To ensure we love Fridays and appreciate our weekends: without a tough Monday we have nothing to compare. To test our grit: can we put aside the grime, the rain, the failures in public transport, the bad news, the water-cooler complaining and still do a damn good day's work? Can we be cheerful for our barista at 0630 who is struggling with a long queue who need-no, demand-their caffeine as one of her team mates couldn't get out of bed and consequently give her hope that there is some justice in the world.
To test you. How professional are you? When the going gets tough....well you know...
To allow a fresh start, a re-boot. To allow you to make a different kind of impact: one for your customer rather than your family. To allow you to get back into the gym after deep muscle rest. To work on your novel at lunch time having done significant editing over the weekend. To catch up with a good friend at the end of the day.
That's what Mondays are for: they are vital to avoid complacency, stagnation and reactivity.
(6) To a better negotiation: you cannot negotiate until you have sold. Ensure you sell first; they must broadly want what you have to offer. Then trade, thinking as creatively as possible about what you can give in return for what you can get. Talk openly about the need to reach an agreement which works well for both parties.
(7) To a better mood, quickly: go bash a newspaper against the back of a chair; you will feel better. Longer term: get more sleep, clean up the diet, exercise hard regularly and learn a relaxation methodology.
(8) To getting the job where you miss a key criterion: the ad says an MBA is needed but you don't have an MBA. That's not necessarily the end of it. Your covering letter needs to address this issue up-front. Why you have chosen not to do an MBA or why you feel you are MBA calibre even though you don't have the qualification. Be clear, up-front and honest. Recruiters want great candidates: show you are one, they are very hard to find. MBAs are very easy to find.
(9) To a better curry: use the correct proportions of single spices rather than ready-mixed kits. Make it at least 24h in advance and allow the flavours to steep. Serve the curry warm/hot rather than scalding with the best quality rice.
(10) To manage jet-lag: for shorter trips do everything you can to stay on 'home' time. For longer trips, start adjusting the hours before you go, allow a day of acclimatisation before business meetings and don't fight poor/broken sleep which is highly likely: simply have a novel to read which causes drowsiness and allows a return to sleep.
1-5 are here: To a fresh business idea/To your first novel/To a more motivated team/To healthier eating/To build your personal brand.
To a fresh business idea: stop what you are currently doing and do something very different. Start with visiting a museum or gallery. Don't try and get a fresh idea, allow the brain to be massaged, stretched and perplexed. Carry a notebook; fresh ideas will appear: you need to be ready to capture them.
To your first novel: aim for quantity. Set an audacious goal e.g. 1000 words/day (assuming you are working). Write everywhere: on the train, at lunch-break, on the way home. At the weekend edit your weekly 5000 words. From quantity get quality.
To a more motivated team: have 1 to 1s. Spend time with each person in your team, individually and in private. This is never time 'wasted' but an incredible investment in building trust. Have honest conversations about changes which need to happen and where you can and cannot help their career. The team mood will improve dramatically as they see a leader who does actually care about them.
To healthier eating: if there is one rare thing on which all research, all diets and all cultures appear to agree it's more vegetables in the diet. Eat more vegetables. Go for locally grown, focus on colour green and steam cook to protect the vitality of the vegetable.
To build your personal brand: collect feedback from everybody. Look for the themes. Act upon those. Re-do the feed-back in 12 months. Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.
It’s critical to get rock-star good at something. It could be playing loud music. It could also be making lasagne, delivering workshops, leading people, managing money, mowing the lawn, scuba diving….
But it is worth finding something to work at, to strive at, to graft at, in order to discover this particular pleasure deep expertise brings. It’s a deeper and longer-lasting and often accumulative enjoyment: one which is different to that resulting from a beer, a movie or Frisbee in the park which although hugely fun comes and then goes. This 'rock-star' pleasure is one which keeps you going day to day, which builds your moral, your confidence and makes you less dependent upon external factors to feel good.
If you get good at something you tend to enjoy it. If you enjoy something you tend to get good at it. Which comes first? Doesn’t matter too much…just know there’s plenty of free pleasure out there from developing an expertise.
And getting really, really good at something and enjoying doing it might give you a revenue stream which you could hardly call work. And that is worth putting a little effort into.