#3 AW 18 How to Thrive in Work & Life in 7 Easy Steps

featuring the Richard Haward’s fabulous oyster offering, to be found at Borough Market, London Bridge; everyday luxury epitomised.

Seven quick changes you can make today which will lead to work success and fulfilling relationships.

We each manage a whole host of relationships daily, some more personal than others, some more transient than others: the checkout attendant, your plumber, your friends, your children, your masseuse.  Aside from making you happier and more successful at work, affecting even the slightest change in your behaviour can lead to more positive everyday exchanges that will brighten up your day. 

Good fortune is something that continues to surprise and thrill me, despite the fact that it happens a lot  – I often receive gratuitous coffees although fully prepared to pay for them, for example. More recently, two body language coaches commented on my “social superpowers” and an old colleague described me as a “natural-networker”. There are things I do which I took for granted until pointed out – I have distinguished a few, which have improved my work life too:

1. Be interested, not overly-involved. You can be warm and approachable without compromising your boundaries, or those of whoever you’re speaking with. Smiling, asking non-invasive questions and following up on their responses, in that conversation and future conversations, is often highly fulfilling for both parties.

If you do feel led to ask a personal question during your lunch break or at after work drinks, think about the implications of the response you might receive and whether you’re prepared and equipped to deal with the consequences of knowing. Why am I asking them this question? 

2. Credentials matter, to most people – be respectful to everyone regardless. Most people measure how well they’ll treat someone by how well-known they are, or the value placed on them by society or those they admire. As a result, if you demonstrate the opposite and take a genuine interest and respect for anyone you have dealings with before you know their job title or where they live, they’ll appreciate your presence.

As a middle manager, for example, refer to the most junior employees the same way you would the CFO. A relatively junior employee will appreciate being acknowledged and be more amenable to working for you to achieve the company’s goals. The CFO will appreciate your confidence and consider you an equal, worthy of promotion at the right time, all other things being equal.

3. Confidence is key. Confidence can make even the most dire, awkward or tricky situations better and smooth other most hiccups. It’s difficult to tell someone or yourself to “be confident”, so rather, be convinced. If you’re convinced that what you’re doing is the right or best thing, it shows. If you need convincing, think about why you’re doing it. Your time and energy are precious, you must be doing it for a good reason.

This also means trusting in the process – don’t chase a potential employer that is standoffish or neglects to get in touch when they said they would, for example. What’s meant to stay will stay, what’s meant to go will fall away.

4. Own your decisions. This doesn’t mean over-explaining yourself or apologising without due cause, which some social groups are more prone to than others. It does mean apologising if you’ve done wrong; it garners respect and makes you more trustworthy. It also means accepting responsibility for the less than results of the project you managed. If your personal life was chaotic, maybe your decisions are something to be proud of. If you own them, you can learn from them and of course, you can also be rewarded and congratulated for your successes too.

5. Keep learning. If you have access to the internet, if you know someone, you can find something to learn. The more you learn, the better equipped you are to make the most of the resources you have and to develop constructive relationships with your colleagues and family and friends and other people you encounter in your daily life. It’s also important to your wellbeing and happiness.

6. Do quantifiable work or create something. You might find greater work satisfaction by thinking about what you’re creating. If you’re a real estate vendor, you’re assisting people to create stability and the stage for so many scenes of their lives, with every sale. If you’re a florist, you’re creating a homely living room, a romantic meal, an aide to a strained friendship, with each and every bouquet.

If you’re a chauffeur, you can quantify your value-add – the freedom and convenience you provide, creating ease of travel and occasionally, companionship; as a saleswoman, you can quantify the leads you generate, the revenue you generate for the business you work for.  These are two methods you can use to find meaning in your work, to enjoy it. If you can’t quantify the value you bring or identify what you’re creating, think about how you can change the role to make this possible.

7. There’s no time like the present. You will at some point look back on this moment and wish you’d done something differently, or that you had something you have now which you won’t have in future. Try and figure out what that is and be grateful for it. If things are stressful at work and aren’t going as well as they could, make the change you’ll wish you did in retrospect. By valuing time and being grateful for what you have, you’re more likely to create the present you want. 

The world really is your oyster; the perfect segue to a reminder that SS 19 will be about fun food and drink experiences in London, from espresso bars to plant-based cafes, to secret brunches.

This season, AW 18, I’m sharing my thoughts on the small changes you can make to enjoy work and everyday life.

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