Uncommon success a matter of attention to detail

Q. I have a lot of good intentions at work, but most of my ideas sound great at night and are forgotten by 9 a.m. I read about people who do great things and wonder how they heck they deal with the little stuff. How can I get ahead on the big goals when I'm drowning in all the little stuff that goes wrong at work every day?

A. You can get ahead on their big goals when you begin to realize that every small thing that goes wrong is an opportunity to see the fundamental errors in judgment you make in everything you do.

For instance, your computer breaks, you yell at your assistant, your assistant gets even by fixing the computer very slowly, she tells your manager's assistant you are a jerk, and you get bypassed for that big promotion because the manager's assistant says bad things about you and your report was turned in late (slow computer).

Every day, in every moment, we react out of a habitual set of assumptions of ourselves and the world. Every tiny problem gives us a window into whether we are dealing well with reality or getting run over because of how we handle problems.

When it comes to hyperventilating each time you hit a tough spot at work, you should consider taking the timeworn advice not to sweat the little stuff.

However, when it comes to growing up, making money and becoming powerful -- maybe you should sweat the little stuff. If you fail to notice all the detail in how you react to small problems, you'll never change enough to achieve the bigger goals you yearn to achieve.

Learning and yearning basically go together like a horse and carriage. If you can't learn, all the goodies you yearn for will remain permanently out of reach. Not because you are unlucky but because you weren't willing to pay earnest attention to how you handle the small problems at work.

We've all also heard the cliché that the devil is in the details. The wisdom in this is the powerful truth that the part of us that sabotages ourselves like an inner devil really does show up in every detail in our life.

What devil do you carry around when you go to work tomorrow? Do you fear you are stupid? Do you think no one ever supports you? Does your need to be liked make it impossible to be respected? You don't have to exorcise all your devils, but you do need to see them and prevent them from influencing everything you do.

Next time you are beset with the smallest of workplace challenges, pay attention! Your ability to change that small stuff can be your new guardian angel for achieving your fondest workplace dreams.

The last word(s)

Q. I'd like to start a side business that is a hobby I love. Several friends and a few family members think there is no way I can succeed. I'm not planning to give up my day job and there is no financial outlay. Should I not take the risk of failing at this venture?

A. No, even if you fail you will die happier knowing what you tried at what mattered to you!

(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)


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