Making work personal

Ever watch a movie where the bad guy says to one of the innocents: “It’s not personal, it’s just business”? Yeah, we all have.

Michael Corleone said it to Sonny in Godfather II:

The thing is, we all the think the same thing when the bad guy says that. It IS personal. 

If you’re on the negative side of a firing, for instance, it becomes vividly personal, very quickly. If you’re a manager and a crucial member of your team quits, it becomes urgently, painfully personal. But you shouldn’t need adversity to make work personal.

Showing pride in your work is making work personal.

Striving for excellence is making work personal.

Being honest at all times — and wearing your values at the office every day — is making work personal.

Showing respect for yourself and others by providing more value than your employer pays you for is making work personal.

It’s okay to do these things. It’s encouraged. Forget that movie line. Put your heart and soul into things. Be who you are and care about it enough that you leave it all on the table. If you get critical feedback during a performance review, suck it up and go after improving that area — don’t waste time debating.

The world needs more people who are fully committed to what they’re doing. They’re locked-in. Salespeople need to believe — or get out, for instance. There’s just no room for people not ready for prime time.

Your employer can require a lot from you: time, travel, the use of specific skills and talents, etc. The one thing they can’t mandate, but can only hope for, is your heart. They can hope, even expect, that you’re self-motivated enough to give everything you’ve got.

But if giving everything you’ve got is in doubt, well, then, Heaven help you.

Don’t be “that guy” or “that gal” who could have been something if only they’d work with a little more zest, a little more passion, a little more energy. By making work personal — by taking things personally — you aren’t throwing your whole work/life balance out of whack, trust me. You’re extending who you really are into work. And doesn’t it make sense to be THAT person.

I thought you’d agree.

Now, make it that way every day.

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