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How to Shrug off Your Worst Enemy When You Restart


The world is opening up, coming out of hiding. The world is restarting. You are being called back to work. You are restarting. But, are you the same you, coming out of the hiding as the one who went in?
Do you know what happened to you in the lockdown? Do you? What kind of question is that? Who knows about yourself better than you? Right? You are so sure about yourself. You know your values. You will honor your values. You will do the right thing. You will not do things that will harm you, or the ones you love. You will do what’s good for you and those around you. Of course, you are sure of yourself. Or, do you?

Too rich to fail?

“He stood perfectly still like a statute of some classical God, his muscular tattooed arms and torso flexed, the German defense trembling in his wake and the world at his feet.
This was Mario Balotelli in 2012. The 21-year-old wild child who was blessed with it all. He had just helped Manchester City win the Premier League; now he had blasted Italy into the final of the European Championship”

These words. A beautiful tribute. From writer Adam Shergold, of the Daily Mail. About Mario Balotelli. Who could have been amongst the world’s greats.
Unfortunately, the title of the post gave everything away. It is a sad description. About the state of Balotelli. Today.

“Mario Balotelli: the decline and fall of a player who was destined to be world class but is now unloved and unwanted.”
Coreherence .com

Of course. This is about Mario Balotelli. The once prolific goal poacher with Manchester City. Who, when he wanted, would get all the kudos for what he could do with his feet. And lots of flak for what he could not do with his head.
He was getting all the adoration for what he was doing on the pitch. And all the bad press for his off the field antics.

He was getting so much heat. That he used to lift his jersey after a goal, asking the question on his undershirt, “Why always me?”

We are talking about a footballer. A soccer player, if you are American.

But. Americans need not bother with Balotelli. When you have Winona Ryder, Chris Brown, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen. To name a few.
As an afterthought. In the interview with People magazine in 2007. Ryder admitted, “The attention was embarrassing.”

If embarrassment was the price they paid for their indiscretions, it’s a bargain. It’s known well that the well-knowns paid for their excursions with their reputation and lucrative careers. All of the once noisily famous have slid into quiet anonymity.
How to work with yourself

These once blessed few may have been pampered by life so lavishly that they thought they were too rich to fail. They thought they knew themselves. They would do what was good for them. Balotelli, specifically, probably failed to understand that his skills were gifts. Gifts from hard work and training. That if you do not use them, thinking that they will stay, thinking they are gifts from God, they are natural talents, you will lose them. Even if you have done the 10,000 hours, you can only summon the ingrained skills through intent and focus. Some fail to understand, your reputation is what you do, not who you are. It’s as good as your next behavior.

You think you know yourself?

Would you be surprised that they are surprised how they ended up? They thought they knew themselves. They probably knew parts of themselves when they were ordinary. They did not take into consideration the celebrity factor. They were in the limelight. They were under the glares. There would be distractions. They were, I can only guess, distracted from the core values which had put them on their pedestals.

What about you? Do you know yourself? Do you know how to work with yourself? Are you paying attention to the subtle changes forced by the months of fear, anxiety and domination by the threat of Covid 19? Are you prepared for the new norm? You can follow the social distancing guidelines when you restart work. You will be reminded to wear the face mask when in close proximity, as in meetings. You learn to sing two ‘Happy Birthday’ while washing your hands. You will press on the sanitizer mindlessly and coat the liquid all over your hands and wrists.

Those are external SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). What about the internal SOPs? Will your brain tell you it’s alright to be sloppy? It’s still pandemic time. It’s muck around time, like it was in hiding. Will you miss the deadline?  Will you be anxiously scanning around for source of droplets? Not being focused. Uneasy. Will it be hard to regain the exuberance without the announcement of a vaccine? Are worries about your loved ones, who are somewhere else, weighing you down? Will you have an anxiety attack, when the boss is around? His eyes scanning. You avoiding the scan. Is he picking the next to let go?
Coreherence. com

Even before the pandemic, are you sure you know how to work with yourself? If you do, what about the projects which were never completed although you had a deadline to it?  Why did you give them up when you started gung ho? Or, the missed deadlines?  Why can’t you keep to your deadlines?

How about the time you thought what you were doing would work and mid-way through the struggle, you were feeling almost depressed? Feeling that it was not worth the effort. There was this time your friends were excited with your plans and thought you would be the next big thing, your excitement fizzled and you groveled to the ground? So you think it is a natural thing to be able to work with yourself?

Okay. Okay, you know how to work with yourself. No harm revisiting some strategies as you are restarting. Eleanor. Roosevelt. She said the wisest thing. The master guide to work with yourself. Listen to Eleanor: “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” A never fail advice from the great lady. Think a little on how to work with yourself. Towards a confident restart. Sustaining a long and fruitful career.

1)Fine tune the critical intangible you. You don’t have to reset. Just revisit. Unless you feel a compelling need to do so.
Reflect on your beliefs and values. Are they aligned for the situational demands? Review your Life Purpose. Has your focus on life, its priorities changed? What do you feel driven by, now? Set your goals. Work to clarity on what you want from your life. What excites you now? What are you prepared to be, to do to get what you want? Getting the want is the result of being and doing. Nothing materializes until you become the person who deserves the spoils, immersed in the actions that will take you to your wants. Most important; write it down to make it happen! Once you have shaped your purpose and structure your goals, choose work that supports living your purpose and achieving your goals. You may have to reformat the way you work, not the work itself. You may have to reprogram how you relate, now that shaking hands may be a taboo and hugging is not a longed for comfort. Internally, you have to find cool in quite few changes.

2)Impregnate yourself with the achiever’s mentality. I would re-read Denis Waitley’s “The Psychology of Winning- Ten Qualities of a Total Winner.” This is a timeless gem of a manual on how to transform yourself. On how to reclaim a winning mentality. It has helped turned a teenage stuttering me with low self-confidence, to a positive action based achiever of my goals. This book shouts, no it screams; “You are worth it! Like yourself. Love yourself. Do not reject a positive appreciation. You are worth it. Accept it. Just say thank you. Enjoy it. You are worthy of the winning, the achieving and the rewarding.”  Of course, today’s science based self-help may say it is not that easy. Loving yourself may be crazy. William James is a human science person. He is an often quoted psychologist. This is his famous finding, “I don’t sing because I am happy, I am happy because I sing.” You have to sing first, feel happy before you are happy. You have to believe that you are a winner to go about winning. There are always contrarians. There are always contrarians to contrarians. It never ends. Who’s work charged you up the last time? Go back and recharge. There’s too much science into human beings nowadays. We are probably mistaken for humachines. If human science is perfectly right, there will be no human conflicts. Whatever you choose to do, get yourself charged, positive and ready to tackle the new world. Specifically, the new expectations.

3)Protect yourself from stinking thinking. Catch negative language in your self-talk. Your mind is constantly chattering, about what you can do, what you are incapable of doing. Constantly, telling you to play safe, not to take risk and, at times belittling you to keep you from trying. All in the name of good intention to protect you. A mind warp from the days of our forefathers where danger lurk at every dark corner. To stop the negative chatters, write the contents down, reframe them to positive. Reflect on them and reword until you feel good. Feed the new tonic to your mind daily. Safe keep the new ideal in the vault of your memory that it will be sprung up automatically to overwhelm your negative chatterbox.  In plain language, turn your negative self-talk into positive script. Read them to as many times as it takes to replace the self-defeating chatter. Shad Helmstetter’s “What to Say when you Talk with Yourself” is an excellent book on the subject.
How to work with Yourself

 It's not what's happening

   When you are faced with real criticisms and cruel put downs, understand the importance is not what is happening but how you respond to what is happening. Are you going to let the criticisms and put downs shape you? Take legit input for improvement, dismiss the rest as junk communications. Always work harder for your positive self when you are working and thinking. Don’t get worked up if a situation does not work for you. Step back. Feel compassion for yourself, and others involved. Even if one is trying to screw you. That person suffers from a malady. Be conscious of the root cause. Try to work around it. Regroup. Rethink. Reframe. Try again. You do not want to be in a place with no problems. It’s either six feet deep or in an urn.

4)Plan your work and work your plan. Having a calm, confident inner self is foundation for achievement. Getting tangible rewards require tangible effort. Plan to work hard, smartly. Review your resources, time money and support. Plan your work according to maximize the resources you have. The best approach is commit to expectation and work to over deliver. This is not the same as sand bagging. 
Some planning strategies:
a)   Know your sweet hours. Do you work better      in the morning or afternoon? Get your best        work done at the sweet hours.

b)  Eat the elephant by parts. When faced with a big task, do not attempt to do it all in one sitting. Spread the tasks by parts and pause when you get a part done. Savor the win. Be conscious of your time commit but do not defeat yourself with the impossible. Don’t set yourself up for failure by stressing yourself to stupidity.

c)   Seek expertise When faced with a complex and difficult job, look at breaking it down into smaller components. Delegate the special tasks to specialists. Ask for help. Do not let the boss wait till the end of the long journey for an update. Regular progress reports will save everyone from surprises and save you from being forgotten. Each session will help you get timely support and confirmation. Your performance is protected if you do good work by the minutes of meetings.

d)  Prioritize. Get the important things done first. Give yourself a pat on the back. Give time to the urgent unimportant. Protect yourself from distraction. Book your own calendar for the time you need. When someone drops in as you are working, stand up. Walk out of the office while continuing talking. End the conversation quickly if you feel you are wasting time. But, politely. You can say you have a pressing deadline and would certainly be interested to discuss at another time. If the person is worth it, set an appointment. Extricate yourself by setting another time for continued discussion. Tasks listed on to do list must be ones that help you achieve your goals. Always let your boss and those around you know your work prioritization plan. Remember, when assigning importance to your task list, your boss and customers’ expectations are priorities.

e)   Be willing to share the spoils. When you know you will be hard pressed to deliver a result within a certain time frame, gather help. Be lavish with praise. Be generous with recognition. Be seen as a success broker. People will follow your lead. Be known as an unselfish colleague who is willing to share recognition. A recognition shared is better than a recognition lost. However, the reward must be meaningful for all involved. Even if unsolicited, send out a 360 feedback to your supporter’s boss. In some companies there is a formal 360 process. It is gathering feedback for annual performance review. Usually there is a standard format. If there is none create one and use the tool consistently. Be known as a success broker.

The country has just reopened for business. There is every opportunity to make today the first day of the rest of your successful career. A better one than before we went into hiding from the coronavirus. Put your mind and muscle to it. Again, stay safe. Stay healthy.

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