Take the Time to Check in with Yourself
7th January 2017
It may feel familiar for anyone who is on an accelerated career path, where the life feels like a speed train and the time just fleets by too fast and too soon. In this article I would like to share the importance of slowing down and remembering to pause and think:
In our work life, most of us would have a to-do list and the list tends to just get longer and longer with our increased responsibility. I certainly noticed that there are lots of things on my to-do list that I never seem to get around to do. So I guess the question then would be: What is important and what needs to come first?
This is where I find our personal belief, values, and a company’s culture come into play. If a company encourages heroism or has leaders who favors ‘personal wins’ , at an employee level what tends to come first is often down to: how can I perform to ensure my voice is heard, and what can I do so that I can stand out from my peers? In contrast if a company promotes a strong culture with a good balance of personal development and team collaboration, at an employee level what comes first is often more people and customer related.
For me in order to find passion in what we do at work, there needs to be an alignment between our personal belief and values with the culture and belief that our work place promotes. If you feel your personal values are in conflict with your company’s culture, it would be a challenge for you to enjoy the work you do; if you don’t feel belonging somewhere, it is hard for you to excel and realize your potential.
So assuming you find the alignment, what do you need to do next in order to maintain the focus while not getting bogged down with all the to-do lists. Below are my top three guidelines:
- People and Customers First
I want to see that my team doesn’t have to wait for my actions or guidance for them to grow and realize their potential; and I want to make sure that, in the relay race of a company’s value chain, I can assist my customers, be the customers internal or external, in order for them to accomplish their goals, and win.
- See ‘the Bigger Picture’
‘The Bigger Picture’ means not to get bogged down on one’s own functional activities but to develop the curiosity of understanding the site needs, the business segment needs, and the whole company needs; ‘the Bigger Picture’ also means to look beyond the company that one works in, and take the time to try to understand the market and the macro environment.
- Look after Yourself
I have found that it becomes more and more important to take the time to check in with myself. The pace of life is becoming so fast that it becomes harder to continue without slowing down, pausing to think and rest. Both working on a weekend evening and resting when there are many urgent things to do are acceptable for me, as long as the decision is an informed one.
So referring back to the speed train of life and the importance of slowing down, the above has served as a compass to enable me to gain a good sense of clarity, direction and balance, and as a reminder to force me to slow down and reflect what is important. Though the guidelines above may vary from one person to another, I think that if we all take the time to check in with ourselves from time to time, in the busy lives it would help slow the train down and enable us to enjoy our work and life more.