Seven Ways to Excel at Work

Pushing yourself and being your own cheerleader while doing it

Watching a personal fitness trainer the other day made me wish for a personal office trainer. He wouldn't push me to do more sit ups or crunches, but to finish my projects and make more cold calls.

Because personal fitness trainers are fit, my personal business trainer would have to be successful in business. He would be able to tell me just what I needed to do to hit my goals. When I got down, he'd pick me up, saying things like "You've got a two-hour deadline. You can do it. Don't stop!"

Just like personal fitness trainers push less junk food, my personal office trainer would push less workplace drama. My office trainer would keep me from getting distracted and wasting time on things like Facebook and Twitter.

Alas, I don't have a personal office trainer. I'll have to do it the old-fashioned way and listen to my inner cheerleader. I'm giving myself seven things to focus on over the next months to help me excel.

Seven Tips to Excelling at Work

  1. Team player. Very few jobs are done in a vacuum. Continue to work on communication, relationships and team successes.
  2. Word hard. Don't just show up, but arrive and get down to business. Avoid gossip and keep calls and other personal things to a minimum.
  3. Learn New Skills. Jobs change and require new skills over time. No one wants to be left behind. Additional education keeps you effective at work and valuable to your employer and clients.
  4. Positive attitude. Attack problems head on and be part of the solution. People like working with positive people.
  5. Take Criticism gracefully. Even constructive criticism is sometimes hard to accept. But it's healthy feedback that lets us see places we can improve. Take it and run with it. 
  6. Focus on what you're good at. If you've got it flaunt it. Things you are already good at are things that are no doubt easier for you to develop further.
  7. Look for new ways to excel. There are always new theories on ways to excel, and some tailored to your situation. Finding articles or training that can help you reach your goals, is a good way to keep yourself motivated and accountable. Check out our Accountability That Works training course. 

It would be great to have a personal office trainer. It's a great fantasy — someone always on your side, helping you to stay focused and improve. But, you're the next best thing. Let that inner trainer step up and do its job and allow you to excel. 

Diane Mettler has been a manager for nearly 20 years. She's also a freelance writer and editor—with hundreds of her articles published in a variety of magazines—and teaches writing at the University of Washington.