We used to believe that having more friends can make us happy. So we go out, meet new people and build relationships. But that isn’t always the case. Often, we end up connecting with the wrong person. It’s a common struggle.
Think about it. Do we really need more friends? What we need are a few people who can respect us, offer practical solutions, accept who we are, and empower us every time we feel down. They are our true friends. And I’m glad, I have a few of these people. One of them is Damon Burton — founder of SEO National and Utah Sites. (He’s my employer.)
Here are some lessons I’ve learned from him:
1. Don’t overthink
Every time I miss a deadline (especially writing), Damon would always ask why. And just like other employees, I trembled. Not because I didn’t do something, but because it took me a longer time to finish. Overthinking.
Overthinking is unhealthy. It paralyzes actions. It makes us stuck. And it causes stress and negative thoughts. But why do we overthink? Author Paul Jun said, it’s the byproduct of fear and self-doubt.
That’s the reason why I struggle starting or finishing my tasks. I keep rewriting the article because I doubt it, afraid that the client won’t be satisfied. Damon can sense if I’m overthinking or not. He would always remind me to stop. And that’s the icebreaker.
2. Communicate candidly
Working from home may look easy — or so I thought. Truth is, it can be complicated. Distractions, dramas, and emergencies are inevitable. And you have to deal with them most of your days.
What will you do when there’s an emergency? There are two options: (1) Ignore and continue working; or (2) Stop the work and deal with them.
Number 1 is what usual employers want to happen. But not Damon. He would prefer number 2 as long as you’ll catch up the next day. But this, however, can cause misunderstanding without open communication.
Damon taught me to always say the truth — communicate honestly and consistently. “Why didn’t you finish the tasks? Why only one article? What happened?” Yes, I usually panic when he asked. It’s not easy to say the truth, sometimes.
3. Simplify everything
As a perfectionist and over-thinker, I tend to complicate things, especially in my writing process. I, often, regret it. It’s supposedly simple, why complicate?
Damon helped me realize the efficiency of simplicity — streamline the process, find an easier method, and create a simpler system especially when working on a load of tasks, which when not simplified can either slow or stress us.
Simplifying the system, also, allows us to expedite the task, accomplish more things, and gain more control of the process. When I started practicing this approach, I’ve become more efficient. I stop rushing when there’s a new task. Instead, I pause for a while and think a faster method of finishing it — faster, yet right (but not overthinking).
4. Be proactive
I used to be a believer of, “Think positive and great things will happen.” While it sounds true, that’s not always the case. The fact that we don’t have full control of life, at some point, bad things may come unexpectedly. It’s the truth.
Of course, we should think positive. But we need to be mindful where and when to apply the idea of trusting great things will happen.
Damon taught me to be proactive. It’s about responding to an anticipated dilemma before it actually happens, rather than responding to it after it happens. Think about starting a business: you predict any possible outcome — probably, the worst outcome. And you do something to prevent it from happening.
5. Family comes first
“Finding the right balance is key. My family is always first. Business is a close second. My business is always like another kid… but when I have to choose between important things I always choose family.” — Damon Burton
Yes, Damon is a prime example of a responsible and loving father/husband. No sugarcoating. He made me realize that it’s truly possible to balance family and work.
I grew up in a broken family. So I didn’t experience the feeling of having a father and mother who are always there. Though my parents didn’t make it, that’s okay — parents aren’t perfect individuals. As Damon said, “Learn from others and turn their mistakes into your perfections.”
Besides these five lessons, Damon also taught me about happiness.
“The best thing to do is to do what makes you happy, and be happy for others, even if they’re not happy back.”
“Put your own happiness first and then you can put everything else first as long as you are happy.”
“If you can’t be happy then the people you love around you won’t be happy and everything else gets worse.”
“It’s better to be happy with yourself with few friends than to fake being happy to make other happy and you’re miserable as a result.”
Thanks Damon. Thanks a lot.