Follow Life’s Detours

Positivity and Professionalism

Detour – A roundabout or circuitous way or course, especially one used temporarily when the main route is closed

Definition provided by Webster’s Dictionary

We’ve all come across them.

They confuse and frustrate us, leaving us scrambling to find our way home.  They force us to take new paths of unfamiliar territories in our quest of the final destination.  They are unavoidable, and a major component of the journey itself.

They are detours, which we will continue to encounter while traveling the road of life.

Detours are designed to challenge us.  Their sole purpose is to test our strength, will, and determination.  They make things difficult for us, forcing us to persevere.

Once faced within detours, it is up to us to find a way.

Changes are a part of life.  While we have control over certain changes we choose to make, various external changes are beyond our control.

Instead of resisting changes while self-wallowing, it is imperative that we accept the changes.  We must use them to our advantage, embracing the resulting challenges we face.

The path is not supposed to be straight.  If it was, it wouldn’t be worth traveling.

The journey is not supposed to be simple.  If it was, it wouldn’t be worth taking.

Life is not supposed to come easy.  If it did, it wouldn’t be worth living.

Positivity and Professionalism: Follow Life's Detours



Face Your Fears!

Positivity and Professionalism

Face – To overcome by confronting boldly or bravely

Fear – Something that causes fright or apprehension

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

We all have fears.  It is perfectly normal to feel fear.  As mentioned in the previous post titled “What Are You Afraid Of?”, it is human nature to be afraid from time to time.

Regardless of what types of fears may stand in our way, we must not allow such fears to defeat or define us.

Instead, we must face our fears head on with the mindset that we will defeat them.

This mindset is not developed overnight.  Instead, it is worked at over time and requires strength, determination, and confidence.

Our problems are only as big as we create them to be.  Our worries are only as rational as we analyze them to be.  Our fears are only as real as we allow them to be.

The following are productive methods through which to consciously fight your demons and face your fears:

  • When fears first begin to race through your mind, take a deep breath in through your mouth and out through your nose
  • Remind yourself that fear is perfectly normal, though rarely rational
  • Force yourself into challenging situations which make you apprehensive or uncomfortable
  • Don’t give up or allow yourself to be defeated in the process
  • Know that you are doing everything in your power to overcome your issues

Throughout your ongoing battle with your fears, consistently remind yourself of the following:

  • “I am bigger than this”
  • “I am better than this”
  • “I am stronger than this”

While fighting your demons and facing your fears, make sure to keep one eye on your current road while keeping the other on the road ahead.  Don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal or the big picture.

When all is said and done, you will be a stronger person.

Positivity and Professionalism: Face Your Fears!

What Are You Afraid Of?

Positivity and Professionalism

Afraid – Feeling fear; filled with apprehension

Fear – Something that causes fright or apprehension

Definition provided by Webster’s Dictionary

We all have fears.  It is perfectly normal feel apprehensive.  It is human nature to be afraid.

As human beings, we are expected to feel afraid at times.  However, this common human emotion yields a dangerous domino effect:

  • Fear creates insecurity
  • Insecurity instills self-doubt
  • Self-doubt prevents effort
  • A lack of effort prevents success

In short, fear can prevent success.

Fear is a powerful force which cannot be quickly overcome.  Coming to terms with our fears is a process which requires significant time and steady effort.

Overcoming fear is not a simple matter of “snapping out of it”.  We must consciously work to overcome our fears and believe in ourselves.

When we live our lives in fear, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.  We can’t simply rationalize our fears by pointing fingers at people or situations.  Instead, are forced to look inward, as we become our own worst enemies.

The goal is not to avoid fear at all costs.  The concept is not to refrain from experiencing this emotion.

The objective is to come to terms with and face your fears.

In closing, please consider the following:

  • What are you afraid of?
  • How do your fears hold you back?
  • How do you intend to overcome your fears?

Next week, we’ll discuss productive methods through which to face your fears.

Positivity and Professionalism: What Are You Afraid Of?

The Importance of Teamwork

Positivity and Professionalism

Importance – The quality or state of being important; significance Teamwork – Cooperative effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary It’s a concept preached to us at a young age.  It’s an integral component of the professional world.  It’s a practice imperative to various aspects of life. It’s teamwork, and it’s all around us. You’ll notice there is no ‘I’ in the work ‘team’.  That cliché acknowledgement emphasizes the importance of a ‘we’ mentality. It is extremely important to be able to work well with others.  Teamwork has become increasingly important in the corporate world, with companies seeking the services of ‘team players’. It is commonly believed that the three most appealing employee candidate qualities are as follows:

  • Ability to be trained and follow directions
  • Solid written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to work efficiently with others in a team atmosphere

It’s not about being right.  It’s not about appearing more intelligent or skillful than your peers.  It’s not about what you can do to improve your professional reputation. It’s about finding the best possible solutions through coaching and collaboration. It’s okay to coach and to be coached.  It’s important to give and receive feedback.  The ongoing process requires cooperation on both ends.  Success requires teamwork. Always remember, the load is lighter when everyone lifts! The Importance of Teamwork

How to Maintain Professionalism; “Don’t Ever Give Up!”

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Giving Up – A verbal act of admitting defeat

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Life is a journey of incredible challenge.

Failure, frustration, and stress are very natural components of the journey.  We are expected to experience these types of emotions along the way.  After all, nothing worth having ever comes easy.

Self-doubt will uncontrollably creep into our minds, yielding a negative domino affect.  We will begin to view life with a negative mindset.

  • Opportunities will feel bleak
  • Goals will appear unattainable
  • Situations will seem hopeless

In the face of challenges, it is perfectly normal to develop this type of defeatist attitude.  However, in spite of such a mindset, it is imperative to heed some very important advice:

“Don’t ever give up!”

It is important to remain aware of self-doubt once it creeps through.  We must consciously decide to not allow such negative thinking to infiltrate and infest our psychological makeups.  We simply cannot allow ourselves to hold us back.

Imagine yourself running a marathon.  You’ve just reached the marker indicating that only two miles remain in your conquest.  You have somehow pushed your body through 24.2 miles and are extremely close to the finish line.  Your ultimate goal is nearly completed.

At this point, you’re exhausted, sore, and gasping for breath.  You’re not quite sure how you’ve come as far as you have, nor are you confident you’ll see it through to the end.  You feel as though your body will collapse at any second.

However, the most challenging portion of the race is where you will ultimately prove yourself.  After all the time and effort you’ve put towards preparing for the run, followed by the 24.2 miles you’ve logged thus far, there’s no chance you’re giving up now!

This marathon analogy shares parallels with the journey of life.

As noted in my previous post entitled “How to Maintain Professionalism; “Get Up and Try!”, the effort you put forth will carry the most weight with anything you set out to do.  After all, we cannot guarantee end results, though we can do everything in our power to put ourselves in favorable positions.

Considering the effort you’ve offered and the dedication you’ve shown, you owe it to yourself to see your conquests through to the very end.  The most challenging portions of your conquests will test your true strength, determination, and will.  Those final two miles will determine who you are and what you’re made of.

When you most want to quit is when you most need to push.  When you feel you’ve got nothing left, dig a little deeper.  When you fall, pick yourself up and keep moving.  You’re so very, very close.

Good luck.

This completes the “How to Maintain Professionalism” series of Positivity and Professionalism.

How to Maintain Professionalism;

How to Maintain Professionalism; “Get Up and Try!”

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Try – To endeavor to evaluate by experiment or experience

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Nothing in this world is a guarantee.  We do everything in our power to ensure positive results.  However, we only have so much control over personal and external circumstances.

Though we can only move a select number of pieces in the game of life, there are precautions we take to put ourselves in favorable positions.  We essentially play the percentage on a daily basis.

Though we cannot guarantee ideal futures for ourselves, there is an important approach we all must practice:

“Get up and try!”

It seems like common sense, though many people are actually afraid to do this.  There are various reasons why some may be unable to try:

  • Fear of mistakes or failure
  • Fear of fatigue or exhaustion
  • Difficulties multi-tasking or managing time

One must certainly possess self-confidence in order to avoid or overcome the aforementioned obstacles.  However, this type of self-confidence is not developed overnight.  It is something that must be worked at over time.  We sometimes need to try to believe in ourselves.

There is a major difference between trying and simply going through the motions.  The latter requires completion of minimal required objectives through slim effort.  Trying requires looking inward and offering all one has to offer a particular situation.

Trying leads to a positive domino effect.  Trying yields a sense of satisfaction, even if immediate results are not prevalent.  At the end of the day, you should sleep soundly knowing you held nothing back.

In the workplace, it is unhealthy to carry unrealistic expectations for yourself.  It is unnecessary to be your own worst enemy.  It is impossible to produce flawless results.  Instead:

  • Force yourself to embrace fresh opportunities
  • Push yourself to always put forth your best effort
  • Challenge yourself improve each and every day

Your effort is a significant factor in determining your level of professionalism.

As discussed in a previous post entitled “Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes!”, it is perfectly acceptable to fail on occasion.  There is no success without failure.  There is no failure without effort.  There is no effort without trying.

How to Maintain Professionalism;

“You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”
-Mike Ditka

How to Maintain Professionalism; “Focus On Yourself!”

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Yourself – A reflexive form of you

Definition provided by Webster’s Dictionary

From time to time, we find ourselves fixated on other peoples’ situations.  We become overly concerned with their mistakes, failures, and negative attitudes.  We become especially consumed by their actions which negatively impact ourselves.

It is human nature to fixate on others.

It is easy for people to distract us and negatively affect our moods.  In regards to the workplace, it can be extremely difficult to concentrate on tasks and maintain professionalism while dealing with such coworkers.

There is essentially one strategy you can use to deal with difficult people in the workplace.  It is some of the most important advice you will receive, and perhaps the most productive method through which to save yourself from others:

“Focus on yourself!”

“Focus on myself?  But, I’m a team player!  People come to me with issues and concerns, which makes me feel like an integral component of this company.  I have always wanted and continue to want for people to like me.  I can’t simply focus on myself and tune everything else out!”

The notion of focusing on yourself has nothing to do with stubborn pride nor inconsiderate selfishness.  It does not indicate a lack of teamwork or an inability to work well with others.

This advice is designed to help you concentrate on your daily objectives.  After all, you will maximize productivity if you tune out what you cannot control.

People are responsible for their own actions.  At the end of the day, they will say and do as they please.  We ultimately have no control over others.

As you enter your place of employment, remind yourself that you cannot dictate the behavior of your peers.  Know that you do, however, have control over the way you respond to their actions.

Make a conscious effort to implement this action on a daily basis and commit it to practice.  Once engrained in your routine, you will feel extremely refreshed, with the baggage of others having been removed from your back.

While it is counterproductive to fixate on the behaviors of others, it is more than okay to focus on yourself.

How to Maintain Professionalism;

How to Maintain Professionalism; “Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes!”

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Mistake – An error in action, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Everyone makes mistakes.  It is human nature to err on occasion.  Mistakes are simply inevitable.

The least productive way to handle mistakes is to dwell on and replay them in your head while beating yourself up all along.

The most productive way to handle mistakes is to acknowledge and learn from them while growing and strengthening in character.

Mistakes occur in all facets of life, from personal situations to professional settings.

As you journey through life, be sure to carry with you one very important piece of advice:

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!”

A willingness to make and learn from mistakes is a sign of humility.  It portrays a desire for personal growth and improvement.  One who is not afraid to make mistakes is willing to accept feedback and constructive criticism from others.

As mentioned in previous posts, it is impossible to maintain a flawless existence on this Earth.  It is not possible to entirely prevent negative thoughts from swimming our way, nor is it possible to produce perfect results.  We cannot reach our objectives without enduring a few bumps and bruises along the way.

There are various reasons as to why people may be afraid to make mistakes:

  • Fear of being judged by peers, possibly leading to damaged reputation
  • Fear of failure, negatively impacting self-esteem and confidence
  • Perfectionism quality put in check, leading to self-doubt and reevaluation of personal abilities and ultimate goals

These modes of thinking are common among people who are afraid to make mistakes.  However, besides prevalence, these thoughts share one important theme:

They are irrational!

If you live your life in fear of making mistakes, you will be removed from your natural, most productive element.  You will feel nervous, anxious, and vulnerable while working through tasks and objectives.  Therefore, an intense fear of making mistakes may actually produce an increased number of mistakes!

You must possess the humility to expect mistakes from yourself, coupled with the confidence to know that your mistakes do not define your character.  These attributes will yield your most favorable results and maximize your professionalism.

No matter what anyone says, you are allowed to make mistakes.  Sure, some mistakes loom larger than others.  However, there is ALWAYS a lesson to be learned, and always room for personal growth.

In the midst of this hectic journey which we call life, please don’t ever forget that it is okay to make mistakes.  As imperfect human beings, we are expected to make mistakes.

It is okay to be human.

How to Maintain Professionalism;

How to Maintain Professionalism; “Leave Your Baggage at the Door!”

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Maintain – To keep in existence or continuance; preserve

Baggage – Things that encumber one’s freedom; impediments

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

In my previous post entitled “Professionalism in the Workplace”, we discussed the importance of maintaining professionalism at one’s place of employment.

This week, we’ll begin discussing ways though which to maintain professionalism.  Specifically, we’ll focus on the first major step towards committing professionalism to habit.

Though we acknowledge the importance of maintaining professionalism in the workplace, it can be extremely difficult to implement such a mentality to daily practice.  We understand what is expected of us, though we occasionally struggle to convert on our ends.

However, it is never too late to make positive changes to one’s workplace attitude and habits.  There is hope for everyone.

Even through our most troubling times and lowest of emotional low’s, we possess the power to find and maintain professionalism.  As indicated by the above definition of maintain, this process will require one to push him or herself and to truly persevere.

The following is the first of several methods which will help to ensure workplace professionalism and yield favorable workplace results:

“Leave your baggage at the door!”

We hear this phrase constantly.  Life contains an unlimited amount of peaks and valleys.  We all fall on difficult times, some of which can drain us emotionally.  However, in spite of the proverbial curve balls thrown our way, we must remain focused on the tasks at hand.

We understand the importance of keeping personal issues away from the workplace.  However, how often do we honestly practice this preaching?  Do we always leave our emotional baggage at the door?

During your next trip to work, take time to reflect.  Whether you’re driving your own vehicle, riding the subway, sharing a taxi cab, or even walking from home, be sure to let your thoughts productively flow in a positive direction while maintaining awareness of your ultimate destination.

Remind yourself that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for.  Acknowledge that you are too strong of a person to let your issues interfere with your workplace attitude or focus.  Concede that your issues cannot be address at work, though they will certainly be taken care of in due time.  Take a deep breath and tell yourself that everything is going to be okay.

Once you’ve arrived near your work destination, prepare yourself for a stoic “grand entrance” via foot.

Hold your head high and acknowledge your importance to your company.  Give yourself credit for your professional accomplishments thus far.  It’s okay to be proud of yourself for individual contributions.

Upon entrance to your place of employment, say aloud or to yourself “My baggage stays outside here, where it belongs”.  Feel yourself leaving an emotional burden behind, while making sure you’ve held onto your actual suitcase and personal belongings!

Concentrate on making this baggage check a daily routine, with the attitude that each day’s “grand entrance” will be better than that of the previous day.

In my next post, we will discuss the power of a smile while maintaining professionalism.

How to Maintain Professionalism;

What is Professionalism?

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Definition provided by Webster’s Dictionary

The term professionalism is commonly used when referring to work settings.

We often hear people discuss the importance of maintaining a professional attitude in the workplace.  After all, your workplace attitude reflects your company, position, and self.

Regardless of your company rank, daily responsibilities, salary, or any other external circumstance, your attitude will define your character.

However, professionalism is not limited to your attitude in the workplace.

Professionalism, or a lack thereof, will determine your attitude on life, in general.  Your attitude carries the most weight and speaks louder than all other outside factors.

Your reputation is what others perceive you to be, while your character represents who you truly are and what you stand for.  That being said, your attitude is what ultimately defines your character.

Though others can judge or label you based on your attitude, the opinions of others do not dictate what is there or who you are.  Your attitude can not be negotiated nor compromised.  It belongs to you and only you.

You define your attitude, just as your attitude defines you.

In my next post, we’ll explore this subject on a deeper level.  Specifically, we’ll concentrate on the importance of professionalism in the workplace.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

-John Wooden