every day, and just ask yourself two simple questions:
- Today, did I ACT like I own the place?
- Today, did I take the steps necessary to becoming the BEST I can be at what I do?
If the answer to either one is no, then develop a strategy to do a better job at that tomorrow. Start small. Come up with two (just TWO!!) small actions steps that will help you to answer those questions with a “yes” tomorrow. All you need is a couple quick wins, and you will be on your way!
Let me know in the comments below if you use a similar process and what that looks like. Also, feel free to let me know if this has worked in your own life! Finally, comment below if you have any questions about how to put this into action. I’d be glad to help!