Spring is finally in the air this week in New England and I am looking forward to some wonderful all day training programs in the coming weeks. My new favorite one is called “Dealing with Difficult People” and it has become very popular with participants. I was just invited to write the course up for an online version which I will be working on over the summer.
People can be difficult, indeed, but let’s look at what is your biggest hurdle at work (and in life!):
How To Overcome Your Biggest Hurdle at Work:
I have been doing professional coaching now for over 20 years and over the course of those relationships, I have worked with incredibly successful people who all had to overcome this number one biggest hurdle at work. Do you know what it is?
If you were to identify your primary obstacle at work, what would you say it is? Management? Limited resources? Uncooperative and negative co-workers? What if none of those is your biggest challenge? What if, the number one obstacle at work that keeps you from feeling engaged, excited and enthusiastic lies within you?
Here is what I have found after sitting with people as a therapist, manager, coach and consultant for literally thousands of hours over the past couple of decades: your biggest obstacle is how you think. I know it may sound Pollyanna, but nothing and no one who can “make you feel” the way you feel. Your supervisor does not make you feel frustrated, and your kids do not stress you out. Rather, you feel frustrated as a response to how your supervisor is interacting with you and stressed out at the demands placed on you by parenting.
The one power that rests entirely with you is your ability to choose how you will respond to any given circumstance. Research shows that cultivating a positive mindset improves performance concerning productivity, creativity, and engagement. (https://hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence)
Developing what researchers call an “optimism bias” lends itself toward your ability to remain upbeat even in the midst of challenging and stressful circumstances. I wrote a blog post about the optimism bias and how it benefits your life. You can read that post here: http://www.jackiewoodside.com/the-one-bias-i-am-happy-to-have-and-you-should-be-too/
So how do you develop greater positivity so you can reap the benefits of a less stressful, happier experience in life? Here are three simple ways:
1. Consciously choose how you will be today.
I was visiting my friend, Judy Habib, at HJK Brand Activation in Boston last week, and Judy has established a the practice in her company where every day an employee chooses a “Being Card” from a random stack. On the card are high consciousness words like energetic, engaged, compassionate, fun-loving, optimistic, caring and so on. The employee who picks the card then sends an email out to the entire company writing a little quip about how this resonates with them, and who in the company embodies this quality. Then they pick someone else to choose the word tomorrow. Each employee’s task is to demonstrate that way of being for the day into their interactions with the team members and customers.
2. Create an identity where you are “un-upset-able.” I know that is not a word, but it’s one of my favorite concepts. Have you ever noticed that the things that you get all worked up about are most often completely forgotten about by the end of the day, the week or at least the month? It never ceases to amaze me how people allow their outer circumstances to weigh so heavily on their peace of mind. Begin noticing what things routinely send you spinning off in a tizzy. Then see if you can’t let a few more things go. Does the issue matter all that much to your overall wellbeing and quality of life? Have you grown too accustomed to rushing toward being upset rather than maintaining a steady sense of presence and equanimity? I wrote another blog post just about this topic awhile back. You can check it out here http://www.jackiewoodside.com/creating-un-upset-able/.
3. Train yourself to spend more time noticing what is going well rather than what is not pleasing you. This was the biggest lesson I had to learn as a manager, and now it’s my endless opportunity as a parent of a young child. Notice what people are doing well, and comment on it. Give people genuine positive feedback and watch their self-esteem soar. I am teaching a section of my Life Design course now where the students are taking on the practice of expressing gratitude to others 25 times a day and keeping track to be sure they hit 25 a day. While that may sound excessive, the point is to train your consciousness and your awareness to notice what is going well rather than what isn’t working. Try it for a day and see how much better you feel!
Until next time….
Practice peace of mind, express gratitude, and most of all, pop me a line and let me know how you are doing. I always love hearing from my readers!