How to transform the way you think and act (and ditch transactional habits)

The single biggest shift in my life was giving up short-term thinking and behavior for long-term thinking on how to invest in my life — and the lives of others. It’s led to me becoming a bestselling author, executive coach and paid keynote speaker. As I reflect back on what I’ve built, I can assure you that I never would be here today if I only thought in transactional terms.

Now, before you tell me this all sounds like malarkey or baloney or hogwash, or some other outdated, silly term — ask yourself this:

As you look at the long-haul in your life, when has transactional thinking and behavior actually benefited you? You know, in terms of being able to build a career out of that type of thinking?

In terms of being able to build a legacy out of short-term thinking?

The crazy thing is, when we choose to act in genuine service to others, we find that things come back to us in greater return. That doesn’t mean that you think in a manipulative way, nor does it mean that you scheme to do well for others, purely for your own selfish motivation. You have to go “all in” and actually have the desire to make a positive change in someone else’s life.

That’s transformative.

What do I mean?

  • Begin by starting one conversation each week solely with the intention of learning more about what someone at your job — or in your life — does. Lead with curiosity!
  • Help someone in need. This could be at your job. It could be right in front of you in your life. Pay attention to those who may be struggling or could use some motivation and encouragement after a tough loss. Just show that you care and that you’re willing to explain something in clearer detail or can answer a question they have. That may only take you three minutes, but you can gain a friend for a lifetime.
  • Use your subject matter expertise to your advantage- no matter where you are in your career! Share your knowledge or tell your story to someone else. You never, ever know what that could mean to someone. It could literally change their life.

Earlier this summer, I received a message from a former co-worker who told me that my writing literally changed his life. Completely changed the way he saw himself, and gave him the inspiration to demand more of himself for getting the job he truly wanted. Now, there’s no “woe is me” attitude. He knows his worth, and he’s out there getting it each day.

Play the Long Game

Your career — and life — is a long-term game. You may think you don’t have a lot of time, but you really do. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to start over. Don’t worry about what other people think. Go do what your heart and mind are telling you to do.

Give maximum focus and effort to the present. Focus with the intent on building long-term relationships. Take the time to listen to the needs of your peers, the people closest to you, as well as new connections you make in the digital landscape.

Be the person that doesn’t just do the bare minimum. Do the job that others aren’t doing — and aren’t willing to do — and become the expert. Don’t do what will make you the most money, or what you think will impress your network. Do what you love. And have goals in mind.

When I thought in a transactional way, I gave up on far too many things, too early when I should have just stayed the course. The problem with transactional thinking is that it lacks heart and soul. It lacks consistency and commitment for something bigger and bolder than what you could ever think in just the short-term.

Ultimately, this leads to Fear, lack of Trust, an unwillingness to learn how; you name it. Be transformational. Be committed and consistent. Make your career and life about doing the right thing and aspiring to make a difference. Keep going for the long haul and you’ll achieve anything.

What are you worried about today? Assess what you’re doing — how much of your daily thoughts and actions are reflective of someone who’s only really living for that one moment? What about sowing seeds of love, empathy and value to give to the world?

Be transformational, not transactional and you will enjoy an enormously successful career.

 This article first appeared on Medium.

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