Do you remember when you got your first car? You may have been 16. You may have been 36. No matter what your age, I’ll bet your feelings were the same: pride and excitement. I remember how I felt about my first car. It was like my baby. I washed it. I waxed it. I carefully rubbed out any blemish in the wax and applied touch-up paint every time someone had the nerve to put a scratch on it!
Now, let me ask you a question: how do you feel about your work product? Everyone has a work product. Even as a therapist, there are times that I leave my office thinking, “Wow! I was really good today!” I have a sense of pride and excitement that is similar to my feelings about that new car. Then, there are the other times. The times when I walk out thinking: “Why am I doing this?” That’s when I have to take out my “positive polish” kit. That is the kit that helps me to focus on the good things that I have done, and plan how I can do other things better. Consider the process of washing and waxing a car. You don’t just glob on a bunch of wax and buff it out. No. No. No! First you must carefully wash and dry your car. You have to scrub using a liberal amount of elbow grease to get the dirt off. Then, you must dry off every inch and check to see if it is clear and ready for the wax. Likewise, you should also take out a recent piece or example of work product and examine it. How well did you run that meeting? Was your last memo well written? How about your most recent conflict with your adolescent? Did you react as you should have, or do you wish that you had responded differently? No matter whether you manage 1000 employees or a household of 2, you have some type of work product to examine.
The next step in a good wash and wax job is the application of the wax. Again, you can’t just throw globs of wax carelessly all over the car! You have to lovingly apply it in circular swirls all over the vehicle. Great care must be taken not to get wax on any of the rubber or glass surfaces. Just as you carefully apply the new coat of wax, you must also carefully consider how to lay the groundwork for improving your work product. How exactly could you add zest to the meal you regularly prepare for your family? What can you do to add spice to your relationship with your spouse or significant other? Is there something that you could do to make your next sales campaign more inspiring for your sales representatives? How can you communicate more effectively with your clients? This step requires both thought and planning, but as with the application of wax on a car, it is the most crucial step toward having an optimum final product.
Last, but not least, your car will not look fantastic until the wax is buffed to a glossy shine. Would you really drive your car down the main street of your town with a white coat of unpolished wax there for everyone to see? No way! To avoid that embarrassment you rub and rub until all the wax is polished, and your car is shiny bright. Your revised work product won’t be ready for viewing until you’ve applied substantial amounts of mental elbow grease as well. This is the time that you pull out all the stops and put together a thoughtful, fabulous presentation! It’s the time when you show your child that you’ll be more involved in his or her life by taking time to volunteer at his school. It’s the time that you stay up all night to finalize the details of the new employee manual for your company, so it will be the best one ever written!
The next time that you feel a bit glum about your work or work product, don’t forget to pull out your positive polish kit. Examine your work carefully. How can it be improved? Remove anything that prevents it from shining. Plan how you can make it better. Lay the foundation for improvement. Work like crazy to implement your plans. Then, step back and experience the pride and excitement in your work product that you once felt for your first car!
Celebrate Life today and everyday!
Susan C Rempel, Ph.D.
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© 2007 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
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