« Is working harder the answer, or the problem? Ask a workaholic. | Main | I'll get to it, whenever. Is that okay? »

Why you need to be a rubberband

Want to know the secret to work life balance and career success?

Be a rubber band.

RubberbandBy that, I mean learn to bend, stretch and pop back into shape. Summer is a great time to practice that skill In business, we can no longer be rigid. Just the other day, my friend was telling me that she offered to manage the summer interns at her company. It was a bit of a stretch for her, something that completely took her out of her comfort zone. But she had figured out that it would give her management experience and some clout, enough clout to get some flexibility in her schedule and still look like a star.

It would have been easy for my friend to steer clear of managing the interns because she has no management training. These days, few employees do. But prized employees, successful managers and smart business owners do whatever new is asked of them -- without drama -- and figure out ways to take initiative to stretch in new directions. The key is adopt a mindset that allows you to look at situations and try new approaches. Performance evaluations almost always give high marks for taking initiative and being adaptible.

Diane Stafford of the Kansas City Star writes:

Sometimes, I hear comments from mid- and late-career job hunters that make me cringe about their re-employment odds. They talk about the way things used to be or about out-dated projects they did in the past. Sometimes their tone of voice is plainly negative or suspicious about change.

They’re not selling themselves as rubber bands. They’re selling themselves as rigid metal O-rings with no stretch toward what they could be.

Look at the business leaders you admire. Would Steve Jobs consider himself a rubber band? Yes. Yes. Yes.

You can put the rubber band idea into practice in your personal life, too. For example, if you've been using the same approach to getting out the door in the morning and you're always late, bend in a different and try a different routine.  Becoming a rubber band could make you more productive, less exhausted and more balanced.
Think about it. Are you a rubber band? If not, what would it take for you to become one?