I got my first job (other than babysitting) when I was fifteen years old. It was at McDonald’s. I got to wear a dark blue polyester uniform and clunky black shoes that deteriorated quickly in the greasy environment. Yuck.
It was exhilarating. I was terrified. I had no clue what to expect or really what was expected of me. But it was my first step into the world of pay checks, punching clocks, and paying taxes. Since then I’ve completed school, including University, and had five different major career changes. Just because you start at one job it doesn’t mean you’re going to be there forever. Consider the life experience, the connections made, and the lessons learned.
You make things happen and often your attitude will be the things others see and consider first.
Here is a list (in purple) of ten things that require zero talent but can make a huge difference in your life. You’ll quickly see that you’re actually in charge of you and your attitude, personal values, and level of respect–both given and received. You have the power.
Each of these ten things can be easily learned and are valuable traits to take you far in life.
Ten Life Skills That Require Zero Talent
1. Be on Time
This shows respect and maturity. If you’re late all the time it sends a message that you think your time is more important than others.
To get a rep for constantly being late shows arrogance on your part and is definitely not a joke. Use your phone reminder, alarms, and clock—there’s no excuse to be late. Oh, and if you’re late all the time, you’re going to find yourself fired.
The same goes for life in general. If you’re always showing up late, you may think it’s funny or get a nickname of LateDude… but really, it’s disrespectful and rude. Other people’s time is important too.
2. Work Ethic
You should always show up ready, willing, and prepared to work. Period. Arrive a few minutes early for your shift, clean, pressed and prepared. Don’t walk in at the last minute still having to put your belongings away. A strong work ethic is a sign of someone who cares and understands that hard work is a reflection of dedication and self-esteem.
3. Make an Effort
This means actually expending some energy and using some common sense.
Take some pride in what you do whether it’s slinging burgers, sweeping a sidewalk, or stacking shelves. The quality of your work is a reflection on you.
The fact that an employer is paying for your time means that you need to put forth an effort to succeed. Use your physical and mental abilities to get things done. I believe in you.
Making an effort also goes into so many avenues of a person’s life.
It’s about taking a shower, getting to work on time, showing up to life…I know it’s not always easy. Self care though, is so important.
Making an effort also is important socially. Call your friends. Text them. Don’t wait for them to always come to you. Make that effort.
If you know that something like anxiety is an issue you may need to formulate a plan. I know you can do it—now convince yourself you can too.
4. Body Language
It drives me crazy to see a young person (or any person for that matter) standing around ignoring the customers, chatting with buddies, or flipping through their phone when they’re supposed to be working.
You’re there to do a job.
Put those shoulders back, stand tall, and get it done. And, don’t shrug your shoulders when asked a question, it’s rude and unprofessional.
The same goes for any type of social engagement. If you hunched over your phone or avoiding any type of eye contact then you’re giving people the signal to stay away. Is that what you want? Perhaps. But if you’re in a social situation, make an effort–it makes it more comfortable not only for you but also for those around you.
Think about it.
This is very closely related to body language and effort.
If you’re yawning and acting bored then it’s a message you want to be elsewhere.
Hey, I get it. Work can be tedious and tiresome, but it’s also necessary and it’s up to you to do it to the best of your ability.
Energy, unless you’re operating on no sleep, is something within your power. Sometimes all it takes is for you to give your head a shake and wake up a bit, have a coffee, smile and move forward.
Shift your mood to lift your energy. Be aware of depression or mood swings. Way back in Auntie’s olden days we used to say “Fake it til you make it.” This was our way of diving into the task of work (or whatever we were doing) and putting on that smile(aka: forcing that smile) or digging deep for that energy to get through. Sometimes the smile wasn’t completely genuine but the customer didn’t know that… Make sense?
This is all up to you. If you don’t care about what you’re doing, it will shine through your attitude.
Being rude, dismissive, and or impolite are all a choice and totally unacceptable.
Choose instead to be professional, mature, and kind. It’ll take you a lot further in life.
Always remember to treat others as you’d like to be treated. Be grateful. Be humble. Be real.
This may be something that comes over time and something to work towards.
I know I wasn’t passionate per se, about my jobs when I was young but I sure liked to get paid.
My passion came through in education and choosing my career path.
8. Be Coachable
Know and recognize that you don’t have all the answers in the world.
There are many with life experience and knowledge that can make your life easier.
Listen when someone talks. Be willing to learn and try a different way of doing things…you may be surprised.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That is sometimes the only way to get answered. Be willing to embrace the chance to learn and grow. You’ll be glad you did.
9. Do Extra
This speaks for itself really in that going the extra mile for someone can come back and reward you ten-fold in the future.
Don’t stand around and wait to be told what to do.
Take some initiative and go for it. “Doing” for others is a positive thing. It’s also like a gift you can give without even realizing it. We don’t know what’s happening in other people’s lives and by you doing something a little extra for someone could be the one positive in their day.
People will also appreciate you caring and taking the time to do that little extra. It’s a win-win.
10. Be Prepared
This doesn’t take a lot of effort but is so important.
It could mean washing your uniform the night before, making sure you gassed up the car, or perhaps it’s about getting enough sleep.
It could also mean meditating and mentally preparing for the challenge of the day.
The thing to remember is that it’s up to you to prepare.
Know your schedule—it shouldn’t be a shock that you suddenly face. Write things down or take a picture—it’s not rocket science.
I know how hard it is to sometimes get motivated to work or even to leave the bed in the morning, but it’s called life and whether you like it or not you need to engage and move forward. The alternative isn’t good. By accepting your responsibilities and embracing your abilities you can go as far as you want and do or be, anything you want.
Dream BIG and don’t sell yourself short.
Good luck. Remember these things don’t cost you anything. I know you can do it.
SideBar: the “list of 10 things that are free” are those listed in purple the rest is Auntie editorial. Please feel free to share with all the young people in your life.