Decades ago, when I was a stressed out adult probation officer, someone gave me a book on meditation. I was hooked upon experiencing the positive outcomes of meditating. I occasionally taught meditation classes in groups and even to high school staff. Decades later I’m busy running a business, teaching in higher ed. and generally trying to have a balanced life to boot. Nevertheless I do still meditate every single day. Why? Because it reduces my stress and sharpens my focus in a world that is constantly throwing every possible distraction at us through a myriad of media.
I’m not alone in the taming the beast of stress related distraction, and you don’t have to look very far to see institutions such as Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, Yale, etc. have explored, studied, and validated the positive outcomes. If you knew even 10 minutes of employee mindfulness/meditation would boost your company’s growth through more engaged employees, create a safer environment with more focused employees, and reduce your healthcare costs why wouldn’t you pursue it? If you’re thinking 10 – 20 minutes of employee time would result in lost productivity, I can guarantee you that same amount of time is currently being lost due to the almost 70% of employees nationwide who are actively disengaged in their jobs.
As far as employee engagement tools go meditation has scientifically proven positive outcomes, and the price tag to implement it is minimal, and maintaining it cost zero extra dollars. You’ll be hard pressed to find a stronger return on investment.
Oversight is very popular, and obviously necessary within the workplace. Accountability seems to be less of a mandate, and that is a problem. The only way to engage yourself, employees, and/or customers is to combine oversight and accountability.
I’m not sure when accountability fell out of fashion, but a lack of accountability equates to lost employees, lost profits, lost vision. I’m talking about accountability on every level. Are you being honest with employees about the job they are interviewing for and/or the culture of the company? Are employees working within a dynamic that they operate knowing win or lose people at every level of a decision making, or production making process will be held accountable? Is the organization showing appreciation for those exceeding the bar? Are people being both rewarded and held responsible for both the good and the bad? You get the picture.
Accountability seems to surface during conversation that are wrapped within something that may or has gone wrong. This is where it gets its bad rap. Regardless of whether or not your organization is engaged in accountability, it is impacting you. Best to stay ahead of the curve and implement it on a level that makes your brand, product, and workplace more attractive to both employees and customers. Doing so will show a return on investment. Not doing so will create a people, product, and paid loss.
What is your zone of genius? A lot of us reside in a working world hanging out in either a zone of competence, or zone of excellence. This may sound like a positive, but hanging out in a zone of competence or even excellence is why we have over 70% of employees disengaged.
How do you know what/where your zone of genius resides? Easy. It is whatever gives you the highest ratio of satisfaction and target income and makes you feel wonderful doing it, knowing you are really great at it. It is earning a living doing something you really love, not just something you are good at. A zone of genius feeds you, not just because of ego driven “I’m good at this”, but because you are good at it, and you find it deeply satisfying, which cycles into additional positive energy further feeding your pursuits.
It is true, many of us work and/or live in environments that are fueled by doing what is ‘urgent’. The question is, who defines what is urgent?
It is important to occasionally take a step back and review your own mission, goals, etc. and determine if your daily actions and activities are leading you towards your definition of positive outcomes and success, that which is important. Or, are you trapped in someone else’s cycle of urgency?
I’ve been deliberating about several career moves lately. It can be hard to discern at times which thoughts are just good ol fashion fear of failure and which thoughts merit examination. We all are capable of making plans, it is the unknown outcomes that muddy the waters that can wash over your path along the way. Like Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” So when I came across the TED Talk below which focuses on what makes a startp successful, I listened hard.
So what does makes a startup (or anything else you could argue) successful? Timing. I agree with what Bill Gross shares in his TED Talk. Perhaps you will too. So now the challenge becomes, jumping when the time is right, even if you don’t feel 100% prepared. Sometimes you just have to go and do before the right timing slips away.
To hear what Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Idealab has to share, listen here.
With stats showing over 75% of the U.S. workforce is unhappy with their job(s) you have to begin to wonder why they stay. Where is the value for them in maintaining the misery, not only for themselves, but most likely, the ripple impacts their family and friends?
Money and/or family, is the response I most often hear in regards to folks who consciously show up to a job they don’t like, and often full on hate. One, your family and friends want you to be happy. Two, there is most likely a job out there for you that you’d enjoy and would pay what you need to live a happy life. Three, if you are not looking for a better job, you can not find a better job. And four, perhaps there is someone out there that would really dig the job you are in.
Summary: If you are at the table and not contributing, give up your seat to someone who will. You can’t find the right fit and fall into the right slot without shaking things up a bit.
Dear Control Freak…This is not a judgement, but a confession. I use to be a control freak. The whole giant amalgamation of every stereotype that comes with the term. I wanted to control time, outcomes, visions, dynamics, etc. I like to look back and think to myself, ‘how adorable you thought that controlling everything was possible or productive.’
Is wanting to have control understandable? Absolutely. Is it productive? No. Does it lead to the best outcomes? No. Why? Several reasons, and here they come…
You are not a mighty fortress, no matter what you think. Process is an organic activity and if you try to control it all by yourself you will fail. You will fail on so many levels it would make a clown cry. One, you fail yourself as control eliminates your perspective to actively balance your own life. It also limits the incoming flow of knowledge you have access to, as well as the potential for growth, as you will most likely feel you already have things under control. You will fail your business/employer by placing limits on outcomes forcing them into the realm of your desired picture. You will fail those who have to collaborate with you as they will no longer provide their “A” game, knowing it will not matter as you will shape outcomes the way you want to. You will fail your friends and family on multiple levels as they will see less of you while you are busy being master of the universe, as well as, you are probably limiting their potential on some level when you are around.
What will you get from being a control freak? All the blame, as no one else has a claim to the input on a project that fails. And perhaps even something like high blood pressure. And of course that golden moment when it all comes tumbling down and you have to admit to yourself that you, along with the rest of us, really have no control after all.
The good news, what you do have is the capacity to deliver your best day to day efforts and know that is enough, without having to have control.
How to be professional… Workplaces can be full of all types of thinking, both good and bad. The challenge with over 75% of the national workforce being unhappy at their current jobs comes when you see how that spirals out throughout the workplace dynamic/culture. So how do you protect yourself and remain professional in a world that has a large percentage of disengaged workers? I suggest two things. One, if you do not hold the target, the arrow will be less likely to come your way. That is to say, your integrity is what you have going into and leaving a job, guard it and don’t open yourself up to the engagement of counter-productive activity. Two, focus on facts and quality within your workplace, and the specifics of your job. Don’t get distracted. Facts and quality are solid. Regardless of workplace politics facts and quality are two items that will support your integrity day in and day out.
The bottom line here is people on average don’t enjoy a negative atmosphere, but do often participate in it. So note to self, you can’t change what you feed.