Jerry Novack | Mentor & Educator

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Life Lessons to Unlearn – Part 2

For part one of this post, click here!

Success is the opposite of failure. Studies have shown that people who focus their attention on worrying about mistakes tend to shut down, while those who take a more relaxed approach about performing badly will soon learn to do well in the most efficient way for them. This applies across the board, from quitting smoking to learning how to ski, success is built on failure.

What will people think of me?! Who cares. Whether they’re right, slightly wrong, or completely off the mark, emphasizing others opinion of you can lead to despair, and even homicide and suicide. And really, what you’re doing is creating anguish within yourself from your hypothesis that other people’s hypothetical hypotheses about you actually mattered. Imagine what you’d be like if it didn’t matter. Got it? Good, keep doing that and never look back.

Think rationally! This has more to do with recognizing your inner-self; taking emotional and physical cues from yourself when making decisions. Your rational capacities are far newer and more error-prone than your deeper, “animal instincts.” While rational thinking can help you see things with a more level head, it’s important to understand where your natural instincts point you, and takes less time than making a pros and cons list.

The beautiful people have it all! Yes, they’ll get preferential treatment in a lot of life’s scenarios: unquestionable entrance into clubs, free goods, and better customer service, to name a few. By while everybody’s noticing them, nobody is really seeing the person behind the perfect figure and symmetrical face.

Life would be perfect if I had everything I ever wanted! Good fortune tends to have bad side effects. Don’t believe it? Check out jails, rehabs, and divorce courts. They don’t discriminate based on income. Anything that makes us feel good can also make us feel bad, but once you let go of the desire for tangible rewards, you appreciate exactly what you need, not want, more. The point is experiencing joy, not experiencing the joy from buying new Jimmy Choos.
Fear loss. If you’ve never experienced loss, you’ll never be able to experience joy on a humbling level. Because losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul the natural, inevitable cycle of breaking a healing. Avoiding it is a life not lived, so live your truth.

Life Lessons to Unlearn

The internet loves lists. Lists filled with top tips to a better body!, and 5 unusual qualities that make you a better leader!; it’s a constant stream of information to take in, understand, and practice in your day-to-day life. Whether you’re reading these lists for a laugh, for guidance, or to truly learn something new, it’s almost hard to imagine life without them. 

This list, on the other hand, is a little different. Because there are some things hammered into your head that are actually inhibiting joy and preventing us from living our best lives possible. So here’s a list of 10 life lessons you should toss to the wind:

No problems? No problem! Problems seemingly, are the worst. They’re roadblocks, a wrench thrown into the wheel of a well-oiled machine. But in reality, the problems presented to you in the real world (not the tedious ones doled out to you by boring teachers in high school algebra) give you the chance to find the solution, which is what really gives life gusto. They often mark change and, when dealt with in the best way, can often become rewarding. Is your job just not doing it for you? Maybe it’s time to ask for a promotion! People without real problems are bored, go crazy, and do things like plan a wedding that isn’t theirs just for fun.

Happiness is everything! It seems ridiculous, but happiness isn’t everything, simple because we can’t always be happy. We just can’t. Life is constantly happening, and we need to deal with it as it comes. Forcing yourself to be happy in a miserable situation creates insurmountable stress. Instead, let your feelings be as they are. If you’re sad, allow yourself to acknowledge it, ride it out, and overcome it.

Own your baggage. The past can be painful and leave seemingly permanent scars. Instead of owning that baggage, letting it define you and create worries and stress, start thinking of it differently. Here’s an example: you were a really lazy student all throughout your education, and now in the workforce, you’re plagued with feelings of falling back into old habits. The worry engulfs you, and probably affects your performance negatively. Instead of focusing on the negative, combat it by coming up with reasons why you might be wrong, and your brain will begin to let go of the worry, which some have found to a euphoric feeling.

Hard work equals success. As a child, as you were learning about the world around you, how to speak, to use your body and fingers and all the like, were you working hard, or learning through play? Play, not work, is key to success. Childhood playing skills are key to learning and understanding complex ideas, because they are doing it with all-out absorption.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, coming soon!


How to be the Best Leader

With the business environment ever-evolving, how do you motivate, connect with, and inspire your team in the best, most effective way possible? While it’s always important to maintain your role as a leader, it’s also important to remain relatable to your employees, to practice compassion, and be someone they will be proud to work for and with.

CEO on the top of a mountain

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

For leaders, old and new, there are practical tips to implement in your daily routine to make you the best leader possible. Here are six practical tips that can be applied to a myriad of environments to help you lead and lead great.

Emphasize the why

When you outline why a project, assignment, client, etc., is so important, it helps gain buy-in from your team. It can motivate a team member to finish a project in a day as opposed to dragging it out over a few weeks. Letting them in on your rationale as well as your expectations helps team members feel they’re more valued.

Practice compassion

When a mishap occurs, and it will, exercise compassion and empathy before coming down on your employee or jumping to conclusions. You should be hard on results, but soft on the person giving those results to you; understand what went wrong and how best to help that individual from making the same mistake again.

Skill vs. Will

Underperformance usually comes from one of two places: a lack of skill or a lack of will. Taking time to uncover and understand the difference between the two in relation to a certain employee’s underperformance is key to fixing the problem. Skill gaps are easy to close with the proper coaching, training, and support, while will gaps are more difficult to close and require more digging into where your employees motivation lie.

Family first

Family issues are often unavoidable when managing a group of people, and allowing your team to make it their number one priority in dire times is key to performance. If they aren’t able attend to personal issues, performance will most likely suffer, and they’ll feel like their personal lives don’t matter outside of the work environment. They do, and let them know that.

Communicate frequently

While we all get caught up in our own daily tasks, personal lives, and the like, it’s important to make your team feel like they aren’t forgotten. Don’t wait for a quarterly or annual review to give feedback on performance, or even worse, for your team member to ask for it. Stay ahead of the ball, and regularly check-in with your staff to help them stay motivated, productive, and heard.

Trust your team

Experience has shown that staff will go above and beyond to keep an employer or managers trust, so give them all of it. Meddling in the minutiae of what your team is up to instead of giving them the tools and support they need tends to produce mixed results. So trust your staff, and they will produce great results.

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