Going Deeper into Your Work

I sat in the crowded room.

So many smart people all trying to improve the company’s website.

I chuckled.

I felt lucky to be here.

Tom stood up and said, “We are looking at the problem all wrong. We’re too focused on our perspective. We need to look at it from the customer’s perspective.”

He was right. We were so worried about gaining new members we forgot to make sure our current customers were happy.

I’ve been working with a big client over the past year. It’s taking up a lot of my time.

I miss my smaller clients, but there is a lot of positive when working with a big client.

When you work with a lot of smart people you get to learn directly from them. You see how their mind works and how they see things that you don’t.

You probably get to work with some talented people as well. The more you learn from them the more it helps your career.

It’s taking his time to go a little deeper into studying the people around you that will really help you grow. Let’s look at a few ways you can improve your career by just watching the habits of the talented people around you.

1. How do they prepare?

When you work with talented and caring people you’ll notice a common theme. They all prepare well, so they can can kick butt at work.

Next time they have a big presentation watch what they do.

  1. How do they research their presentation?
  2. Who do they talk to get feedback?
  3. What rituals do they do to get in the right mindset?

The last one is very important because it helps sets the tone for the presentation. Before a big presentation they might have a routine where they make a cup of tea, wear a certain shirt, play a certain song, or read a energizing article and allow them to feel confident. It’s routine that helps them get in the zone.

You’ll start to notice a common theme when dealing with smart, talented and caring people. They understand what they want to accomplish and they make sure they are prepared to do their best. Even when they fall short they are still proud of their work because they gave it their all.

2. What do they care the most about?

Understanding what makes people tick is key to learning from them. I like ask people straight out why they care about their jobs.

I ask…

What’s the favorite part of your job?

If they talk with passion and/or go into great detail then I can see that they truly care about their work. This fascinates me because I haven’t always been this way. The older I get the more I realize that they work at this. No one loves everything about their job, but he ones that grow their career focus on the stuff that they care about.

The question usually reveals a lot about the person. I had a boss who loved Design. He loved reading user experience articles and sharing them with us. It dictated how he went about his job every single day. He lived and breathed his work.

People also show you how they care through their actions. If they go the extra mile they love the work. If they are a good coach they love helping others. If they ask you if they can help then they care about you.

You can learn so much by watching people and how they converse with others. I started complimenting people more because I had a coworker who did it so well. He would compliment your work and explain why he appreciated your effort. It made me feel good about myself and want to help him even more. That’s they type of person I wanted to be at work.

3. What makes them special?

Some people just have certain gifts that they rely on, but what makes most people special is how willing they are to go deep into their work.

They push through when most people give up. It’s this tenacity/focus that helps them succeed.

Next time a coworker hits a stumbling block see how they react. Do they go a little deeper and try a little harder?

I had a boss that took notes at every meeting. He didn’t want to miss a thing. I’m still working on this habit, but his habit sticks with me. I always have a notepad or my phone, so I can jot down notes so I will remember to follow up or remember to take action after the meeting is over.

Your Turn

What is one thing you see someone else do that you can incorporate into your skill set?

Look around at the people that you work with try talking to the people that you see bring special talents to the table. Find out why they enjoy their work. Ask them if they have any routines.

You have an opportunity to go deeper into your work, improving your career, just by getting advice from the people you work with.

If you don’t have anyone that you admire then go outside of your company. LinkedIn is perfect for this. Connect with someone and see if they will answer a few questions.

Remember people are busy so don’t take it personal if they don’t respond back right away if at all. It’s important that you don’t give up. If you want to take your skills to a new level then you are going to learn from other talented people. Keep reaching out to other people until someone responds back.

Books and podcasts are always a great resource, but if you can learn a skill from someone you admire at work then that’s one of the best ways to build a relationship and grow your skills

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