We truly are a LOT more resilient than we think. It’s amazing how easy it is to have doubt or fear or some other negative thought that causes us to “believe” that we aren’t as resilient as we wish we were. Resilience is our ability to respond to and bounce back from challenge, self-imposed or not.
Consider this: what are some things you’ve had to learn in the past year that brought out your resilience? Were you able to overcome them? Consider what you’ve learned from these challenges and be proud of those accomplishments! We’ll discuss how you can and will overcome the challenges and setbacks in your life. Here’s some encouragement:
Nothing is permanent and you’ve, so far, managed those things and lived it throughout your life.
Things are often not as bad as we imagined.
We’re more courageous than we ever allowed ourselves to realize.
It’s easy to get stuck in our roles. This happens to everyone: leaders and their subordinates. What I mean by stuck is that feeling of having lost our passion, when each day just bleeds into the next. We have the same conversations with the same people, and go through the same motions over and over. We are Pig Pen from The Peanuts cartoon, trapped in a swirling cloud of boredom and malaise. We feel dissatisfied and now have habituated to what was once new and exciting.
If you’re feeling like this right now, here are a few reminders to keep you sane:
Everything is impermanent
Yes, everything comes and goes. I can be bored one minute, and completely inspired and on top of the world loving my work within the next five minutes. It is helpful to approach our emotional experience with a sense of balance to avoid getting too caught up in what it all means or taking action that may not be that helpful. Knowing the truth–that good feelings and less-than-savory ones will come and go and there is nothing we need to do about it most of the time–is very helpful. You will find greater levels of appreciation for the moments of joy and you will find greater peace knowing that the less than ideal experiences will not last.
Know That You Don’t Control Anything (except your intentions and motivations)
This is a big one for all of us leaders. With access to power, it’s easy to believe that we can control the causes and conditions of our lives, that we can make things happen. We don’t and we can’t. We can, however, get clarity about our motivations and intentions, and do our best to cultivate the conditions for the possibility of something amazing to occur.
The movement of positive psychology helped solidify some of the age-old practices such as gratitude and appreciation, and the Buddhist tradition has popularized metta (loving-kindness), which are all ways to cultivate positive emotion. When we do these practices, we open our perspective and feelings in a new way. It may not change our direct circumstances, but it does allow us to shift our relationship to them. Thus, we can take simple actions to foster a better world for ourselves and others. Outside of that, we can simply return to knowing that nothing is permanent.
Find the Part You Love and Do More Of It
When I ask leaders how they would rank their current job satisfaction on a scale from 0-10, it is fairly common that the answer is above zero. (Zero being that they find no satisfaction whatsoever.) When it comes to job satisfaction, most people focus on how they can get to a 10, only to feel like they are just giving themselves more to do. And some believe that experiencing a 10 is impossible. But the key to job satisfaction is to ask how you got above zero in the first place. For example, “How did I get to a 3? What made my ranking not a zero?”
Do more of what adds to that satisfaction. This is likely a place that you are using one of your signature strengths. When you are doing that thing or being that way, you are inspired and enjoy your work and your life a bit more. If you find that you are more alive at work after leading a meeting, then lead more meetings. If you find that you are more alive after organizing the monthly financials and creating amazing spreadsheets, then do more of that.
Now, you may be thinking, “Yeah, but don’t I need to get rid of the things that are killing my joy?” Possibly, if you can. If you can cultivate better conditions for yourself wisely, then by all means, have at it.
Nevertheless, in our roles we all have moments when we have to pay attention to details that may not be that enlivening. That’s ok. Do your best not to spend too much time on those things. And if you’re the business owner, you should absolutely stop whatever isn’t bringing you joy and hire the right people to support you. As the owner, you have that ability; it’s ridiculous to waste it. The cost associated with hiring the right person to support you will never outweigh the cost to your aliveness caused by doing things that you don’t enjoy doing.
Bringing our passion back into our work is a process of seeing how we get ourselves stuck, and what we can do to move back into flow and ease. Take a moment to see as clearly as you can, and then choose from there. We can then confidently step away from that swirling cloud that only Pig Pen can carry so skillfully. Leave that job to him.
Today’s topic centers on developing ourselves! We’re all about growing and expanding here on this show, but it’s not JUST about getting better. For example, comparing ourselves to others (we need to be better like them…) is a recipe for disaster. Besides, it won’t last. It can’t. So, actually, it’s not about “getting better.” Instead, it’s about growing and expanding in a way that best fits and helps us and helps those around us.
We discuss some of the conversations and advice surrounding developing ourselves so we can dispel the myths and do this correctly. Staying connected to our biggest “whys” and motivations and intentions is important. Finding what works for you and then sticking to it long enough to give it a good try is also essential. Finally, it’s important to focus on what you enjoy about a certain thing (sales for example) as well as the activity that helps you increase sales rather than just sales itself.
There are a number of issues with employee surveys, particularly “burnout” surveys and employee engagement surveys. There are a few biases (which we explain in the show) that play a huge factor in employee surveys. Most survey questions aren’t going to get the best, unbiased answer that you’re looking for. Your employees just want to look good in your eyes.
One of the first questions you should even ask is whether or not a survey is even necessary. Will it even help? Is the company environment and culture so bad that a survey is completely useless? If you send out a survey, are you even willing to listen and fix the problems? This is the first step before even considering writing a survey.
If you do choose to put together and send out a survey, we address how to craft a useful, helpful, and results-driven survey with well-worded questions to give you the accurate results you’re looking for and needing to better your culture and environment.
In the world of business and leadership, we are often encouraged to explain the ‘why’ first, especially when it comes to making changes of any sort. The idea being that once people can understand the reason for a change, they are more likely to get on-board with it. Makes sense, right?
In my experience, most leaders are not truly clear about their intentions. Most of us fall prey to the treadmill that has become our life. We are going along, hitting the quarterly numbers, rarely pausing long enough to understand our own motivation. Couple this with the reality that most leaders are incredibly attached to outcomes, believing that they are the ones who need to make it happen, and the deepest awareness of our intention and motivation remains buried in the hustle.
Let’s look more closely at this idea of being attached to outcomes and believing that we must make them a reality. Going to any length necessary to achieve an outcome overrides the intention and motivation. In this state, we quickly lose sight of the “why” because too much effort and control is being employed and now the outcome matters more to us than the intention.
If you’ve ever experienced yourself acting or speaking in a way that doesn’t feel aligned with what you intended — which is likely somewhere between having more peace in your life and leading a great team of people — then return to your original motivation. It is likely that it has been overridden by an attachment to the outcome – one that may or may not happen.
We forget that just because we want something to happen doesn’t mean that we can force it into existence. Achieving an outcome is the combination of the causes and conditions being just right, which is something that we cannot possibly control.
So why should we even bother looking at our motivation and intentions?
The biggest reason is that living in alignment with our motivations allows us to get a good night’s sleep. It also removes suffering from our lives and subsequently from the lives of those around us. When we are clear and living in alignment with our most wholesome intentions, we naturally experience greater peace and calm. When we don’t, we don’t.
We are on the soapbox today! But there is a good reason for it. The overall idea and the way employee engagement is talked about, not the mention the poor definition of it, is just not healthy. This episode was inspired by an article in the Harvard Business Review stating that employees are so engaged that they’re burning out. 1 in 5 highly engaged employees are at risk for burnout.
It’s not about engagement. It’s about RIGHT engagement. It’s about our body and mind being present in the same place at the same time. There are so many other issues with the definition of employee engagement and how it’s being presented. We will discuss this issues.
We’ll also discuss a better definition, a better way to approach this, AND some healthy and actionable tips you can implement with your employees and your organization to, ideally, create a healthy and RIGHT level of happier engagement.
It’s likely that you’ve heard the phrase, “You can either be right or you can be happy.” It’s funny because it’s true.
But deep down, we all know that wanting to be right and to prove that we are right causes suffering. Wisdom is required to keep a balanced view of life and to remain curious as it unfolds.
This does not mean being indifferent or turning a blind eye to what is actually happening. Nor does it mean not having an opinion or taking a stance. In fact, these misunderstandings about what it is to have a balanced view of life can prevent us from being able to access one.
In order to have a more balanced view, it is necessary to let go a bit, to stop holding on to our way of doing things, or to the fear that what we want to happen won’t happen.
And if we find ourselves feeling anxious whenever we think about the situation, it means that we are stuck in a fear pattern and that the “thing” is taking on an entirely new context in our lives.
In order to regain that balanced perspective, we must take a deep breath, set down the “situation” that has consumed us, and only return to it once we have zoomed out a bit. This will allow healthy discernment to return and let us view the situation in the larger context.
We have the privilege of chatting, this week, with Sharon Salzberg! We’ll be talking, specifically, about mindfulness business and how you can tackle this to help you immensely in personal and business life.
Sharon offers a secular and modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them more accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast: The Metta Hour.
Communication is absolutely essential. When we think about communicating with others, how quick are we to think about making sure others understand us versus us understanding them? This is not an easy question, is it? But, let’s be honest: communication is complicated. There are a number of factors that play into the full spectrum of communication between people.
Today, we’ll discuss those nuances of communication and how you can better understand how best to communicate, not only with one person, but also to a group of people as a leader. We’ll share our tips and suggestions for how you can create more effective and even more accurate communication.
You planned the meeting and told everyone where and when to show up. And then some of them didn’t.
In your world, this meeting was the most important part of the week, and the initiative you set is going to be mission critical for those involved. But, you’ve overlooked the fact that everyone else may be having a different experience. Furthermore, you’ve made the lack of attendance about you. It feels personal.
It isn’t personal.
Now, maybe a couple of people do have it out for you, but even that isn’t about you. When we take things personally we make a big jump in our mind and start believing that we are the only person who has ever had this experience. Naturally, this is not true.
Take the story of the mustard seed. There is a woman who loses her child and comes to the Buddha to heal her suffering. He sends her on a journey to collect a mustard seed from each home. However, she could only take a mustard seed from a home in which there had never been the loss of death. She returned to the Buddha without one seed, for the loss of death had touched more than her own life. And in that, a common humanity was revealed.
It helps to remember that you aren’t your role at work, or your title, or even what you do. In the same vein, you aren’t what others think of you, and your value isn’t based on what you know or what you have in the world. What and who you are extends fully beyond the world of things.
Do you remember your first job? Are you that job? It’s likely that you’ve left that job and found another one and are now in a different role. Perhaps you went from carry-out girl at the local grocery store to Senior Vice President of Ice Chips. The you that is you has nothing to do with those titles, although your mind will tell you otherwise.
Our conditioning keeps us recycling in this way. We have a singular view about our role and what it means and what it says about us. And when others don’t show up how we think they should in relation to our role, we take it personally.
There are other options, though. We can try to see reality clearly, which forces us to stretch ourselves and honestly question our motivations and intentions.
If you would like to suffer a bit less in your day-to-day work, try to notice the impersonal nature of life. Who among us won’t eventually encounter gain and loss, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, and missed meetings? We all will.
Why add another complication to life by making it personal?