A few weeks ago I was watching my son compete at a high school track meet when I ran into Tyler, a young man whom I had the pleasure of coaching in baseball a few years back. Tyler was there to cheer on his sister, a member of the opposing squad, and we caught up on how his baseball season was going. Tyler plays on his high school’s varsity team but isn’t getting quite as much playing time as he’d like.
I see Tyler fairly regularly, and since he still calls me “Coach,” I couldn’t help but offer some on-the-spot coaching to help encourage him. I said “Tyler, when I coached you I always appreciated that I never had to say anything to you about your effort and attitude. You always worked hard in practices and games, gave your best effort, and always displayed an excellent attitude with coaches and teammates. Effort and attitude are two things that you completely control. You can’t control how much playing time you get, but you have 100% control over the amount of effort you give and the attitude you choose to have. Keep working hard, have a great attitude, and your time will come.”
Your boss should never have to ask you to give a better effort or improve your attitude.
There are a lot of things about work we can’t control – angry customers, heavy workloads, annoying co-workers, bad bosses, or dysfunctional teams, just to name a few. But your personal effort and attitude? Totally under your control.
Here’s some coaching tips that may help you improve in these areas:
- Be organized. Plan your work. Work your plan.
- Prioritize. Balance the urgent and important tasks. Don’t just work hard, work smart.
- Don’t multi-task. It’s a myth, it’s stupid, and it doesn’t work. Start a task and finish it.
- Stay focused by working in 20-30 minute phases and then take a 3-5 minute break. It helps you maintain your attention and energy levels.
- Identify the high performers in your role. Watch how they work. Do what they do.
- Keep learning, growing, and improving your skills.
- Focus on the positive elements of your job, not the negative.
- Follow Mom’s advice. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
- Assume best intentions. Most people aren’t trying to intentionally ruin your day.
- Get a coach or mentor. Having someone to help you see the bigger picture keeps things in perspective.
- Exercise. Eat healthy. Pick up a hobby. It’s important to take care of yourself and find ways to relieve stress.
- Prayer, meditation, solitude, and other spiritual practices help keep you balanced.
Effort and attitude, two things always under your control. Will you control them?