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Are You a Reluctant Worker or a Serious Player in Your Career? Here are 6 Ways to Know

Are you a reluctant worker?

The reluctant worker mindset is all too common. Do you resonate with the following list?

Reluctant workers feel:

  • Luck isn’t on their side. Reluctant workers believe when they see people set and achieve goals, “It was just good luck, those people have it, and I don’t.”

  • Work (at best) allows people to obtain some of what they want from life. (Work is just about making money to use for something else.) 

  • Their priorities don’t matter. Other people’s priorities dictate life.

  • They can’t have their cake and eat it too.

  • Power is outside of their control.

  • They are trapped in their current situation.

  • Unfulfilled dreams are the best they can hope for.

There is good news if you identify with some or all of the ways reluctant workers feel. The reluctant worker mindset is just that, a mindset. Mindsets can be changed. It is not always easy or fun, but it is completely possible and worth the effort.

The opposite of a reluctant worker mindset is a Serious Player.  

A Serious Player is a person with a growth mindset who knows how to reframe most events in life to create their own luck, opportunities, and growth. We are sharing the six characteristics of a serious player. Ray Rood, the founder of the Genysys Group, spent several years interviewing all kinds of people in all manners of work to understand what makes someone a Serious Player. The following six descriptions, questions, and actions are what he learned from actual people, including a fitness celebrity and a hotel doorman.

Each description contains a key question and an easy action step to develop your serious player mindset. 

Six Characteristics of Serious Player

1. A Serious Player believes in the (60/40) (80/20) principle

Serious Players are energizing people, and they energize other people. 

  • A Serious Player spends at least 60% of the time doing what they enjoy. They may spend up to 80% of their time in enjoyable endeavors. They know that 100% enjoyment is unrealistic. 

  • Serious Players know that learning and growth come from 40-20% of the time doing what they don’t enjoy. (The 40%-20% isn’t bad; it’s where the development is happening.)

  • A Serious Player is committed to being in a place where they are energized.

Key Question: How can you increase the percentage of enjoyment in your job and life? 

Action: Make an energy map by answering the following questions.

  • What percentage of your time at work do you do activities that you enjoy? 

  • What percentage of the time do you do things you find draining? 

  • What about other areas of your life? 

  • What do the results of your energy map tell you? 

  • What is one change you can immediately make to shift the percentages (even a small shift counts!) 

2. A Serious Player is psychologically self-employment

Serious Players believe they are in charge of their lives. They only report to themselves (even if they have a job). A boss is just a figurehead with whom they work.

In other words, a Serious Player feels a deep sense of empowerment. 

Question: How can you increase or reinforce your sense of ownership in all aspects of your life?

Action: Our research of Serious Players found them in every part of the organization, from a doorman to a CEO. Being a Serious Player is a mindset. What small changes could you make to feel more empowered in your current situation?

3. Serious Players believe they are independently wealthy (it’s an attitude, not a number in the bank)

Serious Players know they have what they need and a little more (in terms of income, resources, and relationships). Wealth is measured by who they know and who those people know. A Serious Player knows they have access to what they need. Serious Players are well-resourced people.

Questions: How can you identify and access your resources more effectively?

Action: You have more access to resources than you might realize. List all the resources you have access to. Resources can be people, knowledge, and experiences. As you list resources, consider how those might be used to address challenges and opportunities in your current reality. 

4. Serious Players have positive paranoia

Serious Players believe that to know them is to like them. A Serious Player has a lot of self-confidence. 

Question: What can I do to increase my perception of my value?

Action: Make a list of all the things you are great at. Refer to this list when you begin to doubt yourself.

5. Serious Players believe in the third law of thermodynamics

Serious Players are willing to take on challenges and go against the norms. Serious Players are eager to swim upstream or against the tide. Salmon are fish that swim against the flow to lay their eggs in the place they are born. The life force within them propels them to make hard choices, but the result is the continuation of life. Serious Players know that to advance in life, some risk-taking is required. 

Question: What can I do to increase my risk-taking?

Action: List the top 5 norms that might be holding you back. Identify one or two small ways to “swim upstream” or “against the tide.” Start small, with each win it gets easier!

6. Serious Players believe in positive self-fulfilling prophecy

Serious Players have lots of challenges, but good things keep happening. They assume that good things can and will occur despite the odds and circumstances. This is more about the Serious Player's ability to find the good and reframe things as positive. As they view things as positive, they find the positive aspects of most things. 

Question: How can this situation work for my good?

Action: Our brains are wired to hold onto negative thoughts and overlook positive events. When something positive (large or small) happens, savoring the positive aspects for a few seconds makes them “stick” in our brains longer. Be someone who spots and savors the positive events. It will change your brain. 

The choice is always yours. Will you be a reluctant worker or a serious player?

Listen to Ray Rood share more about his research on Serious Players here

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