For many of us our back-to-school days are long gone – or at least on hiatus – but we’ll always be students of life. After all, education continues beyond the classroom. Here are a few thoughts to keep things sailing smoothly at home and on the job.
Tell the truth: Abraham Lincoln once said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
Think about it. What value comes from not telling the truth? More often than not, just short-term gratification. Yes, you might temporarily appease someone, but at the end of the day false truths have a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect them. Sometimes you accidentally give yourself away and other times the chain of communication unfolds in such a way as to expose you.
While it’s not always easy to tell the truth and doing so may disappoint someone or create an awkward situation, it’s always best to play it straight.
Don’t over promise. Whenever you provide a due date or deadline make sure you are being honest with your customer AND yourself. Don’t cut deadlines too tight and risk missing them for the sake of early approval. Allow for ample time to organize the project, double check it and ensure that there isn’t a need to place deadlines over quality results. Phrase your response in the form of, “I’ll do my best to meet your due date but worst case scenario we’ll have everything wrapped up by (insert realistic time frame here)”. Most of the time, the person on the other end of the conversation completely understands and will appreciate the value placed on being done right.
Say you’re sorry. This is one of the hardest things to do but can have the biggest impact on both personal and professional relationships. Not only does it take a big person to admit when they’re wrong, but doing so often catches the other person completely off guard. Try it. Your former nemesis might even end up defending you:
Help people. Nothing quite beats the feeling of doing someone a favor for no other reason than wanting to help. There are many opportunities to help friends, family or coworkers with projects. If you have the time or knowledge to help someone out it can’t hurt to lend a hand expecting nothing more than a thank you.
Know when to walk away. We’ve all had clients, friends, significant others, maybe even members of our own families, who are just hard to please. So there has to come a point when you stop trying, for the sake of your own sanity.