Prime Minister and quote-maker extraordinaire Winston Churchill famously said,
"Success consists of
going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
The brilliant life of Steve Jobs is just one such
example of this philosophy in practice. Jobs created breakout technologies and
the biggest brand on the planet, but not before stumbling publically along the
way. Jobs was
famously ousted from Apple, the very company he helped launch, before
eventually returning to the fold and leading it on to greater glory. For more on this chapter of Jobs'
storied history, read Steve Jobs: Why His Biggest
Success Was Learning from Failure.
For more on the link between failure and
success, you may be interested in reading:
How do you convert failure into a learning experience? Has
experiencing failure lead to greater success down the road for you? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.
Good news, pessimists
of the world: if you weren't born wired with a positive, sunny worldview,
optimism can be learned. Experts believe that learned optimism is a talent that can be cultivated, just as you would any other
skill, with deliberate, conscious effort.
When you consider
that optimists enjoy better health and enhanced work success, cultivating optimism makes sense, even if you are a
Practice Makes Perfect: In How to be an Optimist, Oprah.com outlines five exercises rooted
in scientific studies to help train your brain.
Rule of Thumb: In Learning Optimism with the 24 x 3 Rule, the author suggests training your brain to
avoid negative thinking by using the 24x3 rule. The next time you encounter a new idea or person; try
to wait 24 seconds before saying or thinking something negative.
Next, work up to 24 minutes. Finally, work towards waiting 24 hours - one
single day - before thinking or verbalizing the cons.
Lead with Optimism: The ability to create and instill
optimism is a crucial component of leadership, says leadership expert and
author John Baldoni. Given the recent flood of bad business news, instilling
optimism and confidence amongst the ranks is more critical than ever. In Craft a Narrative to Instill Optimism, Baldoni suggests that leaders take
time to communicate a narrative that allows employees to make sense of their work
and future in a hopeful manner. Even challenges and obstacles can be recast in
a manner that inspires hope and resilience without subverting reality.
Practice Realistic Optimism: For pessimists who
view sunny optimism as akin to denial or unrealistic thinking, read From Despair to Hope: How to Become an Optimistic Pessimist. The author makes the case that true optimism is not putting lipstick on a pig,
but rather the ability to recognize the current reality for what it is, imagine a
better future, and then summon up the strength to dig in, make tough choices
and do the work necessary to bring about desired outcomes.
How do you cultivate
optimism in your life? Do you have tips for staying on the sunny side even when
confronted with obstacles or challenges? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.
Lucky optimists, they
not only see the world through rose colored glasses, they enjoy better health and greater work success than their
The link between
optimism and health is easy to understand: A positive worldview adds up to less
stress and its attendant ill health effects. But why does a glass-is-half-full outlook
result in enhanced work outcomes for those disposed to the sunny side of life?
Breeds Success: Optimistic
employees, who view the proverbial glass as half full, succeed at work in
greater numbers than their pessimistic half-empty counterparts says expert Susan
Segerstorm, author of Breaking Murphy's Law: How Optimists Get
What They Want from Life - and Pessimists Can Too. Segerstorm argues that optimists have significant
advantages in the workplace over pessimistic colleagues since work success
is fueled by motivation and optimists are more naturally motivated to reach
their goals. Pessimists on the other hand can't foresee success and
are less likely to invest time and energy in ambitious projects and
Optimism is the X Factor: Harvard Business Review Senior Editor
Jeff Kehoe also is an optimist advocate, calling optimism the
crucial ingredient for the success of a business. Kehoe defines optimism as "the simple, clear, energetic belief
in the potential success of an idea" and argues it must be present to achieve
success. Without this X factor, businesses aren't created, talent isn't hired, and
good ideas wither on the vine.
Easy Does It: Interestingly, optimism itself can
sometimes be a negative. In Lean Towards the Sunny Side, But Don't
Over Do It, the New York Times examines the down side of life on the sunny
side. While optimism garners benefits, extreme or unrealistic optimism can have
a negative effect that impairs judgment and ends in disappointment. Pessimists
will also be relieved to learn that some careers call for a pessimistic
outlook: lawyers do well by always preparing for the worst.
Do you agree that
optimism play a role in creating work success? Has an optimistic nature give
you a leg up? Share your thoughts here
and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.
Work is increasingly the place where people spend the
bulk of their day. So it makes sense that wellness and exercise, once solely
the province of leisure time, are now often incorporated into the work day.
While many offices offer comprehensive wellness
programs, many smaller offices do not. Even if your office doesn't offer
wellness programming, you can still boost your healthy lifestyle quotient at
work with the following tips.
Are What You Eat: Don't succumb to unhealthy office eats.
Refuel regularly through the day to maintain energy levels and to stave off
binge eating. For more, read Healthy Office Eating Made
a Stretch: Logging too many hours at the computer is a recipe for
backaches and a build-up of physical stress. Release tension and get your
circulation flowing with simple desk stretches and short walking breaks through
the day. Commit to a regimen of our Easy Desk Stretches and do your body good.
Round Up: Energy is not limitless, and your batteries will run
low if you don't take time to recharge them from time to time. We rounded up
tips for replenishing your energy in our post Relax,
its Only Work.
Mess: Stress causes numerous health problems, from heart
problems to high blood pressure to depression. Take steps to keep stress and
its ill health effects at bay with the tips in Stress
Less: Keeping Work Worries in Check. Ideas
include practicing effective time management, organization and decluttering,
all tools that help alleviate stress.
Do you incorporate health and fitness into your work day?
What are your tips for avoiding stress and unhealthy food while at work? Share
your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.
is a reason why hindsight is 20/20: looking back is a heckuva lot easier than
guessing what's up ahead. Smart women beginning their careers can take the
guesswork out of what lies down the road by learning from the women who went
done-that insight from talented women further along the career path can help up-and-comers
shorten the learning curve and avoid common pitfalls.
While no two women
will ever tread exactly the same path, savvy women everywhere can glean fabulous
advice from our round-up from across the web.
Facebook Advice: We've
blogged in the past about
the smart, succinct advice for young women from Facebook powerhouse Sheryl
Sandberg. It's worth another look here; Sandberg suggests that working women must
take three steps to advance in their careers:
Ten Women, Numerous Tips: Women's
Day magazine interviews ten dynamic women with careers ranging from CEO of a skincare company, to
foreign relations expert to dentist, for their take on the best way to achieve
a work-life balance, how to make opportunities out of setbacks, and more.
Smart Cookie: The
unofficial first lady of New York State, celebrity chef Sandra Lee, heads a multimillion
dollar business she created from scratch. Lee dishes up smart financial advice for working women including:
know your market worth, negotiate your own contracts and ask for the salary and
raises you deserve. Lee also reveals that she negotiates all her own contracts
rather than using an agent.
Feedback Vs. Perfection: Author
Hannah Seligson, who wrote the book
"New Girl on the Job: Advice From the Trenches," uses this
NYT article to distill her advice to women starting off in the
corporate word. In a nutshell, Seligman advises women to jettison perfectionist
tendencies and instead court feedback to learn how to become a more valuable
employee. Seligman also encourages women to view a job as a two-part process:
first, do the actual work, second, talk about what you've done,
preferably in bottom-line terms.
What would be your advice to your younger self if you
were just starting out in the work world? What is the number one thing young
women should think about as they navigate their career? Share your thoughts
here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.
When your days are jam-packed with the
competing demands of work and family, finding time for volunteer work often
falls by the wayside. Make volunteering time a priority: when you volunteer,
you not only do good, you feel good.
Creative thinking and careful planning are
the keys to working volunteering into your life. We've rounded up some
suggestions to help you add volunteering into the equation. Ideas include:
Finally, we leave you with a
useful article from the IRS with tips
for claiming charitable deductions to lower your tax bill. Who doesn't want a
lower tax bill? Talk about do good, feel good.
How do you work volunteering into your busy schedule? Do
you have any tips for making volunteering a family activity? Share your
thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.
Whoever said "You can't
teach an old dog new tricks," obviously never conceived of a world where a
generation of workers raised in the pre-Internet era would make daily use of
smart phones, software, apps, etc. A more accurate maxim might be, "It's never
too late to learn something new."
Given that new tricks are
the tools of the trade in the business world, a commitment to lifelong learning
is a smart career strategy. Who better to teach older employees what's new and
next than the newest generation of workers?
Young millennials can
teach older employees valuable lessons including:
Technology: Younger employees are incredibly tech
savvy. Older employees can keep abreast of the latest trends in technology by
checking in with their knowledgeable young colleagues. Ask frequently about
apps and social media; the landscape changes daily.
newer generation is more diverse in background and ethnicity resulting in a more
multicultural, diverse worldview. Social norms change from generation to
generation and spending time with younger colleagues will help older workers
stay current not only on cultural trends but on changes in social mores.
Taking: Younger people are traditionally more entrepreneurial
and less bound by convention. The "sky's the limit" worldview often fades with
time, so recharge your "anything is possible" mojo by spending time with
forward thinking millennials.
Younger workers tend to be more malleable, willing to acquire new skills and
open to different paths in their career. In today's tough economy, it is
crucial for older workers to adapt as easily and nimbly as their younger
Effective: The unhappy truth that older workers must often
confront is that younger employees are often willing to work hard for less
money. While it is illegal to fire someone because of their age, as companies
look to save costs, they often look to buy out or retire older workers. And
when a company looks to hire for a vacant role, a younger hire is generally
preferred to an older one. Smart older workers will look carefully at their
younger competition and continually work to make the case that a seasoned
employee is a cost-effective hire, one that can contribute to the bottom line.
is the best lesson a younger employee ever taught you? Share
your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook
For young employees
transitioning from dorm room to desk job, one of the biggest challenges can be
interacting in a multigenerational setting. After all, during the school years,
people are generally in lockstep with their age group. Workplaces, with a community
of mixed ages, are a different story.
Smart millennials can take
advantage of the diversity of experiences in a work setting by learning
valuable lessons from older employees. Older employees can offer:
Older workers know the ropes. Smart newcomers can shorten their learning curve
by both emulating older workers and tapping into their deeper reservoir of
information about company policies, politics and industry information.
Seasoned workers have a big picture perspective that younger workers lack. They
have experienced cycles at work and in life and can provide a valuable road map
for younger counterparts.
Skills: The previous generation developed interpersonal skills
without the benefit of social networks and newer technologies. While almost all
workers now make use of newer technologies, the previous generation also
recognizes the value of face-to-face interactions and polite conventions such
as thank you notes and in-person phone calls. Younger millennials would do well
to acquire the same breadth of interpersonal skills.
Older workers generally were raised with an emphasis on self-reliance. Workers in their 40s and beyond often demonstrate
greater independence and require less hand-holding than a generation raised by
helicopter parents to expect constant attention and feedback. Younger workers
should try to emulate the independent style of older workers.
Work Ethic: Experienced workers,
who have steadily and progressively risen through the ranks, generally have a
strong work ethic and are conscientious employees. They understand that an
excellent work product, loyalty and hard work are necessary to get ahead. Savvy
millennials will take a page from this lesson: diligence and hard work are
necessary to achieve success.
is the best lesson an older employee ever taught you? Share
your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook
Hurrah! Daylight savings has arrived to add a few extra hours of light during the waning cold-weather days.
But what good are the extra hours if you're spending them with your nose to the
Do yourself a favor and
learn to get out of the office on time: working late is a habit that gets
harder to shake the longer you do it. We have seven tips that will help you
leave work at a reasonable hour each night.
Make it a Priority: To begin, make heading home at 5pm, or an appropriate
quitting time, a priority. You can't meet a goal you haven't set, so pick a
time and stick to it.
Manage Your Time: Leaving the office at a reasonable hour requires managing
your time well during the day. Too much time spent in idle chit chat, surfing the
web, or in putting off must-do tasks will derail a timely exit each evening. Need
help managing your time effectively? Read our tips for time-blocking.
Say Good-bye to Guilt: Don't feel guilty about leaving work on time. If your colleagues
are still toiling away, it's easy to feel embarrassed about heading out. But
you may be a more efficient or focused worker than your peers. As long as your
work isn't being shortchanged, leaving on time is okay.
Farewell to Face Time: Some office cultures unwittingly encourage or reward
"face time" making it harder to head home at a reasonable hour. If
this is a problem, take time to talk with your boss or colleagues.
Demonstrating how efficiently and productively you use your time makes it
easier to head for the door.
Ask for Help: When faced with an overwhelming amount of work, rather
than burning the midnight oil, consider talking to your boss about
redistributing the load. Prep for that conversation by spending time keeping
track of your hours so your boss understands the scope of work and hours
Baby Steps: Start incrementally; shoot to leave work by 5 or 6pm one
night a week and then add a day at a time. Starting small betters your odds of
HomeWork: When all else fails, plan to finish work from home. Bringing
work home isn't an ideal solution, but sometimes you just want to put the kids
to bed or meet a friend for dinner. So head out the door to attend to your
personal needs and commit to wrapping up the remaining work at home.
Do you consistently head out the door at a reasonable
hour? What are your tips for leaving work on time? Share your thoughts here and
on the Pendaflex Facebook page.
To land a plum assignment is it more
important to a) have a proven track record, b) have a strong work ethic, or c)
have a good network?
Trick question: the answer is all of the
above. Many people might assume that a proven track record and a robust work
ethic is enough but what truly distinguishes two proven performers is their
network. Strong alliances can be career differentiators for strong performers.
Given the choice between two first-rate performers,
smart employers choose the person who is a proven relationship builder. After
all, relationships are the pipelines through which information flows and
projects are moved forward. If your pipeline is weak or broken in spots, your
ability to effect change and drive momentum is compromised.
How to build strong alliances:
Build (and maintain) relationships at your current and past jobs. Schedule time
for networking just as you would any other task; send e-mails, have lunch with
colleagues and try to attend conferences and seminars in your field every few
months. Join industry associations but don't overlook your personal life: be
active in alumnae associations and in civic and community groups.
Take time to mentor up-and-coming colleagues. A mentoring relationship can be
incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally. Successful mentoring
is a two-way street: mentors pass along their knowledge and perspective and
mentees share fresh outlooks and a younger generation's knowledge of hot trends
and technologies. Plus young mentees will grow and move on, expanding a
Seek out opportunities to collaborate with peers both within your company and
more broadly, within your industry. Look to work across departments within a
company or join a steering committee of a trade association that will allow you
to meet industry peers. Consider partnering with another business on a joint
venture. Opening a door to a new group of people grows your network and expands
The bedrock of any relationship is built on trust. Look to have the back of the
people you work and interact with every day. By acting as an ally to your
colleagues and clients, in matters both large and small, you forge a strong
bond. Cultivate a reputation as a trustworthy, loyal, people person. When you
extend yourselves to others, that trust is generally repaid in kind.
do you cultivate valuable career alliances? Share your thoughts here and at
the Pendaflex Facebook
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.