A recent New York Times column, Your Workplace Isn’t Your Family (And That’s OK!) , has a warning for people who see work as family: put yourself first.
Do you see your co-workers as family? It is easy to go to that place. You spend so much time with them. You want to be accepted. You work as a team. It is important to distinguish that “family” as you know it at home, is an illusion in the workplace. You can redefine family for your workplace; however be sure you have no confusion – work is not family.
Work can be a rewarding and rich experience with lasting relationships, yes. However, remember you are at work to perform and reach common goals, that may not be your own. You have to look out for you.
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Sometimes things happen that change what you see. You may have a view of a person or situation that works for you and then something happens that changes your viewpoint drastically. Say, you have a colleague that you see as dedicated, steadfast and non-judgmental and then you find out he or she has been deliberately undermining you and others.
When you get turned around, you may as well enjoy the view. Most likely, a truth or something previously unknown has been revealed. Put yourself firmly in the now and create your path forward from there.
Expect: to consider probable or certain
Expectations are natural. Our experiences and attitudes lead us to a sense of what will occur in situations, before we actually encounter them. They can have an undue influence on how we engage in a situation, however. Have you had an experience where your expectations of a situation were proven wrong or got you into trouble?
The first step in dealing effectively with expectations is to be aware of them. How about taking a challenge to spend a day with no expectations? Of course, you may have some, but you consciously put them aside and enter situations in a neutral state of mind. This way, you are fully in the present moment and can act according to whatever the situation presents. It could be a powerful way to build awareness of your expectations. Are you game?
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You handle things best when you clearly “see” a situation. Biases, tilted emotions, fears and skewed perspective can cloud your vision. One powerful way to sharpen your skill at seeing things clearly is to practice non-judgment.
Non-judgment does not mean lack of opinion, perspective or feeling. It is a state in which to observe a situation or person without a decision of right or wrong. What does this get you? It lets you see a situation or person without bias. From there, you can decide how to proceed. Your clear vision will allow you to respond, rather than react, and to make the best move possible.
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Fear can turn you around in many ways. When you feel fear you can lose perspective, courage and power. Fear can come from within or from things outside you (some use fear to control and manipulate others). It serves you to have a way of dealing with fear when it shows up in your life and work.
What is your natural reaction to fear? Do you hide, try to tackle it, get defensive? Know your natural reaction to fear. Then, identify a way of dealing with fear that serves your interests. Doing this makes a big difference. You will be able to maintain your perspective, courage and power, no matter what comes along.
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Over the years, I have come to realize that creativity is not something only some of us have. Sure, some have exceptional talents in what we call the creative arts such as dance, painting or music. However, the definition of creativity doesn’t have to stay within this narrow window. I have come to see creativity, in a wider frame, as each person’s unique self-expression.
Your creativity is within you, waiting to come out. It is uniquely yours. Clues lie in what you love to do and what excites you. I have seen people express their creativity in the way they care for and understand animals, in the excellence of their work, in the way they inspire others, in the way they think, in their “green thumb” in the garden, for example.
You are creative. Have you found your creative gifts? Do you share them with the world?
I did a Slideshare several years back titled “Everyone Is Creative”. You can see it here.
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It is natural to want smooth sailing in your life and work. You do what you can to keep it that way. To varying degrees, disturbance shows up and smooth sailing is disrupted. When this happens, you do what you can to get things going smoothly again.
Have you ever thought of disturbance as a positive thing? It can be. At work, disturbance can strengthen your skills, change your perspective in a positive way, help you see things you could not see before and rearrange things for the better.
Next time you experience a disturbance, make the most of it.
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In my last blog post, I looked at being fully present in the moment, as you face a challenge. There is another useful aspect to being present – you can consciously decide how you will spend each day. Doing this requires your focus – on what is important, your expectations, your commitments and how much time you have.
What if, each morning you ask yourself what you are going to do with the day ahead of you? It could lead to higher productivity, fulfillment and motivation.
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Challenges are part of life. When you find yourself falling back into the past or drifting into the future, as you face a challenge, remember that today is the best that you have. Looking at a challenge from the present moment allows you to see where you are right now and what is available to you. Sure, you can benefit from looking backward or forward, but doing so can be a quicksand that doesn’t provide answers or get you very far. Don’t stay too long.
Next time you face a challenge, remember that you have today to do what’s needed to turn things around.
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More and more, I am encountering discussions about anxiety in both my coaching and my personal life. What is going on? Are we changing in some way and adjusting to the change?
Are the speed and uncertainty of our world affecting many and inducing anxiety? We should stay aware of the presence of anxiety in both ourselves and in others. It is an indicator that something needs attention. When anxiety shows up, examine if you are living your life in alignment with your values, if time is getting the better of you or if something is wanting your attention.
Anxiety does not serve you or others. It may take time and effort to deal with, but will be totally worth your while. Best to face it and find your way through.
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