My 6 year old boy loves chipmunks.
And every other critter that creeps, hops, or crawls.
He’s always wanted one for a pet. Well, this week his wish came true after he successfully caught one in a window well.
What I didn’t anticipate was him telling me shortly after that he and his brother would be out in the garage making the chipmunk a leash.
The first thing I said was “don’t strangle him”. I was quickly reassured the leash would go behind the shoulders.
I’m no animal expert but I’m guessing chipmunks weren’t created to flourish while confined to a leash.
What’s the leash around your neck that’s inhibiting your ability to succeed in the workplace?
Here are 5 common answers combined with 5 potential resolutions:
1. My boss. It’s easy to blame the boss. Criticizing a decision comes naturally when it’s not yours to make (I know. I’ve done it). The truth is, a high majority of people struggle managing themselves let alone a team of people working towards a common goal.
Resolution: Ask your boss: What can I do better? You might be scared of the answer while your boss will be relieved you care.
2. My teammates. “Well, if Jimmy wouldn’t have dropped the ball that project would have been completed on time”!
Maybe Jimmy didn’t have a clue what you were talking about when you asked him to complete the task the customer demanded. Jimmy doesn’t need a whipping, he needs a partner.
Resolution: Always ask your individual teammates if they’re comfortable with the task at hand before committing anything to the customer.
3. Our processes. My first job was at McDonalds. I ate so many french fries and quarter pounders between the ages of 16-19 I’m surprised my heart is still beating. Plus I had a soft spot for McRib between meals. As a company run by teenagers, McDonald’s success can be wrapped up in the simplicity of their processes and clear definition of employee roles.
Resolution: Do you know where your role starts and stops in the process you’re involved in? If not, take the bull by the horns and document it in writing yourself. Ask for clarification from your boss and teammates and start winning.
4. Inexperience. Sometimes you just haven’t done something long enough to feel confident you can succeed. I remember the first year trying to sell technical software over the phone. I had already convinced myself before dialing that I was sure to sound like a bumbling fool to the programmer on the end of the phone. Over time I realized I don’t need to know the answer to every question. I just need to know who does and facilitate a timely introduction.
Resolution: Pro-actively try to learn at least one new thing everyday. Then tell somebody. The simple act of verbalizing a new random piece of knowledge does wonders. You’ll soon be a perceived “expert” in fields you never dreamed of!
5. Fear. Can somebody please drop a bomb on fear? Fear is the cause of 99% of all dreams un-materialized. At least according to the latest round of scientific research I conducted with myself.
Resolution: Maybe it’s time to jump In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy day and loosen the leash around your neck.
After all, leashes are for chipmunks and 6 year old boys.