NY Times Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks does a fine job job of analyzing whether it is worth trading a professional triumph for a personal blow.
If the relationship between money and well-being is complicated, the correspondence between personal relationships and happiness is not. The daily activities most associated with happiness are sex, socializing after work and having dinner with others. The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting. According to one study, joining a group that meets even just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income. According to another, being married produces a psychic gain equivalent to more than $100,000 a year. (Read More)
Losing or leaving a job or career is not always bad. In many ways it can be the best thing that ever happened to you. I know that from first-hand experience. While it took me some time to get my footing, it has taken me places, and provided opportunities beyond what Ithought i was capable of. Most of all it asked me to become more of who I truly am, to be authentic. I wouldn’t change it for the world. In this short film Lemonade, it focuses on laid off executives from the Advertising Industry, although these stories and their message is for everyone.
Many of those profile started their own businesses. However, the most powerful piece of wisdom really speaks to those that are seeking work. “Be the person doing something interesting not a blinking light on someone’s voice mail.”
Some other words of wisdom from Lemonade include:
- Enormous opportunity in front of you.
- It’s not a pink slip, it’s a blank page.
- Don’t have to quit your job to change your life. Incorporate more of what you love into your everyday and it makes all the difference.
- I would never go back and lose this independence
- I am falling i haven’t hit the ground yet. Getting laid off was not a bad thing, it’s the world of possibilities.
- If it werent’ for losing my job my life would be awful, because my life is great now.
- I got laid off from a big ad agency and it’s awesome.
If morale at your company or organization seems like it is at an all time low, you are not alone. Last week, The Conference Board reported employee morale is at the lowest level since they started tracking it 22 years ago. Less than half of all workers are satisfied with their jobs.
With that news it can’t be a surprise that so many companies are performing poorly. The model of the past looks as if organizations go out of their way to make their employees unhappy. They rule by fear, indifference, and ask you to be grateful for having a job.
Not all companies are bad places to work. Just this week Fortune published their 100 Best Companies Places To Work. Other companies in corporate America are catching on as well. Sue Shallenbarger points out in her WSJ Article ” Thinking Happy Thoughts At Work” , these companies are bringing in coaches and other experts to teach happiness to the employees. Some of the happiness inducing modalities used are meditation, inner peace, gratitude, and other techniques,which have wide ranging influences from positive psychology to Hinduism.
There have been many research studies over the years which show the positive impacts of happy employees, including less absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity, and more creativity. So get this, happy employees can improve your bottom line. Try it as an experiment, see what happens.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Catch your employees doing things well and right. Then tell them. What we dwell on grows. Focus on what is working well, what people are doing right, and watch things improve.
2. Bring in a coach, or other specialist to empower the people you work with how to be happier. The full impact of a practice such as meditation is not even known, but what we is known is that it reduces stress, clarifies thinking, people have reported being more creative, and feeling more alert.
3. Make a gratitude list every day for what, and who you are grateful for at your organization. Now go out and tell the people on the list you are grateful for them, their work, and their contribution. Be specific. It might be worth sounding a little crazy, to make a real difference.
Fortune released it’s annual list of the top 100 companies to work for in the U.S.
If you are thinking about making a move and not sure where to start, this list may point you in the right direction. At least 14 companies on the list pay 100% of their employees health care premiums. Other companies have perks that include home buying assistance, paid sabbaticals,and even wardrobe assistance.
Topping off the list at #1 is North Carolina based software developer SAS, who catapulted forward form #20 last year.
Google – which has long been known as a special place to work – hangs steady at #4. I wonder how long that will last, with this week’s announcement that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brinplan to divest their majority stake in the company over the next 5 years. As the wall-street types take control of the company, will they keep intact the environment which foster creativity, innovation, and attracts amazing talent? or, Will they look to make cuts the first time the stock price drops?
With investment adviser Edward Jones at #2, and Wegmans Food Markets at #3; rounding out the top 5 is a giant leap for Dreamworks Animation jumping from #47 to #5. To find out what makes these companies so great to work at Check out the full list here.
Yes. I really did buy a goat today. But this isn’t about me, and no the goat isn’t in my apartment. Read on, and you can buy a goat too, or a chicken if you prefer.
I believe that the best jobs are created, they are not found, filled, or posted on job boards. This is the story about an individual who did just that. Meet Barton Brooks. He says “….traveling to take pictures and collect souvenirs started feeling a bit hollow, and it was in Cambodia where I finally was inspired to make a difference.”
Many people feel a similar tug, or even strong pull when they are moved by certain stories, events, or causes. It only takes a split second for most to be overwhelmed by the hundreds of objections of their rational mind – rent, work, mortgage, family – as to why they couldn’t do it. Barton Brooks story is different, it is one of inspiration and doing something about it.
Brooks started Global Colors, an organization that bypasses bureaucracies to bring aid directly to communities in need around the world. It is not a story of politics, advocacy, ego, it is really a story about action.
Guerrilla Aid is Global Colors current project. It has Brooks spending 52 weeks to circumnavigating the globe creating grassroots aid. Not only is he having direct impact, the endeavor demonstrates just anyone like you or me can go somewhere and make a difference. Take a look at his blog, he may have one of the best jobs in the world.
It is not always glamorous, earliers this year in Batwanna, Uganda Barton was critically injured after being hit by a truck. He even made that look like an adventure. On the mend, he is back in Batwa helping the villagers buy goats, chickens, seeds, and chalkboards for schools.
There is a striking contrast to the hot news topics of U.S., and other developed nations. Are these villagers having a recession, or are we? Where is there a health care crisis? What does 10% unemployment really mean?
Most of all if you are spending an inordinate amount of time worrying about things that will never happen, perhaps the ideal prescription to eliminate that anxiety is immersing yourself in taking action for a cause or purpose that speaks to your soul. I can’t imagine being in Batwa, or with another impoverished community and fretting over whether the stock market was up or down.
Following Global Colors efforts for over a year and Guerrilla Aid since it started, I kept planning to donate, to reach out, and see how I can be of help. Today I bought the villagers of Batwa a goat.
Barton has a plan, some of which he has accomplished, there is still much more to be done. Here’s how you can help:
- One acre of land – $4,500
- Chicken coops (lumber, chicken wire, tin roofing, and all tools) $215 each.
- One chicken is $10.00
- Chicken feed for one month – $35.00
- A GOAT! $50.00
- A new dress purchased at a shop in town is $15.00
- A thumb piano is $15
- Material for one beehive is $25.00 (including bees is $45)
- Chalkboard for the school $150.00
- Wood for a school bench is $30.00
- A milk cow is $285.00
- Seeds for a garden- any amount towards “seeds” would be great
Or you could fly over and meet Barton in the midst of his 52 Worldwide Guerrilla aid tour to help some of the poorest nations in the world. I started investigating going myself. Dancing with pygmies of Batwa looks like it is worth a trip around the world. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci-YrHSjUVw
“You have to do what you are hardwired to do. Live your own dream. Everybody has their own river to swim in. If you swim in someone else’s you will drown.”
After posting this quote on my Facebook page, a friend asked “How do you know what you are hardwired to do?”
Myfirst reaction was “oh brother, I set myself up for that one.” It is actually a fair and great question. I am not even sure if there is an answer, let alone can tackle it in under 140 characters on a Facebook posting.
Hardwired is a term most often used with regards to technology, computers, and other electronic devices. Loosely defined, it is about being built, or pre-programmed, with capacities to perform certain functions. In using the term to reference a person, it is not much different. You are one-of-a-kind, alchemy of DNA, experiences, beliefs, knowledge, ideas, creativity. You bring something to the world that has never been here before, and will never be exactly replicated again. The first step is to acknowledge your individuality. In doing so, you understand that if you haven’t been here before, there wouldn’t be some path laid out for you, which you are inherently supposed to know. Don’t wait for it, no one is coming to tell you, nor for will it to show up in an assessment somewhere. Go out and create it based on your innateness, talents, desires, and what is most important to YOU. Here are some steps that may help you on your way.
1. Discover what makes you tick?
Make a list of the times in your life when you were operating in the “zone” or “flow.” You know those the activities you were doing, where you were so engaged, that you didn’t even realize time was passing. They do not have to be work-related. What made these activities meaningful for you? What are the character traits, qualities, skills, that you had to exercise in order to perform these tasks successfully?
SLOW DOWN. STOP TRYING. If you liken the mind to a car engine, and the average mind is spinning at 100 RPM’s, many people especially in big cities, and fast paced cultures are going at 140, 160, and even over 200 RPM’s, it would be virtually impossible to have the clear thinking to notice what is truly important to you, and you are naturally talented at. If you slow your mind down to about 75 RPM’s, that is where insight, creative inspiration, quality, and grace emerge. My friend Barry always says “anyone can meditate for three minutes a day.” If you don’t already have a technique, or a novice, you can start with the simple formula of sitting still, notice your breathing in and out through your nostrils, take deep breaths. When you notice that you have taken your attention off your breathing, just come back to it. Try this for 30 days and see how it impacts your life. If you like the result makes it a life time practice.
3. Use the “Law of Attraction.”
You don’t even need to know what you are hardwired to do. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and imagine just for a moment that you did know what you are hardwired to do. How do you feel? Remember, you want to know how you feel, not what you don’t want to feel. If your thought is that you are feeling “less anxious”, what is the opposite of anxious for you? Is it calm, peaceful, free? Just try to imagine the feeling in your body, create it. Now take it a step further, imagine that you are getting paid handsomely every day for doing what you are hardwired to do, in an environment that you truly love. How are you feeling having that in your life? Just imagine that too. This is not about thinking, it is about what it feels like in the body, that is where you create the vibration to attract similar vibrations.
Join us for the FREE live TeleClass on this topic, this Monday. December 14, 2009 7 PM EST.
One of the big challenges I often hear from executives and entrepreneurs is about standing out. Everyone wants to stand out, stand out in their career, industry, job search, community, among the competition, and even in life. I admit, I have even thought about it on more than one occasion.
So last spring when Executive Coach Alan Cohen and I, were invited to present at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business, we tackled the subject head on. Looking at people who do stand out and what are the determining factors. We presented a series of 8 points that if practiced would help you stand out.
Since then, I have had the opportunity to present on the topic a number of times, each time the topic has evolved. Most recently, I presented it to about 45 Business Owners for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and TD Bank. As most of my presentations are dialogues, I often learn as much as the audience and it helps shape my views on the topic.
What really has become apparent is that it is not as much about the “how” as it is about the “what”. What are you willing to take a stand for? What are you willing not to compromise on, saying this is what I want? This is what I must have?
Standing out is not something to be achieved, it is not a destination. It is a choice, a way of life, and an attitude. While it can feel lonely at times, it doesn’t separate you as better than. Standing Out ultimately connects you and makes you feel part of. Standing Out can’t really be done alone, and even if it could, it could never be sustained alone.
I see a lot of people who take a stand for personal and professional freedom as an example. They eitherlost their job or get fed up at work, realize they are not being true to themselves and want the independence and autonomy that come with being your own boss.
What are you willing to take a stand for? What is that you are willing to put it all on the line for, in your life? Get clear on that, reorient your life around it, and standing out happens naturally.
Remember, STAND is an attitude and a lifestyle. If your answer is “I don’t know”, consider taking a stand for figuring it out.
Are you one of those people that treat life as a multiple choice test? Do you navigate your life by picking from a pre-existing list of answers; maybe you pick the best answer, even if it is not the best answer for you; or, maybe you just guess the answer, and hope it will work out.
Back in school I think I preferred multiple choice tests, because there was the understanding one of the answers was going to be the right answer. Life is not a multiple-choice test, and there is no assurance the options you are selecting from has the right answer.
Human beings are creators, the mind thinks in pictures. Anything that has ever come to fruition in the world has been a thought, or an idea in someone’s mind first. Why not leverage that part of yourself and create the career and life you want.
You can think of your life as the essay portion of the test, or even an art project. Come up with a visual, or an idea, then sketch it out or write out the narrative. You don’t need the whole picture to begin. Start with what you do know; What do you want your surroundings to look like? Where do you work? What are the people you work with like? What are your feeling? What are you experiencing?
Play with this and have fun. Remember, this is a creative project, use your innate power to create. Think of it as a continuous work in progress, a first draft, an outline, you can come back and revise it, any time.
The strategy to bring out our best is not always what is most obvious. The common approach is to work harder and longer, until you are worn out for the day, week, decade, or your life.
If you could reduce stress, improve performance, and concentrate better from a single activity, Would that give you enough icentive to get your butt out of your office? If you are the boss and realized that you could reduce employee stress, improve thinking, and maybe even impact performance, would you bringyourself to encourage them to for wa lk in the park?
Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that contact with nature, from passive views of nature through windows to walking in an outdoor setting, leads to an increased ability to concentrate on tasks requiring high mental effort.
Nature provides a constant source of energy . Whenever we safely make contact with beauty in nature, these attractions trigger our brain to release Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces good feelings that we seek.
Nature can reduce feelings of overwhelm. Studies reveal that through consciously making connection with natural areas, humans have been observed to reverse challenging personal situations (stress, overwhelm, depression and mental confusion.)
Nature can provide stress relief. Research at NASA shows that long distant views – even painted views in photographs and posters – induce a sense of “mental tranquility,” a natural calming down of the mind. Spending even a few minutes in your favorite place on the earth can help to ease the intensity of daily stresses of life. The smells, sounds, colors and textures that surround you in nature have been known to relax the nervous system. The mind slows down so that you can start to access parts of your connection to your inner spirit that you cannot access when there are high levels of stress and tension in your body. The scent of the dirt, the colors of the sky, and the aromas of the plants increase your sensory awareness and heighten your perceptions.
By spending time in your favorite spot in nature, solutions may arise that were not there before, or you may just feel a few moments of peace . Now are you willing to get your butt out of your chair?
FOUR QUESTIONS TO CONNECT WITH WHAT INSPIRES YOU
Some time ago I read that if two people are up for a job promotion, with one of the candidates being slightly more qualified, and the other candidate more enthusiastic, 80% of the time the more enthusiastic person gets the promotion.
I could never quite label it as such, but during my time in corporate America, this is what I witnessed. As I spoke with clients, and current, and former colleagues, the majority all seem to agree that this is true.
I wanted to learn a little more about why this may be and started with a bit of research into the word enthusiasm, whose greek origins mean the God within. Some of the older defintions of enthusiasm are to be inspired. A little more obvious, the defintion of inspired is the spirit within or to breathe life into. The words have very similar meanings.
Everyone loves to be around inspiring people, and it stands to reason the most inspiring people are inspired by something or someone themselves. Inspiring people are energizing, creative, and often just being around them elicits a sense of urgency about being one’s best, fulfilling your purpose, using your talents.
This notion of feeling inspired was a catalyst in my becoming a coach. I didn’t want to settle for just okay, cool, or good. I know I am in the right profession because I feel inspired ever day to be a better coach, I , to expand my knowledge, so I can help people get out of their professional suffering and find their own inspiration. It is a natural energy that comes to me, not one that I have to force. This doesn’t mean it is without challenges, however, I hardly ever feel like I am working. Tuesday or Saturday, it’s all the same to me.
When one embarks on the path of seeking work they feel passionate about or that has meaning, it is easy to approach it as if it is a secret the universe is keeping from you. It is much simpler than that, here are some tips questions and thoughts to open it up for you.
First, for simplicity’s sake, let’s talk about inspired as when you feel most alive. When it feels like energy is surging through you, and you want to be your best.
Who is a person living or dead, that when you read about or come in contact with, you start to think and feel you want to be your best, or want to go out in the world and do great things?
Most people recognize the profundity of coming across inspiring people. Some of the most inspiring people I have encountered, I never even met in person. I have read or watched a story about them, came across something they created or had been told about them. In some cases they have been activists, entertainers, writers, coaches, entrepreneurs, young, old, male, females, from all races. I am sure there are many more for me to meet.
One quality they all seem to share is that they are committed to something bigger than themselves, which manifest in many different ways. At times it has been a musician, actor, or other entertainer, who clearly has made the committment to practicing their craft, which is evident by their masterful performance. I have been inspired by reading something, it could be the author, subject, or excellence of the writing that inspires. Social and community activists that have risked their lives, and safety for causes they believe in are very inspiring.
What are the topics that inspire you? This is not about altruism, it is not about judgement, there is no right answer. I am constantly inspired by other entrepreneurs and business people for their courage, determination and creativity. Their ability to take an idea, and manifest a business out of nothing. I have always always loved personal development, and spiritual topics. It was the recognition I could get paid for working with these subjects, that clinched my decision to become a coach.
What are the activities that when you are engaged in them, you feel most alive? When is it that you feel truly connected with the present moment? Are you playing an instrument? Writing? Sharing? Teaching? Talking? Painting? Healing? Comforting? Nurturing? Walking? Exercising? Cooking?
Writing this piece about inspiration and inspiring people is inspiring for me. The notion, that it might serve as one small step in a journey that helps someone else find their inspiration gets my juices flowing. What could be a better mission, than helping individuals discover and connect with their own inspiration? After all the world definitely could use more inspired people.
Where do you feel your best? Is it in a museum? Which museum? Is it in nature, the woods, beach, or snow capped mountains? Is it the bustling energy of a major city, or the cracking of ocean waves? Go wherever it is you feel most inspired, and think about what/who else inspires you?
It’s easy to understand why enthusiastic people get hired. Inspiration is the fuel for greatness, it is energy and committment that cannot be bought. It is contagious you cannot force yourself or someone else to be inspired, but you can inspire them.
Keep an eye out, as we delve more into inspiration in moving forward, with more discussion, and profiles and interviews with truly inspiring people.
Please post who/what/where inspires you here. We want to know.