7 Lessons I’ve Learnt About Saying No

I used to be that person who always wanted to say yes. I genuinely enjoy people and like making them happy. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, that’s usually the highlight of my day. As a result, I’ve found myself saying too many yeses for my own good, and this created myriad problems for me and drained the joy out of activities that used to make me happy.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that saying no is often as important as saying yes. Here are 7 lessons that have stood out for me.

Are You Really Serious About Personal Development in 2018?

We can talk about how lit 2018 is going to be from now till tomorrow, but talk is cheap. Unless we take deliberate steps, 2018 will not be significantly better than 2017. In fact, “Happy New Year” begins now.

If you’re really serious about developing yourself, there is one commitment you must make and keep.

One Simple Way To Boost Your Career Every Day

For a long time, I thought I had read about pretty much everything successful people did daily, from using a to-do list and eating a healthy breakfast, to exercising and reading every single day. I didn’t realise there was one important thing that was not just career changing, but also life-changing —recording your wins every day! I eventually came across the concept in the form of the success log. Continue reading…

Top Ten Resignation Mistakes People Make

Resignation is often a taxing and daunting process, one that in most cases is very emotionally charged. Therefore it is not surprising that employees are prone to certain common mistakes at this time. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when resigning from a job.

1. Resigning for the Wrong Reasons

This is one of the common ways people make a hash of their careers. Resigning as an emotional response can only lead to regret. The decision to resign should not be made on a whim. No matter the circumstances or aggravation, be sure to think things through with a calm mind, before making this move. Carefully clear your mind and have a reality check. Evaluate all your reasons for resigning before you decide conclusively. Also, you should never resign in order to leverage or negotiate a counter offer. It’s unprofessional.

2. Venting Grievances

Transferring negative emotions either verbally or in written form is a big no-no. Your letter of resignation will be one of the final documents in your personnel file, and will be among the first documents looked at when a prospective future employer calls to confirm references or if you ever reapply. Therefore, it is vital to keep it professional and business-like.

3. Destroying Good Character & Reputation

Burning bridges is a terrible mistake that will likely come back to haunt you in the future. It will not only cause bad feelings between you and your employer, but also ruin the good reputation you’ve worked hard to build, affect your ability to maintain good links with your colleagues, and cost you a good reference when you need it. It may feel great to spit in their face at the time, but it’s not worth risking your goodwill and continued success in your career and personal development for.

4. Being Unprepared for a Counter Offer

Companies don’t like to lose good staff. In many cases, a valued employee is given a counter offer when a resignation is received. Being unprepared for this may make you vulnerable to the lure of more money. Bear in mind that once you resign, your loyalty to your employer is in question, and that a counter offer is often just a way to keep you longer until a replacement is found. Furthermore, retracting an offer already made to a new employer will affect your integrity negatively.

5. Ignorance of Company Exit Policy

Failure to acquaint yourself with company exit policy may leave you in an embarrassing or difficult position. You will do well to find out how previous resignations were handled. Some companies will ask you to leave immediately once you give your resignation. This could pose a problem if you were unable to pick up your personal belongings or documents from your work area or clean up your personal files from your computer.

6. Unawareness of Company Compensation Policy

Your resignation may mean automatic forfeiture of specific benefits. Imminent bonuses, severance pay, holiday entitlements, insurance benefits, retirement accounts, and company stock contributions may be lost. Ensure you fully understand all contracts you have signed.

7. Not Considering Legal Counsel

If you are leaving for reasons that might require legal counsel, such as issues involving discrimination, harassment, safety and fraud, failure to consult an attorney before you submit a resignation or sign any documents may land you in a mess.

8. Tendering a Poorly Written Resignation Letter

While a good resignation letter can be brief and to the point; an outstanding letter of resignation accomplishes much more in that it leaves your current employer with a positive feeling about you and establishes a basis for positive references in the future. Personal remarks about your life and feelings should be left out of your resignation letter.

Even if you are leaving on bad terms, the urge to write negative or derogatory comments about the company, the job or your colleagues should be resisted. Instead, express appreciation for the job you held and the experience/knowledge you’ve gained. You can also highlight your most important contributions to the company. Be positive, and ensure that you state the effective resignation date clearly.

9. Not Preparing for the Resignation Meeting

This is a very crucial point in the resignation process, and even the most careful employees have been known to mess up at this stage. Whatever the reaction- congratulatory handshakes, guilt trips or blatant confrontational anger- your plan is to remain composed, courteous and professional at all times. So, think ahead what you are going to say and stick to it – don’t get derailed. Keep details of your future plans to yourself at this point, and end your meeting on a good note.

10. Slacking During the Final Days

The temptation to relax is often strong at this point; resist it. The value of your performance during your last few weeks should not be underrated. Ensure that you’ve completed any outstanding tasks, and prepare your hand-over notes properly. Let your manager know that you are being as co-operative as possible, and continue to give it your very best effort right up until the last minute you’re there. Also, assume that anything you say will get back to your employer, so be sure to tell curious colleagues exactly what you told the company. Your professional reputation and your integrity are at stake, and conflicting versions flying around will make you look like a liar.

Now you know. Resign with style!

Guest Post: Beware the “Little” Vices

Peter Russo

It’s amazing how Hollywood binds audiences to the characters in movies. It remains the most stellar and surreal of art forms. Movie directors are able to infuse those characters into our subconscious and we inevitably have such a tryst with them that years on it is impossible to break away. Who could forget Michael in The Godfather and our journey with him as he morphed from naïve young son to god of the mafia? Don’t we all remember our walk with Frodo as he made his way through the middle Kingdoms in the Lord of the Rings? Or Walter Whyte as he moved from victim to victor to villain in Breaking Bad? I would be the first to admit my fragility when it comes to the force of Hollywood’s storytelling.

Frodo

Consequently, Hollywood has become for me a true source for inspiration in all fields. Neo in The Matrix taught me the power of self-belief, Charlie Simms in Scent of a Woman taught me loyalty, and Michael Glass in Basic Instinct 2 was a perfect physical example of “Let him that stands take heed lest he falls”. What’s not to love about Hollywood? Even scripture is visualisable (and that’s not speaking about the false Noah with Russell Crowe).

One of the finest lessons I have learnt though is the danger of permitting “little” vices. And the most recent example of that is Peter Russo in House of Cards. A fine young Congressman from Philly, Peter has the energy and passion to become the President of the country and yet, he struggles with alcohol and women. At the cusp of his finest moment, he flunks a radio interview as he is inebriated and becomes so broken by the pain he has caused his family that he eventually ends up dead (let me spare you the details). As usual, I am gutted by his death; it seems like I have lost a real friend. How could he not show a bit more discretion the night before a major interview? How could the love of a glass affect his judgment so significantly?

As someone who has known a thing or two about dealing with “little” vices, I can relate to the battle Peter fought and lost so spectacularly. “Little” vices may be permitted by the mediocre soul without much consequence but they are the difference between glory and shame for the one who dreams of greatness. Like little serpents, they do not make their presence known, do not disturb, show up only once in a while and grow in size with every indulgence. From hiding in a corner of the room, they eventually sit behind the door, then they share the bed, then they grow so large until they seize the room. Eventually, they push the subject into the cold and leave that soul weary, alone and wrecked.

There are not many graver errors to be made in a life than to allow these vices have a place in the room. A Hitler-like ruthlessness has to be applied to them. They must be killed at every notice, they must not be allowed to fester, or be granted accommodation. Occasionally, good souls are tempted to think that a small vice may be permitted but that is as safe a ground to stand on as the head of a python. Little vices were Samson’s undoing and Judas’ hell. No soul should suffer them to coexist.

These vices show up in different forms- drugs, alcohol, sex, power, greed, naïveté, sloth, scorn, vulgarity, vengefulness, etc. In fact, if a full life is one that comprises mastery, decency, compassion, worship and graciousness, a vice is would be anything that takes away from your capacity to live such a life. What more? They don’t always start off presenting much of a problem. The casual heart will not take note but the watchful soul will soon begin to identify them. The best identifier of a vice is the feeling of helplessness that comes when it craves expression. It is the worst feeling ever, knowing the good to do and being unable to do it. Ultimately, such a path leads on to regret, depression and ill health.

take the foxes

Thankfully, it isn’t a peculiar fight. Most humans fight one or the other and many win. Make no mistakes about it; it is one which in many cases has to be won daily. But victory is possible and a fight against the vice should begin with the knowledge that it can be defeated. Three simple steps can provide the support needed for an effective fight.

Talk to Someone- A confidant would be great, preferably someone with a bit more experience on life, either by reason of their age or vocation; or simply someone who is important to you. Sharing the challenge is a critical first step to winning. Because of the relationship between you and this person, you are better able to weather the storm and commit.

Take Responsibility- There is nothing more frustrating than an uncommitted soul. Dealing with a vice means standing up daily and ensuring you don’t get beat. It means building an atmosphere that supports your goal; it means devising strategies to nullify the impulses. The creation of the right atmosphere would more often than not simplify the task. How exhausting would it be to try to deal with an alcohol vice by hanging out at the bar every day?

Focus on the goal- As important as strategies are, they are not sufficient enough motivation. The goal has to be the motivation. Imagine having no skeletons in the cupboard, a life free of pesky flies that leave you going nuts; Imagine being in the driver’s seat, living the full life, having none of your free will or power taken away from you; Imagine being in peace with all men, insofar as lies with you of course; imagine having the grace to be able to seize every opportunity, extend kindness to every human being, shine in every situation. If that sounds good to you, then let that be the motivation.

Life’s vices are myriad. They have stolen the dream of many men and women and left them in tatters. No human should have to fall to these. By finding a partner in your fight, being firm and responsible about dealing with them; and focussing on the goal, everyone can get the snakes out. And whatever happens, it is worth remembering that a heartfelt confession to heaven of a stumble is all it takes to get back on the road to victory.

My friend Peter Russo is gone but I am sure the grief will last only as long as it takes to hear Hollywood’s next story.

 

Osita Egbubine is a believer in the capacity of every human being to lead a fulfilling, purpose-driven life. He is currently pursuing a Finance degree in the UK and tweets via @ositane.