A lot of relationships break down because we start to see things that irritate us about the person, when in reality those things were always there. But why have they now started irritating you? It’s not because they’re now irritating you, it’s because you’re now focusing on them. If you have a negative mindset you start focusing on what you don’t have instead of what you do have. So if your partner is a procrastinator, not very good at cooking or whatever it is, you start to dwell on those things. But no one’s perfect, you’re not perfect, right? So focus instead on their positives: my partner’s really fit, my partner’s great at their job, my partner’s very generous, very kind, my partner’s very loving, he or she is a great reader, or my partner is a great painter.
The same applies for your colleagues and staff at work. When they do something well, praise them. Focus on their abilities rather than their weaknesses and give them work that best suits their talents. For example if someone is a great communicator and enjoys developing client relationships, make sure they are on the phones instead of doing administrative work! This means that they will be happier in their role and not only feel better, but become more productive, enthusiastic and engaging. Their work performance will improve and they will become a better team member, employee and face of the company.
I don’t know if you have the same issue in your offices, but our Wellness Warrior noticed that as the day progresses staff gradually start slouching at their desks. So we started an afternoon stretch session to break this slouching rut. At 3:30 our Outlook calendar buzzes at us to stop for 5 min and stretch as a team! It’s great fun and re-energising. Everyone returns to his or her work refreshed and buzzing.
The stretches we do aren’t complicated. Here is a list of some of them:
Rotate the wrists to the right and left 10x each side
Stretch the right arm to the left across your chest for 20 counts
Stretch the left arm to the right across your chest for 20 counts
Stretch calf muscle (20 counts for each leg)
A set of 10 – 20 star jumps
Lunges on both legs for 10-20 counts
What do you do at work as a team or on your own to beat the afternoon slouch? I’d love to hear your experiences and practices.
I heard someone in a lift one morning complaining about her work. “My job sucks,” she said to a friend. Never one to pass up an opportunity to coach on the fly, I turned, smiled and said, “what would you rather be doing?” She looked back embarrassingly. I quickly apologised for eavesdropping. The awkwardness did not stop there. We exited the lift only to meet again in a line up at the same café. She turned to me and said, “You know, I really wanted to be an actor.” I told her that she should pursue that passion and she replied. “That’s just not realistic. I have bills and a lifestyle.”
This got me thinking. We are made to feel guilty for not pursuing, what we think, is the job of our dreams; because doing what you love is the mantra of many life coaches. In fact I heard Donald Trump trumpeting this message in an interview. But what if we pursue our dream job and not like it? I have met some people who have pursued their passion and left a high paying executive job to start a new business only to end up losing a lot of money. They ended up hating, what they thought was, their dream. You don’t get to hear about such stories, because in personal development circles, it does not sell books and coaching programs.
I believe that we all should work. Working completes us and contributes to our HAPPINESS. But do we have to go so far as to say that we should all do what we think we love. If so, no-one would want to do the unsexy or uncool or unpopular jobs. Not everyone can be a Beyonce or Tom Ford or Steve Jobs. So there must be a better way to cater to that human need of being happy at work. I believe there are three ways.
1. Master your Craft
If you are good at what you do, you will start to love it. Competence builds confidence and with confidence comes self-belief. So master your craft by performing your job to the best of your ability. You can do this by learning from others at work – be mentored by a top performer. Alternatively you can read and research your industry. Attend conferences and/or enrol for short courses. Really get to know your product or service and how it affects your customers. Practise improving your accuracy before you go for speed.
2. Focus on Making a Difference
We are charitable by nature. We are happiest when we making a contribution. Therefore we are highly motivated by the results of our work. When we see the connection between our work and how it impacts on other people’s lives, it makes us happy to know that we are making a difference in society. We value ourselves in equal proportion to the value we add to society. In fact recent research shows that organisations who are focused on purpose before profit tend to have the highest staff and customer engagement; and ironically the highest financial returns (See Firms of Endearment published by Wharton Business School).
3. Have Fun
Work in an environment that fosters fun in the workplace and incorporates fun activities for staff throughout the week. There have been many studies done supporting the fact that having fun at work improves creativity, innovation and customer engagement. i.e. happy staff equals happy customers. Gary Kelly, CEO of SouthWest airlines once said that, “People rarely succeed at anything unless they are having fun doing it.” Adopt that as your personal motto, but remember that having fun at work does not mean wasting time on frivolous activities that are not work related. It means having fun in the context of your work.
When friends and clients ask me what is the single most important thing they can do to become successful in their business, I respond with “Get Obsessive about it!” Most of them then accuse me of contradicting myself: “But you bang-on about living a balanced and complete life. How can I be obsessive about my business without neglecting other areas of my life – like my partner, my family, my health…?”
Before I reveal my response to this question I want to point out one very important fact. Anyone that I have ever come across in business (or in sport or the arts for that matter) is successful because they are obsessive about it. I have never met anyone extraordinary who is not passionately obsessive about his or her ‘thing’.
The truth is that if you want to be one of the best at anything you must be obsessive with your focus. It must be something that is on your mind daily and you must want it with all your heart – that’s what makes it an obsession.
Obsession is not a bad thing. Obsession is a great tool that the human brain is equipped with. This evolutionary trait is there for a reason. It makes us immerse ourselves into a passion and helps find a solution to problems that prop up.
The danger with obsession comes when you only obsess about one area of your life to the exclusion of the others. The way to avoid this is to “Spread the Obsession”. Be obsessive about all eight areas of your life: HEALTH – LOVE – FAMILY – WORK – LEARNING – FRIENDSHIP – WEALH and CHARITY. Focus with all your heart and mind on these areas.
When it comes to HEALTH be obsessive about the food you eat – be uncompromising. Exercise daily and relax often. When it comes to LOVE be an attentive partner and always be thinking about how to surprise them with acts of affection and fun. When it comes to FAMILY be caring and supportive to your mother, father, brother or sister. Be as thoughtful with them as you are with your friends – and listen without distraction. When it comes to WORK, only stay in a job that you really really love and always serve people from the heart. When it comes to FRIENDSHIP go out of your way to connect with friends. Turn off the TV and go visiting or engage with them on Facebook. Focus on how you can make your friends laugh because I believe that friendship should equal fun. When it comes to LEARNING prepare your own annual curriculum for what you want to learn about. When it comes to WEALTH focus on investing in yourself and in your dreams first before you invest in stocks or real estate. And when it comes to CHARITY learn to give of yourself and your time to others.
The truth is that I am obsessive. But I am obsessive about every area of my life. So if you are by nature obsessive, you should start seeing that as a positive trait and start spreading the obsession. It reminds me of the motivational mantra of “work hard – play hard” – which is not so stupid after all if you broaden your definition of “play”.