The mindful worker: lessons I’ve learned throughout my career (so far)

- August 2019

By Laura Ushay, Principal at Parbery Consulting.

Working on programs and projects for over 10 years in various departments and organisations, I’ve faced many challenges and learnt many valuable lessons about the workplace. The value of facing these obstacles head-on is that for better or worse, you walk away with knowledge and insights that will serve you long into the future. Throughout my career, obstacles have presented themselves in various shapes and sizes, but there is one characteristic true of all the obstacles that we face; they offer lessons to be learnt if we are mindful enough to find them.

I’d like to pass on a few professional lessons I’ve learnt throughout my career (so far):

I’ve recently adopted a new motto – be humble, be kind. This is a simple concept to remember but it’s not always easy to execute. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are not in control of how others think and feel. The fact that there are so many unique personalities in one’s work environment can occasionally cause frustrations, but we have to pick our battles carefully, and know when it’s time to back down or walk away.

I’ve learnt throughout my career that most people just want to do the best they can for themselves and others. We need to remember this when faced with difficult situations. I’ve realised that empathy is one of the most important attributes we can develop to help us achieve, grow and improve as people.

We must also remember to take time to grow our networks and surround ourselves with positive and encouraging people. While picking up their positivity, be mindful to give it back. Encourage ideas, get know your colleagues, and always try to provide support for your peers, clients and bosses.

Be humble, but at the same time, walk with confidence. Don’t be afraid to put forward your own suggestions, and never be afraid to ask for help or say no if something doesn’t feel right. Sometimes we need to a break to recharge and get a fresh take on things, which is completely acceptable!

At the end of the day, we have complete responsibility for ourselves. Make your health your number one priority. This affects your ability to deliver, so if you’re not feeling 100%, rest! You won’t be working to your full potential if you let yourself get run-down.

Finally, always do what is right. Even if it means you lose, or don’t get what you want. Sometimes doing the right thing can place you in an uncomfortable position but having a clear conscience is absolutely worth it. Sometimes, you will get it wrong.  You will mess up somewhere along the line and/or do the wrong thing. But that’s okay. You weren’t an immaculate conception, and neither was anyone else. We’re human after all.