It’s around this time that I begin to create and assemble my presentation for POWERTRAIN EXPO. Considering that I’ve done over 30 of these, I know what to expect. There’s the excitement of doing something new. There’s the anticipation of seeing everyone. There’s the overwhelming sense of having so much to do and the apprehension of getting it done. It occurred to me that these emotional episodes are pretty much the same, whether it’s developing an EXPO program, working on a budget, managing a project, or just getting into work for the day. The fact is, as much as we may love our jobs, there are days when doing the work is boring.
Now, that may be an admission better kept to myself, but in the end, the work needs to be completed and done right. So, let me share some of my tactics for getting the tasks done.
For starters, it’s essential to know your personality. I’ve taken a few personality tests, and I always find the results interesting. They generally wind up with the same or similar outcomes.
- I’m a diplomat. I like win-win outcomes.
- I’m a fixer (no surprise there). I tend to gravitate around broken stuff.
- I have a difficult time staying focused on tedious activities. I get bored easily.
- I prefer working alone rather than in a group – not very helpful in my position.
- I’m uncomfortable with speaking to a crowd – also not very helpful for presenting seminars.
I have other quirks, but you get the idea. Each one of these can be a burden if you don’t have a way to overcome them.
After a few years of presenting seminars, I recognized that every morning, when it was time to leave my hotel room for a presentation, I regretted being there. I’d ask myself, “Why did I agree to do this?” However, after getting started and as the day progressed, I was excited about doing it. Once I recognized this repeating pattern, I quit thinking about my morning regrets and focused on how I’d feel in the end – I’d meet some great people, share some ideas, and have a great time. Problem solved!
Now let’s talk about another common problem, burnout. Burnout seems to affect everyone sooner or later, especially someone who’s been in the same career position for any length of time. When I get this way, I’ll work on easy little projects, primarily to get some wins. That simple change of attitude from getting a win or two under my belt gives me a jump start into the projects I’m avoiding.
Another way to maintain a good attitude is by having projects and hobbies outside of work. I played the drums for many years as a way to keep my attitude at its peak, and it was a great way to release some energy too. Now, one of my favorite hobbies is BBQ and creating sauces. I’ve entered my sauces at the Ventura County Fair for the past eight years, earning six 1st place awards. I belong to the National BBQer’s Association and attend their annual trade show whenever I can. I’m also a nationally certified BBQ judge.
So, what does any of this have to do with work? It doesn’t, and that’s the point. You see, there’s more to staying at the top of your game than always being in your game. What you do to stay sharp is up to you. Rodger Bland, Managing Editor of GEARS Magazine, goes to the back-country every year with a couple of buddies. They go on horseback and get to areas where there are no roads. He’ll share how he gets away to sharpen his mind at this year’s EXPO in Las Vegas with his program called “Lessons from The Trail.” You don’t want to miss it!
The challenge of staying on top of your game is so common and so crucial that Stephen Covey made it a point in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Need more? I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Jim Cathcart, a contributing author for GEARS and one of the top business trainers in the world. We discussed some of these ideas, and Jim confirmed the importance of recognizing the problems and taking action to correct them. We recorded the sessions and hosted them on the ATRA VTS system, so they’re available for future viewing. I had a great time and learned a lot… one of which is- it’s not just about transmissions!