At the risk of sounding like some sort of self-help crusader, I want to divulge my own personal Top Ten Tips that I employ to run my life. I attribute these in large part to the success I have achieved as a Private PA over the past decade. I hasten to add these are not exclusive and original to me in any way but I will briefly explain each one and how I apply them. If anyone reading this can take even the smallest snippet to make a positive difference to them, I will feel a great sense of pride.
My Top Ten Tips for Success:
1. Visualise to realise
2. Perception is everything
3. To be fit in body is to be fit in mind
4. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you; a sense of humour is vital
5. Adopt an air of mystery, never give away too much
6. Never cross the line
7. There is no room for complacency
8. Always remain a problem solver not a problem maker
9. To assume makes an ass out of you and me
10. Never be afraid….what is the worst that can happen?
This is my FAVOURITE mantra of all and is the way I have achieved anything of note in my life and I still practice the technique to this day. It has been integral in all of the following and more: passing my driving test, succeeding at diets, buying my first home and ultimately finding my dream job! On this latter point, I always knew I wanted to be a successful PA in a role where I could make a real difference. I visualised how I wanted to look, the type of character and company I wanted to work for and the necessary persona I should display for such a position. I adopted my usual pragmatic approach as to how I would ultimately reach my goal (detailed in the post My Journey) and all the while never losing sight of these images in my mind. This concept is not something that will work for everyone and this thought process has been widely documented by many others renowned in their field but it is inherent in me and how I operate and hence why I continue to wax lyrical about it.
I see this as extending from outward appearance to physical actions. Always adopt a calm exterior even if you are paddling for dear life internally. Panic achieves nothing but a vote of NO confidence from colleagues and others. It is never a good idea to look like you are a crisis about to happen.
I am a firm believer of making the effort to look the part – this is not about donning designer or expensive clothes but looking well turned out and put together shows professionalism, self-respect and I would go as far as to claim an ordered and balanced frame of mind. I am a huge advocate of ‘dress for success’. Dress like the person you want to be rather than the person others may perceive you to be. More often than not you will be the face or ambassador of your office and in this guise your outward appearance and behaviour should reflect this accordingly.
I hope I don’t sound like a Headmistress or some sort of 1950’s book on social etiquette. Take my advice either with a pinch of salt or perhaps take it from someone that has tried and tested this and reaped the benefits.
I take this one to an obsessive level but I would certainly not advocate this and as with anything there is a healthy balance to be had. For me exercise is a way to control my weight, being just over 5 foot 1” tall, I really have to watch the pounds and in the past I have been a real ‘Chubby Chops’ which manifested in a lack of self-esteem. I also use it as a way to free my mind of angst and release tension, my self-imposed form of therapy.
The feeling resulting from the release of endorphins is undeniably positive and some may claim addictive but I always encourage others to get their trainers on by reaffirming that you never feel worse after a workout!
A sense of humour is such a huge part of my personality. I love to laugh and make others laugh. It has helped me through so many painful times in my life. For me, laughter is definitely the best medicine!
The use of humour is a great ice-breaker in so many situations whether social or business. It can lighten a heavy mood in an instant and is a key factor in drawing people to you.
When needed an underlying and subtle message can be communication through humour …”never a truer word said in jest”.
Together with a sense of humour ……… lest we forget that smiling is another hugely powerful tool. This may sound silly but you cannot imagine how true it is that a smile can literally light up a room. This simple action equates to happiness, confidence and positivity, all traits that people want to be surrounded by.
I am prone to scowling and have often been told by friends I look like I am sucking on a sour grape but I am never doing this intentionally or even consciously. If truth be told it was and still is sometimes my natural expression. I have almost trained myself to try and smile whenever I can. It still does not come as naturally or instantaneously as I would ideally like, but this is a life-long work in progress for me.
In my job, confidentiality and discretion are key. I find adopting an air of mystery, never giving too much away makes me a far more interesting and credible person to others. I like to think I may be a challenge in that people want to know what goes on behind the walls of the inner sanctum of the private office. There may well be nothing exciting or secretive behind the closed doors but this is beside the point. The fact that others think there may be is the key. I adopt the principle of silence is powerful ……….and elegant.
I have covered the first 5 of my Top Ten Tips and sincerely hope that you will have been able to identify with or take something from at least one of them. The remaining 5 will be covered in my next post.