Dienstag, 13. Mai 2014

Unsexy skills that will change your life.

Today I want to write about things that are not very popular.

They are characteristics and aptitudes that will make your life truly successful and that are important in order to be permanently happy – nevertheless you will not only find them unusual, but possibly even unattractive at first.

What I am going to tell you doesn’t sound glamorous or sexy – but you won’t get far in life without these characteristics.

That’s right.
Unfortunately these things are not taught in school, although it would be badly needed!

Apart from that they are things that are ESSENTIAL for your professional future – so listen up, all of you starting a career!

My advice:

don’t let the phrasing deter you.
What I am going to let you in on today (and in the following posts) is extremely powerful, something that is underestimated by a lot of people.

The best thing: no need to learn it like a new “habit”, in the vein of:
“Oh, well, yet another thing on my list.”
It is much, much better you enjoy my words, take them to heart and bam! be happy about feeling the same way.
Something that will make you happy every day and without which success isn’t even possible is, among other things,…

1. Devotion.

I know.

Devotion sounds like self-abandonment, like suffering, renunciation and “paying a price”.
But that’s not what I’m talking about!

Devotion is such a beautiful trait – and you won’t get
anywhere without devotion.
Well, you will get somewhere, but not to where it is nice.

Devotion means passion.

Devotion means: doing the things you have to do full of eagerness and ardor.
Devotion is enthusiasm and a burning sensation in your heart.

I’ll tell you something:

if you do the things that need to be done with devotion, you will enhance your quality of life multiple times, INSTANTLY!
All of a sudden your everyday life will be gorgeous – and you will be inwardly fulfilled and content.
I emphasize:
The EVERYDAY life, not the holiday/the week-ends/the vacation.
Everybody can be devoted during their vacation!
But honestly: that’s not life.
Life is all the small things and moments that are maybe not even so spectacular.

Life is the situation you happen to be in: your job, your family life, your circumstances.
If you do these things with devotion – and not just because they have to be done! – but if you do them with enthusiasm and devotion, you will suddenly find your everyday life to be so lovely!

Things like tidying.

Or cooking dinner.
Or spending time with your children.
Or doing your job.
Or doing the laundry.

Devotion means to do things excellently, although they might be unspectacular, unglamorous or a little bit tedious over a longer period of time.

You are not quite at the finish line – yet you always do your best.

I'm telling you quite honestly:

I don’t want to do ANYTHING without devotion.
It makes me sick to do things only half-heartedly.
I don’t want to do something “so-so, main thing it’s done”.

I AM passion, I live passionately and so it is only logical that I do the things I do with devotion.

That’s why I always do my best – yet not because of the pressure of perfectionism, but because I prefer to do things whole-heartedly.

And that means no matter what, even the simplest things.

If I cook something – even if it is a simple, quick dish – I positively celebrate it and prepare it with as much love as possible.

All the fresh, wonderful ingredients, the spices, the texture of the dish: it is simply a pleasure!
If I prepare something for the blog I do my best – that which Lotti called perfectionism is really only the devotion to the blog, to my readers, to my partners. I focus on the task and enter a state of creative flow (which is amazing, by the way).


Does anybody notice whether I took the pictures listlessly or whether I felt enormous joy and “gave it all”?
To tell you the truth: noone will in most of the cases.
Even the outcome would maybe look the same.
But that’s not the point.

Devotion has nothing to do with the public – nothing with external effects or with praise from others.
If you are devoted to something or not – most of the time hardly anybody will notice.

I spent so many years at home with the children – and I really invested myself in them.

I was a passionate mother and I very consciously enjoyed this time (I still do it now, of course, but it changes time-wise, when they get older).
I didn’t see it as a sacrifice on my part – but as a great privilege.
(Okay, okay, the nights. They WERE a sacrifice, we don’t need to sugarcoat it. I did hate them – but I couldn’t very well abandon my kids in the woods, because they were so cute during the day.)

But nobody saw and noticed the devotion and passion (and believe me, we did have an awesome time) – but that didn’t matter at all.

Devotion is something that fulfills YOU first and foremost.

It does not matter whether anybody notices and acknowledges it.
Devotion and passionate commitment are skills that are very, very sought-after in the professional world.
It is NOT the people that have the most talent, the best grades, the smartest or the educated ones that are the most successful.
It is those who do their stuff with passion and a kick-ass attitude!

Any good supervisor will in the long run recognize and value your devotion.

You can be sure of that!
(and if he isn’t a good supervisor – what are you even doing working for a bad one?)

My very first intern wrote in her application mail, among other things:

"Joanna, even if I chauffeur your kids around or if I’m expected to mop your floor – I don’t care. I just want to be with you and work for you.”
And I hired her on the spot – without having once talked to her.
Her heart was full of devotion for me, that was worth more than anything else!
You can learn things – but you cannot learn an attitude of the heart!

Some business people/companies work according to the principle: “this is just a small customer, we do not have to put that much effort into it. Once the big fish come along: THEN we will give our best!”

Believe me, it will never get to that point.
If you are not faithful and devoted to the small things, you will not be entrusted with more, that’s how it is.

Devotion means to stay longer, for example, in order to finish everything, although nobody sees it or directly compensates you for it.

Devotion is not: “work to rule and not one extra inch” – but excellence even in inconspicuous areas.
Devotion doesn’t mean delivering a perfect result (!), but to do something whole-heartedly.

So be devoted to the things you NOW have and do.

At first a lot of it (most of it!) is unspectacular, inconspicuous, does not impress anybody.
But if you show devotion in the small things, something fantastic will come of it!
"But Joanna, what I do in my professional life isn’t that much fun…”
Okay, then change it.
And if that does not work – be devoted.
Just do what’s on your hands at this moment, whole-heartedly!
No matter whether it is something you “have always wanted to do”.

"But Joanna, my children are still little, I can’t do what is burning inside of me…”

You have all the time in the world – just be devoted to the time with your children.
I repeat: it is always about the attitude in your heart – and not quite so ostensibly about what exactly it is you’re doing.

I met a young man in a store recently.

Very quickly we got involved in a conversation and were talking about his future.
He confided in me that he dreams about making it big in the area of media and music, and just kind of serves his time as a sales assistant. And I told him straight out that he can wait for that to happen until the year 29843!

That’s exactly the point:

Loyalty and devotion to the things wherever you’re at right now.
Even if they are not “your dream” or “the real big deal” right now.

How many, do you think, dream about the “big deal” – but do everything else sloppily and carelessly, because “I don’t feel like it right now”.

Believe me: that way you will never achieve anything.
And least of all “the big deal”.

The situation isn’t the decisive factor – it’s your heart that matters! Fire, passion, devotion, loyalty for the small things (the things that nobody sees or recognizes or acknowledges) are a sure-fire key to a happy, fulfilled life.

And the younger you are to internalize this, the better for you.

Another important thing – that some of you won’t like all that much (but I really don’t care about that right now):
sometimes devotion does have something to do with the willingness to make sacrifices.
But not in an icky kind of way! If you are passionately committed to a cause you will often “sacrifice” your comfort.
If something is burning in you and you have once experienced what it means to be devoted to something, you will tolerate circumstances in order to reach your goal.
Superficially this might look like “sacrifice”, but it is only a logical consequence.

If people are not ready to give up even the tiniest bit of their comfort in order to achieve something, and procrastinate with tons of excuses why this or that doesn’t work – I know:

they are just not devoted.

Devotion is NOT:

- Doing things perfectly under the pressure of being better than others – that’s a competition and comparison thing with one person ending up worse and one person ending up better. That’s not devotion, that’s crap!
- Sacrificing oneself while neglecting important things, such as oneself, one’s leisure time, one’s family etc.
If something has such a hold on you that many other areas suffer because to it, it is not a good thing.
On the contrary, your task should inspire you and push you – and leave you overall happier and more fulfilled afterwards!
- To be fastidious and overly finicky, so you’re making perfectionist demands on yourself: always and everywhere, out of fear of ending up with too little, of not being recognized/seen, of not being able to do it etc.

Again: devotion does not mean being able to deliver a perfect result.
Devotion means: I do what I do with ardor, motivation and joy.

"Okay, Joanna. Now I want this, too. How exactly do I go about it?”

The very moment you read my words, everything has already fallen into place ;).

You can’t over time love somebody as devoted as I am – and keep living a sloppy, half-hearted life ;).

And then – very concretely – if you notice you are not 100% present in a situation – you make the decision to completely devote yourself to the task.

Quite simply to execute this simple task NOW in THIS very moment with the utmost pleasure.

"But Joanna, I positively hate some of the things I have to do!”

Doesn’t matter.

Do them devotedly ANYWAY and as well as you can – and soon enough you will be able to pay somebody for relieving you of them, because this somebody loves doing them.

I, for example, have heard of people who love ironing ;).

(I know it’s unbelievable. But it’s true.)

Do you understand:

I also don’t like everything that I have to do.
But at least I have the company of MYSELF while doing those tasks – and wherever I am, that’s simply where it’s good to be!
I just enjoy myself then and am pleased about myself.
And immediately I find things are no trouble at all!
I love to live with intensity instead of just “getting the everyday life over with” or “get your everyday act together”.
That’s so awful, to be honest.

"Oh Joanna... I knew how to do it once. But then I lost it somehow.”

Do you want it back?

All you have to do is *abracadabra* lick once across the screen – and there you go!

(Okay, that was a joke. A jo-oke!)

Don’t give a damn about what was then, baby: you are here, directly at the source – if I can’t give it to you, who else can?!

I wouldn’t know anyone more qualified!

I love people who glow with an aura of excellence in everything they do.

Who do things whole-heartedly, not because they are applauded for it, but simply because it is THEM.

I love devotion!

And giving your heart and soul!
And passion!

(And poignancy. You did notice, didn’t you…?)

Who’s on for it:)?



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