A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, a career scientist turned statesman who became India’s eleventh President, was so beloved by his people that he earned the moniker “The People’s President”.
By all accounts, he was a remarkable man who rose to great heights from humble beginnings. Of the many quotes that are attributed to him, the one at the forefront of my mind is, “…be more dedicated to making solid achievements, than in running after swift but synthetic happiness”.
This philosophy resonates with me and I try my best to live by its credence.
I always focus on how I can add value to myself, and the people around me. And the value I speak of, is nothing more than ensuring that I do my very best at work, and in my interactions with other people.
It has dawned on me that success is merely a by-product of being valuable.
In my work as a management consultant and executive leadership coach, I constantly explain this to the people who hire me. You need to know how important it is for you to be focused on adding value to every transaction at work.
Some call it being dedicated to the work that you do.
But I suspect that some of you might not really like your job. You might wake up every morning and say, "I wish I didn't have to go to work today!" However, the uncompromising fact is that for financial reasons, both you and I, "have" to go to work.
Unfortunately, remaining in that mind-set and lugging yourself to work each day is both counter-intuitive, and counter-productive.
Ask any boss about hard working, key employees who drive their businesses forward, and one of the words they will consistently use to describe them is dedicated.
Therefore, you must realise that perhaps while you “have” to go work, if you do not change your mind-set, you will never be dedicated. And as a result, you will never be able to add value.
How do you get dedicated to your work?
The fundamental prerequisite for dedication is that you must genuinely learn to love what you do. You will know when you have reached this stage because you get actually anxious and want to start work. You become energised simply by thinking about what you do at work. And, you will feel that you are making a difference at some level, through your efforts.
Have you ever felt this way about your work?
I meet people who are dedicated to their work all the time through my profession.
An example of this is through my connection with Malaysia’s only business radio station. Over the past 8 years, I have been a consistent contributor on their personal empowerment segments called Raise Your Game, and Motivation Monday.
My work gives me unique insights that I share on air, with listeners.
Of late, however, I have had the privilege of being a regular guest on another show on the radio station, which is poles apart from what I normally do. Perhaps because of my on-air experience, and by being a football fan with strong opinions, I am now regularly invited to join the experts on their Football Show.
I must admit that discussing football on-air, has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my broadcasting work.
But to be frank, while I am passionate about the subject matter, I barely have the time to watch every football fixture each week. For this, I rely on the notes that I receive before every show.
Each time I am scheduled to be on the Football Show, which goes live on-air at 8pm, by 8am that morning, I will receive comprehensive lap-notes. The summary will contain an analysis of each game to be discussed. It will include talking points, interesting anecdotes, and useful match facts. And, the quality of these insights are excellent.
Ross Yusof, a 25-year veteran of radio broadcasting in Malaysia, is the host of the show. He is also its one-man production team. Because of his dedication to his listeners, he puts in the effort to structure each show properly, and prepares meticulous notes for us.
Ross typifies what dedication to your work should be.
He has a tremendously positive attitude in his personal interactions with all of us, his guests on the show. Our notes arrive punctually, and in great order. He has a high work ethic in that he could just tell us to prepare, but instead he demonstrates initiative by assisting us. Ross understands that we may need help in ensuring that the listener get the best experience.
In turn, I always feel obliged to do my best, and be well prepared for the Football Show, because I do not want to let Ross down. His dedication to his work inspires me to do my job as a part-time football commentator, appropriately.
Be like Ross Yusof and become dedicated. When you do this, you will add value and consequently, become valuable yourself.
Shankar R. Santhiram is a managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”