Just as life is constantly changing, the brain is constantly changing. It is through repetition that thinking patterns and consequently behaviour patterns, can be shifted, tweaked, changed or completely replaced with more positive empowering ones. Through repetition the brain rewires itself.
Science has proven the brain can rewire itself. This is fantastic news especially for anybody wishing to improve the quality of their life and engaging the support of a coach for this 'change' process. Making, and more importantly sustaining, any changes in thinking or in behaviour patterns, would be very difficult, if not impossible, without this scientific truth. Knowing this offers coaching clients not only motivation but also confidence to continue on the path to 'change', which sometimes can be a difficult one.
If an employee is missing targets, blowing deadlines, or handing in shoddy work, it can be tempting to push off any conversation about it and hope that things get better on their own. But you’re not just doing yourself and your company a disservice by staying quiet. An employee who’s falling short deserves to know it so that they have the opportunity to self-correct before things get too dire. And having to fire someone is even more uncomfortable than stepping in earlier.
Delivering the news effectively, though, is a delicate art. “It’s important to remember that this person has emotions and feelings attached to the information they’re receiving,” says industrial-organizational psychologist Amy Cooper Hakim, author of Working with Difficult People and founder of the Cooper Strategic Group.
As a rough guideline, just follow the golden rule: “Handle this conversation the way you’d want it to be handled if you were on the other side,” says Justin Dauer, author of Cultivating a Creative Culture and executive at the technology company bswift. “As long as the dialogue is less oration-based and more collaboration-based, there are a lot of positives that could come out of it.” Here’s how to pull it off.
People are inundated with information, and their brains have reached a saturation point. If you want to get someone's attention, you must be brief, according to Joe McCormack, who spoke at IdeaFestival 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.
There are three tendencies that keep most people from being brief:
There are no quick fixes for work-related stress, but taking a day to recharge can be powerful for our mental well-being.
At Thrive, for example, we offer Thrive Time: a half or whole day off to recover from a spurt of intense work, which doesn’t count toward vacation, sick time, or other paid time off. Thrive Time is meant to recharge us, so we can return re-energized and feeling creative and productive again. Whether your company offers a similar policy or more general paid time off, if we’re not mindful, a day off can slip by, and instead of feeling refreshed when we return to work, we feel regret for how we spent our time away.
To make the most of a day off, consider these three tips:
Last week, a client asked me, “How can I delegate more effectively?” It made sense that she wanted to dig deeper into this. Delegation is a superpower for leaders — it’s one of the most powerful ways to scale yourself and your impact. I strongly believe: great leaders delegate better than average leaders.
Part of this is causality, though. If you don’t delegate, you’re probably going to burn yourself out as an average leader and never finish the journey to becoming a great leader.
In some ways, delegation was always one of my strengths. But it was also something I leaned into too much once in a while. I was quick to pass on responsibilities and give others opportunities, but it was sometimes a scattershot approach. And it didn’t always come with the clear guidelines and support that makes delegation effective.
So, where is the balance? How can we unlock this deep well of efficiency and effectiveness? Like most leadership topics, it begins with the leader.
1. Address Your Own Control Issues
by Leah Njoki
Ever been asked to say a few things about yourself? Perhaps you said you’re a good communicator, attentive to details, or a team player. The point being, we all define ourselves in a certain way.
Here’s the paradox, though; It’s not what you say that is an accurate representation of who you are, but rather what you show yourself to be. That’s how people judge you. They respond to the image you project. As such, it’s critical to focus on what you do rather than what you say.
If you want to sell yourself to the world in an authentic way, focus on these four really small things because they say a lot about you. This way, you’re guaranteed to make a lasting impression and command respect from people.
1. How you keep time
By Nicole Loher at Her Agenda
Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash
Between the upcoming election, a second possible COVID-19 lockdown in the US, a shifting job market, and much more, there’s a lot to distract us from our goals.
In a recent survey, 61.1% of participants that worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic cited social media as the greatest source of distraction from work. On the other hand, 53.7% admitted that their smartphone has affected their productivity during the lockdown.
According to Daniel Goleman, author of Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellence, distractions come in two forms: sensory and emotional distractions. Sensory distractions are external, or the things happening around you, and emotional distractions are internal and often a symptom of mental distraction or your inner dialogue.
Try these five science-backed ways to help maintain focus:
By Susan Begeman Steiner
Diane was new to the job and was having a problem with a co-worker named Matt. The team that Diane was leading needed Matt’s expertise for their health-care project, but he didn't show up for team meetings. He would miss one team meeting after another, always for seemingly good reasons. Diane heard from others on the team that Matt was arrogant, anti-social and notoriously difficult to work with. Diane and her boss met with Matt and talked to him directly about the advantages of his participating on the team, but nothing changed.
By Davide Costella
Meetings, meetings and more meetings. Just as you finish one call, you are dialing into the next one. Need to go for toilet break? Forget it -- there’s another meeting. This meeting situation was already insane before the pandemic, and it it has only gotten worse now with so many people working from home.
There are dozens of articles about how to spend less time in meetings, how to reject meetings without looking bad, about 2/3 of our life being spent in meetings. All these articles trying to help us save ourselves. Yet many of us keep falling into the meeting trap. I have yet to find the magic formula for myself, however I do believe I am becoming more aware about how I am actually spending my time versus how I want to spend my time.
By Marina Khidekel, Head of Content Development at Thrive Global
Photo by EIELEI on Unsplash
A recent study found that people who laugh (or even smile) frequently are less stressed in the face of anxiety-inducing events, and even show fewer physical and emotional stress symptoms than those who laugh less often.
Researchers are finding that laughter can act as a buffer for feelings of stress and overwhelm — and in particularly challenging times, leaning into moments of levity, joy, and silliness can boost our mental health and help us deal with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.We asked our Thrive community to share one thing that’s making them laugh during this challenging time. Which of these is bringing a smile to your face right now?
By Karen Bridbord, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and Organizational Consultant
When I wrote about the inflection of workplace culture back in May, I was expecting the pandemic to be a distant memory by now. Remember when we all thought it was going to last three weeks? Yet today, six months into the most significant global health crisis of our lifetime, we find ourselves still grappling with uncertainty.
Instead of creating new rituals to uplift and ground us as we find ourselves, as I recommended in the beginning of the pandemic, we now must find a way to sustain ourselves. We’re collectively exhausted. This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to act accordingly. This includes adjusting our company values and how they’re operationalized in our organizational cultures.
By Justin Black, Head of People Science, Glint Platform at LinkedIn
For organizations around the world, the past several months have brought a wave of unknowns. How do we set up our workforce to be successful in a fully remote setting? How do we make sure they’re safe, supported, and informed as things rapidly change? When will we return to the office and what will the impact be on our employees?
The ambiguity is compounded by COVID-19’s novelty — no real playbook exists to help organizations respond and recover from a modern pandemic. CEOs and HR leaders have looked to health and safety officials, peers, and industry experts to help guide their plans.
By Tim Davis
Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash
March 11, 2020 is a day destined for the history books: “WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic.” It was that day that, all around the world, leaders began scrambling, ripping through the pages of their crisis playbooks (or quickly creating them), searching for their pandemic play-by-play. Shortly after came the day the markets crashed on March 16, turning the crisis to both a health and economic calamity.
Though etched in our minds with great infamy, it’s days like these that I believe make true leaders. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t be the leaders we remember if it weren’t for the fiery trials that forged their legacies. This is true not only for politicians and activists, but also for business leaders. As president of The UPS Store, a business deemed essential throughout the pandemic, I’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t) when leading through a crisis, and how leaders can turn even a global pandemic into an opportunity.
Deep Patel - ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK VIP, Serial Entrepreneur
Self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind (the side of you that says you need to eat healthily and save money) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the side of you that stress-eats chocolate and goes on online shopping binges). The latter is your anti-self -- that critical inner voice that seems to hold you back and sabotage your efforts.
Self-sabotage involves behaviors or thoughts that keep you away from what you desire most in life. It’s that internal sentiment gnawing at us, saying “you can’t do this.”
This is really your subconscious trying to protect you, prevent pain and deal with deep-seated fear. But the result of self-sabotage is that we hesitate instead of seizing new challenges. We forgo our dreams and goals. In the end, we know we missed out, but we don’t understand why.
So what can we do to stop the self-limiting behaviors? Here are eight steps you can start taking immediately to stop self-sabotaging your success.
An article by Tony Schwartz
The last several months have been, in many ways, the richest, most exciting and most creative period of my life. Still, as I prepare to take off most of the month of August, I’m feeling edgy, worn out and a bit overwhelmed.
I’m sputtering to the finish line, running near empty.
“How often should you vacation?” I was asked after a talk I gave this week. It dawned on me that I’d let my own balance tip. My to do list had runneth over. I have not taken off more than two full days in a row for six months.
The consequence is that I feel not just tired, but less able to think clearly and creatively, more at the mercy of my emotions.
By Marcel Schwantes
In 2016, the World Economic Forum released its fascinating Future of Jobs Report, where they asked chief human resources officers from global companies what they saw as the top 10 job skills required for workers to thrive by 2020.
One skill projected for success in 2020 that didn’t even crack the top 10 list in 2015 was — you guessed it — emotional intelligence.
According to many experts in the field, emotional intelligence has become an important predictor of job success for nearly two decades, even surpassing technical ability.
In one noteworthy CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals, it was found that “fifty-nine percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low [emotional intelligence].”
In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said they’re more likely to promote someone with high emotional intelligence over someone with high IQ.
Companies are placing a high value on workers with emotional intelligence for several reasons. In my own studies and observations over the years as a leadership coach, here are six that really stand out....
By Marc Chernoff
As the Dalai Lama once said, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.“
In other words, worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its possibilities.
How would your life be different if you stopped worrying and started truly doing what you are capable of doing? Let today be the day you free yourself from worthless worry, seize the possibilities and take effective action on things you can change.
Make a stand. Be proactive. Stop simply worrying about:
By Mallory Stratton, Associate Editor at Thrive Global
Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash
“I couldn’t have done this without you.” Those words, when they come out of a manager’s mouth, may be music to our eager-to-please ears. But a desire to be seen as indispensable at work can come with a downside: In our attempt to go the extra mile (or 10), we may be sacrificing our own well-being.
It turns out, conscientious, highly dedicated employees are at greater risk of emotional exhaustion and conflict between their work and family responsibilities, according to a 2016 study from King’s College London and the University of Bath in the U.K. And other research has found that our drive to impress our boss and colleagues at every turn, borne out of hustle culture, comes at the high cost of burnout.
So how can you make your mark and add tremendous value without compromising your sanity and well-being? These tips can help:
By Jen Fisher, Chief Well-being Officer at Deloitte
We do a really good job protecting our things: We lock our homes. We lock our cars. We put up gates to safeguard what matters to us. But while we are great at setting physical boundaries, we’re often much worse at setting boundaries that protect our physical and emotional health.
And yet these boundaries are crucial: They give you the time and space to take care of yourself. What’s more, upholding your boundaries sets the tone of what you allow and expect from others.
There are certain boundaries in my life that I am very good about keeping. I habitually protect time and space for exercise and sleep — it’s a core part of who I am and how I live my life. For me, these are non-negotiable. And if I let those boundaries down, I know that over a period of time I’ll feel exhausted and I won’t show up as the person I want to be.
Of course, there are other boundaries that I’m not good at preserving — determining and sticking to your boundaries is a work in progress for everyone. But these are some of the best ways I’ve found to get to know your boundaries, enforce them, and get others to respect them as well.
Find your line in the sand. Not sure what your boundary is? You’ll know it when someone unknowingly says something or makes an ask of you that raises an internal flag and makes you uncomfortable. It may make you think, “That’s not who I am,” or, “That doesn’t feel right.” That feeling is a big red flag — a boundary is being pushed. The next step is up to you: Will you allow it to be pushed?
Sometimes it’s good to push boundaries — like learning to swim after being afraid of the water for most of your life, for example. It may lead to adventure, or personal or professional success. On the other hand, if you find yourself regularly negotiating away your personal guardrails, take inventory and assess how it feels. If it’s stressing you out, or pushing you to compromise in ways that feel counter to who you are, stop.
Bend, but don’t break.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. When something pushes against your boundaries, consider how you can be flexible, but avoid compromising where it really counts. For example, if you usually exercise in the morning, but you work for a global organization and have early conference calls, consider another time you can carve out of your schedule without ditching your workouts altogether.
Even with my own non-negotiable boundaries, I’ve found easy ways to flex as needed. I prefer to go to bed between 9:30 and 10 p.m., but sometimes I choose to blow that up to hang out with friends. Of course, if we constantly allow ourselves to ignore the boundaries we’ve set, it’s a problem. And letting others’ priorities consistently take precedence over our own can also take a toll. It’s important to respect our own boundaries (as much as we can) so we set the same example for others.
Ask for what you need.
You’re entitled to set boundaries, but getting others to respect them starts with you. If you don’t talk honestly about your priorities, people won’t know what they are.
Be vocal about your boundaries in the early stages of any relationship. For example, if you know you need to leave work a little early on Tuesdays for an important appointment, clarify that need with your team at the start. Explain that it’s an important boundary in your life, and that you’d like their help in sticking to it. This is another spot where flexibility comes in: Maybe you can make yourself available early on Tuesday mornings to ensure that your team has access to you when they need it.
Not long ago, I was asked to speak at a very cool event. I really wanted to do it, but it was on a Friday morning during a week I was already traveling to three other cities. To get there on time, I’d need to land well after midnight the night before, then be on stage at 8:30 the next morning. So I was honest with the person who invited me. I said, “Can I make it work? Yes. But will I show up at my best? No. Can I help you find another speaker instead?” I was willing to do anything else I could to help, so that I didn’t overrun my boundaries and give the audience anything less than my best.
You can apply this idea to the workplace, too. If someone asks you to help on a project, or do something that pushes against your boundary, weigh the benefits. If the people or the project or the mission is important, then have a real conversation with the person. Maybe you can contribute in a different way, or at a different time, than what was asked — or just by opening up a conversation, you may be able to work with them to adjust the request so it’s doable for you.
Of course, if you’re working in an environment where you feel threatened or afraid to uphold your non-negotiable boundaries, think about whether this is the right workplace for you. If your boundaries are being frequently overrun, it will affect your mental and physical well-being.
Share your goals.
It’s important to talk about your boundaries and your well-being goals. Sharing those with others — in your personal and professional life — lets them know what matters to you as a person. And as a leader, being open and authentic creates a culture that gives others permission to do the same. It makes everyone feel that what matters to each of you matters to everyone else, even when your priority might be your kids, and another person’s might be their knitting group. With this mutual respect in place, people will show up to work and not feel resentment toward someone with different boundaries and priorities. Of course, some boundaries are private — and in that case, there is no pressure to share it so openly. But it’s good to remember that wanting to support someone else is human nature. If you know a person and like working with them and want them to be happy, you want to let them get home to marathon train, to have dinner with their kids, or to make it to book club. And then in turn, they support you. Speaking up about your boundaries and priorities empowers others on your team to set and stick with their own boundaries, better manage their well-being, and take control of their lives.
We wish you good health, emotional and mental strength during these difficult days.
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by Tony Schwartz, The Energy Project
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning, before you even brush your teeth? Is it checking the e-mail that’s flooded into your inbox overnight? Does the pull feel increasingly irresistible, even Pavlovian? Do you get so immersed in responding to other people’s agendas that 30 minutes can go by before you even look up?
Here’s a radical proposal: Don’t check your e-mail at all tomorrow morning. Turn it off entirely. Instead, devote a designated period of uninterrupted time to a task that really matters.
For more than a decade, the most significant ritual in my work life has been to take on the most important task of the day as my first activity, for 90 minutes, without interruption, followed by a renewal break. I do so because mornings are when I have the highest energy and the fewest distractions.
I’m doing it right now, but in all honesty, it’s gotten tougher in the last several years. My attention feels under siege, like yours probably does.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.“One of the things that I was told early on is that you should never let them see you sweat,” Ursula Burns once said in an interview. Burns, then-CEO of Xerox, was reflecting on leadership advice she had received over the years. She continued, “I remember hearing that and saying: ‘Oh, my God! I think that they have to see you sweat.’”
When I first read that interview, I was a few years into launching JotForm and was still figuring out my leadership style. I had figured that the best leaders were stoic types -- Teflon-strong with impenetrable poker faces. Burns’ words were kind of a revelation.
Could emotions be a strength rather than a weakness?
In times of stress -- and in the startup world -- those are far from uncommon. Should entrepreneurs share, rather than smother their feelings?
Jen Fisher - Chief Well-being Officer at Deloitte
Kindness, in my opinion, has become a lost art. It costs nothing and benefits everyone, yet we are all so busy that we forget how a simple, genuine smile or a hello can change the course of someone’s entire day.
Kindness is also contagious—and while it should be spread across all facets of life, I’m an advocate for sharing kindness at work just as much as in our personal lives. When kindness is shared in the workplace, it has incredible benefits. One study, published last year, found that employees who received kindness not only paid it forward, but were 278 percent more generous than their control group counterparts. That same study found that employees who received kindness were happier after two months; and those who gave out kindness became less depressed and more satisfied with their jobs, and their lives overall.
So to promote kindness at work, and also in honor of World Kindness Day (Nov 13), here are 9 ideas for how you can spread kindness among your work family: ...
We typically think of intelligence in terms of knowledge or cognitive reasoning ability, but there’s another kind of intelligence that’s just as important -- if not more so -- in a business environment.
Emotional intelligence refers to someone’s ability to read, feel and respond to emotions, within both himself (or herself) and others. And, yes, that may seem like a phenomenal quality to have when managing personal relationships, but you'd be surprised to learn how much emotional intelligence can affect your productivity, as well.
Tenets of emotional intelligence in the workplace
You've just read a basic definition of emotional intelligence, but let’s look at how it functions in the work environment. The way I see it, emotional intelligence manifests in three main dimensions:...
By Jessica Hicks, Assistant Editor at Thrive Global
If you had a dollar for every time you hear “new year, new you,” leading up to 2020, you’d probably be a millionaire by the time the clock strikes midnight. We all like to talk about starting fresh when January 1 rolls around, yet we often set ourselves up for disappointment by making resolutions that are products of wishful thinking, instead of focusing on realistic and achievable goals. The key to making goals that last is starting small, with Microsteps — and there are so many minor changes you can make in your daily life that will have a major impact down the line.
These eight science-backed strategies — implementing the very latest research — are simple enough to incorporate into your daily or weekly routines, and are sure to change the way you work and live in 2020.
Self-Help Book / Personal Development