10 Guidelines for Success; “The Best Advice I Ever Got!”

Dirk Hoffius

Dirk Hoffius

10 Guidelines for Success; “The Best Advice I Ever Got!”

I recently stumbled over an interesting article entitled “The Best Advice I Ever Got”. I got in touch with the author (Dirk Hoffius)  who gave me permission to share it with you in an abridged manner as well as giving you the link to the entire article. Dirk is an attorney with the law firm of Varnum in Grand Rapids, MI. His title is “The Best Advice I Ever Got”. I added that it seems to me to be 10 great guidelines for success! Read on……………….

1. Do something. In other words – act, make and do. You have three choices in life: you can make things happen; you can watch things happen; or you can wonder, “Hey, what in the world happened?” Do it. Get it done. Turn your energy into plans, actions, and deeds. People will be impressed, and so will you.

2. Find a mentor. Do this as early and as often in your life as possible. You will know your mentor when you meet him or her. He or she will be smarter than you are, more talented than you are, more sophisticated than you are, and wiser than you are. Yet, somehow, for all that, he or she will believe in you. The better your mentor, the faster you will grow.

3. Be nice to everyone. Assume the kid in the mailroom is your future  boss or client, because he or she may well be. You can’t be too nice, but that doesn’t mean you should be a pushover. Nice people don’t finish last; they just don’t talk about winning on the way to the finish line. The more important you get, the nicer you’ve got to be.

4. Be on time. Ninety percent of life, according to Woody Allen, is showing up. People who show up get a 95, and what they do after they show up is the rest of the grade. Be committed to the task at hand because everyone’s time is as important as yours. Agreeing to be somewhere is a promise. Keep it.

5. The magic words. Growing up, your parents made you learn the magic words. “Please,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” If you want someone to do something for you, say :Please.” If they do it, say “Thank you.” If you do something and it’s wrong, don’t sit around waiting for everyone to forget about it. They won’t. Say you’re sorry and move on.

6. Never point your finger unless you’re giving directions. There is no payoff for laying the blame on others, events or the weather. There is no time for it and the press of events is far more important that who or what is to blame. Be part of the solution, not the problem. But, never be afraid to ‘fess up to your own mistakes. Strive for fairness in all things. Even more important is to give others the credit they deserve. You will need them for the rest of your life.

7. Stay curious. Ask questions. Whenever anything is unclear to you, never ever worry about appearing dumb. The dumbest question you’ll ever ask is the one you never ask. It was your missed opportunity to learn. People love someone who’s not afraid to ask a dumb question. They were waiting with the answer anyway. Don’t be intimidated by expertise and don’t be afraid to challenge jargon. Jargon is the mask of the insecure, the fortress of the overeducated.

8. Keep is simple. Strive for simplicity in everything. Think about it. Have you r every heard someone say, “I love the guy, he makes everything sound so complicated?” Simplicity means using plain English and always thinking how to make what you say and write  as easy to understand as possible.

9. Love what you do. Do what you love. This is absolutely critical. If you don’t love what you are doing, you probably won’t perform as well as you could. And even if you are successful, you’ll be miserable, so what’s the point? What if you don’t love what you are doing? Maybe you aren’t doing your best because if you do your best, one of two things can happen; you may have a new opportunity or you may find you like the job.

10. Learning is forever. No matter what we do in life, we are always learning and that’s a good thing because the more we learn, the better we do,, and the more we enjoy what we do. More importantly, our careers and our lives do not become boring if we continue to learn, to explore new things, and to grow. The result of always learning from classes, mentors, competitors, and anyone with whom you come in contact, is that someday you can be the best in your field. When that happens, whether you  recognize it or not, you became a mentor.

Americans love lists; these ten things are important if we are to be the  best we can be. They are lessons for life. Everytime we think we “got it” we find we can do better. We can and we will.

Dirk Hoffius

The entire text of this essay by Dirk Hoffius can be found at:

http://www.varnumlaw.com/files/documents/publications/The_Best_Advice_I_Ever_Got.pdf

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“On-Boarding” Yourself – Avoiding the Mistakes that New Hires Can Make!

A procedure followed by most organizations when someone new is hired is to go through an “On-Boarding process – a process  to get the new hire oriented and off to a good and solid start.

Let’s talk about the sales-onboarding-Sales-Management-Workshop-300x213process of you On-Boarding yourself to avoid some common mistakes new hires can make!!

Just as first impression count – so do mistakes and displays of poor judgment during your first months on the job. After time – you will figure it out – or you will be gone! The key is to have a roadmap of do’s and don’ts to follow from day one.

  1. Dress and act on day one as you did for your interviews – day one on the job is still “show time”. As is week one and month one! Dress and act accordingly. Over the first several weeks – take measure of how people dress, how informal or formal is the culture. Adjust gradually as may be appropriate…but don’t be on the cutting edge – don’t dress to match the most casual or to mirror the most informal of those you work with. What you don’t want to do is to stand out in this regard!
  2. Pay attention to processes and procedures – take notes as may be needed. You may be given some written manuals or instructions as to certain aspects of your job. If not – take notes as things are described and/or as you are trained. What you don’t want to do is to require repetitive briefings on procedures and processes you could have captured in writing for future reference as needed!
  3. Sweat the small stuff. Operate in an error-free mode. Check your work and proofread.  You want to be – and be thought of – as a “Go-To” person. Those people don’t make mistakes – and if they do – they only make them once!  A great mindset I encourage everyone to adopt is “Do each and every task – no matter how small – with the skill, precision and efficiency of which you can be justly proud”. If you are asked to do some menial work – do it and do it in a first-class matter. It will be noticed.
  4. Minimize (truly!)  the social networking/media/texting, etc.  while on the job. First of all – when in a meeting or in a conversation – NEVER check emails or see what triggered the sound announcing an incoming whatever (news flash, text, etc.). It is just plain rude! Check email and respond to texts, etc. during breaks – not while you are focusing on the work at hand. Constant checking and responding breaks your focus on your work …and your inattention to the work at hand will be noticed!
  5. Avoid engaging in an office romance. They rarely end well, are NEVER a secret, can be very disruptive to morale. And if you do – against this advice – NEVER do so with a boss or subordinate… that is a job-losing course of action! And if you do – against this advice – NEVER do so while new on the job – don’t treat your workplace in such a cavalier manner!

Only you are responsible to manage your career…and that responsibility begins fresh each time you take a new job. Whether or not your new employer has an On-Boarding process for you to follow , set one up for yourself using these guidelines. Devise and manage your own On-Boarding process – one that will avoid job-ending mistakes! Good luck!

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