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Life Lessons Applicable to the Public Sector

Collectivism is a core concept in public service. In my last post, I introduced the concept of leading without a title (insert hyperlink to that blog post). So much of our personal development happens outside the office. Our life experiences, personal lives and hobbies paint a picture of our values, ethics and interests. Reflection is important to grow in our professional as well as personal lives. If we connect the dots, we can realize that life’s essential lessons can be applied to public service and strengthen our work ethic.

1. Don’t try to make everyone happy: It is close to impossible to make everyone happy. Instead, focus on doing your job to the best of your ability. Trust everything will work out in the end.

2. You don’t have to be liked by everyone: Everyone is not going to like you and that is ok. Often times, we let people’s false judgment of us negatively affect our psyche. Putting yourself down can hinder productivity and positivity. Instead, don’t let others define you and remain focused.

3. Patience is a virtue: We hear it time and time again. Public service is collaborative and requires patience. Whether it is a grant application or a project proposal, you cannot control the pace at which others process things. Meet your deadline and then focus on your next project. Good things come to those that wait.

4. Communication is key: With everything being mobile, it is hard to convey tone through text or email. Make sure all your e-comm is well-thought out and written in a professional tone. Observe your co-workers and find out what methods of communication works best for them. It is important to be adaptable to accurately communicate with various parties.

5. You have to make the best out of every situation: Everything is not in our control. Worrying about things we have no control over is futile. Do what you can with available resources and always look for new opportunities.

6. Your internal environment determines your external environment: Ever walked into the office and felt like something was off? And then mid-day you find out that everyone is either in a bad mood, had a fight with their spouse, or isn’t getting along with their supervisor? Keeping yourself positive can be infectious and improve the environment around you.

7. Gratitude must be practiced daily: It is easy to get burned out or feel underappreciated. Again, your internal environment determines everything. You have control and the power to change your circumstances. Reminding yourself of the things you are grateful for can increase your happiness and passion for the work you do.

8. Always be able to see the larger picture: This pretty much sums up #’s 1-7. Always remember, the current situation is not the end all be all. Seeing the larger picture can make you more aware of how important your contribution is.

Priyanka Oza 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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