The way that we live and work defines us. In his book The Four Agreements, the author Miguel Ruiz offers a code for living our life with peace and happiness. The first principle in this code of conduct is Be impeccable with your word. Words are seeds, so plant a garden of abundance and hope. Give your full attention to what words come out of your mouth. Just as we take care and use diligence when we craft our technical writing, I suggest that we should also think before we speak. Relax.
The second principle is Don’t take anything personally. Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously. A friend attended a manager-directed soft-skills training class to learn how to keep her cool at work. The big takeaway from that class was Quit Taking it Personally (QTIP). The facilitator suggested that we use a cotton swab (the Q-tip that many of us grew up with) and place the Q-tip where we will see it throughout our work day. On our coffee mug, on our desk, on the bathroom mirror. The swab says “quit taking it personally” and reminds us that we can change the way that we react to circumstances. Be mindful of your reactions, and pause before you react.
The third principle is Don’t make assumptions. Our work places us in proximity to people we may only know on a superficial level, so we must use care not to make assumptions. Use your technical communication skills and find the courage to ask questions. Do not assume that your colleagues know what you need. Be clear about what you need. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
The fourth principle is Always do your best. In all circumstances, if we do our best, we can feel good about our contributions. Our best varies, but we can learn from our mistakes.
Go forth, have an excellent day, and enjoy living and working.