Persevere through Periods of Feeling Irrelevant

The star athlete gets hurt and is out for the three months in the midde of the season.

The star salesperson works for nine months on three big deals and they all fall through.

The rising political star loses two elections in a row.

The VP of Operations loses her job due to a downsizing and attends meetings of business people looking for jobs.

It’s fairly easy to feel irrelevant, which according to dictionary.com “means not relating or pertinent to the matter at hand and not important.”

After Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he became seemingly irrelevant. During the writing of the U.S. Constituation, he was in Paris. During George Washington’s eight years as president, he was back at his home. But…

…he stayed engaged in the political matters that meant the most to him. He remained in the conversation. Then he became vice-president and then president of the U.S. He oversaw the greatest expansion of the U.S. in history with the Louisiana Purchase. He pushed onward for Americans to see what was available to the west. He left an extraordinary impact on the world that has evolved into dozens, if not hundreds, of democratic nations.

If you are enduring a period of feeling irrelevant, hang in there. Stay focused on the reasons why you want to do what you want to do. You don’t know when the next door might open or how big the room will be. Keep your mind in that area of focus. Persevere.

To Be Trusted By Others, First Trust Yourself

Many volumes have been written that all say the same thing: in order to lead others, the foundation is they have to trust you.

If you are a business leader of any significance, you have access to some of life’s biggest temptations: corporate dollars that aren’t yours but could easily become yours, extramarital affairs, bogus business results that could lead to big bonuses, drugs, alcohol, and much more.

Do you trust yourself to be able to have access to temptations and still make the right choices?

If you can’t trust yourself, how can you expect other people to consistently trust you over the long term? If you can’t get other people to trust your reliability, you will forfeit the opportunity to sustain your impact as a business leader. Forget that you can “get away with it.” How many examples do we need of famous business and political leaders who lost their impact because they thought “they could get away with it”?

Be able to handle temptation every day and then you never need to worry about whether or not other people will trust you.

Feed Your Brand Every Day

You can’t dictate when your desired outcomes will occur so don’t waste your energy obsessing over them. Instead focus on what you can accomplish.

Every day is an opportunity for you to work toward strengthening your organization’s brand. A brand is the value customers think they receive when they buy a certain product or service from an organization. You don’t own your brand or control your brand, but you can work toward building the brand that you want to have. Here are steps you can take every day to strengthen the perception of the value your organization delivers.

1. Clarify the value you want your organization to be known for delivering. You’re unlikely to build the brand you want to build if you aren’t continually clarifying exactly what that desired brand is

2. Look at how your products and services help your customers to receive that value. Is there anything you can do today to improve any of those products or services that would better help your customer to achieve what he or she wants to achieve?

3. Look at how your products and services are delivered to your customers. Is there anything that could be done today to make things easier or better for your customers in terms of receiving and learning how to use your products and services?

4. Look at how your products and services are explained to your customers, and potential customers, on your website and in your advertising. Is there anything you can do today to improve these communications to your customers and prospective customers?

5. When customers run into problems with your products and services, is there anything you can do today to resolve those problems more effectively and help your customers get back to achieving their desired outcomes more efficiently?

Every day work to feed the brand you want to have for your organization. In return, your brand will bring to you opportunities for greater success in the future. If you starve your organization’s brand, eventually you will starve as well.

Faith

Faith is believing that the actions you take today will generate the results you want in the future.

Faith is not complicated, but it is crucial for sustaining your effort over a long period of time. Let’s look at the components of faith.

First, you have to take actions. It’s not enough to believe you will eventually succeed. You have to implement actions that you believe in. Periodically review your activities to see if you still think they are the best activities to help you achieve what you want to achieve. If they aren’t, what will you do instead?

Second, what results do you really want? Be specific about that. Know what you want. Activity is not success. Doing activities that generate your desired results is success. Therefore, you have to know the desired results.

Third, you don’t know how far away the “future” is. Is it 24 hours? Is it 24 days or months or years? Unfortunately, we rarely know going in how long it will take to achieve our desired outcomes. Take off the pressure of the timeframe and just focus on what you want to achieve. Rather than worrying about achieving results within your arbitrary timeframe, I suggest you focus on working in a faithful manner. If you truly believe your activities will generate your desired results, then take the pressure off of yourself and stay focused. Worrying won’t make the results happen. Doing the activities you have selected in a faithful manner will help you to achieve what you want to achieve.

Maintain faith that your acivities will generate what you want in the future.

Matter

If I was going to give you a one-word job description, it would be:

Matter.

Make sure your worklife matters. Do your work in a way that it makes a lasting difference un the lives of other people. You can impact the world by the quality of what you produce and by the manner in which you do it. It truly doesn’t matter what you do for a living as long as it matters to you and as long as you make it matter to other people.

I’ve yet to see a job where a person with enthusiasm and attention to detail and caring about quality didn’t make that job matter to other people. Your legacy in any job is the impact you make. Make that impact matter.