9 Ways You’re Not Reaching Your Federal Income Potential


Every month I eagerly await my subscription to Success Magazine. I love this magazine not only because I get in the mail (I love the Postal Service and not just because I work there), but also because every month it comes with a CD filled with interviews filled with success tips.

Success Publisher Darren Hardy interviewed author Tom Corley this month, and it got me thinking. How many of us operate on autopilot and don’t stop to monitor our everyday patterns?

In his book, Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, Corley outlines several rich habits, with a few thrown in from me that distinguish the wealthy from the non-wealthy. If you are not actively engaged in the following 9 things, you are in effect leaving money on the table or in Uncle Sam’s wallet.

  1. You Have Good Daily Habits – Good habits are the foundation of success in any endeavor. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is their daily habits. Simply put, successful feds have many good habits and few bad ones. If you understand that your bad habits are preventing you from getting the position you want or the raise you deserve, resolve now to do something about it. In his book, Corley asks you to take out a sheet of paper and list your bad habits in one column and then invert each one of them in the next column. It should look like this:

Bad Habit                              Good Habit

I watch too much TV.           I limit myself to one hour of TV per day.

I don’t remember names.    I write down names & remember them.

Then for 30 days, follow your new Good Habits list. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

  1. You Regularly Set Goals – Successful federal employees are goal-driven. They create goals all the time. They plan out their day the night before with to-do lists, which is just another word for you guessed it, goals. Successful feds think long-term. They have daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. But what’s a goal without a plan to reach them? So not only do successful feds have goals, they also execute them and hold themselves accountable.
  1. You Engage in Self-Improvement daily – Successful feds are always looking for ways to improve themselves. They read every day and are students of their profession. They don’t spend their time on activities that do not bring them closer to their goals. I recently attended an event put on by New York Times Best-Selling Author Brendon Burchard and he said that he consistently blocks out time to create. Successful people like Brendon know that time is too valuable a commodity to waste. They spend their time on the one thing that will help them in their career. Self-improvement means you must engage in some activity every day that will stretch you. You must seek ways to expand your knowledge. This won’t always be easy, but we only grow when things are a challenge. Once your knowledge grows, opportunities will appear.
  1. You Regularly Take Care of Your Health – Successful feds make an effort each and every day to eat right and exercise. Eating right is of utmost importance. Exercising is a daily habit, just like taking a bath. People who exercise regularly have more energy to get things done. How are you doing in this area?
  1. You Regularly Make Time for Relationship Building – Successful feds are other-people focused. They take time out of their day to strengthen the bonds of friendship and form long-lasting relationships with others. For successful feds, networking is something they do all the time. They reach out to their contacts and look for ways to help them with no expectation of return. The most beautiful sound on earth, I once heard someone say, is your name. So make it a goal to learn the names of every contact you meet. Aren’t you impressed when someone remembers your name? I know I am. So stand out as different and start remembering names.
  1. You Live in Moderation – Basically that means you live in a balanced way. They are balanced when it comes to work, eating, exercise, consuming alcohol, watching television, surfing the internet and so forth. As a result, people enjoy their company. If people like being around you, then you will be more apt to get that promotion you want and the raise you deserve.
  1. You Get Things Done – Simply put, you don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today. All of us have fears, but successful feds push past those fears. They do not procrastinate. They get the important things done, no matter the cost. In Rich Habits, Corley says when the thought of putting something off enters your mind, immediately cast this thought out by saying, “Do It Now.” He says to repeat these words a hundred times if necessary. Just don’t stop until it’s done.
  1. You Think Positively – Think of the most successful person you know. Now are they positive or negative? They are positive and most likely enthusiastic, energetic, and happy. This is the case because their self-talk is positive. They are not overly critical of themselves. They seek to see the good in others and in themselves. To them problems are just opportunities waiting to be uncovered. Every day we are bombarded by bad thoughts because of the media we consume. So successful feds minimize their exposure to this and instead opt to fill their minds with positive news in books in and magazines.
  1. You Regularly Save Your Money – Successful feds pay themselves first. According to Corley, they put away ten to twenty percent of their gross earnings into a savings, investment, or retirement plan. Not everyone can afford to put away ten or twenty percent, but what percent are you putting away?

This is just part one. I’ll dive into the second half of the list next week. Let me know your progress in the comment section.

Meiko Patton is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Catherine Andrews

I can’t wait for part two. And I’m so glad you addressed health/eating/exercise in this. It’s an undervalued way of just being able to get more things done.