It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater to accept it graciously.
~Logan Pearsall Smith
Some of us have been in business a long time. This is especially true for Baby Boomers and GenX folks. Along the way, many of us were fortunate to receive some sage advice from managers, colleagues, coaches, mentors, teachers, customers and, yes, even family members. Here are some of the words of wisdom I received through the years that made the greatest impact on me in my personal and professional life.
Nuggets of Advice
1. Business success depends on the relationships you create and sustain over time. Individuals who engage with and are interested in people make others feel important and valued. When you demonstrate empathy, use active listening skills, share a warm smile and practice patience, sincerity and tolerance, people develop a positive image of you as a friendly individual, one worthy of trust and respect. Not only is this personally satisfying, it is also professionally rewarding.
2. Don’t procrastinate. Whether it’s a work assignment or a personal “to-do” item, take a proactive approach. First of all, determine:
- What you need to do
- The steps you need to take
- What information you need, and
- Who else can help or contribute.
Then, create a schedule to complete the task. As a result, by taking these actions, you are more likely to complete the project on time. Procrastinating only creates more stress for you and everyone around you.
3. Make to-do lists so that nothing falls between the cracks. Legal pads were once the tool of choice to keep track of projects, meetings, chores and other responsibilities. Now, there are many digital tools available to make personal and professional activities easier to manage. When you have an efficient system for managing time and priorities, you’ll find that you can accomplish a lot more. It’s been said that if you have something you need to delegate, give it to a busy person.
4. Set goals. This is important in business and in our personal lives. Create small, medium and large goals. Additionally, make some of your goals short-term and others long-term. Most importantly, put your goals in writing. Then you can monitor your progress, hold yourself accountable and stay on target to achieve what you set out to do.
5. Be a life-long learner. Whether education is formal or informal doesn’t matter. On the other hand, what is important is that you learn something new every day. Because the world is changing so fast it’s necessary to stay ahead of the curve. Therefore, stay intellectually and emotionally stimulated throughout your life by:
- Pursuing a higher education degree or certification
- Taking a course
- Developing a new skill
- Attending a webinar
- Reading or listening to audio books
- Studying with others
- Simply being inquisitive.
What Are Your Words of Advice?
Veteran business people know that at some point, even the best-laid plans can get sidetracked. Fortunately, the advice above and other guiding principles can help us all get back on track, improve decision-making and enhance our productivity and satisfaction in our professional and personal lives.