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I have worked for a fair number of people over the years. Some of these people, both male and female, have been a pleasure to work for, whilst others have been a complete nightmare. All have shaped who I am today in one way or the other.

Most books and articles will tell you to copy or emulate your idols or role models. I disagree. I have learnt some of my most critical lessons by watching my leaders do things I never want to do. Sounds strange, I know. Example. I had a senior, that when asked how to do something, would come and do it for me. That’s not how I want to do it and to this day (and forever) I will show a person how to do something and (even better) get them to do ie: talk them through. I believe that people learn better than way.
I leant another great lesson from someone the other day. An owner of a company refused a cup of coffee to be made for him because he had to go to the kitchen to wash his lunch box. He said he would make the coffee while he was there. A “person at the top” willing to roll up his sleeves and do it himself! Just because you are the owner or further up the ladder than others, doesn’t mean you cannot do the little things in life.
If you are willing to do the small stuff, then the big stuff will come easily.

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Be Willing

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work as a manager at a popular restaurant in Durban. Part of the job, was to interview and hire new waiters, both male and female. I was approached by a young male one day who seemed very dirty and rough, for a position. On further questioning, he actually was homeless.

Most of you are thinking that I should have turned the man away with no chance of being employed by the restaurant. On the contrary! I hired the guy and he turned out to be an amazing man to work with. The amazing part was the fact that he was willing to do the job. He was also willing to learn new abilities if he did not know how to do them. He was able to teach us a few things too!

As opposed to this, I have worked with well dressed, well educated people who do not care about anything else but themselves and are not willing to help other out if it does not benefit them personally. Working as a team is out of the question. I get the strangest looks when I suggest doing something for others. Doing a task to benefit the company or relieve others is a foreign concept greeted with anger and confusion.
Personally, whatever benefits the team comes first over personal gain. This, as said above, is a foreign concept to many. Personal gain comes with team victories. This is my belief, at least. A person who is willing to work and help others will always be first on my list.

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As we all race towards the end of year, most (if not all) of us will be attending a Christmas / end of year function held by our employers. I have a different view on this time of the year so I stand back and have to ask what the point of this function is.

There are 2 sides to every story and therefore it goes that there are 2 answers to every question. This question can be seen from 2 different view points: the employer and the employee.

Employer:

Is it a thank you for the year passed and all your hard work? If so, that is great!

Is it a profit reducing (and therefore tax reducing) exercise? If so, not so great!

Is it a mundane necessity that you do not want to have but “sort of have to”? If so, not so great!

Employee:

Is it viewed as a relaxing, enjoyable function to get to know your fellow colleagues better away from the work environment? Thought not!

It is a way of getting that raise you wanted by drinking the most expensive hard liquor even though you do not drink? Know any of these people?

Is it a forced to be happy environment that no one can stand until they are free to go? Probably.

I have actually over the years attended a lot of the above functions. Not all but most. I have never drank a huge amount of expensive liquor so drinking the raise would take me about 56 days 1 beer at a time! Not really worth it.

i believe the attitude you take into the whole festive / end of year season will determine whether you enjoy the function. For me the festive season is really about saying thank you. This year has been tough and quite long and the Christmas function will be viewed as a thank you from both sides in my eyes. The employers can thank me for the work I have put in and I am thankful for the opportunity they have given me in working for the company. i have not been working for the company that long so getting to know the people better will actually be quite interesting.

There will no doubt be copious amounts of drinking around the world over the next few weeks but for me, the drinks do not define the occasion. I may just sit back and watch it all from my chair and enjoy the time, company and good meal.

Whatever your take on the festive season – take it easy and take care.

 

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My 8 1/2 month old daughter, Makayla, has an amazing fascination for object that she has seen many times before.
Every time an object is given to her to hold she will study it with her eyes and hands and generally follow that by sticking it in her mouth. If you give her the same object again – she will do the same thing as if she has never seen the object before.
This is a practise that decreases every day as we get older. It is quite sad too.
How often in every day life and especially at work have you stumbled whilst doing a task and. Looked over it 6 or 7 times and not found the solution yet? I do it regularly. This does not mean that we are stupid or incompetent at the task but rather it means we look at it and say “I know that is correct” and move on. We must take a lesson from Makayla (and most children her age) and look at it through “new eyes”.
I am sure that if we rediscover this ability, we would be able to save ourselves time and loads of frustration.

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We all know about the most common type of body language, the one between people. The signs we see when things are not working or the sign to make that move. But what about the signs our body uses when trying to tell us to slow down or take it easy. We so often punish our bodies and push them to the limit without even realising the toll it takes. 

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“Leave everything on the road – Leave nothing to doubt” is a phrase that I have come to use in my life. It originated on the tar roads of Durban on my road bike but has crept into all aspects of my life! Here is how it came about … these are the words I wrote down after a cycling event last year. It was 50 km done on the tandem with my dad.


I know that in the past, in terms of sporting events, I always hold thereby keeping something in reserve just in case. This was probably me being scared of hitting the wall and having to suffer home. Well not this time. This time I left it all out on the road. I look back now  and can say that I could not have done any more – I left nothing to doubt today.


The result was that afterwards I could not stand up straight but could stand tall. not because we had won the race on the day but because I know I did everything and gave everything I had that day. I do say that God provided me with not only the physical strength but most importantly the mental focus required to carry on when all I wanted to do was slow down and cruise on home.


A big day indeed. Laid everything down. Left everything on the road. But even with nothing left to doubt – the greatest part of it all was being able to enter.

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