Every morning after I finish my time in the word (the bible) I follow that up with 20 minutes of educational reading. The idea came from a book I read about leadership years ago and since then I’ve always tried to stay consistent in the habit of reading. Readers are leaders, after-all. My most recent morning read has been a book called ‘Monday Morning Choices’ by Dave Cottrell. I chose it because I read a book of his several years ago, Monday Morning Leadership, that changed my work life. When I saw this newer book also by him I thought, I need that in my life.
This week on Tuesday my chapter was called, ‘choose the right enemies’. I immediately thought, whew, not really what I want to start my day with but I kept reading and as it turns out, it was a great message. While I didn’t know what to expect from the lesson it was primarily focused on being a person of integrity and surrounding yourself with people who purpose to be the same. Or as they say in the book ‘either walk with the tallest or walk alone’. This doesn’t mean your isolate people who are not of the same values as you, it does mean however, they don’t make your inner circle.
Cottrell defines values as ‘the accepted principles or standards of an individual or group’. So why does it matter if my friends and closest coworkers share my principles? We naturally purpose to please the people in close proximity to us. If you’re my friend then I value your opinion of me and my decisions possibly even enough to ask for your advice – so I need to make sure that you value the right things. Or maybe I shouldn’t say the right things but the same things that I have set as the standard principles of my life, morals, and workplace practices.
So why does having great values and choosing to be closest to those that share them mean we have to have enemies? Well, if doesn’t mean that we seek them out but it will inevitably mean they will surface anyway. There was a section of this particular chapter that was appropriately titled ‘no need to create enemies …they will surface on their own’. So make sure they are the right ones. The book recommended that you make your enemies in the work place these people:
– Backstabbers – those who betray a confidence or those who constantly discredit others
– People with short tempers – they are often catalysts for anger and discord at any moment
– Those who lose control by drinking too much at business functions
– Rebels against authority – they are on a collision course with failure
– People who rarely do what they say they are going to do
Now, some of these don’t apply to your workplace just like others don’t apply to mine. For example, I work for a Christian organization so there isn’t drinking at my business functions so over-drinking at them would obviously not be something that comes up. But I included all of these because what doesn’t apply to me might still apply to you. The takeaway from today to put into action is this: Choose your enemies and your friends very carefully. A bad choice can be devastating to your career. So, surround yourself with people of like values, and maintain your allegiance to those values’.
I loved this chapter because I have spent much of this year focusing on taking personal responsibility for everything in my life. Through the consulting process everything good or bad came back on me. How I handled things. How my choices lead me to a certain result. And ultimately keeping all the focus on what I can control: me. So this chapter reminded me that choosing my cohorts and my values and sticking with them in all circumstances will keep me on track with being the type of friend, person, girlfriend, coworker, etc that I desire to be.
I like to shed light on the positives when I can so let me tell you how applying this has worked for me this week. The sweet gal who sits across from me at work and I have been talking a lot about goals and our home lives. I shared with her some ideas of how I get things done around the house early in the mornings before work because it frees up my nights for ministry, relaxing, time with friends/boyfriend, etc. We share the value of keeping a clean, orderly home but not allowing that to take away from things and people that matter more to us. We texted in the mornings all week encouraging each other and sharing the successes of our early morning mission. A few days later she came into work and handed me a thank you present and told me that applying some of what we talked about had not only made her more successful but had drastically increased her confidence in herself so tangibly that her husband had even noticed!
Two days later my alarm would go off and I would want to snooze it. Actually truth be told I did but just as I laid my head back down because of her and her encouragement – I got up! I didn’t want to let her down. I rolled out of bed, drank an extra cup of coffee, and still achieved all of my morning goals before work.
Don’t spent your time and energy on the people you cannot please or truly at the end of the day, don’t desire to please. Search out people who will grow and develop you. Find the people who are hungry to do things better and spend time with them. Ask for advice from those who are achieving what you desire too. Will there be people who dislike you for any number of right or wrong reasons? Yes. There will be. But don’t forget, walk with the tallest or walk alone.
This is the beginning of several lessons I will be sharing over the next few weeks from what I’ve been reading and learning about how I can improve in the workplace and in life outside of my cubicle walls.