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Working in the now is having the ability to see a look as just a look without putting some big emotional story behind it. We tend to want to create emotional attachment to experiences. What we need to do is pay attention to the way a look or comment makes us feel and adjust our emotional reaction.
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Over the summer I was listening to a book on CD about Frank Sinatra during my daily commute. He used to stand outside nightclubs begging the owners for a chance to sing for free, pushing his talents on to anyone willing to listen to his story. This was a recurrent theme throughout his early career. He would get a break then blow it because he let his temper get the best of him. He was forced to recreate himself until he discovered his emotional stability. Yes, he always had a temper, but he used that anger to spur his actions. His actions as one of the greatest singers of his era and his fearlessness when fighting for racial equality speak volumes of his ability to harness his emotions.
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Everything that you enjoy stems from your Emotional Quotient (EQ). When you can develop emotional stability, the creative side of your brain and good decision making habits flourish. It gives you a better chance at success. If you keep falling back on the same responses that you used last year or last month you are losing out on opportunities to make your career more enjoyable.
Improve Your EQ
Many of us look toward our working lives as a way to receive more than we give. When we don’t feel like we are being properly rewarded we take longer breaks or sneak some office supplies home.
We are doing ourselves more harm than good. Yes, we may be receiving more things for our time, but it’s not supporting our need for the two most important things that we all need at work.
Appreciation and Productivity
There was a study conducted between two groups of people and how they valued their job. One group was given tasks to do with no pay at all. The second group was given no tasks and they were paid for their time. At the end of the study the first group was more satisfied with their experience because they were accomplishing instead of just waiting around for something to happen.
Appreciation works the same way. There is a reason charity organizations can pay their employees less money. People are more satisfied with the work that they do for a charity than for a corporation whose mission statement is “Make as much money as we can.”
Give Way More Than You Get
The best way to improve your EQ is to learn to give more than you get.
Give more appreciation than you get
Give more laughter than you get
Give more love than you get
When you give more than you get you are creating positive Karma. All societies are based on helping each other, even in a free market economy. So by giving more you’ll be receiving more emotionally and physically from people who want to return the favor.
When you are productive and you show appreciation for the people in your working life, eventually you’ll be rewarded because you are building a strong network that will help you find a new job, make an extra sale, or go that extra mile when you need help.
Articles Related to Emotional Intelligence:
- Emotional Intelligence Improves the Workplace
- Positive Belief
- How You Are Silently Signaling Your Co-workers to Treat You
Image courtesy of Tico Bassie
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Before your work day starts rolling, take a look around you and see if you notice a pattern. Do people have expressions that might convey that they just survived a bug bomb wake-up call? I know many of my past and present co-workers often have this look.
Do you feel like you might fall into the bug-bomb-facial category? Then try a little experiment for the next thirty days and see how it makes you feel.
Cajole Yourself Into a Good Mood
Don’t fall into your normal routine! That’s an order. You need to shake up your day right from the get go. If you like to take a shower in the morning and it brings you happiness, then by all means do it. However, if you turn on the news to wake up and there are nothing but depressing stories then it’s time to change the habits that have become routine but don’t bring you any joy.
I like to stand on one foot while I brush my teeth because it helps me focus my thoughts then I get in the shower. About ten years ago I thought that I would save time by taking a shower at night. It wrecked my whole next day. I felt dirty and could never get my energy going. So there’s no need to change the things that bring you joy because you may regret it. Instead, you should focus on those activities that bring you happiness and find a substitute for the ones that don’t.
Here’s an example of some of my favorite “good mood” activities. After my shower I prepare cereal for my wife and myself. It usually has fresh strawberries and bananas on top. It makes me happy just thinking about its glorious tastes. Then we exercise and get the blood pumping to wake ourselves up. I then take 20 minutes to do some Yoga. It relaxes me and allows me to continue the good mood cajoling. After 20 minutes of Yoga I have a hop in my step and then it’s off to work.
I get in my car and put on my cell phone headset and call the people that I love. It’s usually my mother, father, brother, cousin or a good friend. We catch up and make each other laugh. I sometimes fall into the trap of getting caught up in my worries. When this happens I take a deep breath and focus on all the splendor that I’m passing by – the trees, an old lady waiting to cross the street and the driver with a long red beard next to me at the red light.
Find Your Sweet Spot
We all have that sweet spot that can help our day start off on a happy foot. Sometimes it takes a little cajoling, but believe me, when you practice cajoling yourself into a good mood you’ll make your day so much more enjoyable.
What do you do to put yourself in a good mood before you start your day?
Other “Emotional Tools” Related Articles:
- Use Failure as Your Slingshot
- Create the Work Atmosphere You Want
- Renew Your Thoughts to Improve Your Work Outlook
Image courtesy of Bukutgirl
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It’s hard to break these habits. We can’t walk around with a friend who is willing to hold a giant mirror so we can see how we look in every situation.
What can I do? I want my co-workers to like me and treat me with respect.
I used two easy tricks that worked well for me. I was not a naturally outgoing person who wanted to enter the room with a bang. You may be shy too, but you can learn to adjust your body signals so people like and respect you. You’ll be giving me silent thanks when your co-workers start smiling when you walk in the room.
If you want everyone to like you then…
1. Treat Everyone Like Family
The best way to be liked is to like others. I know that we’ve all heard this, but it’s true. When you walk into the room think of them as family and know that they love you even if they don’t show it.
When I stopped worrying about what people at work thought of me, I just treated everyone like they were a brother or sister. If they did something stupid I laughed. If I did something stupid I laughed at myself. Family is meant to share in misery and victory. So allow these people into your life. You don’t need to tell them about your latest ailment and what the doctor is doing for you, but share your feelings with them. How to Get Your Boss Naked explains how to open up the emotional barrier that will bring you closer. This works for co-workers too.
Make sure you start slowly when you become friendlier to your co-workers. The best way is not to start right off talking about yourself, but listening to them. People want to be around great listeners because they can do all the talking. You’ve noticed how most people just want to tell you about their lives. Let them do it, and the next time you see them ask how their son, daughter or whatever they talked about was doing. You’ve just made a friend for life.
Getting people to like you is not that hard. Make sure that they know you like them first. People don’t want to put themselves out there and get burned, but now you know better. The only way to make friends is to give 60% and only expect 40% back. This works in any relationship whether it be personal or business related.
By treating everyone as family, your body signals should change. When you love someone you are more confident and willing to approach them. You aren’t afraid of what they think because you have the family connection.
2. Retrain How They View You
I’m a man of average height: 5’ 10” with shoes on. I have soft brown eyes and a pleasant demeanor. This doesn’t command respect in most organizations, so I have to work for it.
You can retrain how a person views your body signals by showing them how you want to be treated. This is hard for the shy person because it means you have to be assertive. It’s very simple. If you walk into a room and someone tries to intimidate you with a loud voice, you do your best to mirror their response. Easy to write, but hard to implement.
You can practice this by actually having a work shop at home with friends and family. A workshop at home? Are you crazy? Well, if you want to put it that way then yes. I want you to practice with people that you trust. Try to explain what is happening at work and roleplay with them until you have it down. Then when you go into work try relaxing and just having fun with the person as you respond back. See above Treat Everyone Like Family to take on this mindset.
The world often will laugh with you if you are laughing. Most people want you to reciprocate the greeting that they’ve given you. If they are excited to see you then let them know you appreciate it with an excited greeting back. This will gain you respect because it shows that you aren’t afraid of that person. We are still animals and people can sense fear by the way you position your body. So by mimicking their reaction you are telling them that you belong on their level.
I had trouble with bullying at work a few years ago. The group picking on me wouldn’t have called it bullying, but it was and it bothered me. They made fun of me, in a little brother way. Laughing at my clothes or a comment I made. I would get upset and just wait for them to get tired and stop teasing me. One time I blew up and let them know that they were going too far. They stopped for a little while, but eventually their old habits came back, so I tried a new tactic. I began to laugh with them, joining in on making fun of me. I never put myself down, but was always willing to laugh at myself. They understood this type of behavior and began treating me as a friend. You can’t take things too personally at work, otherwise your thin skin will bleed, not literally but figuratively. You’ll slowly get angrier and work will only get worse.
Please don’t try to change your personality. You need to be you, but following the social rules at your work will help you get the respect that you need.
Love and Respect at Work
You deserve to have a great working environment and I will write about design, managers, and great companies, but one of the greatest skills you can learn is to enhance your emotional intelligence. People with a high EQ are the ones that make friends and enjoy their job.
Improving your EQ is easy when you take baby steps. Most people don’t come out of college with a high EQ, it’s something they slowly develop through the years. Next time you feel like you aren’t getting the love and respect that you deserve, try to give them the love that they need or use the mirroring technique. Your EQ will jump a few points, making working life just a little more enjoyable.
One tip that I want to share with you before you click away I try to always teach my clients is to have trust in their superpowers. That means doing work that excites you, gets you in the zone and comes easy to you. If you aren’t doing work that plays to your superpowers then people won’t come to you for help. When they aren’t coming to you for help they don’t think they can trust you. Building people’s trust by being amazing at what you do makes it a lot easier to earn respect.
What is your greatest emotional strength? Mine would probably be the ability to see situations from multiple angles. Responding to this question is not about being conceded; it’s about understanding who you are at work and how to maximize your potential. So let us know what makes you good at what you do.
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I’ve attended meetings where I’ve embarrassed myself. There was one meeting in particular that sticks with me to this day. I was fresh out of college and working at my first full-time job. My attention wasn’t on topic when we were talking about marketing a new valve. I tried to insert an idea into the conversation and suggested we advertise on a certain site. Everyone glared at me as if I had just grown a second nose. My boss told me that I had better pay attention because that was just mentioned. I looked down at my notes and internally yelled at myself for being stupid.
My theory at the time was – the angrier I was at myself the less likely it was that I would make that same mistake. This technique wrecked my confidence. It took me over a month to recover from that incident. I couldn’t shake off the dread of opening my mouth in a meeting. I was terrified to make another mistake.
Kindness – The Greatest Tool for Mistakes
Since that first job I’ve learned to value being kind to myself when I make a mistake and have a lapse in judgment. I am now able to forgive my mistakes, which allows me to deal with the present. It’s a simple tool to add to your life, but one of the most difficult to implement. The best way to encourage kindness is to use your mistakes as an opportunity to improve. When you have enough awareness to acknowledge your mistake, you’ve accomplished the hardest part. All you have to do is find a few things that could make your mistake helpful.
If you recognize that you have a short attention span during meetings then try to stay active by taking notes, sipping on a drink or asking questions. If you mess up a report because you didn’t double check your work then don’t get mad at yourself; use this mistake to make the next report better. Being kind to yourself allows you to keep moving forward.
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
- Conrad Hilton
There may be moments or days of weakness, but you should always come back to learning from your mistakes. At the end of each day, try forgiving yourself for any mistakes. Whether it be a silly comment or a major blunder, you’ll notice that when you cultivate kindness for your mistakes you can use them as support for a better life.
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Working happy is not a mystery. You know that when you are using your superpowers at work, you work happier. The tricky part of working happy is enjoying all aspects of a job – from the mundane to the exciting. Every job has its pitfalls. You may love interacting with the people at work, but struggle with the customers or vice versa. Whatever your job entails, it’s up to you to extract as much joy from it as possible.
We think that we will work happier if we have more money or an understanding boss. They will help, but they aren’t the most important things that make us feel happier at work. In this article I will discuss the five most important techniques that you need to maximize your work happiness.
To begin I must preface that we all have the ability to increase our enjoyment of work with a little dedication and change of perspective. These ideas are meant to be used on a daily basis. The more you actively use them, the more your work enjoyment will increase. Let’s begin with the most important one…
#1 Working in the Moment
Whether you are an administrative assistant or the CEO, the only joy that you can extract from work is in the present moment. The past can be appreciated, but only in the present moment and the future is just guess work. Yes, a well thought out plan can bring us joy, but it is only in the present moment that this joy can be experienced. Most of us don’t appreciate the present working moment because we’re too caught up in what we want the project to be or we’re complaining about something that happened yesterday.
There is a Chinese proverb that goes like this…
A meditation master of the highest rank was sitting at his patio table sipping tea and reading the paper. A disciple noticed his teacher and interrupted his morning routine.
“Excuse me. I’m sorry to bother you, but since I’ve been here you always tell me to focus on what I am doing and nothing else. You said when walking, walk; when eating, eat.”
The master knew what the student implied and replied, “Yes I did and I was right. When drinking tea, drink the tea. When reading the paper, read the paper. When drinking tea and reading the paper, drink the tea and read the paper.”
We can type an email and enjoy the process. We can also enjoy combinations of things, such as the sound of the phone ringing as we finish a sentence within the email. The key to working in the moment is to relax while you are accomplishing your tasks. There is no need to rush because rushing usually causes mistakes. It’s up to you to figure out what your most pressing need is and how it should be addressed. Is the phone call more important than the email? If the email is more important then finish and call the person back after you are done. Rushing to get that sentence out so you can answer the phone will most likely crude up the sentence and cause you to answer the phone in a frenetic state. When you understand your choices, you can pick which task is most important and do it completely. When the meditation master took a sip of tea he focused on that sip then went back to reading. If you can’t shut your door and ignore all disturbances, then you can be in that moment when answering the phone, then you can focus back on the email.
You can try to eliminate all distractions like the phone, email and your boss (for you bosses that’s the client or customer), but I don’t think this will help your working enjoyment. When you’re interrupted by a phone call that you must answer, try using the distraction as a way to go deeper and enjoy the work. Answer the phone and totally be there in the conversation then allow that distraction to boomerang you back into a deeper focus to help you finish your project.
#2 Take Nothing Personally
This is a great life lesson and not just for work. It’s vital to doing a good job and staying motivated. When a person takes someone’s words, personally then the emotional swings are grand and tough to control.
We sometimes take comments or actions personally because we fail to see the big picture. The work environment is a whole system of complex and emotional experiences. We can allow every little thing to bother us or we can choose to view the experience from a myriad of angles.
If someone calls you stupid, do you feel stupid? We all have insecurities and when someone denigrates our intellect we fall for it almost every time. We take a look at ourselves and recall something stupid that we said or did and it reinforces that person’s comments.
We all have stupid moments throughout the week or even a day, but if we step back and look at the whole picture we can see some really smart choices too. We know that we aren’t stupid. We are all smart, weird, funny and awkward at some time or another. I still say weird things that just pop out of my mouth. I’m trying to be funny, but it comes across as awkward. I know that my words make up a small part of my character, so if I say something stupid, it doesn’t wreck my day.
I’ve survived many attacks, wise cracks, and down right dirty comments by seeing the person’s remarks as a take on how they view themselves.
Whatever comment hits that soft spot, you can let it eat away at your thoughts or you can take a different angle and feel compassion for that person. If they feel that an attack on you will make them feel better about themselves then it’s not you that has the problem. It’s them.
You have the ability to turn any personal remark into a moment that might initially hurt, but that gives you an understanding of the person who says such mean things. When we let other people bring us down we allow them to dictate how we feel. Use those comments as a way to make yourself emotionally stronger. Sometimes co-workers never get out of the high school mentality and it’s up to you to rise above it by getting a little perspective that keeps you working happy.
#3 Emotional Intelligence Encourages Happiness
In the previous example “Take Nothing Personally” you can use your emotional intelligence (EQ) to become a stronger person who is capable of learning from a situation instead of letting it drag you down. There will always be events that will frustrate, anger, and sadden us, but it’s what we do with these feelings when they first enter our consciousness that truly matters. Have you ever been in a situation where your job is grinding on your last nerve and you want to quit?
I think we’ve all been there. What most likely happened is you used your EQ to calm your emotions and gain some perspective on the situation. You didn’t allow one instance to wreck your career.
Developing your EQ is probably not your favorite past time, but it’s necessary to make your work life more enjoyable. You can keep falling into the same traps over and over again and create the same emotional roller coaster, or you can watch, learn and adjust.
When you become aware of your emotional habits, you can cut them off at the beginning with a simple redirection. I was always frustrated by co-workers who wouldn’t listen to my ideas. I believed that my idea would have helped the company, but my voice fell on deaf ears. After two years I finally began to see the pattern. That’s the vital first step: seeing the pattern and working with it.
The first time I began working with my frustration was during a staff meeting. I proposed an idea and it was quickly dismissed. I felt the onset of frustration creeping in. My inner dialogue attacked these people with a vengeance, cursing and berating their intelligence. Why didn’t they understand what I was saying? They are dumber than I thought. And the dialogue continued until my anger rose so much that I knew I would either snap or have to storm out of the room, either of which would be unprofessional. I would only make my co-workers feel like they were right in dismissing my comments. I needed a new approach.
The meeting continued and I walked out of the room. I calmed myself, went to the bathroom, grabbed a bottle of water and headed back into the meeting. When I went back in I tried a different technique. When the time was right I stood up and told my coworkers my idea. Everyone was shocked by my bravado and they stopped and listened. Some liked the idea while others didn’t, but at least I was heard.
You can try other techniques that help give you their attention, like creating a Photoshop image to express your idea or buying donuts and attaching a note to each one. You must be creative when working with your emotions.
When you notice similar situations causing anger or other difficult emotions then acknowledge your feelings and redirect yourself to a more emotionally stable response. You always have options when dealing with your emotions. Try a few different techniques to see what works best and I know that if you keep trying, you’ll find a great way of dealing with your emotional turbulence.
#4 Engage and Succeed
Feeling connected to your work is fundamental to working happy. Individuals who are engaged with their work care about the outcome. They may want to make a sale or write a great report because they want to succeed. Some people have this ingrained within their working soul.
We’ve all seen people who live and breathe their job, but there needs to be a work/life balance, otherwise the stress becomes too much to handle. Workaholics become consumed by their work and can’t stop thinking about it. That’s why I’m using the word “engaged” instead of obsessive.
An engaged employee cares about the outcome, but possesses emotional stability to not let it take over his or her life. Most of my corporate coworkers have fallen on the dispassionate side because they don’t feel like they are appreciated. When someone doesn’t feel like their work matters, it’s difficult to engage in performing quality work.
I taught at a school that educated mentally challenged kids. They rarely showed appreciation for all the hard work that went into each lesson plan. They even went so far as to curse and strike at a teacher when they would encourage them. My co-workers and I were still engaged because we understood that our students couldn’t show the same emotions that emotionally stable kids could. The teachers found angles that kept them interested in doing a good job. They read into the child’s response because they were trained to understand the emotional roller coaster these kids were on. If a child threw a tantrum because I was pushing them a little too hard, I would take it as a sign that I was helping them. I understood that frustration meant they were trying to solve the problem. Some of the days weren’t easy and I felt like walking out of the building on many occasions, but I knew that they needed me.
You can learn to stay engaged at your job even when your manager doesn’t show an appreciative response. You just need to read into the sign that you are given. But if the signs keep pointing at anger and frustration then there is only so much you should have to put up with. Certain people are not meant to work together and if that means that you must find a new job, then so be it.
If you are willing to stick through some tough times because you know your manager means well but he just doesn’t know how to deal with his emotions, then you may be rewarded because you’ve stayed engaged and helped the company succeed. If not, then revisit the paragraph above and find a job that will engage your talents and reward you appropriately.
#5 Relax and Enjoy
A job should not feel like you are sitting in a cage with an angry ostrich. Your work should be enjoyable on many levels. No matter what happens you should always be able to step back for ten seconds and appreciate the nuances of your job.
I used to be a nervous worker. I thought that if I stayed anxious I would be ready to tackle any difficult situation. My stomach would always be upset and I thought it was the food that I ate. I never realized that I should relax and enjoy myself.
Whenever I would get all worked up over an email or a project, I taught myself to take a few seconds to breathe into my belly and find one thing that was enjoyable about the situation. Whether I was in a meeting or talking to a vendor on the phone, I would settle myself and feel the situation that I was in. This goes back to rule number one. Working in the present moment makes work more enjoyable. The second part is this step here: Give yourself a theme to work with that allows you to direct your thoughts toward enjoying work instead of worrying about the outcome of whatever you’re working on.
You can use this step when you’re in the middle of a meeting and you’re worried about sales for the quarter or working on a project with a deadline. Just give your thoughts a chance to see the fun in the work and not what the future will bring.
Working Happy Top 5 Review
- When you are working in the moment you are experiencing life in the now.
- Taking nothing personally will help you keep everyone in your working life in perspective.
- Emotional intelligence wins because you are working smart instead of allowing your thoughts and emotions to dictate your actions.
- Engage in your work and you will succeed. If your managers and co-workers don’t give you the respect you need, then go to a different company where they will appreciate your hard work.
- Relax and enjoy the work that you are doing because it’s so much easier on your health and happiness when you look for the joy.
You have the ability to change your life by applying these five techniques to your working life. I would suggest to start with just one because if you try installing too many ideas at the same time you’ll overload your system. Try working in the moment next month and concentrate on making it become a habit, then move on to step two the following month and so on. When you work happy, your life is easier to enjoy.
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The “Emotional Tools” that we learn from work, parents and each other can make the difference between success and failure. Your emotional intelligence can be gauged by how you process interactions with friends, family and strangers. If someone corrects your mistake, do you get angry or do you use that knowledge to improve?
We all know the phrase, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” We need to adapt to the work environment that we are in. Even when fooled twice, do you own up to the mistake or do you hide it from your co-workers? Enron fell into this trap and imploded because of it.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) gives us a way to talk about how people navigate the world. Far more important than IQ in most settings, emotional intelligence can be learned, but it rarely is. My take is that not only is it important for dealing with work and personal situations, it also makes you a better consumer of marketing.
- Seth Godin
Seth is an entrepreneur/blogger a head of his time. The reason he is successful is because of his emotional intelligence. All the profits earned at Squidoo goes to the Squidoo Charity Fund, which supports non-profits such as NPR, March of Dimes, and Save the Children. He knows that he has to give back to the world that helped him become successful.
That is why so many people can work hard for a company. They are rewarded by the company for their efforts. They don’t mind double checking that extra report because they know it’s appreciated. The first feeling I experienced when I was assigned to do a task that was outside of my normal duties was anger. I didn’t want to do the work that someone else was too lazy to do. If you are being taken advantage of, you must speak up. However, if your skills are needed to complete the task, then do it right. Using your EQ to settle your thoughts to work on that report and make sure it’s done right can make the difference between a promotion or disappointment from a manager or co-worker.
We should never stop adding tools to out “Emotional Toolbox” because we will be rewarded with a better experience. Stress will be lowered, creativity expanded and enjoyment will be extracted more easily from every day work life. I know this because I’ve seen emotionally stable people receive the promotions at work and they seem to create a more enjoyable environment for the rest of the staff.
Over the next few months Work Happy Now! will be exploring the foundation of the emotions and how they relate to work. Stay tuned for great ideas on how to improve your emotional outlook at your job.
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