To most people on planet earth, having a job is what marks the beginning of adulthood. Job satisfaction and fulfillment is not at the highest with millennials today. That could be because they are not easily pleased with either their earnings, or how much work they put in to earn that much (or that little) in comparison to how much debt they incurred to earn the credentials to qualify them for the job.
Thus, thousands of people have a job and stay at it so long that it begins to define them. That’s not necessarily a good place to be in. It is important to be passionate about one title or one position, but it is more important to be enthusiastic about one’s work. Your work is your life’s calling. Your work is that one thing you can do with an overarching purpose and meaning for your life. Your job is your training for your work. Sometime your job intersect with your work, and other times your work is your job.
Regardless of whether you are engaged in your work or have a job, give it 110%, but never let it define you. You are more than your job. You could have a dozen or more jobs in your lifetime, and your life’s work does not depend on your defining yourself based on your jobs.
Words can be used to hurt or to heal, the choice is usually ours to make. I watched someone deliver a speech today and he had a great story. When he was only 6 years old, his mother told him in very clear words that he would never amount to anything. That was the recurring theme within the conversation between his parents and him until he permanently left the house when he turned 15.
When he joined the army, he was lucky to encounter one of his superior who saw something greater in him and spoke healing words. Those healing words, words of encouragements, created a new vision in his mind. He went on to heal from that abusive childhood and grew stronger and more confident in himself. I can’t imagine the damage such words would do to a child, or an adult for that matter.
Each and every one of us on the planet has experience hard times in one form or another. In every interaction we have with others and with ourselves, let’s remember to always speak words that heal, and never words that hurt.
In the case for effective communication, it is important to recognize and appreciate that every single individual you will ever interact with has a backstory. A backstory is background information about a real person or thing that promotes fuller understanding of it. In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, author Steven Covey lists the following as one of the habits: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. If we all have that approach when we communicate with others, it will make for clearer communication and better outcomes.
I once remember having a conversation with two colleagues in the office and because I did not know the backstory of the other people in the room, I was very much tempted to be defensive and judgemental of their opinions and their ways or reasoning. I am glad I did not, because when they eventually got to share their backstories during that meeting, I became empathetic and more accepting.
Getting to know their backstories helped me show more compassion and be more loving. Next time you interact with someone and you are tempted to “lose it”, remember they have a backstory and their position might be an evolution over years, or a combination of several factors. Knowing someone’s backstory is the first step to understanding them better, and thus to be understood.
What is your backstory, and how will that help someone understand you better?
Have you ever been pestered by someone who wanted something from you? One of my students wanted to earn extra credits points to further guarantee a good passing for one of my courses, and she would not take no for an answer. I was admirative of her persistence and perhaps if she had not stopped knocking, I would have opened and granted her request.
There are too many times when I thought I was being as persistent and tenacious as possible. In foresight, if I had held on longer, it would have been opened. Whatever door you are knocking on, knock until it is open. If that door does not open, find a bigger door and keep knocking. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you!
I just finished reading the book: Keynote Mastery by Patrick Schwerdtfeger and was inspired to create a list of my top 20 destinations for paid speaking engagements. Patrick has a Google map on his website with geo-markers on cities where he has spoken before. It’s a brilliant way of showcasing instant credibility. If you have travelled to that many places (over 50 for Patrick) to speak, you must be doing something right.
Let’s get to it. In no particular order, these are cities where I will have paid speaking engagement in the years to come:
- Seattle in Washington, USA
- New York City in New York, USA
- Chicago in Illinois, USA
- Washington DC, USA
- Montreal, Canada
- Toronto, Canada
- Dallas, Texas, USA
- Miami, Florida, USA
- Salvador, Brazil
- Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Dubai, UAE
- Barcelona, Spain
- Rome, Italy
- London, UK
- Tokyo, Japan
- Hong Kong, China
- Helsinki, Finland
- Manchester, UK
- Dublin, Ireland
- Mumbai in India
The list started with 20, but I was inspired to add 5 more when composing the list.
- Paris in France
- Cape Town in South Africa
- Lagos in Nigeria
- Nairobi in Kenya
- Yaounde, Cameroon
Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Let me get to work so I get to meet you one day in one of those cities and countries.