Category Archives: Work/Life

expectations or agreements

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and
he will become as he can and should be.”
― Stephen R. Covey

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Have you ever been told you didn’t meet expectations?   What did that feel like?   Were you even aware of those expectations?   Expectations are somewhat like a barb wired fence, as careful as you can be sometimes you’ll get caught on the sharpened barb.

People place expectations on others without explaining or providing the content for those expectations.   That leaves you to guess what others think you should do and that often leads to conflict, or in the workplace, demotivation.

Why do expectations lead to conflict?   Expectations are those things that if you are able to meet are rarely acknowledged.  Expectations that are missed are usually commented on and often in a negative fashion.  In the best case you often hear nothing positive and in the worst case you end up feeling upset, angry or frustrated.

A better approach would be to create agreements.   Agreements are co-created and include a commitment and a target for achieving the outcome.  Agreements can be managed where expectations are just that, an expectation that something will get done.  When an agreement isn’t met then the parties to the agreement can talk about what didn’t or did work out.

In what parts of your life are expectations causing problems?   How could an agreement be created that would replace those expectations?

 

the engaged employee

When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” ― Shannon L. Alder

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Does your soul have a voice?

 

The disengaged workforce is a topic that is often presented in a variety of media outlets. 35% of workers are happy about the work they do and that isn’t a very big number. That is most people are willing to accept a paycheck from the business that they work for but aren’t willing to do much more that show up every day. What is really going on?

People are hired to make a contribution, to add value, to increase profits and it would seem that something is inhibiting them from making a contribution, a full contribution that really matters. Is it the people they work for? Is it a manager that can’t or isn’t willing to let people think and use their abilities fully? Are people given permission to succeed or are they required to ask for permission to succeed?

If you need to ask for permission to do your job then something is wrong. How many times would you be willing to for permission to accomplish something that you could just do? Do you need permission to spend money? Do you need permission to talk to someone? Do you need permission to have a meeting? Do you need permission to come up with a new way of doing things? Do you need permission from your manager to _____________?

If you work in a culture that requires permission each step of the way to do your job what results will you be producing?

There are reasons to ask for permission to do things and those things should be known in advance.   There may be political concerns that require permission before taking action.   Sometimes permission is needed and often it is just a way to control the imagination and contribution people could make.

What do you need permission to do?  How do you feel when you need to ask for permission?

your better life

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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Are you living the life you want to live?    A lot of people aren’t living the life they want, they are existing but not living.   As a coach I get to talk to many people who are struggling and want to live a life that is different than the one they are living.

People are looking for a “secret” something that will improve their finances, fix a relationship, boost their career, help them lose weight, help them believe in themselves, repair broken relationships or to find joy and happiness in their lives.  There is no secret formula for creating the life you want without putting in the effort to get what you want.

Maybe the secret is a massive amount of work on the things you value the most.  The secret is starting and doing something that will lead to better results for you.

The point is that unless you do something different today your tomorrow won’t be any better than it was yesterday.   If you are waiting until conditions are perfect, until you have that one missing thing, before you start you’ll never ever start.

Your better life starts when you stop making excuses and decide to transform each day from now on.

How important is your health?

How important is your family?

How important are your relationships?

How important is your career?

How important is your personal and professional growth?

Take a few minutes and write down what is important to you.   Are you honoring what you value?

Many people choose to live a life of misery to show to their neighbors and friends how successful they are.   We equate success with finances and it isn’t working.   There are many, many people who have great bank accounts  who are living in personal poverty.   What is your life really like?  (Feel free to comment … share your story)

activating personal peace

“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

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When was the last time you experienced personal peace?    In our high tech, high results world we tend to experience more stress than peace.

More and more people are in the grips of stress and it is affecting their health, their outlook on life and it is affecting their emotions.   You’ve probably have seen people who are too stressed, too angry and depressed.  Those people aren’t experiencing much in terms of personal peace.

It is hard to cram all of what life demands into a 24 hour day and yet people try.   They take shortcuts on their exercise, their diet, and their sleep and wonder why they have a short temper, are gaining weight and feel physically ill.

Lissa Rankin has written a book about her personal question for personal peace.   One of the remedies getting free of the stuff that creates a lot of stress.   For Lissa it was getting away from a stress producing job and creating a less stressful way of life.

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Lissa’s process can help you manage stress in your life.  Healing starts with a lifestyle that is less hectic.

Because stress impacts our ability to think and keep our emotions intact, here’s another resource that can provide you with information to improve the quality of your life.

Increasing compassion in your life will help you improve your ability to relate and develop relationships with others.   Being more generous sends a positive message to others and reduces tension.  Kindness will do more good in a tense situation than staying angry.  Take charge of your emotions and become more compassionate.  Express kindness and see if it increases cooperation with others.

Imagine shifting your language to get better personal and professional results.  Perhaps your interactions with others is stressed and it feels uncomfortable.  Maybe the relationship with your co-workers or associates isn’t what you want it to be.   There are ways to build better relationships.  One way is with the words you use (take a look at the short video clip below).

Another way to increase personal peace is through meditation.   Just spending a few minutes each day meditation can bring about positive emotional health benefits.   To learn more about meditation practices take a look at “How to do Mindful Meditation”.

Learn how to activate personal peace in your life, to reduce stress, increase emotional well-being and to live a happier life.

leave people better off than you found them …

“And that’s really the secret to everything, isn’t it?  To be fearless, to go out and try and grab life, no matter what it is, and not wait for good things to wander into the kitchen through the cat door.”
Jason Gay  – Wall Street Journal July 22,2013

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Another secret to life is helping others become more of who they really could be.  The secret is leaving another person better off than when you first met them or interacted with them.   Imagine what would happen if companies worked in that same manner.  What would happen if every manager, every employee, every “C” level executive increased the value of everyone they interacted with?   Companies would go beyond great.

Far too many businesses, organizations or entities  are filled  with people who trampled on rather than being built up.   People are  more like a resource, a mineral deposit in which we extract or exploit the value of that resource until it is gone, until there is nothing left, and then we move on.   Recently I encountered a person who did the right thing in their job and then the managers  in the organization decided to make life miserable for the employee so that the individual would choose leaving.    The one act of courage to do the right thing was dismissed and instead of building up the person they were torn down.

This is an appeal to leaders everywhere, what are you doing to add value to the lives of others?   Are you leaving them better off than you when you first met them or interacted with them?

Make that an exercise for today, improve the value of the people you meet and interact with.   Then repeat each day.

How?

1. Say thank-you, genuinely and authentically
2. Let them make a mistake and ask them what they learned
3. Give them more responsibility, show that you trust them.
4. Be open to their words – Listen.

What else can you think of that would add value to those you interact with?

What is stopping you?

A real problem in the workplace

 

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More than a third of companies are so dysfunctional, the best people don’t really care about what they’re doing and the worst people don’t know that they are doing a lousy job. Those are the findings of a new study by Leadership IQ, a twelve-year-old Washington, D.C. company that does employee engagement surveys and leadership training.”   (Fortune Magazine, 4/2/2013)

Imagine that your best employees are not engaged in the work that they do, what is the impact that is having on your business?   It could be that manager’s are not engaged in the process of ensuring that the people who are the most valuable are doing the kind of work that makes the biggest contribution.   It could be that people aren’t creating and setting high expectations for themselves, that they don’t have a sufficiently strong set of goals to motivate their performance.

I’ve found that some people just don’t have daily goals that have enough meaning to get them out of bed in the morning and if they don’t have a great goal what is going to drive their performance.   Work has become less and less rewarding as more and more companies have cut back on things that at some level motivate employees to put more of themselves into their work.

Work has become more demanding and more and more is expected of you.  Knowledge and skill requirements are increasing and so is the tracking and recording of information, creating reports and doing work that feels non-essential which robs the positive feelings that work can provide.   Work that feels non-essential is like having a ship at anchor attempting to sail, it just isn’t going to work well.

Employees own their success.  That is they need to develop a set of clear goals that are in alignment with their strengths that provide a benefit to the organization.   Goals that create a connection to the community in which they reside in at work and make a substantial contribution are necessary to generate  intrinsic motivation.

If you are not engaged in your work, develop a success plan and deliver that to your manager.   Let your manager know what it is that you want to do to make a contribution this year.   What skills and resources do you need?   What things can you accomplish that will help build community?   What keeps you connected to the work you are doing?    Develop a plan that has specific milestones along the way.  Take charge of your growth.  Take charge of your results.

“But I already have too much to do”.    Is that what you were thinking?   If there is too much to do in an eight hour day then what is it that you need to stop doing so that you can do more of what is in alignment with your strengths?   It may be a question that you bring up to your manager.   “I am doing to  much of __________ and it isn’t adding value from my perspective (get some real data) to the organization and these activities if I did them would make a bigger contribution.”   Find out what the benefits are to the organization for each thing you do, how does it benefit the organization.   In some cases organizations do things just because they were done before and no one has stopped to figure out if that thing is of value.

The point is to take ownership of your work and your career.     Within your job responsibilities find those things that you are attracted to and see if there is a way to increase that kind of work.   

What can you do to take ownership of your work so that you’re involved and engaged in the work you do?

job related stress

“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.”
― Tina Fey

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Are you among the many who are feeling overwhelmed by the expectation of work and home? Do you feel there is never enough time to complete all the things that are being asked of you? Do you feel like you are only able to do mediocre work? If you are you are not alone.  More and more people are feeling like work expectations are growing ever higher.   Employers are demanding more from their workers, more time, and more results without any new forms of compensation.   Employers  realize that they can squeeze more out of each person especially when there are so many people looking for work.

Fear drives the actions we take in many cases.   Stress increases, frustration increases and life satisfaction decreases with each  new thing that is being asked of us to take on.   When will it all stop?

Where does stress show up at work?

The Wall Street Journal (March 5,2013) shows the following:

32% of women and 30% of men find that there isn’t sufficient opportunities for advancement.

33% of people are challenged to balance work and life.

31% of women and 27% of men don’t think employers have plans to help manage    stress.

39% say that there is too much to do.

38% of women say they aren’t compensated well for their work.

Stress is rising.    Stress is taking a toll on women at greater numbers than ever before.      Some people quit their jobs rather than having stress create health issues.   Some people move to places where there is less stress, jobs with less stress and perhaps lower pay.

Pay helps reduce stress to some degree, but if the work demands are too great the pay doesn’t compensate for the stress.   Look at your life.  What is working for you and what isn’t.   What is the cost of stress in your life?

Understand what works for you.  Know what you are good at.   Know your purpose and live that out.  You’ll find that happiness is worth a lot more than a big paycheck in the long run.

Take time to smell the flowers.   Take time to look around and observe the beauty.  Be kind to yourself and stress less.