You and I may have never met, but I know something about you. I know that you’re committed to self-improvement, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. Sometimes, the process of self-improvement can seem overwhelming. You know, “Should I take up yoga? Learn a new language? Start an exercise regimen? Learn to play an instrument? Follow some new diet?” While those may be good ideas, the thought of such major steps can sometimes be intimidating to the point where they last only a short time or we don’t even do them at all. The thing is, self-improvement comes in many sizes. Sure, sometimes big changes are necessary, such as the regular exercise regimen and dietary changes I started several years ago after experiencing some major health issues. Sometimes, however, you can accomplish big goals through small steps. In his book One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, author Robert Mauer talks about how simple, small steps, regularly applied, can make a big difference in your life. You can do the same thing as you work to apply the five principles of IT customer service. Just below the video are some examples:
Self-Improvement Through the Principle of Technical Competence
Maybe you’ve thought about pursuing a technical certification, but the thought of the hours of study and practice is overwhelming. Instead of thinking about the entire process, commit to spending 30 minutes reading in an exam prep guide. Maybe you’ve been meaning to switch an IPSec VPN from 3DES to AES. Instead of thinking about the entire process, commit to finding and watching a relevant YouTube video or setting up a lab network where you can experiment.
Now, write down one simple step you’ll take within the next 24 hours to improve your technical competence. Why write it down? Simple. The process of writing down your planned action step makes you more likely to do it!
Self-Improvement Through the Principle of Compassion
Compassion is caring about other people. Try picking up the check for a someone at a restaurant without letting them know who did it. My friend Tony does this frequently, especially for young couples with children.
Now, write down one simple step you’ll take within the next 24 hours to improve your compassion for others.
Self-Improvement Through the Principle of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to imagine what other people are going through. Try this: Ask a stranger how her or his life is going. Listen without interjecting your own experiences. Make it all about the other person. Also, check out the online Empathy Library for suggestions of books and films to help raise your personal empathy level.
Now, write down one simple step you’ll take within the next 24 hours to improve your empathy for others.
Self-Improvement Through the Principle of Listening
Being a good listener is one of the greatest gifts we can give our brothers and sisters. Often, however, when one of our colleagues is describing some issue, we’re thinking about other things such as our next project, lunch, or something we want to say. Try being intentional about silencing your inner distracting voice and be in the moment with the other person. The next time you have a conversation with someone whom you don’t particularly like, surprise them by asking relevant questions.
Now, write down one simple step you’ll take within the next 24 hours to improve your listening skills.
Self-Improvement Through the Principle of Respect
The principle of respect states that you don’t have to feel respect for another person in order to treat him or her with dignity and respect. It’s about our behavior, not our feelings. Try holding the door or getting coffee for someone with whom you’ve had conflict. Sometimes small gestures of respect and kindness can open previously closed doors.
Now, write down one simple step you’ll take within the next 24 hours to treat others with dignity and respect.
An excellent exercise is to start your morning by writing down one small step you’ll commit to taking that day for each of the five principles. Keep them small, so they’ll be easy to do. More importantly, keep them small so you’ll actually do them! By taking small steps toward self-improvement, applied regularly, you can make big changes and become an even better version of the person you already are.
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