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Competent or Complacent...

When you have been in a role for a good length of time, the tasks can become second nature and it can feel like you are performing them robotically.

I remember a story shared with me about a skydiving instructor who had done an excess of 16,000 skydives. Regardless of the adventurous nature of this line of work, he was extremely skilled in his chosen profession. On coming into land, which he had done oh so many times before, he made a decision that could only be attributed to complacency in his work, resulting in a fatal accident.

While recruiting for another role, I had an applicant who worked in manufacturing and during the course of the interview, he shared how in a moment of inattention (complacency) he got too close to a machine which caught his sleeve and pulled his arm into it, crushing his arm. Side stepping the gruesome details, after a long recovery he was fortunate to still retain the use of his arm and a healthy respect for staying alert in his work.

Complacency leads to errors and errors can not only lead to career suicide it can sometimes lead to actual harm as these examples show. Now you may be in a role that is office based and the likelihood of physical harm minimal, however, harm can show in many ways… physical, emotional, mental.

In our current climate, employers are becoming far more aware of the mental wellbeing of their employees, some are even including access to support services for those who need it. There is no shame in seeking help… in fact, this could be the very thing that gives your career a boost as well has allowing you to live life more fully.

When we are mentally healthy, we are more alert, we are mindful of others, we perform in our roles far better and have the mental tools to cope with stress and life pressures.

Equally important is never taking what we do for granted. As already illustrated, when our tasks become second nature, we can often mentally disengage, putting ourselves and others at risk of harm.

So if you are feeling a little stagnant in your role and everything feels a little robotic, shake things up a little… what I mean is challenge yourself, challenge how you do things. For those who have found their niche in life, well done… just make sure you keep on top of your game and don’t allow yourself to fall into the ‘comfortable’ rut.

Embrace change, look for ways to stretch and grow in the role you are in, or challenge yourself to progress. Either way keep alert in your role and pay attention to your environment. Complacency is bad for business, a time bomb for your career, and potentially hazardous for your health and wellbeing.

Choose instead to be competent in what you do, taking the time to invest in your emotional wellbeing, physical engagement, and mental dexterity.

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