A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview the author of Upgrade: Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary, Rana Florida. Rana has more than two decades of experience in corporate strategy, communications, marketing, and branding. She previously directed global strategic communications for HMSHost, one of the world’s largest airport developers, where she led all marketing, advertising and communication efforts.
Instead of developing a real strategy to upgrade and optimize our lives, too many of us just slog through life in a state of managed dissatisfaction. But it’s never too late to envision an entirely different future – or to actively upgrade your life.
Here are some highlights from the interview about how to upgrade your work and your life:
Why is it important to have a strategy to upgrade and optimize our lives?
A lot of us are riding through life in a state of managed dissatisfaction. We’re doing OK, we’re managing to get by but really we have an underlying state of unhappiness. My notion of managed satisfaction is really inspired by Herbert Simon’s classic theory of satisficing. He was a noble and private economist and a pioneer in artificial intelligence.
He introduced this concept satisficing, a combination of satisfy and suffice. He used it to describe how most of us actually make our own decisions. He said that we have limited information to possibly consider every alternative so we often choose the first solution that works that satisfies not sacrificing the best for what’s good enough.
What do you think holds people back from upgrading their lives? What mistakes do people make and how can we get over the mistakes?
A lot of us are afraid of risk and afraid of failure, especially at work. Curiosity is more insightful than a risk-free environment.
Too often we create this negative environment at work whether it’s a staff meeting or status update meeting. We don’t really encourage people to step up. So just by creating a positive environment where people are not afraid of getting laughed at for their ridiculous ideas is key. Our leaders really need to understand that every risk does not yield success and they actually should not reprimand their teams for taking risks.
How do you recommend that we protect our time and guard our schedules?
There are only three things to do with your time:
Striking a balance between those three buckets of having fun, being productive, and giving back, are the only ways to spend your time.
[Related Post: 13 Time Management Habits of Highly Successful Women]
Are there any differences between interviewing men and women?
Women are even more afraid to take risks and fail in the workplace. We are taught as kids that failure is a terrible thing and hear things like you have to get on the winning team or you have to get good grades. But many women are never really taught this entrepreneurial valuable lesson about risks, discoveries, and innovations.
What do you wish you would have known as a professional woman just starting out in her career?
Understanding new and innovative ways of doing things is not wrong. Many of us are really afraid of doing things differently. Instead push forward and don’t think that you’re doing something wrong. Just because you’re taught to do things the same way that everyone else does doesn’t mean you have to be the same. This is really key. Manage your career this way and don’t play it safe.