Have you ever wondered why some people seem to accomplish so much while others struggle along barely able to attend to their daily needs? Highly effective people usually fulfill their achievements with less work and effort than those who accomplish little. The difference lies in their individual effectiveness. How you manage yourself at work defines your personal effectiveness, and is a prerequisite to outstanding performance – whatever your level of seniority. Building self-awareness, identifying areas where you can maximize your contribution, gaining access to key skills and techniques – all are critical to improving your personal performance.
Achieving peak performance through personal mastery begins with self-awareness of oneself. Mastery does not happen by accident. It is a process that occurs as we interact effectively with the events and circumstances of our lives. Masters are the victors of life, those who step up to the challenges and opportunities of life with the courage, determination, and wisdom to win in all spheres of life. You see, each moment of our lives provides an opportunity to practice mastery by expanding our visions, awakening the faculties of our minds and our hearts, and assuming full responsibility for living, growing, and contributing to life.
Personal effectiveness means making the most at all personal resources at our disposal – our personal talents, energy and time relative to what’s most important to us. It is like money management or investment – we want to get the best return on our resources. As with managing money, we can either drift through life making ad hoc decisions or we can set time aside periodically to review our investments. As a great philosopher once said, “Personal effectiveness is not about sacrificing spontaneity or opportunism to be super organized if this is not your style. It’s more a matter of taking whatever steps that fit your style to give you the feeling that you are making best use of your talents, energy and time”. As the saying goes, “being successful is in the eyes of the beholder” – for some it means having a satisfying personal life, for others it is some form of career success that drives them. The only right answer is the one that makes you happy. The big question is: How happy are you with your life right now? Are you personally fulfilled in what you are doing presently? How much enthusiastic are you about what you do? You see, enthusiasm is a positive emotion that sparks like fire in achieving your goals. You cannot be fulfilled in doing what you hate. No matter how much you are being paid, the totality of the satisfaction you derive in doing what you are not passionate about is a life without fulfillment.
Your personal effectiveness has a lot to do with your personal leadership. In my previous articles, we made it clear that you are the leader of your own life. You are the custodian and steward of your life given to you by your creator. The ability to take full responsibility of your own life is an evidence of your self-leadership on display and this makes you highly effective as a person.
Let us examine some other key determinants to achieving personal effectiveness:
Have a clear-cut vision: Know what you want out of life and vividly picture yourself achieving it. This calls for a purposeful living because if you do not know where you are going, any road can take you there. Success and progress towards achieving your goals in life begin with knowing where you are going. Many people go about their lives trying to do everything and then end up being a master of none. Having a clear-cut vision of your life is an indisputable first step of becoming highly effective because it makes you to be mentally focused in one direction.
Put first thing first: The first step in putting first things first is to identify the “first things” in your life by prioritizing your projects and tasks. The second, and often the hardest step, is to actually put the “first things” first: to live your priorities. Once you have a clear-cut vision as outlined above, then you must align your priorities towards achieving it by not engaging in unnecessary activities that will steal your time.
Remember that you can do almost anything, but you cannot do everything. Whenever you start a task, you are automatically giving up everything else you could have done during that time.
The best practice of putting first things first means taking conscious control of your choices and choosing to spend more time on the projects and tasks that are important and valuable, and less time on the ones that are not as important or valuable.
Thinking outside the box is a cliché or catchphrase used to refer to looking at a problem from a new perspective. The catchphrase has become widely used in business environments, especially by management consultants and executive coaches, and has spawned a number of advertising slogans. Anyway, you should know that you cannot do without thinking, and not just ordinary thinking, but creative thinking that produces creative ideas. To be highly effective, you must learn to see problems from a new perspective that it does not stifle your creativity. A creative mind thinks outside the box and it does not see limitations. It cannot be caged by problems or setbacks. Thinking outside the box is an individual choice, and it begins by thinking differently in every situation that confronts your way.
Personal development: Committing to lifelong self-improvement is one vital key of becoming highly effective. As they say, “knowledge is power”. What you don’t know is greater than you until you discover it. Personal development is about adding value to life. It exposes ignorance and ushers you into the realm of knowing. Commit to learning all you can and be the best in your profession. For example, if you are an accountant, learn all you can and study to become a chartered accountant. Aim to always be at the top, and become an expert in whatever you do.
See you at the Top!