We’re approaching that dreaded time of year – new year’s resolutions. I haven’t set mine yet, though I have a few ideas I’m mulling over. Then I read an excellent post by Darius Fox on quitting. He inspired me to put quitting on my resolutions list. Not quitting my job, which I love, or this blog, which is a continual source of inspiration and learning for me, but quitting the things that simply don’t matter.
The main thrust of Fox’s post is we quit the wrong things. We quit when things – projects, goals, assignments, relationships – get hard. Instead, that’s when we should double-down on our efforts. As Fox says:
“I’ve learned that if you haven’t reached your goals yet, or haven’t found a way to be successful, it doesn’t mean you’re a loser. It means you haven’t found out how to win yet. If you keep going, you will find out. But if you quit, you won’t. So don’t.”
In the spirit of focusing more on how to win at the things that are hard but worth, here are areas where I plan on adding focus and attention in the new year. I like to think I do fairly well at these already, but all three are vitally important in our relationships with others and to what it means to work human. So I commit to never checking these items off my to-do list and never quitting on improving my skills in these areas.
- Caring enough about others to truly notice and appreciate them. All people have value and bring value in their interactions with us and others. It can be easy in our own busyness to miss seeing the value in others. It’s our responsibility to care enough about those around us to notice them for what they do and for who they are, then go the extra step to thank them for their unique contributions.
- Caring enough about others to help them grow and develop. Caring enough to thank others is easy. Caring a bit more to risk a bit of ourselves to offer feedback for growth and improvement requires more. It’s just as important and signals strongly your own investment in the well-being and future of others. Feedback is a gift as much as appreciation, when given with the right motivation and expressed in the right way.
- Caring enough about others to listen to them, too. Similarly, receiving feedback and coaching from others in the spirit it is given is a profound gift, too. I am lucky to be surrounded by colleagues and friends who care enough about me to give me feedback. One way I express my appreciation to them is by listening and responding to that feedback so they know they are heard.
As we wrap up 2017, what goals are left on your to-do list? Which are worth quitting so you can focus on what really matters?
As Globoforce’s Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting, Derek Irvine is an internationally minded management professional with over 20 years of experience helping global companies set a higher ambition for global strategic employee recognition, leading workshops, strategy meetings and industry sessions around the world. He is a leader in the WorkHuman movement and the co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and his articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Derek splits his time between Dublin and Boston. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.