Are you looking forward to a long weekend filled with work? You may want to make some time for fun as well! This author and well-known speaker claims that you cannot be truly successful, unless you have an appropriate balance of work and play. Get his recommendations and reasoning here!
Ron Culberson spent the first part of his professional career working in a large hospice organization as a clinical social worker, manager, and senior leader. As a speaker and humorist, Ron has delivered 1,000 presentations to more than 120,000 people in more than 700 associations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. Ron is the 2012-2013 president of the National Speakers Association and is a nationally recognized expert on the benefits of humor and laughter.
In this interview, Ron talks about his two step approach to success, how to make your job more enjoyable, how to get good at something, and more.
How did you come up with the two step approach in your book and what inspired it?
I did my graduate thesis in social work on the relationship between humor and depression. As a result, I began offering short presentations on the therapeutic benefits of humor. The program evolved over the years and in 1996, I began speaking and writing full time about the relationship between humor and several different topics such as communication, leadership, stress management, etc.
In time, however, I began to realize that humor or fun without excellence can actually work against you because the credibility is not there. When I looked at my own success in management and leadership, I saw that if I did a good job AND was fun/funny, I was actually more effective. So, I coined the phrase “do it well, make it fun” and now, I show people that this two-step concept can apply to just about anything. It boils down to looking at everything we do as a process and that each process has steps. If we look at the steps, there is great potential for improvement and fun.
How does someone get really good at something? Do you need to have natural ability?
I love the book by Geoff Colvin called “Talent is Overrated.” In that book, he suggests that talent is a combination of many factors. It’s our innate skills plus practice and the development of some intuitive abilities. One example he gives is wide receiver Jerry Rice. He said that Rice would practice the things that he needed for his particular position in addition to the normal team practices. As a result, he developed very specific skills and is considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all time.
Part of the challenge is that we’re not good at evaluating our own skills. We tend to overestimate our abilities – that’s why we all think we’re good drivers! But if we’re willing to gather data from our own work and get feedback from others, we can see where we need to improve. Once we understand what needs improvement, there are classes, mentors, coaches, and other resources to help us get better. We all have some natural abilities but that doesn’t mean we can’t also develop our skills. I am funny (not necessarily evidenced in my responses to your questions, however) but I also work at being funnier by studying other funny people, writing humor, getting feedback from others, etc. And just because someone doesn’t have natural abilities doesn’t mean they can’t get better at something.
How can someone make the most of their day and best manage their time?
This is an area I struggle with every day! While I work hard at being good at my job, I am also easily distracted. In fact, I’ve checked my email and searched for a song on the internet while I was writing these responses. So, I have to work at it. My suggestion is to determine when you work best (morning, afternoon) and then do the tough work at that time so you’re more focused. In addition, I think it’s important to manage emails, phone calls, and other distractions. Stephen Covey said we focus too much on the unimportant and non urgent items during our day because they’re easy. Instead, we should focus on the long-term important items even though they’re not urgent.
I’ve tried a number of techniques and the best system that worked for me was to set aside a certain amount of time each day for the important items on my to-do list and really focus on those items during that time. So, for instance, if I’m writing, I try not to answer email or the phone for that focused writing time. Or, I set aside an hour at the end of the day to wrap up all the administrative tasks for the day rather than doing them throughout the day when I should be doing something more important. There are many good books out there on time management and I would suggest reading few and then creating a system that works for your particular style.
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