As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, I am thankful for you. Your reading The Managers Hub Blog allows me to pursue my passions. With gratitude, I have a gift for you. Click this link to download a copy of my e-book Power Stories: Mythical Tales Of Personal Power at Work, with artwork by Maya Andrea Y. Grillo Massar. The book is available for you through December 5, 2014.
Power Stories are intended to amuse you. They can also inform you. Many of you deal every day with the ups and downs of the work world. Surviving these ups and downs is easier when you look through the lens of personal power at work. What is that lens? It is when you see your work world as a cast of characters and situations specially designed to challenge you and to help you learn and grow.
I hope you enjoy these tales of personal power at work!
As we cruise to the end of the year, what’s your speed? Are you slowing down or gearing up? Sometimes your speed is dictated by events – deadlines, new developments, business slowing down. Other times, you have a choice of speeds – fast, slow or in between.
How does the month of December look for you? Will you slow down or gear up? Each has its benefits. Slowing down can restore you, so you can start the new year ready to go. By gearing up, you can get things done and call 2014 a great year.
Ready, set, go – will your speed be fast or slow till the end of the year?
photo: Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
Recently, someone said to me that they really don’t relate when someone suggests they find their purpose. This comment gave me pause. I often use that phrase; that our life’s journey is to find our purpose. Perhaps it comes down to the reason you exist. On one level, it is about the life you create. Do you have a stated purpose for your life? Have you consciously created a direction for your life with a certain aim in mind? Or, has life just happened to you?
You have unique gifts and you can create your life around them. Maybe that’s how you find your purpose – living the life you truly want to live and using your gifts. What calls you?
photo: Dbzik1022 , Dreamstime.com
Persistence is a lauded value in the work world. However, there is a point of diminishing return – where your or your team’s output of time and effort is not matched by the return you receive. How do you discern when to stop “trying”? One way is to be alert for that point of diminishing return. Are you putting out a lot of time and effort without the results you want? Are you trying again and again and no one is responding? Is your persistence negatively affecting morale? It is natural to try harder, but you do not want to do so blindly. You want to be aware of signs along the way that cue you into the value of your investment of time and effort. Such signs can be: you are not getting the attention of the people you need to; the project is not progressing at a reasonable rate or you are getting increasingly negative feedback on what you are doing.
At the start of a project, create a tool that allows you and your team to continuously measure the return you are getting. Measure such things as stakeholder and internal response to your project, progress on milestones, team morale and enthusiasm for project, ratio of output to return in terms of your time and effort, relevance of project goals as the project progresses, opposition to project or roots of any obstacles you encounter.
Time is precious and you don’t want to waste it. Effort can be redirected and goals or approaches revised when you need to do so. Make your “trying again” fruitful, not pointless.
photo: cooldesign, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If someone came to you now and asked, “Where are you heading?” how would you answer for you and your team? Focus is a huge part of moving forward and attaining success. When you focus your efforts and energies and those of your team, you greatly increase your chances of getting where you want to be.
What did you want to achieve in 2014? Have you? Will you? How strong is your and your team’s focus on where you want to be? Has anything derailed or diverted you?
As you approach 2015, have you thought about where you will be heading?
photo: africa, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Recently, The New York Times did a feature article on “Old Masters At The Top Of Their Game” - people still thriving in their careers in their 80s and 90s. The article features authors, a naturalist, performers, a Supreme Court Justice, an athlete, and others.
All of us have an array of choices when we think about whether or how we want to retire. We can leave our careers and take it easy. We can start a new career. We can keep going at what we are doing. We can pursue our dreams. Factors such as money, career fulfillment and health, of course, will influence us. But how wonderful to have an array of choices and to not have society dictating that we must stop working at a certain time.
What do you dream of for your older years? I’d enjoy hearing from you. Will you retire?
photo: stockimages, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s Halloween, a time of year that focuses on fear and the supernatural. Is there anything that scares or spooks you as a manager? Don’t let fear get the better of you. Best to confront any fears you have and let them go. That scary ghost may only be a kid in a sheet. Fear never serves you and can grow in your imagination way beyond reality. Wishing you treats rather than tricks.
photo: Salvatore Vuono, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s a natural impulse to compare yourself with other managers and co-workers. It is also dangerous and seldom brings good results. Why? Because each person has unique skills, personality, values and intentions that do not support direct comparison. If you compare yourself with someone in a different circumstance than you are in, where does that get you? By comparing, you are creating a benchmark that may not represent where you want to be. For example, if you compare yourself to another manager who has had success in the organization, what if they used methods that do not honor your values? Or, what if they are aiming in another direction then you are?
What does work is to observe others, picking and choosing what you want to adopt or emulate because it fits your style, values and intentions and you think it will work for you. That way, you are CEO of your career and are not simply mimicking others who are succeeding.
photo: Suvro Datta, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Life is moving at the speed of light these days. It is easy to find yourself in overwhelm. Here are some strategies for getting out of overwhelm.
1. Walk away. It may seem impossible, but even if just for a few minutes, it will help you restore your center.
2. Laugh. Shift the energy of the moment.
3. Organize. Look at what needs to be done, prioritize and plan.
4. Adjust your expectations to the reality of the present moment.
5. Examine where the urgency is coming from.
6. Ask yourself, is this stress worth it?
7. Take note of how your body is reacting to your overwhelm.
8. Identify the core source of your overwhelm.
9. Debrief when it’s over, to avoid it in the future.
10. Make balance a priority.
photo: jesadaphorn, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Acceptance of the unknown is central to our ability to risk, to move forward and to master new skills and experiences. To succeed in work and life, we must face the fear we have of the unknown. It is not an easy task to let fear go completely, but we must face it and not let our fear of the unknown control how we work and live our lives.
One way to begin to release our fear is to start looking at the unknown as the adventure it truly is. We can create small unknowns such as taking a day off, making no plans and seeing what shows up. Or, leading your team in a time of uncertainty, by directly identifying the presence of the unknown and finding ways to navigate it and see it as an adventure The definition of adventure is: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. Note the use of the word hazardous in the definition. That speaks volumes about our society’s view of the unknown. We can prepare for hazards, yes but also put our focus on the exciting and unusual.
The unknown can lead to innovation, unexpected successes, new experiences and exciting discoveries. The next time you encounter the unknown, approach it as an adventure and see what happens.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net