An uplifting account with Murphy’s Law

Just wanna pen down the thoughts that ran through my head, and the emotions that accompanied them this afternoon, so that it can seek to be a good reminder to myself in the near future, and hopefully, it would be able to encourage others who may be dealing with a similar situation.

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

It is easy to encourage others when you are not the one in a situation. But here I am, in one such situation. I decided not to waste this experience or the thoughts and emotions, so the best way to capture them is through this post.

Thankfully, whatever that I am experiencing is in the area of work. Having said that, I take a lot pride in my work and put in a lot of effort into them. Sometimes, bending towards the unhealthy side of it, eg. replying email on the wee hours of the morning.

The point is not to tell you how hardworking I am. Rather it is to show you that, even though whatever that I am going through has to do with work, it means a lot to me too.

Briefly, the issues that brought me to feel like I am stuck in Murphy’s Law can be summed up in the points below:

  1. Almost at the end point of a major win (amicable closure), only to have a rep share that their group decided to take another stance
  2. Almost at the point of signing a deal based on terms agreed prior (with a prospect that we have been following up for quite a while) but due to unfortunate event, ie. Covid19, a re-negotiation was requested
  3. Due to Covid-19, a lot of operational issues were affected, as works were delayed due to the phased restart

It is frustrating and disappointing and these emotions are totally understandable. All the team’s hard work stood at the precipice of “failure”.

As I was driving back this evening, I reminded myself the following and I felt better immediately:

  • Is the situation I am in within my control or influence?
    I have to be honest here. Situations are not always a result of our choices. When it is not within our control, there is basically nothing much we can do to change it significantly. However, if we can still influence it, that would be helpful. If we can’t, then it is usually futile to be too bogged down emotionally and mentally by it. We should move on to the next few steps.
  • Adjust my expectations
    I should not expect perfections, despite one’s meticulous and thorough considerations. Expectations are useful guides towards an ideal outcome but it should never be the determinant of success.
  • Take stock of the situation
    It is important to review the new situation and honestly highlight the areas that are problematic. It is also equally important to look for areas that may still be favourable, so that we can pivot and build from them.
  • Look for viable alternatives
    As with all sound management techniques, it is never about running a perfect machine. The machine will never be perfect but we have to go through rounds and rounds of improvement to perfect it. Thus, in such situations, we have to take a step back, having identified key areas of problems and areas that are favourable, and proactively and creatively find new strategies to overcome the current situation.
  • Be prepared to manage the worst
    Despite our best efforts, sometimes things just do not work out the way it should or how we hoped for. And even then, we should not be defeated because, with all honesty and efforts, we did what we could. It is what it is. We just have to manage the outcomes as best as we can, and continue to give our best.

At the end of the day, I reminded myself that we did all that we could previously, and things will not always be smooth. We should embrace challenges because there is no ways around it, just like the world or even ourselves will never perfect.

We cannot and should allow ourselves to be defeated because in doing so, we are disabling ourselves, not giving ourselves a chance to change the course out of the situation, thus, allowing a self-prophecy to play out – failure.

Be Authentic, Be Real, Be Tactful – Part 2 (Success at Work Series)

We define ourselves.

No one can describe who we are accurately. Only we can do that. Only we, ourselves, know the us that is being shown to the world and the us that is behind closed doors. Something even our spouses cannot accurately do.

To have sustainable success at work, in my humble opinion, is to be able to carry oneself truthfully and honestly, with full embrace of one’s weaknesses, and the clear knowledge of one’s strengths.

When I say truthfully and honesty, I am not referring to standing on some moral high grounds. Rather, I am saying that to weave web of lies and create stories to be successful is unsustainable. We should want success that brings happiness, balance in life and the ability to share this greatness with others.

As we are clearly aware from movies and real life examples from people around us, success through these shenanigans will only last as long as the person’s deceitfulness and cunning ways are not exposed. Then again, I truly wonder how satisfied and happy one can be if they always have to cover their bases and tracks, and to ensure that their lies and cunning ways are not exposed.

Therefore, as part of my simple and happy life mantra, success at work is best to come from honest work, a humble spirit and an ever willingness to take responsibility and learn from one’s mistakes.

I have many weaknesses in the early part of my career. I am still not perfect even after been at it for more than 10 years. I am very sure that I will never be perfect. The point is, it is a continuous learning journey.

Perfection is my guide but not my destination.

I know that I speak too quickly and during the early part of my career, my downfall was that I can be too direct and controntational with my superiors. That is why in this mini-series, the title includes being tactful. I was never a really good listener. I am still working on it, even more so now.

Good intentions without proper strategies and wisdom will never amount to any good.

Whether we are speaking to our bosses or our team members, it is important to be conscious of our words. I am not emphasizing on “cunning-ness” here. I am talking about wisdom. We have to mentally craft our speech to ensure the effectiveness of that which we want to communicate.

The difference between a wise speaker and an irresponsible one is in his choice of words.

There is no value to try to steamroll an idea to your superiors. Equally, it is useless to force it down on your team members without proper thought. Information are passed down through effective communication, thus the many courses and books available on this subject.

I hope that I am slowly massaging the importance of strategy, as well as, good intentions (honesty and authenticity) into you. We will explore more practical examples and strategies from my own career journey soon.

Until then, take care and have a beautiful week ahead!