MARKETING. COMMUNICATIONS. BUSINESS SOLUTIONS.
By April 2020, many Americans were facing radical changes in their way of life. Whether working from home, on furlough, or providing services in extremely modified capacities–we changed how we do business and how we spend our free time. We baked bread, started novels, dusted off the mechanic’s tools. Some learned new languages. Others, how to play an instrument. And many lived in a stasis of home-Zooming, dog walking, and Amazon Prime.
We learned things, too. Take some quiet time—possibly those precious moments when the kids are off to school, the coffee’s brewed, and Slack has yet to ping you. Put away your phone. Get out paper and pen or pencil to go through the mental process of physically writing your thoughts down. Think back to who you were in February, or March, or April 2020. What have you learned?
First, write down everything that comes to your mind. Initial thoughts might include:
Then, you might have to pull out a calendar to refresh your memory. For instance, what did you do in August? October? Were there projects you were proud of? A period of time when you gritted your teeth over a co-worker’s communication style? A client you loved working with? Write those down.
Now, the real work begins. In a different colored pen or pencil, jot down ideas based on what you’ve learned. How do you build on what you’ve learned to make yourself better at what you’re doing?
Finally, review your past year list and think about what steps you can take towards self-improvement. If you’ve determined you enjoy a hobby such as gardening or baking, look into books, YouTube videos, Facebook groups and local classes (when they are available).
Marcella, 58, is feeling better than she did at 28, due to discovering that she enjoys stretching. “As I got older I found I was less and less mobile due to aches and pains, and was gaining weight. That led to depression and more weight gain. And I was moving even less. One day I started a regime of stretching and muscle building. I do it daily for 20 minutes. It’s been a few years and I feel better than I did when I was young, and I lost all the weight!”
Maybe you’ve decided to change how you work–working from home, or exactly the opposite. You might have found that you enjoy working with certain tools and would like to explore using them more. Would your company support your becoming your team expert with that tool? Or, you might find that you detest tasks of a certain type.
“I had a job that I really liked,” shares Betty, one of our past interns, “it was creative and I was given a lot of latitude to make the job what I wanted. But there was one duty that I hated, and it ruined the job for me: I had to clean the bathrooms twice a day. I hate cleaning, and some days it was just disgusting. I never spoke up about it and found a new job instead. But I wish I’d told my boss how I felt, because maybe they could have made some changes. I miss that job!”
If you grit your teeth every time you have to do a certain tasks, such as bookkeeping or writing press releases, hire a specialist to take on that burden. Because they are specialists, they will be able to complete the dreaded task faster than you can. And, because it’s something they enjoy they will likely had a better result than you would! Here at Dogwood Solutions we specialize in helping small to medium businesses with public relations, marketing and communications–which we love!
Spend a few minutes each week thinking about what you did towards self-improvement. Then, consider what you can do in the next week. Can you encourage co-workers or friends to join you? This next week we’re going to be spring cleaning our home offices to mark a year-plus of working from home. A few of us are testing classes from Coursera, Udacity and Udemy. Others are growing seeds, having a competition of sorts to see whose survives the longest .
Whatever you decide to do, have it rooted in self-discovery. And, remember it’s okay to admit that you don’t enjoy something. You don’t have to make big changes all at once. It’s the consistency, and the will to improve, that is the key to eventual self-improvement!
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