Monday, June 06, 2005

Career Karate

I sometimes get caught up in the routines of life, and I believe that I am not alone. We wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast, drive to work, do our jobs, have lunch, complete tasks, drive home, eat dinner, spend time with the family, watch television, go to bed. Then the alarm goes off and we do it all again the following day.

Sound familiar? Do you feel the need to jump start your life? Does your career need a good kick in the pants?

This weekend I attended a karate competition with my eight year old daughter. She has just begun her participation in martial arts, and this was the first time I had ever accompanied her to the dojo. While watching the events of the day, I kept noticing a sign on the wall that listed six words to encourage and motivate the students of the traits that make for good karate. I could not help noticing how easily these words can translate to our lives and our careers.

Below are the six words. If you apply them all into your daily routine, not only will it help you overcome the monotony that might plague your life, but it can inspire you to achieve greater things at your job.

Integrity. Do you always maintain a high level of personal standards that guide you in making decisions? If you believe in always doing the right thing, then it makes it much easier to know what to do when faced with a hard choice. Never allow yourself to take an action that is not in line with your own belief system. Always strive to do the right thing in any situation and you will find that you will have few regrets, regardless of the results.

Discipline. It is sometimes hard to take action, especially when the tasks seem boring or unimportant. If you have the discipline to "just do it" (yes, NIKE has the right idea) you will find that you can accomplish more in your day. Procrastination will always put you behind on your schedule and feeling as if you are not living up to your potential. Make a commitment to roll up your sleeves and conquer whatever assignments are on your plate.

Focus. In today's world of mass media, the internet, cell phones and countless other distractions, it is easy to not stay focused. You need to be sure that when you are working on a project that you are not distracted. You need to have know what your goals are and keep your mind calibrated toward completion of your task. Do not watch TV, listen to music or check emails while working on a project.

Speed. In the highly competitive business world, you need to move fast. The old saying "He who hesitates is lost" could not be more true in 2005. If you want to stand out from your competition you not only have to deliver a great product or service (anything less is not acceptable), but you also must do so in a timely manner.

Confidence. Believe in yourself. People are drawn towards those who know in their hearts that they will succeed. Nobody will follow a leader whom they do not trust, and if you do not trust yourself, they wont either. You don't want to be cocky (cocky is bad), but you must be confident.

Endurance. Nothing quiets the critics better than longevity. I have seen many people come and go in the business world, but those that prove themselves do so by not giving up and showing up everyday. If you can continue to succeed in your career day after day, year after year, then you will have done better than all who have fallen into obscurity. Show up and work as hard as you can.... Then show up the next day and do it again.

If you adopt these five words into your daily routine, then you will be on your way to achieving your own career blackbelt.

Have a great day.

Thom Singer

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