Do you know you will spend most of your life working?

I know it’s not a profound statement and I’m certainly stating the obvious.  But think about it. Most of us get a job of some kind while in high school. For me, it was a paper route in Little Rock, Arkansas where I’d get up at 4:00 am to deliver over 125 daily Arkansas Gazette newspapers.  Then working at Wendy’s at age 17 flipping burgers and making Frosty’s. Working my way through college and eventually landing a position at a large accounting firm where I spent the next 30 years. Along the way, I got married, divorced, raised two amazing children, experienced the loss of loved ones and accumulated many friends.

Today, many of us don’t retire, we just move to something different and more enjoyable where we hope to have made enough money to travel, enjoy our favorite hobby and, in my case, find the woman of my dreams.

So what has life taught me?

To make it simple I’ve narrowed it down to the 7 B’s of a successful life.

  1. Be Prompt – There is nothing worse than having that employee or friend who is always late.  It’s disrespectful to your employer and to your friends, so be on time.
  2. Be Real – Which means be you. However, understand at times, you may have to modify the real you in order to be fit in to certain situations in order for people will take you seriously.  Like maybe hiding some of those hideous tattoos (I have one) or spending more time respecting others opinions versus arguing your own position. It doesn’t mean losing the real you it means making modifications that allow you to win the day.
  3. Be Interested – It’s what you don’t know that stimulates the brain.  Engage with people every day as knowledge is power. Which leads me to #4.
  4. Be Knowledgeable – Some call it life-long learning. Read a book.  Take a college course in something that interests you. Pick up a new hobby.  Ask questions and surround yourself with people interested in helping others and you be more successful.
  5. Be Helpful – You didn’t get to where you are all by yourself.  You had help along the way working through life experiences.  Be that coach or mentor you always admired. Your success is not measured by the amount of money you make, but by who you help along the way.
  6. Be Honest – We all make mistakes, own them.  We all have friends or co-workers who ask for our opinions, so share them without the sugar and sprinkles on top.  Honesty is always the best policy. Plus, it’s exhausting to keep up with all the tales you might weave and lies you might tell to cover up mistakes.
  7. Be Empathetic – Try to understand where people are coming from by understanding their feelings, their thoughts, and their attitudes.  Today’s world is different from the one I grew up in. We live in a world of mixed cultures and belief systems. Before you judge, be empathetic.

When you look back on your life your career, how will you be judged?  Choose to Thrive.