Control – why do we think we need it?

If we could list the one thing that causes the most anger, the most frustration, the most dissatisfaction, and is the biggest barrier to success, it would be our need for control.

As people we have developed unhealthy definitions of control.  I have a plan to cover all possible instances.  He is able to deal with anything.  She is a total task master. 

Control does not mean being able to plan well or be able to deal with multiple tasks or inputs.  It means being able to predict and impact other people’s decisions, reactions, and moods.  

Why is it we think we can control other people?  Why do we want to?

Instead why not prepare for each task with an understanding that others will react.  Be ready for what common objections and reactions will be and be confident to address the ones you didn’t expect.  Did others see something you missed?  How can you adapt?

You will quickly realize the tait you seek to be successful, prepared and to achieve what you want is in fact adaptability and not control.  Learn to be able handle and adapt to what coworkers, friends, for and life in general throws at you and others will envy the control you have over you life.   That is until you let them in on our secret that control doesn’t exist.

To adaptability and beyond!

Harness your Positivity

We all know positive thinking can make us stronger and more successful. How do we instil this habit into our daily work life?  Simple!  It’s done with themes and language.

Now you are probably all having flashbacks to elementary school English class as you read this but the advice is solid. Adding a theme to days and weeks and months can change your perspective and allow positive thoughts to explode into your mind and out into your work performance.

Start by labelling your difficult days to things like Marvellous Monday.  Theme your week with themes Productivity Week.  Then move to theme months with names like Miraculous May. Yes, alliteration helps!

Constantly referring to chunks of time this way will reframe the way you think and in turn make your outlook more positive and your life that much easier at home and at work.

When you stat, be sure to use language that is positive and that resonates with what you are trying to change your viewpoint towards.  For language ideas Google ‘positive words’ and you will find great sites full of alphabetical lists of inspiration.  Here are a few of our favourites:

Positive Word Search

Positive Word List

Verbalize what you are doing so others are aware. This will keep you accountable and encourage others to adopt the nomenclature doubling the positive possibilities.  Make this a team effort and create a calendar to support your efforts.

We’ve been experimenting with this the past few months and have engaged the help of friends and family to test our theory.  All of us have found our positivity increased as did our resilience, our productivity and our sense of work/life balance.  Some of you may say this is only anecdotal evidence only.  We say what do you have to lose!

Plus we are certainly not alone in this thinking.  To pass on even more inspiration we’ve pasted a few of our favourite positivity quotes:

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

“The mind is everything.  What you think you become.” ~Buddha

Wishing you the very best for the rest of your Meaningful, Magnificent, Majestic, Marvelous, Miraculous, Magical, Mindful, Mind-blowing, Memorable, Motivational, and Magnetic May!

 

Failure – why it is good for us and why we should talk about it

  Recent research into mental health best practices for a client led to a review of suicide rates, seasonal spikes and possible contributing events.  It turns out that spring is in fact a time for an increase in suicidal feelings.  Understandably, a person’s likelihood of having suicidal thoughts increases with an internal sense of failure. In hopes of addressing an element of both of these, this week in we are celebrating our failures and openly discussing them with each other and with friends and family in hopes of encouraging others to do the same.  We need to be reminded we have all failed and we all will fail again.  Changing our own and everyone else’s perspective on failure is the change we really need to make.

As a people we speak to others of our successes, we boast of our achievements on social media, we fill our CV’s with accomplishments. All of this is important and we should all take pride in those things in which we have excelled. We celebrate our successes for ourselves but maybe we need to spend more time talking about our failures for others. Sharing our low points help others feel they are not alone, help others understand everyone fails, to help others appreciate that success really means learning to accept our failures and moving on to the next adventure.  Failing means you tried something new. It means you pushed yourself to a new level.  It means you were brave. 

I have worked hard in life and been fortunate enough to have had my share of accomplishments of which I am very proud. I have had my share of failures too. I have been able to learn from these failures and in time view them as life lessons (admittedly some needed more time than others). I recognize that my failures are what enabled me to achieve even more than I would have without failing along the way.  To prove this  I volunteered to share a small sample of my failures online:

So here goes, 3 of my more  memorable failures have been:

1. I’ve been fired.

2. I failed military pilot training.

3. I married the wrong man  but didn’t realize it until more than a decade later.

I ask those of you who read this to please celebrate  with me and post an example of a failure you have endured, survived and maybe even overcome.  If you are not comfortable posting, maybe you would be more comfortable telling someone about one?

If collectively we help one person feel less ashamed about their failures from reading of the failures of successful people then this will be a success.  We all fail at times. Getting back up on our feet is what makes us amazing!  

Wishing you failure so that you may achieve success,

Sue 

Time – do we have it or make it?


We all have a lot of things we need to do, people we need to support, tasks we need to complete, appointments to attend…and the list goes on.  So how do we make sure we do both what needs to be done and what we want to do?

Changing the way we look at time may hold the key to achieving this balance. Many of us tend to look at time as just something we have.  Simply put, there are twenty four hours a day so we do our best to achieve what we can.

What if instead we viewed time as something we have?  We could choose to look at time more like we do money and recognize we only have a finite amount so we need to consciously decide how to spend and invest it.

We all think twice before spending the last $20 bill we have on us.  We review prospectus documents and past performance metrics before buying stocks or mutual funds.  We get appraisals and home inspections before buying a house.  Yet we often go through our day doing what others tell us to do without a second thought.  We spend our time as if it isn’t ours to control.

Time like money has restrictions.  There are those things in life we have to do with our time, much like the things we have to do with our money like pay taxes, buy food, and pay rent.  With money we can choose our lifestyle which determines our expenses and subsequently our disposable income. Imagine if we looked at time the same way?

We can choose to invest a moment to list not only what we have to do but also what we want to do and allocate our time accordingly.  We can actively pay attention to how much time we give to the ‘have to do list’.  Think of this list as akin to determining a down payment and mortgage payments for a new home.  Do we have to pay as much time upfront as we have been doing on what needs to be done or can we spend less today and spread out the rest of the needed time in smaller chunks so that we have left over time to spend elsewhere?  This discretionary time can be used to fund the things we love to do and to be with the people we love.  Time spent on what we want to do fuels our souls and energizes the spirit.

The return on investment on time when it is spent where we want to spend it is exponential.  It will add value to every part of our lives and to the lives of those we with whom we choose to spend it.

Recognize that time is something you make and spend yours wisely!

Gen Y and Your Workplace (from our ‘Ask the Expert’ column in The Voice)

Q:  I have hired a younger employee and they do not get the way the world works.  When I was their age I worked long hours and was willing to do every task given to me.  What is wrong with this generation?

A: The presence of the youngest generation currently in the workforce, Generation Y, has caused many employers to scratch their heads.  There is nothing ‘wrong’ with this generation, it is just that they refuse to accept the current workplace norms just because they are the workplace norms.

The situation is not unlike when women started entering the workforce in large numbers.  Suddenly there was a rash of ‘women’s issues’ like parental leave and caregiver leave.  At the time it seemed like an impossible change to many employers but in reality it was a simple adjustment that benefited male and female employees alike.  Adapting to the needs of Generation Y is no different; the changes they are demanding will in fact positively impact everyone in the workplace.  Examples of these changes are:

•    A shift from managing by hours to deliverables – why do office organizations still have a punch clock mentality when the work performed is nothing like a factory environment?  Focus on what needs to be accomplished and manage by deliverables.  A work day should be about what you achieved not whether you worked 8 consecutive hours.

•    Add Flexibility – similar to the point above, don’t force someone to work a firm schedule unless it is a requirement of the job (e.g. receptionist, security guard).  Allowing employees to complete assigned tasks on their schedule within required deadlines can dramatically increase both productivity and engagement.

Most important are changes regarding communications.   Ask your employees what they want from their work environment.  This is a win-win proposition.  Remember happy employees work harder!