Sunday, December 6th, 2009
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tess Marshall of The Bold Life.
According Deepak Chopra, a senior scientist for the Gallop poll:
29% of employed people in the U.S. are happy, passionate and take interest in their work. They are passionate and have a sense of belonging.
56% of employed people in U.S. are disengaged and sleep walking through their workday.
15% of employed people are actively disengaged, unhappy and make others unhappy as well.
If you aren’t in the top 29% of the people happy at work the following suggestions can help if implemented:
Expect positive outcomes. Establish a sense of reverence and appreciation for your company, co-workers and work. I worked in a prison as a psychologist for one year. Anyone whose crime was related to alcohol/drugs attended my group therapy sessions. Without respect for the prisoners, guards and probation officers I wouldn’t have been effective. They were the most important people in my world when I was with them. I had their respect because I respected them. When you give what you want to gain, you can’t lose.
Take time to sit in silence. It will create calmness when you are in the hot seat! I learned to do this as a therapist. I would get quiet and ask for guidance 10 minutes prior to seeing a client. I do the same for coaching, speaking and writing. I also meditate with my husband every morning. When we miss a day or two we are more impatient and less loving. It has been proven that meditation is the most effective activity one can do for personal and spiritual growth. My friend believes meditating twice a day for twenty minutes will eventually cure any addiction.
Develop bounce-back muscles
Learn to be resilient. You may have experienced the loss of a position or income due to the economy. Or you may be expected to do more with less. When things happen that aren’t in your control you have an opportunity to reevaluate the situation, take necessary action steps and move on. Think back to all of the previous times you’ve not only bounced back but bounced ahead. You have solved all your problems in the past and you will continue to do so in the future!
When you are tempted to sit on the pity pot repeat to yourself: “No big deal, I can let that go. I don’t have to make this mean so much.” Most things aren’t as serious as we make them out to be. From this you will gain strength.
Learn to laugh, smile and create fun for yourself and others. I was often referred to as a “spark plug” because of my happy laughter. Happy people create fun and laughter where ever they go. At one work place, my friends all wore black on my final day. They surprised me with a black outfit as well. They literally laughed me out the door with memories for a lifetime!
A fun attitude carries us through difficult times. Release your concerns about tomorrow and live for today. Face the world boldly. Live. Laugh. Be happy for no reason. The health of a workplace can be determined by the amount of laughter.
Devote yourself to the work you’ve been given and let go of the outcome
Every coach wants their clients to achieve their dreams. Yet we are only one variable in the outcome. They client has to do the work and one’s attitude and timing have to be right. The correct opportunities need to fall into place. My happiness cannot depend on their outcome. I don’t have that much power. It’s narcissistic and egotistical to think I do.
It’s important to consciously acknowledge all of the wonder and beauty pertaining to our employment. For example, I’ve learned to become grateful for coffee, office space, the heat or air conditioning, my computer, ink and sticky notes. Also worthy of appreciation are gifts of insight, intuition, creativity and productivity. I also include my love and compassion for my clients who have chosen to work with me when there are millions of others just as capable. If you aren’t self-employed I would encourage you to express gratitude for your employer and your co-workers. Feeling blessed and expressing gratitude draws more blessings to all.
Give up judgment
Go twice the mile and forgive seventy times seven. I used to share a building with 10 therapists. Two of the men and I had completely different styles. I often felt disrespected by both. I would do everything I could to remain centered through out the day. I learned I could accept them without agreeing with them. I would keep a journal and ask the question, “What are they here to teach me?” My focus then becomes my focus. It’s never about the other person. Remember nothing can disturb you unless you allow it.
Stress doesn’t come from what is happening at work. It comes from how we interpret what’s happening. Stress causes weight gain, addiction, anxiety etc. Be engaged. Live in the present, savor the moment and remain in the flow. When you’re stressed ask yourself, “How can I see this differently?”
Another tool for stress reduction is to prioritize daily. Do the three most important things on your list and let the rest go.
I also hang up positive reminders like photos, cards and other mementos on the wall above my desk. 15 years ago I framed a photo of our newly purchased cottage and hung it where I could see it. On my difficult days I would look at it and remind myself how blessed I was to have a job that helped us to purchase it. Today my photos are of my grandchildren enjoying summer vacations at that same cottage.
Even when it is complicated and difficult. The first sentence in the book by Scott Peck, “The road less traveled is: “Life is difficult.” Tragedy and loss happen to everyone.
Christopher Reeve is my personal example of a hero. In spite of losing his most basic freedom–the freedom to move–he continued to juggle his acting and directing careers, his political activism, his foundation and his role as a husband and father. He did this while undergoing intense physical therapy to maintain his health.
He had a vision. He had an “in spite of” attitude. He rose above his paralysis, doubt and fear. The question for me becomes, “Am I willing to do what it takes?”
When life becomes difficult, focus on your blessings and your strengths. Envision only the best for yourself and your place of employment. See the best possible outcome for your work or project. Create excitement about your future. There are infinite opportunities all around you. Ask yourself, “How can you take possession of them?”
You can read more from Tess Marshal over at The Bold Life. Warning! Her blog will challenge you to be more, give more, live fearlessly, take more chances and show up in the world unstoppable, daring and bold.
* Are you on Twitter? Then check me out at @workhappynow. I give stress relief tips, happiness ideas, and cool quotes that save the day.
* Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project has a cool interview “Running, Blogging, Taking Risks — and Watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada.‘” Anyone that talks about the importance of loving what you do gets an A+ in my book.
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