Joe loses his Job. Follow him as he experiences emotional upheaval, regains confidence, prepares resumes and prepares for interviews and his new place of work. This is PDF file found in Resources
When we look up the definition of success, we find various interpretations of the word. It reminds me about how we look at art. Some people see beauty and feel up-lifted when they gaze on a piece of art. Others look at the same piece and don’t see any beauty nor are they moved by it. Beauty they say, “is in the eye of the beholder,” so too is success.
We use “success” to denote the achievement of a goal or purpose – as “Joan felt successful when she completed her Doctorate” or “Harry had a sense of successful accomplishment when he finished building his house.” It could also signify reaching a level of popularity or wealth; for instance, “people viewed George as successful when he gained notoriety,” or, “June accumulated great wealth and people saw her as successful.” Whether other people saw Joan and Harry as successful is another question; and perhaps George and June don’t regard themselves as successful.
Success is a state of being, an attribute or a feeling - not something we can place on our task list. It is often born out of miss steps, failures, and mistakes which suggests success may come through persistence, tenacity and a willingness to keep trying.
Success then doesn’t seem to come easy, but it is not always achieved because of something we did intentionally. It also can come about by sheer accident. Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson invented the telephone and telegraph after years of persistence and experimentation. Another Alexander, Sir Alexander Fleming, accidently discovered the ingredients for penicillin. Both men are regarded as achieving success.
It appears that the secret to success may be persistence, or not.
I mentioned above that success often relates to accomplishing goals. But what about the person who is not goal directed but living a full life in the "now." Is that person successful? And what about the accumulation of riches often viewed as wealth? I have known many people - and still do - who don’t have lot of money but who are wealthy beyond measure with their wisdom, love, joy and happiness. Are these people successful?
In a previous post I proposed that people are successful when they have a stated purpose in life. I suggested that a purpose statement should have intention with a bias for action, an intangible value and a focus on the other. Purpose statements are goal oriented. People may view themselves as successful when they fulfill their purpose.
Some people desire to live in the ‘now’ and accept whatever life throws at them with calmness, authenticity and integrity. They don’t seek fame, power, fortune, or popularity. They just want to be themselves in the ‘now’. Should we not these people be viewed as successful?
In our consumer-oriented society, we are pushed to become and viewed as successful. We hear phrases like "Dress for Success." "You must study to become successful." "Work hard and you will be successful."
Here success seems to be related to appearance, education and hard work. All laudable in and of themselves but do they tell the whole story? One could argue that our conventional acceptance of the phrases is more about the achievement of personal wealth and stature than about contributing to the social betterment of society. Unless social betterment is added to the mix, such as sharing personal wealth with this less fortunate or improving family life, can we really say we are successful?
When we talk about a successful business person, what are we talking about? The person who has accumulated wealth through business? The person who treats his/her employees well? The person who is well respected in the community? The person who shares his wealth with others? Or, Is it all these things?
Can a business person treat employees well, contribute to her community, or share her wealth without having first succeeded with a positive cash flow and an accumulation of money? Or, does she gain cash flow and personal wealth by achieving those ends? Perhaps the business person achieves success by doing more for others than for herself. In strengthening others is not the self, strengthened? And is not that success?
Is success about an inner strength that propels us to become the person we are meant to be, no matter what that is? When we try something and don't succeed, are we successful? Maybe we are if we learned something from the experience.
We come back full circle to the beginning of the article where it was pointed out that success may really be just a state of mind. My view of success may be different than yours. Does that make me unsuccessful? Maybe in your eyes, but not in mine. What counts most? My view or your view? Who lives’ within "me? Me, of course.
Perhaps success is not found in the accumulation of financial wealth, power, fame or glory but what one does with them. The point of this article is to ask how you define success for "you."
What gives you joy, happiness and satisfaction? To put it another way, what touches your most inner self, your soul? Define that, and you may discover your version of success.
Thanks for reading
Richard Fontanie, MSW, FCMC
Here are nine ways how people define success .
Working on the front-line all day can be draining. Take the example of the customer service professional who doesn’t know what the next question might be, what mood the next customer might be in, or whether the organization will be able to satisfy the customer’s need. Answering telephones, responding to queries, finding solutions to problems, and keeping people satisfied can be rewarding but also quite challenging. When we are at it all day long, week in and week out we can become stressed out. Consider the following six energizing saving strategies as a way to meet this challenge. (Note this post is a further elaboration of the post dated 2.1.17)
Set achievable personal and work goals.
When people set goals, conventional research shows that they live longer. However, if those goals are to be meaningful we should write them out in a way that shows action and measurement. Action means we are going to do something to achieve something; and measurement allows us to track progress along the way. So, when we write goals they should be SMART, that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Trackable. If goals are not SMART they usually fall into the category of a wish list.
Let's take a couple of examples. At work we can write something like "complete the policy on the wellness program." A laudable goal, but not fully measurable or trackable. There is no time line for completion, so I can say "I'll get to it when I can, and it will be completed sometime, maybe." A great incentive to procrastinate. The goal may be attainable, sometime, and may be relevant to our work. We need to ask, "How does it relate to our work?” And, “what is the level of priority?" If it is not relevant than why are we doing it; if it is, how important is it? Is it: necessary and urgent? urgent and necessary? necessary but not urgent? or urgent but not necessary?
Once these questions are answered we can write a SMART goal such as: "I will complete a draft policy statement on wellness and present it to management for approval by September 30, 2018." Once the goal is stated we can then break it down to achievable monthly tasks, such as: complete the research for the wellness policy by February 8; ask for input from colleagues and receive their comments by March 31; write the first draft of the of the wellness policy by May 31; circulate to colleagues for first review and receive their comments by June 31; make adjustments to the policy statement by July 31; circulate final draft to colleagues and receive their comments, by August 20; prepare a draft policy statement for approval by September 20,2018. Once we know where we are going, ambiguity is lessened, we can measure progress along the way, and we have a comfort level about its attainability. In the end our stress level is reduced.
We can use the same goal setting strategy for our personal life as well. Rather than saying "I'm going to lose weight this year," be more specific: "I'm going to lose 30 pounds/kilos by June 31, 2018." Then set out the tasks to achieve that goal.
Accept the givens.
Often, our anxiety level increases because we worry about things outside are control. Worry doesn't accomplish anything but personal grief, and sometimes grief for others. For instance, we can't control time, but we can control what we do within the time we have; we can't control the weather, but we can control how we plan for poor weather; we can't control how people will relate to us, but we can control how we relate to others. We will have less anxiety if we control those things that are in our control and accept those things that are outside our control.
Thinking positively means approaching our challenges with a positive outlook. It doesn't necessarily mean avoiding those things that make us uncomfortable or ignoring negative situations; instead it means approaching those situations in a positive light, or making the best of a bad situation.(a) We can improve our ability to think positively by affirming or actuating the positive for ourselves and others. Rather than thinking "I can't do this," affirm to yourself that "I can do this;" rather than thinking "I can't get along with this person," think about the positive aspects of the person and affirm those within your mind's eye; rather than thinking "this place is a lousy place to work," think about what I can do to make it a better place to work. Thinking positively is not Pollyanna, pie in the sky thinking. It is thinking that is realistic but tempered with a positive approach to life rather than a negative one.
Thinking positively works. According to the Mayo Clinic positive thinking can lead to a longer life span, less stress, lower rates of depression, increased resistance to the common cold, better coping skills, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, increased physical al well-being and overall better psychological health.
If your approach to life is more on the negative side, and you would like to change your approach take heart, because positive thinking can be learned. In essence you are learning a new habit and as is the case of any change in habit we need to develop habit changing strategies. In this case, identify what needs to change, name it and make a firm commitment to change; throughout the day take a time out and review how you are moving towards greater optimism; whenever you find yourself becoming negative, take pause, and rephrase your thinking or how you are verbalizing your thoughts; start the day with an affirmative or positive thought and reinforce it by verbalizing throughout the day; and, surround yourself with positive people.
Take energy breaks.
One of the hard lessons busy people learn is that their energy drains when they don't fuel up. They skip meals or skimp on meals, gobble down food while working the phone or their computer, and eat junk food rather than nutritious meals. They also learn that when they are at their computer long hours without ergonomic seating or the monitor is too close, they experience strain and pain from their eyes, backs, shoulders and wrists. When these things, happen their body is yelling out, "Take a break!" (For more information on the importance of an energy break for personal wellbeing and business read this Globe and Mail article)
Here are a few suggestions: Work in 90-minute sprints and take a five or ten minute break – in some instances work in fifteen and thirty-minute sprints and take a couple minutes out. Consider: standing up and stretching; taking a short walk down the hall; shifting your eyes from the computer to something else; moving away from your desk to eat properly; going for a walk over the noon hour; or taking five deep breaths, slowing down the mind, and after three minutes coming back to the work at hand. (Read more about 3 minute break}
Drink plenty of fluids.
Walk through any office or observe the reception area and you will find beverages in hand or on the desk – and not the right kind of beverage. We see soda beverages with high sugar content; lattes with high fat content, or coffees with high caffeine content. What's wrong with this picture? It's true our bodies need fluids, but they need the right kind of fluids. Too much of these types of fluids clog the arteries, add an inch or more to the waste and make us jittery. The health hazards are well known – well ok, maybe not so for coffee, but more than four cups of the stuff begin to take its toll. 1. 2.
Water should be at the top of the fluid list. An average adult body is 57%-60% water, lack of water drains our energy and leads to dehydration. Nearly all systems in our body depend on water. Water moistens tissues such as those in the eyes, mouth and nose; regulates body temperature; lubricates joints, helps prevent constipation, lessens the strain on the kidneys and liver and carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. Drinking water after waking helps activate internal organs, one glass before meals helps digestion, and one glass before bed time helps reduce strokes and heart attack. Make sure water is a major part of your fluid diet. 1
Our body is built to move, so move it regularly. We can be quite sedentary on the front line such as standing or sitting for long periods. Overtime this takes its toll on our bodies and we find fat rolls creeping around our stomach, back-end, and other places too numerous to mention. The antidote to this is exercise. Get up from the chair and walk around, take a walk over the noon hour, take ten-minute walks in the morning, afternoon and evening, take the stairs, if sitting, stand up and read or walk about while reading; join a gym; seek a life style coach or trainer. Do something, just don't sit and stand for hours on end. One more thing, reduce television time, get off the couch and do something in the yard, in the garage or in the park. Do one or two of these activities a day and you will find a change in your energy level.
These re-energizing strategies are not difficult, they just take a bit a self-discipline, and that just might be the hard part. Try one of the strategies each month and find out the difference in: your outlook on life, the strength of your body, the calmness of your mind, and the wholeness of your spirit.
Author Richard Fontanie MSW, FCMC
Over the years I have coached many managers, business owners and employees about facing their fears. Here are three typical examples: Jane operated a business which "failed," and now wants to start another, but is "fearful" of "failing again;" a group of employees said "they feared their boss; and, Joe lost his job and now "fears" for his future.
When I asked my partner about her thoughts on fear she said, "fear is the big elephant's mouse in the room." So let's take a look at this little rascal that makes the mighty elephant afraid.
First there are many positive things to say about fear. Fear keeps us from making stupid mistakes, spending money foolishly, and taking unnecessary risks. When an impending danger faces us we rightly react instinctively with a "freeze, flight or fight" response. But when fear stops us from going forward when we should be going forward, or running away from something when we shouldn't, or being overly anxious about something that is trivial, then it's time to take a hard look at how fear holds us hostage. If you are experiencing these later situations here are eight key questions to explore:
Now that you understand the nature of your fear, answer these four questions to begin moving forward.
Let's take another look at the three scenarios mentioned at the beginning of this post.
"Fear of failure."
There are probably many reasons why the first business wasn't successful. What could this person do? She should avoid the "failure trap" and think about how the first experience has taught her many good lessons. Looking at "failure" from this point of view may point her to greater success in her new business. She can also identify the weaknesses and the strengths of the first experience and treat them as learning opportunities; and then. avoid the mistakes and build on the strengths as she prepares for her second journey.
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." Robert Kennedy
"Fear of the boss."
What can the employees do? First they should review why they fear their boss and confront their own fears; secondly, respectfully approach the boss and discuss the negative consequences of his behavior has on them and the culture of the organization; and thirdly, if the situation doesn't change they could seek alternate employment or, accept the givens and recognize that this is the boss's problem and not the employees.
"A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting." - Russell H. Ewing
"Fear of the future."
No one can predict the future with any certainty but one thing I do know is that there is "life" after leaving a place of employment. In this case the person can look at her previous employment with an objective eye and review the results he achieved, understand his own work style and skill sets, and build a resume that outlines these qualities and achievements. This is an opportunity for him to seek the type of employment he always wanted, find a better "employment fit" for his profile and skill sets, or become self-employed. Rather than fear the future, embrace it with a positive attitude and recognize it is filled with opportunity.
"The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future." Audrey Hepburn
Consider all the courageous people who overcame their fear and accomplished great things for themselves and human kind. Yes, they were afraid but they broke through their fear barrier - often with the help of others and a Higher Power. Confront the mouse in your room and you may find it's just a tiny thing anyway.
Author: Richard P. Fontanie MSW, FCMC
Revised article from Fontanie Learning Solutions
A positive self-image and personal self-esteem coupled with one's knowledge, skills, abilities, experience, values, attitudes and habits (KSAE'VAH), bring the "I" factor to what one does in life. All of these attributes make up who "I" am and what "I" do
When our purpose and our work's purpose positively intersect, we tend to approach it with greater focus, discipline and positive energy. We also tend to feel alive in mind, spirit and body. There is a synergy about "who we are" and "what we do," which translates into a self-directed passion in life. And when we balance this with all the other values we hold be they for family, community, or personal well being, we begin to contribute in a more meaningful and productive way to work and to society.
Added to this mix is a factor often overlooked and that is the "Power" within us. A "Power “which comes from a Spiritual Source. When we touch this Source and connect with It, then purpose, passion and values "truly" become alive in our everyday action. We move from going through the motions on the job to becoming fully alive in our work and life.
Our sense of pride and accomplishment comes from doing our best - no matter what the job is. A sense of confidence comes from understanding our products and services and having the skills to do the work. We are who we are because of our KSAE'VAHs all of which may be strengthened or weakened by what we do, who we associate with and what we say.
To be a "Star" in our work and in service to our customers, colleagues and others require us not only to have knowledge and skills but also to understand our "inner selves" and then to err on the side of positive values, attitudes and habits.
"When our "I" aligns with our work we succeed, no matter what we do. In that sense there is no work better than other work. And there is no room to look down upon another because of what she or he does in life." Anonymous
What to do: Consider the following questions - Am "I" really connected with what "I" do? How do "I" contribute to the well being of my organization, family or society? What are the three most important qualities of my work? How do they contribute to my well being? Am I "truly alive" in what I do and how I serve others?
Want to learn more? Consider reading a book on self-improvement, here are three that may help: Stephen R. Covey, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change," Dale Carnegie's classic book, 'How to Win Friends and Influence People," and Travis Bradberry's book "Emotional Intelligence." Consider a workshop on Influencing- www.Prioritymanagement.com has a excellent one, or Adventures in Attitudes, or A Course in Miracles.
Author: From the archives Fontanie Learning Solutions.
One of my former business colleagues was a retired goldsmith. His designs and craftsmanship became the envy of all who knew him. He told me that the Canadian Diamond was one of his favorite gems. He promoted Canadian Diamonds not only for their pristine brilliance and clarity but also for the way they are mined, cut and polished in keeping with high environmental and labour standards.
Diamonds have a unique standing in our society. They represent value, love, longevity, strength and purity. Diamonds are exchanged as gifts to express one's love and yes, sometimes forgiveness. They symbolize lasting relationships and are set in rings of gold to celebrate and cherish engagements, weddings and anniversaries.
Before the stone becomes the gem of sparkling brilliance it is nothing more than a diamond in the rough. Are we diamonds in the rough? Can we reflect the brilliance of the diamond within us? The answer of course is, yes. It takes the polish of practice, determination and constant honing of our skills, character and habits to get there though.
We have heard of the dictum "give and you shall receive," but to give without expecting to receive makes our diamond shine brighter.
What to do: Take five minutes out from what you are doing right now and start polishing the diamond within you.
Want to learn more? Read a good book that will inspire you. Here's one that I enjoyed: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, "Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling."
Working on the front-line all day long can be draining. Take the example of the customer service professional who doesn’t know what the next question might be, what mood the next customer might be in, or whether the organization will be able to satisfy the customer’s need. Answering telephones, responding to queries, finding solutions to problems, and keeping people satisfied can be rewarding but also quite challenging. When we are at it all day long, week in and week out we can become stressed out.
What to do: In order to be “up” to the challenge consider the following 15 tips:
Want to Learn More? Spend 10 minutes a day reading books by Eckhart Tolle author of "The Power of Now" and "Stillness Speaks"; or Peter G. Hanson, M.D. author of "The Joy of Stress" and "Stress for Success."
From the archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions.
We are creatures of habit. Habits are formed first by having an experience – positive or negative - and then acting on that experience; when one consistently acts the same way relative to that experience a habit is formed, and by constantly acting out habits others begin to describe our character. To change a habit, we must feel some ‘tension’ to change i.e. we must value the change more than the habit.
With the advent of technology, we have developed a whole new set of irritable habits. Here are a few examples relating to what I have termed “Smart Phone Telephonites":
texting friends while at work or while driving (which, by the way, is illegal in most places); scrolling and answering emails during meetings; keeping an eye on in-coming calls during a meeting; stepping out of meetings to answer telephone calls; driving with the telephone tethered to one's ear; and, keeping the telephone in hand while socializing, and keeping connected 24/7.
All of these examples are learned habits - and for some, "telephonites” has turned into an addiction. These habits are: "time cheating” habits for those inappropriately texting on the job; "rude" for those keeping their telephone active while in meetings or socializing with others; or down right "dangerous" and unlawful for those driving while texting or talking on their telephone. All of them do some harm to our relations with others.
The good news is that we can change habits. Since habits are learned, they can be "unlearned" and replaced with more appropriate, acceptable and healthier ones. Sometimes, though, our habits are well wired within our psyche and behavior and we might feel it's too hard to change them.
I credit Dr. Wayne Dyer in his book, "Excuses Begone", for outlining an approach for those wishing to change habits. I have used a similar approach in my coaching practice, and have broken it down to four steps: Identify the habit you wish to change, Self-Examine it, Prepare for a New Approach and Commit to Action.
Identify: Often you have some knowledge about a habit you wish to change. You know because you are not satisfied with the way the habit makes you feel. For instance you may not feel right because you: constantly nag, arrive late for appointments, squander time at the water cooler, pick your nose - what ever it is, you don't like it or others have commented on its negative impact.
Give a name to the habit you wish to change. Naming helps clarify and identify with the habit. Use a name that generally describes the habit, for example: nagging, tardiness, squandering, nose-picking.
Once you have identified and named the habit, it's time to examine where it originated.
Self-Examine: Do some soul searching and ask yourself: "Where did the habit come from?" or "How did it come about in the first place?" Here you take ownership of the habit without blaming others. It's your habit, not someone else's. Honestly ask yourself again, "Am I satisfied with this habit?"
If your answer is "yes," you don't have to go any further as you have decided there is no need for change.
If your answer is "no," then ask yourself: would a new habit or approach work better for you than the existing one? Are there positive reasons for changing from the old habit to a new one?
Perhaps you are undecided and you feel it could go either way. In your mind's eye, it's "maybe yes" or "maybe no." Then go with "yes" as you have at least a 50% chance of succeeding, and besides you have nothing to lose.
Finally ask yourself, "What will happen if I continue applying the existing habit?" If you can't foresee any changes or benefits for taking on the "new" than stay put with your existing habit. You are not ready for change.
Once you have decided it's time for change then take the next step.
Prepare. Having named the old habit and examined its origin, it is now time to prepare a new approach. What would your new habit look like? Describe it detail. Visualize it. See yourself living with it. Will people relate to you differently? If your answer is in the affirmative then ask: "Can I make the change? Is it possible? Can I live with it?" Be clear about two things: Does the change make sense to you? and, Can you discipline yourself to make it happen?
Once you have gone through the thinking process then get to the feeling level. Will you feel better with this new habit? Will it make me and others happier? Will I feel more fulfilled? Name your new habit, then let the old one go and move on.
Commit. It's commitment time with a large dose of self-discipline. Yes, you will need to diligently work on the change process. It often takes at least three weeks to change a habit. For some of us, it takes longer. We may be a bit more stubborn or we are wired too tightly to the old habit. The good news is that there are instances where we can make the change almost instantly. An instant change occurs when we have a clear commitment and a strong will to act. This is like someone quitting smoking "cold turkey" - smoking is considered both an addiction and a habit. It isn’t easy to change a habit this way, but it does happen.
Sometimes it isn't easy going it alone. If you find you need some reinforcement then search for a support group or someone close to you who you trust - perhaps someone from your family, circle of friends, or co-workers - to encourage you while you are on the journey. Share with them what you are trying to change and ask them for support. Don't look for someone who will let you off easy. Find someone who will be there when you fall back, support you as you get back on track, and confront you when you become lazy.
Renergize your commitment with positive affirmations. When old habits are deep seated get to your inner spiritual core and call out for help and support - this means calling on a Power beyond yourself; some call this Power, God, and others a Source from which they draw spiritual strength and energy.
Finally, act consistently with your new habit and it will become part of you. People will begin to describe you differently; and, because your new habit is better than the old one you will act with renewed vigour and feel more satisfied.
If your irritable habits fall within the scope of "telephonites" consider one of Priority Workload Management programs. If you start making excuses about commiting your new habit to action read Dr. Wayne Dyer's book 'Excuses Begone."
Author: Richard Fontanie MSW, FCMC, up-date rom the Fontanie Learning Solutions Archieves
How do we find a sense of purpose and link it with our work?
Sometimes we're unhappy because we don't have a full appreciation of our own sense of purpose and how it connects with our work. When we learn to connect our work (what we do) with our purpose (why we do it) then passion, excitement and joy usually follow. That's when people say "I really enjoy what I do."
Successful businesses spend a great deal of time defining and branding their purpose. They do this because the brain trust of the company knows that a meaningful purpose and branding strategy is a uniting force both for employees and customers.
Successful people also clarify their own sense of purpose. I know a CEO who says his purpose is "to remove barriers, find opportunities and do this while respecting the dignity of others." According to an article in Fast Company: Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company says that her personal mission is "To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference." Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment says "I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement: to love God and love others." Oprah Winfrey's purpose is "to be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be."
Notice that the purpose statements are action and other oriented; and, they link our tangible reality with our intangible qualities. The focus on "others" tied to the intangible and often spiritual qualities are what make them meaningful. Notice also that the purpose statements are not the same. We all have unique gifts to offer others.
Many people spend hours searching for a work but haven't spent any time clarifying their purpose.
When employees don't connect a personal sense of purpose with work they are often unhappy, prone to complaining and disengaged. The ultimate outcome is apathy.
Unfortunately, I have witnessed a lot of apathetic individuals within organizations. There are many factors that lead to apathy, for instance, it may be a result of poor leadership and management. On the other hand it may not. It may be a result of employees not finding real meaning in their work, or not taking the time to sort out their own purpose and how it relates to their work. In this latter case apathy results from a disconnect between what matters to the person and what they're asked to do.
If an employee is disengaged and apathetic, managers are presented with an opportunity for some career coaching. Often managers respond to disengaged and apathetic employees by "Joe is not performing so let's get rid of him." There is another way of handling the situation. The manager can work with the individual to find a personal sense of purpose and then give him the opportunity to find a fit within the company (if there is one); or, help him come to his own conclusion that there isn't a fit, and he needs to find another workplace where he can better apply his skills and talents. My experience suggests that when individuals leave an organization where they received career coaching, they become ambassadors for that organization.
Sometimes people find passion within their work after they are involved in it for some time. Initially they may see their work just as a job then something clicks - they find a home, their inner yearning for their own purpose becomes known - they find their passion. Jim was like this, for years he idled along in his work. He wasn't fired up about what he did. Then one day as he was toiling away at delivering water, something clicked. He connected water delivery with a higher purpose. He connected water with health and linked his job with helping others live healthier lives. His work no longer was a drudgery. Sure, he didn't like delivering water on cold or stormy days, but he did it because he knew he was helping someone. He had a higher purpose. He also became engaged in finding more efficient ways to deliver water, his demeanour changed from one who scowled most of the time to one who smiled most of the time. He became the "go to guy" when other "delivery boys" required support or clarification. Jim found meaning for himself and in his work and became passionate about it.
You may be someone who isn't finding meaning in your work. If you are in this situation it's time to make some adjustments. Perhaps your work conflicts with your values, or the organization is in a process of change and is moving in a direction with which you are not comfortable. The question you need to ask is "do I want to be stuck in this situation for the rest of my life?" Does "what I do" connect with "why I do it?" If the answer is no, then it's time to act. It is better, and healthier, to find work that has meaning for you than to stay in a job that has little meaning or where you no longer find joy or satisfaction. This suggests taking a risk, leaving and landing back on your feet with purpose - you will be better for it.
How to write a personal purpose statement.
Find work where your personal purpose statement and values fit like a glove. For example I know a nurse who is passionate about caring for others with absolute respect and love. She applies her passion with every patient under her care.
I'm not trying to paint a picture of a Pollyanna type of existence. One where no personal or organizational obstacles are in the way. You will always be challenged, even when you commit to a meaningful and profound personal purpose. In fact you may be more challenged because you have purpose. Your sense of purpose, however, will reinforce your resolve, help you keep focus, and energize you to overcome those challenges. It is best to recognize that you will never be completely fulfilled because all of us are on the road of life that continues to unfold before us.
You may already by living your work life passion. If you are, be thankful. If not, what changes do you need to make?
"Whatever you decide to do, do it with passion and all of the energy that you have." Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors
From: Richard Fontanie MSW, FCMC, Up-dated from the archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions
Image from Freedigitalphotos.net
There are several simple ways in which we can improve our confidence and esteem at work and in other areas of our lives. The following six strategies are in addition to those found in a previous post. Are there any you can apply immediately? If so, practise it daily until it becomes a habit. Know that humble self-confidence and positive self-regard are critical to your over-all success.
Socialize with Positive People: One of the foundations of self-esteem is a sense of belonging which, in no small part, comes from our relationships with others. Toxic and negative relationships pull us down. The opposite is true as well, positive and affirmative relationships pull us up. I have witnessed many people who have improved their self-esteem and confidence when they turned away from negative and damaging relationships. People who approach life positively want to extend others a hand up, take it when it reaches out to you.
Smile: A smile does wonders, even when you don't feel like smiling. Try this exercise: Close your eyes. Think of something that angers or frustrates you. Then put a smile on your face. How does that make you feel about what angers you? It's hard to focus on the negative when you're smiling. Some people have suggested faking a smile. The saying goes "fake it until you make it." Faking a smile sometimes has a positive effect, but if you fake it make sure it isn't plastic as people will detect that your smile is indeed fake. A better course of action is to make your smile genuine. When you feel genuine on the inside your smile will be genuine on the outside. Your eyes will sparkle as well. In most instances others will respond in kind or at least go away with a good feeling about what they just saw and this in turn will enhance your own self-esteem and confidence.
Take Small Steps: Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of a project - it seems so big we have difficulty in wrapping our head around it, so we put it off. What to do? Break down the project into sizable bites. Don't put the project on your to do list as a project, e.g. Work on Project XYZ." It's much better to identify the specific activity you can achieve today that will bring you one step closer to completing the project, for example: "clarify the objectives of XYZ project," or "complete the specific task (name it) of XYZ project." That way at the end of the day you can check off one more task towards completion. This will give you confidence going forward.
Strengthen Skills: Sometimes our confidence is shaken when we find that we lack a skill or we don't have the knowledge to do a piece of work. This may seem like a no "brainer" but take the time to learn and don't let a mistake tear you down. A mistake is a just another learning opportunity. Learn by: practising a new skill outside the workplace; taking a course or workshop; or asking for help from your manager, colleague or friend. All great leaders and high achievers continually hone their skills. Hone yours and build confidence in the process.
Know Products and Services: Take the time to understand the products and services for which you are responsible. Our self-confidence may be weakened when someone asks "how does this work?' and our response is "I don't know." We are expected to know everything about the products and services we deliver, that is why we need to continually update ourselves about them. If we don't know how something works then ask someone who does and learn from it. Do some homework around the products or services and become a professional expert on the matter. The more we know about something the more confidently we can explain it to others.
Confront Fear: Fear is the big elephant in the room when it comes to a lack of self-confidence. Fear comes in many forms: fear of failure, fear of what people might say, fear of hurting someone, fear of dealing with anger, fear of making a sale, fear of ________ (you fill in the blank). The best way to deal with fear is to understand where it comes from and why it makes you fearful. The great thing about fear is that we can do something about it. Remove the elephant by first affirming that fear by itself won't harm you and then take small steps to overcome it. Gradually fear will disappear and be replaced with a greater sense of self confidence.
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." Marie Curie
Author: Richard P. Fontanie MSW, FCMC -- Up-dated from the archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions.
Image from Microsoft Clip Art