Instead of just “behaving well”, or doing the “right” thing to impress others, we should listen to our bodies and minds for wrongs and rights and treat ourselves with love.
--BY DR VIBHUTI JHA
In my previous articles I tried to explain how personality, attitude and knowledge are some of the core requisites for an industry-ready professional to become a 'performer'. The articles also detailed the supplementary requisites such as competency, communication, learning behaviour etc. which are also essential for becoming a 'better performer'. These requisites are a must for achieving and sustaining success in one’s career and in turn, gaining a respectful personal life in society.
But in our professional careers, we encounter issues which hamper our performance, despite having all the aforesaid requisites of professionalism. Such issues never figure in evaluating one’s professional performance in any organization. These issues include unfriendly/unhealthy work culture, unethical practices in business, poor working conditions, unfriendly superiors, non-supportive staffers, conflict of interests, conflict of priorities, ego clashes, superiority/inferiority complexes etc.
A majority of professionals are forced to perform with these issues around, for their survival in their careers, under fear of losing the job or, for making their position “safe” in the industry. In such scenarios, we as professionals are forced to compromise our self-respect or pride on many occasions under pressures of work responsibilities, management's expectations, performance targets and also of professional bindings. Such situations are very common in the changing world of businesses where achieving success and targets 'any how' has become the prime objective. Attack on self-respect is the most common tool in the professional business world today, to tame someone professionally and to force him or her to compromise his/her moral, ethical and professional convictions. In the business world, this is better known as 'professional blackmailing' which is the most common tool to handle a non- compromising professional.
Instances of attack on the self-respect of a non-compromising professional are common in this era which is dominated by businesses run through wrong/unethical/compromising practices. Surprisingly, such practices are proclaimed to be right and in the interest of the business. On the other hand, the inclusion of issues such as values, ethics, morals, honesty etc. in the work culture is also seen to be claimed by such organisations and their top professionals at every stage. But the ground reality is completely different. In reality, the issues of values, ethics, morals, honesty etc have taken the back seat in the organizational work culture for aspects like defeating the competitor anyhow, meeting targets at any cost, achieving objectives by hook or crook, short cuts to success, quick promotions on organizational hierarchy, more and more earnings, materialistic need fulfillment, status show offs etc.
Now the bad practices are proclaimed as good ones if they prove good for success. Similarly, the 'bad guys' are imposed as smart and successful if they achieve success. Good practices and 'good guys' are considered to be out of context and non-significant, as they fail to achieve the 'expected success' for the organization. Misleading marketing communications, fake promises, unfair business tactics, fake endorsements and cut-throat competition have changed the entire scenario and dragged a majority of organizations and professionals into the rat race of “better success than others, anyhow”. Such things have made the professionals either forced or inclined to adopting wrong practices in profession for “better and early success”.
But in doing so, such professionals lose respect in the eyes of the general masses, fellow employees, and all related circuits of the profession. They lose self-respect at the cost of success achieved through wrong practices. Such condition often forces individuals to get confined to their own virtual worlds of successful life where they are actually not happy and definitely not leading a better life. Factors like anger, frustration, stress and tension start to dominate their professional lives resulting into rather forced and messed up personal lives and relationships.
Self pride has nothing to do with the materialistic status of individuals. One may or may not have respect in people’s eyes irrespective of one being very successful in career or business. The cases of Vijay Malya and Sahara Group in India are the examples of this. Both were very successful in earning money and status but they could never earn self respect in their lives. They lost self pride while taking the unethical rout to success on many occasions which were seen, observed and realized by the masses. Now they are facing troubles but no one is supporting them - neither the business fraternity, nor their own staffers nor the general masses.
It is the respect one’s earned that differentiates his success as genuine in the era of achieving success through wrong practices. People respect Ratan Tata for his invaluable qualities as a professional and as an individual and in turn treat his success or businesses as genuine. Success, money, status etc are important in their places but the respect one earns is more valuable in life
A few lines from Steve Jobs’ Last Words will make the point even clearer. He said on his death bed: “I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world.
I cannot bring that with me.
What I can bring is only the pride and love earned in others' eyes and memories.
Pride and love are the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the curse for you, die for you. Material things lost can be found but there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – a respectful Life. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.”
One of the most common ways to raise our self-esteem is to expand our comfort zone by listening to what our bodies, minds, and spirits are telling us in true senses. We should follow the signs of excitement and choose a personally meaningful goal, life direction, or dream which we are willing to put time, effort, and personal energy into. Deciding to choose a meaningful life direction provides value to our time, and offers meaning to our lives. We should choose something and follow it over and above success, money and materialism. We should celebrate our efforts, and praise our smallest of success earned in a right way.
We should take very good care of ourselves. Instead of just “behaving well”, or doing the “right” thing to impress others, we should listen to our bodies and minds for wrongs and rights and treat ourselves with love. We should listen inwardly and feel more alive, before and after the day's work. We should get engaged in activities that boost our morale and self-esteem. This is not the same as exercising to lose weight. We should move our bodies because our bodies say we have been sitting for quite some time, or our legs need to stretch, or our lungs are crying out for some fresh air and sunshine.
We should look at the future with excitement, a sense of adventure and optimism. We should recognize ourselves as persons worthy of success, and spend time visualizing our success. We should focus on specific dreams, aspirations, and hopes for the future. We should take some sort of action everyday that helps to increase our excitement for living. We should allow ourselves to make mistakes without getting afraid of tasks. We should understand that problems, conflicts, and failures are parts of life. When we make mistakes, we should smile at and hug ourselves. We should provide ourselves the comfort we really need. We should let ourselves know this world is a safe place if we choose to make it a safe place. We can learn to encourage and support ourselves through the good times and especially the bad times. We should love that we are overcoming fear and attempting something new no matter what the outcome could be. When an occasional failure is experienced – we should get up, dust ourselves off, access the wisdom gained, believe in ourselves, and begin again…..we should have faith on ourselves.
The writer is a professor of Marketing and Director -CRE, at Kathmandu College of Management. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 9810284079.