How many times have you robbed yourself? - Preparing you for the future of work.

How many times have you robbed yourself?

We're all quick to criticise dishonest people who take something that doesn't belong to them, but don't realise that we might be robbing someone of something they've worked very hard for. That someone is ourselves.

No-one likes a thief who unlawfully takes from someone something that that person has worked very hard for. Thieves come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are non-violent and commit what they think are victimless crimes. For instance, if they embezzle money from the company they work for, they justify it by thinking that the company has plenty of money so will be able to survive. And, besides, there's no one person who is going to suffer a loss as a result of the theft.

Others resort to more violent methods of stealing money. They may attempt to blow up a cash machine or hold up a cash van and have little regard for the lives of the guards who are transporting the cash. Armed robberies in homes, also known as home invasions occur when criminals decide to take by force from homeowners things those homeowners have worked very hard to afford.

It's therefore very clear that there is no justification for taking other people's money and/or material possessions (to sell for money).

But money is not the only thing that can be stolen. Some people steal time from their employers by using the time they are paid to work for their employers to do things that benefit them personally and have nothing to do with benefiting their employer.

One can also rob people of their time by wasting it, rob them of their dignity by acting in a way or saying things that strip the person of their reputation and/or dignity.

I'm sure as you think about it, you will come up with many other things that people can be robbed of, but how about this ... What have you been robbing yourself of?

Forget about what others may have stolen from you, consider for a moment what you have stolen from yourself. You obviously can't steal money from yourself but, for instance, how much time have you robbed yourself of by wasting precious time that could have been used to build or further your career?

How much of your future have you robbed yourself of simply because you haven't bothered to utilise the potential you have been given? Every one of us has been given a wide range of gifts. It is our duty to discover those gifts. It's not someone else's responsibility to do so.

Talk of music or singing stars being "discovered" is misleading. Usually those stars in the making have been doing their thing for quite a long time before they were supposedly discovered.

I clearly recall, many years ago, seeing Huey Lewis and The News (remember them?) receiving an American Music Award. In his thank you speech, Huey Lewis said, "I just want to thank all of our fans who supported us for the past 10 years until we became an overnight sensation."

That statement was his way of saying that they had been already been doing their thing for a long time until they were supposedly "discovered". Sadly, the media prefers the "overnight sensation" approach to things because it creates, in their opinion, more of a buzz. There's not much impact in a heading that says, "After playing their songs for over 10 years, this band has now become well known."

I therefore ask you: examine yourself to identify what you may be robbing yourself of. You are no different - you deserve to be able to enjoy everything you've been given in life. Don't be the one who robs yourself of those things.

If you're not developing your gifts and abilities, you're robbing yourself - and your family - of a brighter future ... a future you deserve.

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and assists leaders to achieve self-mastery using IQ, EQ, PQ and SQ.

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