Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Heart of Success

Today I would like to write about one of the books that I have read this week: "The Heart of Success" by Rob Parsons. The subtitle of the book is 'Making it in business without losing in life'. I have found it to be very interesting and I would recommend it, especially to busy people and executives. The message seems to be clear: "You can succeed at work and still have a solid foundation for a life worth living". 
Parsons sends the message by presenting 'seven laws'. This post focused on the first one:

LAW NUMBER ONE: Don't Settle for Being Money Rich - Time Poor
Many people who strive for success feel they must show that they work harder than anybody else. Harder. Not necessarily more effectively or better, but harder. And often harder means longer. These characters work long hours as a lifestyle. They just live that way: they have got in early, got home late and taken work home for as long as they can remember. 
They often refuse to believe that other people succeed because they work smarter. It is more often put down to the fact that their sector is just easier. 
Nowadays, there seems to be a sort of judgement on the appearance of hard work, a perception that who refuse to play the long-hours game (irrespective of the real need for the job these people have to show that they are always in the office) they are often perceived  as being uncommitted.
Often it is hard to understand the tragic of time poverty. 
However, Parsons says that while striving for success by working long hours every day every week these people reduce the time to develop close relationships, foster deeper personal development and have a poorer quality of life. 

There is also a long list of other side effects, both in personal and professional life: increased headaches, prolonged exhaustion, increased irritability, difficulty in concentrating, getting annoyed at the smallest things; at work the responses to crises are emotional and disproportionate, it is hard to accept even constructive criticism, impatience with other colleagues, the schedule has no time for creative and strategic thinking...

Below is some advice given by Parsons:
- Consider the possibility that your long hours have more to do with your need to be recognised as hard-working than the job in hand. It is not the hours you put in that count but it is what you put into the hours. 
- Consider whether your quality of life has deteriorated in direct relation to an increase in your standard of living. Most people trade their time for money. Don't stop doing things but just do some different things, perhaps less expensive? Buy some time!
- Do your part in creating a work culture that honours achievements rather than long hours.
- Establish a 'life board': three people you respect who will give counsel and direction.

I would like just to add a personal point. My perspective on the Law number 1 for being successful in business without losing in life and presented by Parsons, is that it has nothing to do with being less engaged or passionate about your job. Actually, I believe it is the opposite. I think and believe that when you are engaged with your job in a sincere way, you do not feel the need to prove or show to others that you work hard. If you work with real energy, enthusiasm and passion, your commitment to your job becomes clear to everyone. Plus, I believe, you are more likely to deliver real quality, excellent performance and value to your organisation!

I wanted to make this final point because for me my job is my greatest passion and feel very engaged. If you are familiar with this blog most probably you have already realised that it is actually a deep love! That is why I do dedicate even my free time to that. It is my free time which I decided to use that way. I am passionate about it, I feel energetic and I feel I have been living my time, developing and hopefully realising some value!