Looking after you . . .

Looking after yourselfI like words.


I learnt some new ones the other day: data rot and link decay.




I’m guessing they made it into the dictionary fairly recently, or at least into a more technical dictionary than the one I’m used to.


And if you were wondering, they roughly translate as this:


  • Data rot – hardware, after a number of years, becoming unplayable (think floppy discs, video tapes, CDs)
  • Link decay – where a digital memory to websites is no longer valid (it’s a page not found moment)


In the world of technology, they’re just two examples of failure that can bite us with sharp teeth if we don’t stay on top, keep up to date, remain ahead of the game.


Upgrades, downloads, latest versions, replacements, conversions, backups . . . they all seem so essential for survival.


Be honest, please (it would really help me to feel better) . . .  who amongst us hasn’t suffered from the odd lapse of memory that locks us out of our account, or from the ever-increasing circle of frustration that comes when we forget the insightful username and password we created in a moment when they seemed like a really good idea? Please tell me it’s not just me.


Well of course, there are plenty of third-parties eager to introduce us to their very clever solutions for making sure that whatever we create stays safe and can be accessed easily (ha! so they say . . .) when the bank’s closed or customer service have gone home.


And that’s what we tend to do with our hardware and software . . . we housekeep, we health-check, we invest.


Health checkBut what about you?


If you don’t invest in yourself, can you sustain and compete and survive? Can you maintain your self-esteem?


And if you don’t look after yourself when it comes to competing with others in processes – restructures, assessments, interviews – what will be your chances of winning the competition, or even getting onto the medal table?


So, how to claw it back, to stop the rot, to halt the decay?


  • Be curious – what’s going on in your industry?

  • Get up to date – qualify, get re-accredited

  • Network – at a conference, or a gathering of like-minded professionals

  • Solicit feedback – find out what you do well, and what you might improve on

  • Challenge yourself – set a stretching objective or goal

  • Move on – be honest enough to do this if you’re stuck where you are

  • Reflect – it’s a powerful tool for learning

  • Learn – read, research, study, attend a course

  • Participate – in a project or a group

  • Comment – make your voice heard

  • Go public – write that newsletter, article, blog

  • Revisit your values – be clear on who you are

  • Lead – if you’ve temporarily lost your mojo, take time out to consider how you’re going to get it back – the above might help a little

  • Pick up the baton . . . and run with it


I’ve worked with many people over many years who seem to have forgotten an essential item in their toolkit: continuing professional development. For some reason they’ve temporarily sidelined their own self-regard. They’ve become so comfortable in their comfort zone that they’ve forgotten to step occasionally into stretch or adventure.


In short, they’ve failed to look after themselves.


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