EDITOR’S NOTE: Motivating employees to work safely is part of a safety professional’s job. But who motivates the motivator? In this monthly column, safety professional and professional speaker Richard Hawk offers his entertaining brand of wisdom to inspire safety professionals to perform at their best.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is one of my favorite self-improvement books. Ruiz offers four agreements that, if we make them with ourselves, will help us gain “personal freedom.” But I want to focus on one thing.
“Always do your best” has done wonders to help me enjoy life to the fullest and perform better. This doesn’t mean trying to be perfect – perfection is too subjective to achieve. But if you do your best, you will always feel good about how you react and act in any situation.
For example, even if what I do at work will never be noticed by anyone but me, I still get the satisfaction of knowing that I did my best. It helps me enjoy all tasks, from conducting a routine safety inspection to washing my car on the weekend. Also, it becomes a habit that helps you shine in different ways.
Here are three areas of my life that have improved since I agreed to give my best. I wish you the same.
Personal and work relationships
Even if it’s a simple interaction, such as talking to a server at a restaurant, I do my best to be friendly, kind and, when I can, funny. If service takes longer than usual, I remind myself to do my best to handle the delay gracefully. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort.
In my job in radiation safety in demolition, I strive to do my best to be a team player. This means being mindful of my behavior and how others react to what I say and do. I also make active listening a priority and give my full attention when my colleagues are speaking.
Just as exercising, staying hydrated, and eating a variety of nutritious foods help your body stay healthy, there are many things you can do that have a positive effect on your mental health.
I do my best to feed my mind with inspiring thoughts. One way I do this is by reading and thinking about inspiring ideas. My home office and my cubicle at the power plant have all kinds of fun and inspirational sayings and paraphernalia that lift my spirits. A colleague recently told me that she visits my cubicle when she needs a boost – it makes her smile.
The mind-body connection is well established. Extensive research shows that no matter what physical habits you follow, if your mind is not healthy, your body will suffer. So by doing your best to have a healthy mind, you are taking care of one of your most valuable possessions.
Small Tasks (They Matter)
Recently, the group I work with decided to stretch every morning before our daily briefing. I volunteered to lead it and did my best to make it fun and worthwhile. It turned out much better than I expected. I did a bunch of research and found a station that played “stretch music” as well as an excellent five minute program. It’s a welcome addition to our morning briefings and the way it’s been received is further proof that it’s worth the effort to give your best.
Giving my best even to simple tasks also applies to my behavior when I’m doing more important work. It becomes a way of life. Every day, whether I’m making my bed or conducting a root cause investigation, I feel good about my efforts and enjoy the moments more.
Making a pact with yourself to always give your best is a personal matter, so there’s no need to feel disappointed if your best today isn’t as good as it was on other days. No one else needs to know. However, one great benefit of regularly giving your best is that over time your best will continue to improve!
This article represents the views of the author and should not be construed as an endorsement by the National Security Council.
Richard Hawke helps leaders inspire employees to take greater care of their safety and health so “no one gets hurt.” It also has a long history of success in getting safety leaders to increase their influence and make safety fun. For over 35 years, Richard’s safety keynotes, training sessions, books and e-zine ‘Safety Stuff’ have made a positive difference in the field of safety and health. Learn more about how Richard can improve the safety of your employees at makesafetyfun.com.
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