The more connections you form with people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, ages, races, education, religion, or spiritualty, the more difficult it becomes to judge others or categorize them in some generic box. If you find yourself using the words “they” or “them” when referring to a person who you feel is “different” from you or what you believe, it becomes much easier to discount their uniqueness as individuals, creates separation and stops you from recognizing two things – each of us has the same underlying values – we want to be loved, valued and treated with kindness and dignity. Each of us also has unique gifts to share, if given the opportunity.
Next time you are at work, at home or at the grocery store, and you catch yourself making assumptions about someone, try focusing on finding out what is special about them, what their challenges are, what they love to do, what they dream about. In other words, be open. If you are, I guarantee they will give you the same gift in return. The more connections you make this way, the more everyone will thrive. What you focus on grows stronger in your life. Let’s make that focus something to the benefit of all.
As Scotty always said in the original Star Trek series……., “We’ve got to have more TIME, Captain!”
With over 30 years of working in a bureaucratic organization, being one of the “busy people”, I am not convinced that it is time that we lack. It is our perception of work as “everything is important” and the habits we have formed from our bosses, co-workers, etc., that reward you if you say “I’m so busy” and make you feel your aren’t busy enough if you don’t have “too much on your plate”. We have developed a love hate relationship with these concepts. If you do have a chunk of time to breathe……..a panic feeling sets in because you aren’t being “busy”. Busy and productive are horses of completely different colors.
The “busy” brain is less efficient when you don’t take breaks – it slows down to a crawl. Have you ever noticed when you have taken a couple of hours, to give yourself a break, that you have all this extra energy to focus on it again? So what is better………slogging through the day, feeling stressed about getting the all-important project done, or taking your time, giving yourself a chance to think about ways you can do some of the things you like about your job, re-energize your mind and body, in order to take a shorter time to really focus on and finish your project.
Deadlines, putting out fires, loads of paperwork, emails you HAVE to answer, or the world may fall apart (rarely does this happen). Leaders have been brainwashed that it is not cool unless you are totally overwhelmed all time.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself, have you ever been in a situation at work where someone asked you how it was going and, even though you weren’t super busy, you felt that you needed to say that you were? This is the culture of busy. This habit that has been programmed in our minds. I have often felt the pressure to say I’m too busy when others spout it off at me when I see them. Even if I am not. They usually say it with a chagrined smile on their face at this perceived “badge of busyness” honor.
This culture and habit of busyness has been programmed into our heads over time, repeating the message to us that we aren’t “worthy” unless we are too busy. We attach our self-esteem to this concept.
How about the feeling we get when we are frantically working against a deadline, heart beating rapidly in a mild (or not so mild )panic Ever notice sometimes when suddenly you have finished the project and all of a Sudden – flash! The stress is completely gone! Why do you feel so much better when 2 minutes ago you were frantic? What changed? You did! The pressure that you habitually put on yourself is no longer there. You are doing it to yourself! How do we reprogram these habits?
Set a timer to take frequent breaks, walk around and talk to co-workers, do something to help them. This generates a good feeling for you to take back with you to your desk or project. This one is simple and can really help. Write down the things that are freaking you out about your project or dealine, then turn it completely around to the positive – “I have plenty of time to get this done”, “I have all the skills I need to complete this”, “my boss is going to love the results when I am finished”, “I am going to use my amazing creative mind to add zing to my project.” Repeat this many times until you believe it. Don’t just say it………..FEEL the emotions behind what you are saying or thinking. This is what successfully changes your programming.
Another way to save time is to take your time back by communicate regularly with staff. So many leaders say they don’t have time to talk to their employees or time to be proactive, when, in many cases, they have never tried, or tried once and it didn’t go well. How many times do you do something well the first time? It takes practice! Here is the reward. You take the time to communicate with employees and some important issues come up that you can resolve quickly, catching the smoke before it becomes a raging inferno. Being in the communication loop with your people saves time in many cases, resulting in the opportunity to resolve problems before they blow up and cause MORE time to handle. Does this idea make you uncomfortable? Good! This means it a chance for you to grow and evolve into a better leader and manager and make life easier in the process.
Another time saver many leaders overlook. Do what you can to keep the talent that your hire. I have seen the repeated pattern – employees get hired, they never get talked to as human beings by their supervisors, they feel ignored, get disgruntled, and leave. It takes up incredible amounts of time hiring, training, evaluating new staff every 1-2 years. It makes no sense, yet I have seen it over and over. You know what else is happening? These employees are giving the bear minimum to their jobs because they don’t feel what they are doing matters – so THEY stop caring and do just enough to get by. Engaged staff feel valued. They feel they are making a positive contribution. Productivity goes way up. Increased productivity saves time.
It’s not that there isn’t enough time, it’s that there isn’t the right focus on what is most important. Leaders can reprogram their brains to start taking a proactive and supportive approach. Write a list of what you think your priorities are and ask yourself “which is more important” until you get to your top 5. Neuroscience proves the brain cannot focus on more than 5-7 things at one time. Share this top 5 with your staff. Figure out how to engage your staff to help with your list. Connect their work with your priorities. Get your bosses to do the same.
It requires a definite frame of reference shift. It is not difficult. It is changing your old habits and making new ones to help you save time and be productive through helping you and your employees thrive. Even in hard times. It builds resilience.
“We may not be able to “change the laws of physics”, as Scotty says, but we can change our focus and habits to become less reactive and intentionally take time back for ourselves, our employees and our organization.
For more tips on saving time and thriving in your job contact me at
Let’s break these two words down – “heart” and “leadership”.
First, the heart.
It has been scientifically proven that the heart has neurons just like the brain does. It also has a direct line of communication to the brain and sends more messages to the brain then it received from it.
The heart also emits a powerful electromagnetic signal. The most powerful signal of all the organs of the body.
The heart is the seat of intuition and emotional responses and when focused on positively, can relieve stress, help with decision making, promote bonding and community.
“Leadership” is defined in Wikipedia as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”.
Leadership’s “social influence” can also be positive or negative and many people lead from thinking (ie. the brain). Negative leadership looks like “my way or the highway” or “do what I say, not what I do”, or “don’t question my authority”. This type of leadership rarely makes others (employees, followers), want to support them. If others feel forced or coerced in supporting this type of leader, it can result in poor communication, distrust, fear and anxiety. There is no buy in from those who are being led, energy and creativity is stifled. People often feel drained or resentful after completion of a project or task.
Heart Centered Leadership is the best of both worlds, using the positive intuitive intelligence from the heart, balanced with logic thinking from the brain. Individuals who lead from this balanced approach are more naturally supportive and compassionate. People gravitate to this type of inspiring and authentic leadership and they want to help. Creativity is unleashed, communication is open, and individuals are energized upon completion of a project or task. The product is superior, done more quickly, and those involved being led are enthusiastic and energized upon completion of the task or project.
Heart Centered Leadership does not mean being a door matt. It does not mean you are weak. It takes strength and commitment. It means treating one’s self with care and compassion, and through that, become open to do the same for others.
Heart Centered Leadership is an inside job, and a continuously rewarding one as well.
There are lots of studies, books, and white papers on improving employee engagement. It’s quite simple, even though everyone wants to make it seem more complicated. It does take work and it’s totally worth the effort. Just ask successful businesses and organizations.
It boils down to this. As a manager, supervisor or leader, ensure that your employees feel connected to the following 3 things:
1. VALUE OF SELF
Helping an employee value themselves comes first. Many times, people don’t value themselves because of limiting fears – fears that they aren’t smart enough, good enough, social enough, etc., especially in a new job where there is a learning curve, or when they have disconnected after doing the same routine for many years. Employees who are helped to discover their own unique gifts based on their learning and life experiences, become inspired, empowered and resilient. If the employee is a leader or supervisor and they don’t value themselves, they won’t be in a place to help their employees feel valued. They will operate out of fear and unhealthy competition, resulting in poor communication, information hording, a “me above you” mindset such as taking credit for an employee’s work and being tuned out to your employee’s needs. This devalues them. Competition over cooperation never wins.
2. FEELING VALUED BY OTHERS
Employees want to feel they are making a significant contribution to the workplace and feel a sense of belonging there. They need encouragement, acknowledgement of their efforts, and the services they provide. They need to be supported and grow through continuous learning. They need compassionate assistance when they are struggling, and to feel safe to communicate their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. They should be encouraged and rewarded for collaborating and finding creative solutions.
Connecting employees to a higher purpose than just “doing the job” will increase their work efforts and enthusiasm exponentially. What are the Values of your business or organization? Why are they important? Identify how each employee’s work supports this higher Purpose. Mission statements need to be REAL, with values that are supported and affirmed by all from the head AND heart. Involve your employees in coming up with their own values and then your organizations values. Recognize them for their contributions towards this higher purpose. If you don’t have Big “V” values, you need them to energize your workforce.
Want to engage your staff, reduce turnover, or become re-inspired with your work? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 30 minute session to see how I can help. You and your team are worth it!
Since I have been spending a lot of time in my home due to COVID19, I have noticed how a home is a really a living system, not unlike our bodies. It takes constant energy to keep it alive, currents of electricity and water run throughout, like blood flowing through the human body. It requires care and nurturing – painting walls, roofs that need replaced, like the envelope of the human body, the skin, which replaces itself regularly. I’ll hold off on drawing any parallels with the septic system.
A home has a symbiotic relationship with the people that live inside, kind of like our cells and organs. When it is taken care of, it seems bright, alive and full of life. You know the feeling you get when you see an abandoned building, sitting in a field, neglected. Doesn’t it feel lonely? Something really sad about that. When a home is abandoned, it’s not long before it starts to degrade and fall apart.
We as humans are no different. We must nurture ourselves, be kind and forgiving of our own foibles, gift ourselves with invigorating movement & exercise, fuel our minds and body’s with enriching foods harvested directly from the soil, listen to our hearts and take action from that place where purpose resides. Then, be as kind to others as we are to ourselves.
Once we get our own house in orders it’s amazing to see who will want to come and visit.
From the time we were very young, through our experiences as children, then teens, and adults, whenever a situation generated particularly strong feelings (good or bad) within us, these feelings became embedded in our brains and, when any similar situation arises, continue to evoke in us the same, reactive, automatic response. These negative emotions become knee jerk reactions, and replace thoughtful responses, resulting in poor communication with others, self-limiting beliefs and behaviors.
The key to overcoming these reactions is simple – practice being the observer of your thoughts and the emotions they generate. Use your mind to become aware of what you are feeling, become curious about what is popping up. Practice waiting 5 seconds before any response to yourself or others. Search for the reason why your are feeling this emotion. These emotions are actual gifts to you to clear away unhelpful reactions from past events in your life. Allow yourself to really feel the emotion as strongly as possible – when you focus on an emotion, it’s power over you immediately starts to dissipate. Your mind is taking control back. Remind yourself that what you are feeling is a reaction to something that is no longer happening. If your emotion is a result of something someone else said or did, or something you said or did, ask yourself the following questions – is this happening right now to me or am I recreating the event and reaction to it in my mind? Even if this instance happened 5 minutes ago, you, will find that you continue to react to it. If your boss snaps at you first thing in the morning and you find yourself going over and over it and getting upset all over again…………..realize that you are the one creating and perpetuating this negative response. Not to mention the fact that other people’s reactions do not have to dictate what yours will be, and are based on their past experiences.
Take time to breath deeply into your stomach (when you are stressed or angry, your breathing tends to get shallow and rapid and you aren’t bringing as much oxygen to your brain).
Recognize your emotions are a set of chemical reactions taking place in the brain from prior programming of past events. This will give you your power back and the ability to healthily manage your emotions. This is an invaluable habit to develop for more success, health and happiness in your life and work.
Take a moment to look inward, and ask yourself………….are you satisfied with your life? Do you feel pretty content, and also feel something is missing and you’re not sure what it is? You have the job, support your family have “checked the boxes” with all the “have to do things” on your to do lists. You have done what you believe is expected of you in your life and yet, a tiny (or not so tiny) voice in your head keeps telling you their should just be something more. If this is you, then the answer is simple – you are right. There is something more for you. The way to discover this is to start listening to the little voice that is sending you an important message – Discover Your True Gifts, Align your life with them, and SHINE! Everything is first created in your mind as a thought or idea, before it becomes a reality. Make the choice. Discover what you are most passionate about and connect with your true self and uniqueness. I promise it will be a life altering experience that will put the sparkle back into your life and free that “little voice” to celebrate what you become.