Your Success Is About More Than Money
By Donovan Grant
“The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love. Whomever I love and am with most of the time, or whomever I remember most vividly. I think that's true of everyone, don't you?
An employee’s life can be like a performance sometimes. They can become so obsessed with fitting in the high-flyer networks, the secret cliques or just feel that they need to act a certain way to get on.
Have you ever noticed this?
If you’ve not seen this before, keep your eyes peeled because it happens up and down the country every day. A word of warning, you’d better have a check-up on yourself from time to time to see whether you’re in the club too.
What I’m leading up to is this: The progress that you make in a job can have a lot to do with the people that you hang out with and the mentors that influence you. However, it is always important to hold your own banner high, rather than to be following behind someone else’s banner.
I was having a chat with some former work colleagues a few weeks back and one subject we talked was our previous manager John Burr. Everyone had their own stories about their relationship with John and it was all good stuff:
“A real down to earth guy”
“He cared about people”
“A breath of fresh air.”
I had met John quite early in my IT career when I was in my 20’s. I sensed from quite early on that there was something special about him. He was not your typical ‘old school’ manager with that ‘us and them’ type of attitude; he was just a great guy who was good to be around and work with.
Actually, the first time that I met John was quite funny. We shook hands and he didn’t let go. Instead he, kept hold of my hand, looked me in the eye and said “Donovan, you only have one chance to make a first impression!”
That was it. I acknowledged him politely and went about my business.
A few days later we crossed paths in the office and he asked me if I wanted to know why he said that. Of course I did, no one had ever said that to me before. I was intrigued . . . his answer knocked me back a bit . . .
“. . . your handshake is like shaking hands with a wet fish!” We laughed hard about that and he also showed me how a real handshake should feel; firm, sincere and dry! John went on to tell me that one of his mentors passed this wisdom on to him when he was about my age, so he is keeping the gift circulating. I now do the same for the ‘wet fish hand shakers’ that I meet.
As employees sometimes we feel so guilty to take a time-out during our busy day. But, do you ever stop and think about whom has been a big influence on your career?
It really touched my heart when I think of how John was esteemed. It was noticeable that the language was about he was. It was not so much about what he did or what he had.
No one mentioned that he was a hard worker. No one said that he was an IT guru. No one talked of him being a great problem solver. Everyone spoke about the type of person that he was.
Sadly, John has since passed away as a result of a serious illness. He is missed by many, for sure. Could his influence on me and others be a lesson for us all? Could the message be that it is not what you do that matters, what is more important is who you are?
How do your friends and colleagues talk about you when you are not around? Think about that for 30 seconds . . .
The thing is, when you step up and step out and be your true self, people will connect with you like a magnet. You will make a difference in the career and lives of others by being a person of authenticity and not just because you are a great worker.
Think of the people in your career who have left a really lasting impression on you. Then ask yourself, was it because of what they did or was it related to who they were? I’m sure that there will be someone that had an impact on you whether directly or indirectly. It could have been a helping hand with a problem or some kind and thoughtful words just when you needed it most.
I’d recommend that you honour the influential people in your life and keep your gift circulating. Be yourself. Give a smile. Give a kind word. Give a hand up to someone who needs it today. The truth is that in the end, your career success is not about the work that you do or your lofty status, it’s about who you are for others.
Oh and remember this- if you meet a ‘wet fish hand shaker,’ just say to them “I’ve got a gift for you from friend John.” Keep it circulating.
I believe in you and I believe in your dreams. Thank you for allowing us to serve you each and everyday!
Donovan Grant is a "Honest and True Step By Step Career change" expert. His systems help the average career changer as well as high flier get extra-ordinary results quickly. www.donovangrant.com.