How a personal constitution can help you succeed at work
The Indian Constitution, the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles of government institutions and fundamental rights and duties of citizens. It aims keeping India a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic, while assuring its people of justice, equality and liberty.
But a constitution doesn’t need to be limited to countries and governments. On Republic Day, we list down how a personal constitution can guide, ensure that we don’t veer off course and help attain success at the workplace.
What is a personal constitution?
Logically, a personal constitution should be a list of governing and guiding principles that will take a person’s life forward. In the Ministry of Business, James Ritchie created the theory of the Personal Constitution, writing it is a “single document outlining who you want to be and what you’re going to do to accomplish this objective. The Personal Constitution becomes the guiding document for how you live your daily life, and…will allow you to attain your loftiest goals and desires.” Dr. Stephen Covey’s book, in his best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, also recommends developing a “personal mission statement”.
How do you outline your personal constitution?
Your aim should be to outline a document that, like the Indian Constitution, holds everything together. It will include the values and goals that you hold yourself accountable to and cannot compromise on. When you face a tough spot in your workplace or your career, your Personal Constitution will help guide you towards the right decision.
Set aside an hour or so to put together this important document. Think deeply and write down all that you can about questions that tell you more about you, your attitude, values and goals.
- What is most important to you?
- What values would you like to be defined by?
- How would you like the people you work with to describe you?
- What are your goals, short term and long term?
- How important is societal approval to you?
- What things would you be proud of when you look back at your career.
Once the brainstorming session is done, organise your thoughts and put together your document.
It may be easy to begin with a sentence like “This personal constitution will help guide me in difficult decisions and will keep me true and dedicated to what is important to me.” Rank the qualities and values in order of importance to you, as this is what will help you take decisions. Say you want to be wealthy and honest. So what would you do if you were offered a huge bribe? If honesty is more important to you than wealth, the decision is made for you.
Keep your constitution brief, ensuring that you use the word “I” in every rule you are setting for yourself. This, experts believe, has a psychological benefit and may help you stick to the charter when the going gets tough.
When you’re through, your Constitution may well have pointers like these. It could be all of them or a few, but make sure that you stay true to this document:
- I will be dedicated, focused and motivated when at work, so that I can always give my best.
- I will treat all my colleagues with complete trust, dignity and respect.
- I will never assume things and will always try and see the other’s point of view.
- I will try to understand the mission and vision of my organisation and evaluate if the work I am doing is on the right track.
- I will never be a know-it-all, and will consistently try to upskill and learn new things.
- I will try to listen to others objectively without offering my own interpretation.
- I will join in debates and disagreements but will do it in a cordial manner, for I know that divergences often help the project’s cause.
- I will respect my co-workers and try not to seek advantage over them by participating in scheming of any sort.
- I will remember that work styles differ and try and learn how I can use co-workers’ working styles to my advantage.
- I will desist from speaking ill of my boss and joining in political manoeuvring of any sort.
- I will try and help any co-worker who is being treated disrespectfully by another employee or a member of management.
- I will stay updated on company news and information as well as current affairs, trends and other industry result.
- I will pursue a career I feel passionately about because I believe in #LoveWhatYouDo.
A Personal Constitution could be the most important work that you do this year. For, if done right, it will provide the foundation for success in every field of your life.
You can only be dedicated, focused and motivated at work if you’re in a job you love. Pledge to #FindBetter and start your search here.