It’s not just what you do that counts…

Self-help and motivational literature often rightly accentuates the positives; the things people do well and which have led them to succeed in one field or another in the past.

It is my supposition that, in many instances, we are as often defined by what we do not do, as what we actually do. This can have untold effects.

Pressure situations can cause us do things we would ordinarily not do. On Monday, January 11th, I had a three hour exam which I was feeling anxious about. The exam was composed of four sections, with nine question in total.  When I opened the exam paper my heart sank. The theme I had hoped would appear in the first question was there.  However, it was worded in such a way that it dispelled my quiet confidence going into the exam. My eagerness to see what I wanted to see caused me to overlook the other question in the section, which I gave a mere cursory glance. I had fixated on the word ‘technology‘, one of the themes I had studied in detail.  In my eagerness to get started I neglected the bigger picture. After talking to some off my friends on the course, in our post exam debrief over a bite to eat, it struck me that the second question in that section would have been much more appropriate for me.

So what?  The point is we can often search for comfort, whether it be in exams, business or life more generally. In doing so we may unwittingly miss greater opportunities that, on reflection, we might otherwise have benefitted from.

This can have far reaching implications, especially when we are trying to expand our professional network.

Tunnel at Tesco

The above is a picture of the tunnel at Tesco Burnage in south Manchester.  Setting out on your path ahead is not always straightforward.

Trust can take time to build, making good on promises is a great way to go about establishing it. By failing to send that email, make that phone call or share that link as promised your credibility can be fatally undermined. Why go out of your way for someone who does not ‘do their bit’ in return? It is a waste of time.

The first four lines from nursery rhyme ‘A man of words and deeds’ sum up the sentiment.

A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds,
And when the weeds begin to grow,
It’s like a garden full of snow.

The exact author of ‘A man of words and deeds’ is not known.

Once contact has been established, via email, phone or social media, a little patience may well be required.  The recipient will probably have a lot of things on their plate. So, if you do not get a response immediately, do not lose heart. Do follow up when you feel the time is right. If you made a positive impression in the first place that will help your cause.

When you receive a response do not forget to say thank you‘Good manners cost nothing’. It is the little things that make a big difference.

‘What’s in it for me?’  This is a fairly natural question to ask, but remember to take account of what others might be feeling and priorities they will no doubt have. “Givers gain” as the old saying goes.

Do not let 2016 be a year of ‘if only I’d have, I wish I’d…’  Make the most of it.  Hope you have a happy, peaceful, prosperous and, above all, healthy new  year.


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