Last night after dinner my ten-year-old wiped out on his kick scooter after trying to do some new tricks. He has a nasty scrape and some serious bruises to show for his efforts, but is otherwise all in one piece. After inspecting our son’s injuries, Mr. People Equation informed me “That boy actually left some skin in his t-shirt, but thankfully, he’s young and resilient. I think his ego’s more bruised than his chest.”
Then my sage hubby intoned “And that is why old men don’t ride kick-scooters.”
I laughed and agreed that yeah, it’s probably not a real good idea for those of us of a certain age to hop on an unpredictable contraption like a scooter. Our bones aren’t as pliable as those of a grade-schooler.
Interestingly, here’s what Mr. People Equation took from our son’s mishap: what we seasoned folks lack in quick healing, we make up for in know-how. We learn when it’s wise to test out a new “trick” and when it’s best to leave it to let someone else give it a whirl.
How does this relate to being workplace savvy?
As I reflect on my career (now twenty-five years in the making), I can definitely see that the passage of time has helped me avoid too many serious wipeouts. The best teacher out there is certainly Experience and here’s what she’s taught me:
1. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t sound right to you, then it isn’t.
2. If you price it too low, chances are you’ll resent providing the service. And it will show.
3. The deal has to be good for everyone, or the relationship will eventually sour.
4. When you say “just this one time” to a customer (or employee, or your boss) you’ve just signaled your new boundaries. “Exceptions” to the rule are really just a new line in the sand, so only agree to something that you’ll be willing to do over and over again.
5. People make mistakes. Before you judge others too harshly for their actions, be sure yours are up to scrutiny.
6. Blaming others won’t get you anywhere. Neither will making excuses.
7. Professionalism never goes out of style.
8. It pays to be a good sport. (This one is courtesy of my mentor, Mary Urban Wright.)
9. If you’re going to be a good boss, you have to be willing to be a grown-up: check your ego and insecurities at the door.
Question: what has the teacher “Experience” taught you? Any life lessons learned that helped you avoid leaving some skin in your t-shirt?
Photo credit: istockphoto.com © Robert Dant