Habits for Success
"I am all about Attitude Adjustment 101,” says public relations expert and workshop guru Susan Young. “Having a positive attitude is crucial in this world. I tell people, you can have a lot of education, but if you don’t have a good attitude, you won’t get far.”
The good news for the dowdy? “People can learn the habits that support success,” she says.
Young teaches those habits while sharing personal stories, motivational messages and entertaining anecdotes. For example, she shares a story about her father, a businessman working in Manhattan’s garment district. “He always carried a briefcase with a card inside that read ‘Don’t Quit,’” she says. “He taught us to stay with it and work hard. I share these stories to show how people are in control of their attitude.”
Similarly, she talks about the role of four-letter words in attitude adjustment. “I use them a lot. Words like care, nice, team, help, and give. With each word, I’ve got stories to share about timeless methods leading to work success and rules to live by,” she says.
Listen up and ask questions. While an IQ never significantly changes from birth, an EQ, or emotional quotient, is very flexible. “This is about people skills and how you manage relationships,” Young says. “You can improve by asking the right question and really hearing what people say when they answer your questions.”
Motivation matters. People can reach their potential when they are motivated to go the extra mile. “I ask people what holds them back because fear paralyzes people. They become stuck,” she says. A better route: ask yourself what you would do if you knew you could not possibly fail. “Thinking this way lets you bring out the gifts you were born with,” Young says. “When I ask, ‘What’s holding you back?’ usually, fear, time, and money are the answers. I say we all have gifts and resources within us. When you’re motivated, you can bring them out.”
Chunky is better. “You might feel a sense of overwhelming when you look at the large goal while dealing with E-mails, deadlines, goals, putting out fires, and other distractions,” Young says. “By looking at work in smaller, more manageable chunks, it is less overwhelming.”
One way she to “chunk down” is by creating action lists. Young suggests that each night, before stopping work, write down everything to be done the next day and give it a priority. “As you start crossing things off as they are done, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment,” she says.
Similarly, she suggests following the 4D rule. “Create four folders on your desk and label them Do, Delegate, Defer, or Dump. Everything on your desk goes into one of those folders. It forces you to manage the work rather than shuffle the papers and it helps you stop procrastinating,” she says.
“There is just so much information, most of which is irrelevant to us,” she says. “It’s often stuff we didn’t even ask for, but it winds up in our office or home. So it’s our job to decide what we really don’t need.” It boils down to discipline. “For each of us, it is a matter of sitting down and getting things done,” Young says. “So many things fight for our attention that it is hard to focus. But we have to be disciplined.”
Excerpted from the July 18, 2008, issue of U.S. 1.