7 Things Remarkably Happy People Do Often A Guest Post by Jeff Haden

The word Joy and many related words and terms in 3d letters against a cloudy blue sky, including enjoyment, bliss, delight, elation and satisfaction

Happiness can be a choice — especially when you take the right actions

Happiness: Everyone wants it, yet relatively few seem to get enough of it, especially those in their early 40s. (I’m no psychologist, but that’s probably about when many of us start thinking, “Wait–is this all there is?”)

Good news and bad news: Unfortunately, approximately 50 percent of your happiness, your “happiness set-point,” is determined by personality traits that are largely hereditary. Half of how happy you feel is basically outside your control.

Bummer.

But, that means 50 percent of your level of happiness is totally within your control: relationships, health, career, etc. So even if you’re genetically disposed to be somewhat gloomy, you can still do things to make yourself a lot happier.

Like this:

1. Make good friends.

It’s easy to focus on building a professional network of partners, customers, employees, connections, etc., because there is (hopefully) a payoff.

But there’s a definite payoff to making real (not just professional or social media) friends. Increasing your number of friends correlates to higher subjective well being; doubling your number of friends is like increasing your income by 50 percent in terms of how happy you feel.

And if that’s not enough, people who don’t have strong social relationships are 50 percent less likely to survive at any given time than those who do. (That’s a scary thought for loners like me.)

Make friends outside of work. Make friends at work. Make friends everywhere.

Make real friends. You’ll live a longer, happier life.

2. Actively express thankfulness.

According to one study, couples that expressed gratitude in their interactions with each other resulted in increases in relationship connection and satisfaction the next day–both for the person expressing thankfulness and (no big surprise) for the person receiving it. (In fact, the authors of the study said gratitude was like a “booster shot” for relationships.)

Of course the same is true at work. Express gratitude for employee’s hard work and you both feel better about yourselves.

Another easy method is to write down a few things you are grateful for every night. One study showed people who wrote down five things they were thankful for once a week were 25 percent happier after 10 weeks; in effect they dramatically increased their happiness set-point.

Happy people focus on what they have, not on what they don’t have. It’s motivating to want more in your career, relationships, bank account, etc., but thinking about what you already have, and expressing gratitude for it, will make you a lot happier.

It will also remind you that even if you still have huge dreams, you have already accomplished a lot–and should feel genuinely proud.

3. Actively pursue your goals.

Goals you don’t pursue aren’t goals, they’re dreams, and dreams make you happy only when you’re dreaming.

Pursuing goals, though, does make you happy. According to David Niven, author of100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life, “People who could identify a goal they were pursuing [my italics] were 19 percent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26 percent more likely to feel positive about themselves.”

So be grateful for what you have, and then actively try to achieve more. If you’re pursuing a huge goal, make sure that every time you take a small step closer to achieving it, you pat yourself on the back.

But don’t compare where you are now with where you someday hope to be. Compare where you are now to where you were a few days ago. Then you’ll get dozens of bite-size chunks of fulfillment–and a never-ending supply of things to be thankful for.

4. Do what you excel at as often as you can.

You know the old cliché regarding the starving yet happy artist? Turns out it’s true: artists are considerably more satisfied with their work than non-artists–even though the pay tends to be considerably lower than in other skilled fields.

Why? I’m no researcher, but clearly the more you enjoy what you do and the more fulfilled you feel by what you do, the happier you will be.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor says that when volunteers picked “one of their signature strengths and used it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed.”

Of course it’s unreasonable to think you can chuck it all and simply do what you love. But you can find ways to do more of what you excel at. Delegate. Outsource. Start to shift the products and services you provide into areas that allow you to bring more of your strengths to bear. If you’re a great trainer, find ways to train more people. If you’re a great salesperson, find ways to streamline your administrative tasks and get in front of more customers.

Everyone has at least a few things they do incredibly well. Find ways to do those things more often. You’ll be a lot happier.

And probably a lot more successful.

5. Give.

While giving is usually considered unselfish, giving can also be more beneficial for the giver than the receiver. Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it.

Intuitively, I think we all knew that because it feels awesome to help someone who needs it. Not only is helping those in need fulfilling, it’s also a reminder of how comparatively fortunate we are–which is a nice reminder of how thankful we should be for what we already have.

Plus, receiving is something you cannot control. If you need help–or simply want help–you can’t make others help you. But you can always control whether you offer and provide help.

And that means you can always control, at least to a degree, how happy you are–because giving makes you happier.

6. Don’t single-mindedly chase “stuff.”

Money is important. Money does a lot of things. (One of the most important is to create choices.)

But after a certain point, money doesn’t make people happier. After about $75,000 a year, money doesn’t buy more (or less) happiness. “Beyond $75,000… higher income is neither the road to experience happiness nor the road to relief of unhappiness or stress,” say the authors of that study.

“Perhaps $75,000 is the threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals’ ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure.”

And if you don’t buy that, here’s another take: “The materialistic drive and satisfaction with life are negatively related.” Or, in layman’s terms, “Chasing possessions tends to make you less happy.”

Think of it as the bigger house syndrome. You want a bigger house. You need a bigger house. (Not really, but it sure feels like you do.) So you buy it. Life is good… until a couple months later when your bigger house is now just your house.

New always becomes the new normal.

“Things” provide only momentary bursts of happiness. To be happier, don’t chase as many things. Chase a few experiences instead.

7. Live the life you want to live.

Bonnie Ware worked in palliative care, spending time with patients who had only a few months to live. Their most common regret they expressed was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

What other people think–especially people you don’t even know–doesn’t matter. What other people want you to do doesn’t matter.

Your hopes, your dreams, your goals–live your life your way. Surround yourself with people who support and care not for the “you” they want you to be but for the realyou.

Make choices that are right for you. Say things you really want to say to the people who most need to hear them. Express your feelings. Stop and smell a few roses. Make friends, and stay in touch with them.

And most of all, realize that happiness is a choice. Fifty percent of how happy you are lies within your control, so start doing more things that will make you happier.

 

12 Things Successful People Never Reveal About Themselves at Work A Guest Post by Travis Bradberry

ou can’t build a strong professional network if you don’t open up to your colleagues; but doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.

Sharing the right aspects of yourself in the right ways is an art form. Disclosures that feel like relationship builders in the moment can wind up as obvious no-nos in hindsight.

The trick is to catch yourself before you cross that line, because once you share something, there is no going back.

TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90 percent of top performers, to be exact). Emotionally intelligent people are adept at reading others, and this shows them what they should and shouldn’treveal about themselves at work.

The following list contains the 12 most common things people reveal that send their careers in the wrong direction.

1. That they hate their job

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much she hates her job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and not a team player. This brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

2. That they think someone is incompetent

There will always be incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make yourself look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your co-workers’ negative opinions of you.

3. How much money they make

Your parents may love to hear all about how much you’re pulling in each month, but in the workplace, this only breeds negativity. It’s impossible to allocate salaries with perfect fairness, and revealing yours gives your co-workers a direct measure of comparison. As soon as everyone knows how much you make, everything you do at work is considered against your income. It’s tempting to swap salary figures with a buddy out of curiosity, but the moment you do, you’ll never see each other the same way again.

4. Their political and religious beliefs

People’s political and religious beliefs are too closely tied to their identities to be discussed without incident at work. Disagreeing with someone else’s views can quickly alter their otherwise strong perception of you. Confronting someone’s core values is one of the most insulting things you can do.

Granted, different people treat politics and religion differently, but asserting your values can alienate some people as quickly as it intrigues others. Even bringing up a hot-button world event without asserting a strong opinion can lead to conflict.

People build their lives around their ideals and beliefs, and giving them your two cents is risky. Be willing to listen to others without inputting anything on your end because all it takes is a disapproving look to start a conflict. Political opinions and religious beliefs are so deeply ingrained in people that challenging their views is more likely to get you judged than to change their minds.

5. What they do on Facebook

The last thing your boss wants to see when she logs on to her Facebook account are photos of you taking tequila shots in Tijuana. There are just too many ways you can look inappropriate on Facebook and leave a bad impression. It could be what you’re wearing, whom you’re with, what you’re doing, or even your friends’ commentary. These are the little things that can cast a shadow of doubt in your boss’s or colleagues’ minds just when they are about to hand you a big assignment or recommend you for a promotion.

It’s too difficult to try to censor yourself on Facebook for your colleagues. Save yourself the trouble, and don’t friend them there. Let LinkedIn be your professional “social” network, and save Facebook for everybody else.

6. What they do in the bedroom

Whether your sex life is out of this world or lacking entirely, this information has no place at work. Such comments might get a chuckle from some people, but it makes most uncomfortable, and even offended. Crossing this line will instantly give you a bad reputation.

7. What they think someone else does in the bedroom

A good 111 percent of the people you work with do not want to know that you bet they’re tigers in the sack. There’s no more surefire way to creep someone out than to let her know that thoughts of her love life have entered your brain. Anything from speculating on a colleague’s sexual orientation to making a relatively indirect comment like, “Oh, to be a newlywed again,” plants a permanent seed in the brains of all who hear it that casts you in a negative light.

Your thoughts are your own. Think whatever you feel is right about people; just keep it to yourself.

8. That they’re after somebody else’s job

Announcing your ambitions at work when they are in direct conflict with other people’s interests comes across as selfish and indifferent to those you work with and the company as a whole. Great employees want the whole team to succeed, not just themselves. Regardless of your actual motives (some of us really do just work for the money), announcing your selfish goal will not help you get there.

9. How wild they used to be in college

Your past can say a lot about you. Just because you did something outlandish or stupid 20 years ago doesn’t mean that people will believe you’ve developed impeccable judgment since then. Some behavior that might qualify as just another day in the typical fraternity (binge drinking, minor theft, drunk driving, abusing people or farm animals, and so on) shows everyone you work with that, when push comes to shove, you have poor judgment and don’t know where to draw the line. Many presidents have been elected in spite of their past indiscretions, but unless you have a team of handlers and PR types protecting and spinning your image, you should keep your unsavory past to yourself.

10. How intoxicated they like to get

You might think talking about how inebriated you were over the weekend has no effect on how you’re viewed at work. After all, if you’re a good worker, then you’re a good worker, right? Unfortunately not. Sharing this will not get people to think you’re fun. Instead, they will see you as unpredictable, immature, and lacking in good judgment. Too many people have negative views of drugs and alcohol for you to reveal how much you love to indulge in them.

11. An offensive joke

If there’s one thing we can learn from celebrities, it’s to be careful about what you say and whom you say it to. Offensive jokes make other people feel terrible, and they make you look terrible. They also happen to be much less funny than clever jokes.

A joke crosses the line anytime you try to gauge its appropriateness based on how close you are with someone. If there is anyone who would be offended by your joke, you are better off not telling it. You never know whom people know or what experiences they’ve had in life that can lead your joke to tread on subjects that they take very seriously.

12. That they are job hunting

When I was a kid, I told my baseball coach I was quitting in two weeks. For the next two weeks, I found myself riding the bench. It got even worse after those two weeks when I decided to stay, and I became “the kid who doesn’t even want to be here.” I was crushed, but it was my own fault; I told him my decision before it was certain.

The same thing happens when you tell people that you’re job hunting. Once you reveal that you’re planning to leave, you suddenly become a waste of everyone’s time. There’s also the chance that your hunt will be unsuccessful, so it’s best to wait until you’ve found a job before you tell anyone. Otherwise, you will end up riding the bench.

Bringing it all together

Let me know what you think of this list. Do you disagree with any of these items? Did I miss any? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

9 Factors Which Create a Stress Free Workplace A Guest Post by Carthage Buckley

t is better for everyone if stress can be prevented rather than managed. While stress may begin as an individual experience, problems in the workplace can be a major source of stress. Stress can have terrible consequences for organizations. There are many factors within the organisation which must be managed in order to maintain a stress free workplace.  There are a number of organizational stress interventions which help to create a stress free workplace. It can take some time to set these interventions up but they will result in a drastic reduction in the number of stress related incidents.

Creating a stress free workplace

The following organizational stress interventions will help to create a stress free workplace:

1. Effective job design

Effective job design allows the employee to give 100% to the organisation while safeguarding their health and wellbeing. Important factors include:

    • Working hours
    • Workload
    • Shift patterns
    • Rest breaks
    • Responsibility
    • Authority

2. Fair remuneration

Employees who do not feel that they are being adequately rewarded for their efforts are more likely to experience stress.

 3. Effective Communication

Ambiguity and lack of communication can be a source of stress. Employees feel, and perform, better when they know the following:

    • Their role
    • The purpose of their role
    • Their goals and objectives
    • The organization’s goals and objectives
    • How they are performing in relation to their goals
    • How the organization is performing in relation to it’s goals
    • To whom they can turn for help

Even in terms of bad news, clarity is far more helpful than ambiguity. In a stress free workplace, effective communication is key.

4. Clear employment policies and procedures

There are many unacceptable situations which may arise within an organization. Organizations must have clear policies which inform employees of their options and the support available, should these situations arise. These policies should include:

    • Health and safety
    • Equality
    • Anti-harassment and bullying
    • Discipline procedures
    • Grievance procedures

It is not enough to have these policies; they must be communicated, and made available, to all employees.

5. Consultation

Consulting employees, before making the decisions which affect them, makes them feel like a valued member of the organization.

 6.Recognition

When employees perform beyond what is expected of them, recognition for their efforts allows them to feel appreciated.

 7. Flexible and family friendly policies

Employees have many commitments both within and outside of the organization. Juggling these commitments can place a great deal of pressure on them. Flexible working arrangements can help them to balance their commitments, reducing the pressure. The end result is employees who are happy, healthy and committed to the organization.

 8. Career development

Career development plans give employees the opportunity to sit down with their manager and design a path for their career which will help them to achieve their own goals. The plan may include training, education and taking on further responsibilities. When employees know where their career is going, they tend to be happier and more committed.

 9. Socialising

Hard-working employees need the opportunity to let their hair down and unwind. By providing social events, the organization offers opportunities for employees to meet, and strengthen bonds with, fellow employees whom they might not interact with on a regular basis.

Problems within the organization can lead to stress for employees. Many organizations only start their stress management activities once an employee has displayed the symptoms of stress. While these initiatives are important and effective; it is more effective to strive for a stress free workplace.  Organizational stress interventions can be put in place to prevent many of these problems from arising. Implementing effective organizational stress interventions requires a lot of effort but once they are implemented, the organisation will have taking giant strides towards creating a stress free workplace.

The Delicate Balance: The Law of Survival

Inspired by the ancient book of wisdom, The Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-Two

Yield and remain whole. Bend and remain straight
Be low and become filled. Be worn out and become renewed
Have little and receive. Have much and be confused
Therefore the sages hold to the one as an example for the world
Without flaunting themselves – and so are seen clearly
Without presuming themselves – and so are distinguished
Without praising themselves – and so have merit
Without boasting about themselves – and so are lasting                                    

Because they do not contend, the world cannot contend with them
What the ancients called “the one who yields and remains whole”
Were they speaking empty words?
Sincerity becoming whole, and returning to oneself

                                           Lao Tzu

 

Here Lao Tzu counsels us to let go of the need for attachments and encouraging us to adopt an approach to life that is accommodating. We are being instructed to find our comfort zone with change and embrace it. Incorporating this skill into your temperament will align you with impermanence which is the one constant in the reality of life. This in turn will allow you to yield without lamenting the past and tormenting yourself with a sense of loss.

I am continually amazed by how appropriate these ancient teachings are to the social and economic challenges our world faces today. The world is ever changing. Nothing is fixed. What we know and cling to today for a sense of stability or footing is pulled out from under us tomorrow. This has always been so. With the advent of 24-hour news services and social media, this truth seems to be relentlessly in our face and it is often hard to breathe.

The world of healthcare is morphing as we speak. Long Term Care facilities, conventionally thought of as elder nursing homes, are now medical surgical hospitals as resident acuity climbs in response to the transitional care models driven by managed care. Many of my nursing colleagues would cringe at the thought of a new graduate entering the specialty of home care without at least one year of subacute or acute care experience. Yet, as the availability of jobs in hospitals and rehabilitation centers decline and the need for nurses in home care rises; home health care agencies are designing orientation programs to meet the needs of the new graduate entering into this venue as a first experience.

Soon acute care hospitals will consist of an emergency department, perioperative services, critical care and perhaps obstetrics. All other levels of care will be provided somewhere in the healthcare continuum but not in the hospital. Community and home care support services are being rolled back at best and in many cases discontinued altogether. We can rage against these changes with all the ego-based arrogance we can muster or we can stay open and focused to ensure that we advocate for the safest and best care possible. Scary as it sounds no one has a clear vision of the future therefore; we need to be ready for anything.

The ability to adapt is an essential quality for a professional or family caregiver. It is one of the ingredients to creating a balanced life and a sense of contentment. This sense of groundlessness can also help you be a better caregiver. If you are brave enough to connect with your own fears associated with uncertainty you can develop a greater sensitivity for the place that the person you are caring for finds him or herself in. This sense of identification and compassion can add a new depth to your ability to be therapeutic.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives; nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

 

8 Things That Happened After I Meditated For 100 Days A Guest Post by Kyle V. Robinson

I am not a yogi, a life coach, or a yoga teacher. In fact, I am probably the furthest thing from what you would call a yogi. Like many, I struggled as a teenager and young adult. I failed my junior year of high school not once, but twice. I spent time in drug rehabilitation, and have been arrested more than my fair share of times.

But eventually, I turned my life around and became a lawyer, entrepreneur, and an advocate of a healthy lifestyle. I also want the best possible life for everyone I encounter. I know for certain that meditation must to be part of the equation to lead an amazing life.

I’ve only recently begun to experience what meditation has to offer. I’d read about the benefits of meditation for many years, but never really took it upon myself to develop a practice. I tried meditating here and there for no more than 5-10 minutes at a time, but decided to see what would happen if I committed to 20 minutes of meditation a day for just one week.

That challenge, or better yet, experiment, began on January 1, 2015. That first week turned into a month, which turned into three months, and before I knew it — 100 days. I meditated every day first thing in the morning without taking a day off for the entire duration.

When I first started meditating I couldn’t sit still, my back hurt during it and my legs fell asleep. It felt more like I was trying to adjust to the sitting, more than I was trying to focus on my breathing. It wasn’t long before I’d wish it was over and I would sit there trying to convince myself not to open my eyes.

I did eventually get used to focusing on my breath, though, and my body began to naturally adjust to what was initially an awkward posture for me. And the more I meditated, the more I found ways to sit that were even more comfortable. Meditation soon became a necessary part of my morning routine which I actually looked forward to and created a domino effect, positively impacting all aspects of my life.

Here are eight things that happened after I meditated every day, for 100 days:

1. My days started to become more focused.

As I started to think clearer, I got much more accomplished. My mind seemed more organized. I would focus on one task at hand, complete it and then move easily onto the next. My mind wasn’t racing about what I should be doing, or if what I was doing wasn’t being done fast enough. I just stayed in the moment and completed what I needed to, and then moved on.

2. I started to think more before I spoke.

Before developing a daily meditation habit, I would just react to people and situations with the first thing that came into my mind. But now I pause a bit, think about what I’m going to say, and then respond more mindfully. This pause helps me to articulate what I want to say and ensure what I will be saying is actually necessary and helpful. Then after I speak, I think back on whether I responded to the situation to the best of my ability, or if there was anything better I could do next time. I never had this level of self-reflection before.

3. I am nicer and more emphatic.

Things just don’t seem to bother me as much any more! During traffic, I am more patient. I don’t mind waiting in long lines so much. I started to look at situations from the perspective of others to see where they might be coming from. This completely changed the way I interact with other people.

4. I have more energy.

I am able sleep better at night and wake up fully charged ready to go. When I am finished with my workday, I still have more energy to go for a run or go out with friends.

5. I eat better.

I make better decisions when I am at the grocery store or at restaurants. I really ask myself how the food will really make me feel, and I base my purchase or decision on that answer.

6. I watch less TV.

My desire for watching television has decreased dramatically. Instead, I focus on the things which can make me a better person. I find myself reading, running, reaching out to friends, or working on my website.

7. I feel more connected to nature.

I take notice to stop and appreciate all the beautiful things that surround me. Whether it’s a tree or a sunset, I pause and realize that it is truly a miracle and I try to soak in that moment and be fully present.

8. I am an overall better version of myself.

This is probably one of the best benefits of meditation. I know who I truly am and what I am capable of. I share my feelings with others more openly. I have the courage to be who I really am — I take more risks, knowing that it the only way I can truly grow. I know what’s important in life and that I can accomplish anything that I really want.

These are just a few things that changed when I started to meditate, and I can’t say for sure all of this happened after one day, or 100 days. What I do know is that I am no longer the same person I was 100 days ago. I am a happier person because I am a more authentic version of myself.

If all of these changes happen after just 100 days, I can’t wait to see what happens after 200 or even 1,000! Try just 20 minutes of meditation every day for 100 days, and I’m sure you will never look at yourself or your life in the same way.

READ MORE: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18373/8-things-that-happened-after-i-meditated-for-100-days.html

13 Things Smart Leaders Do to Boost Their Own Confidence A Guest Post by Minda Zetlin

Want to become more confident? Here’s what 500 successful executives say works for them

Is confidence something you’re born with, or something you build up over time? It’s both, according to a survey of 500 highly confident women executives conducted by Helene Lerner, founder of WomenWorking.com author of several books, most recentlyThe Confidence Myth: Why Women Undervalue Their Skills, and How to Get Over It. While more than half the respondents believed it was a combination of innate qualities and building up confidence over time, less than 1 percent thought confidence was a matter of genetics alone. So how do you build up your own confidence? Eighty-six percent said it helps to use one’s skills and make an impact–in other words, when you do successful work, that will make you feel more confident. Interestingly, the inverse is also true, with 76 percent of respondents saying that making mistakes and then recovering from them enhances confidence. In other words, get outside your comfort zone and–win or lose–your confidence will grow. So what should you do if you want to increase your own confidence levels? Here’s Lerner’s advice:

1. Remember, you’re not the only one who’s afraid.

Confidence with a big C is a myth, Lerner says. The only advantage confident-seeming people have is that they’re able to take action and project confidence, even if they’re feeling terrified inside.

2. Pick a role model.

Choose a leader you admire, Lerner says. What qualities does this person possess? Which of those qualities do you already have, and which do you need to build up? What could you do to develop those qualities in yourself?

3. Upgrade your network.

Pick someone who would be a powerfully useful contact for you. How can you meet this person? Is there a mutual contact who can introduce you? Before meeting, do your homework on your new contact. Look for ways you can help your contact achieve his or her goals. (Here are 8 tips for how to network effectively with key contacts.)

4. Take the long view of your career.

What role or position do you eventually want to have? What skills will you need to fill that role? Write them down, and then write down a list of the skills you already have. Make a plan for acquiring the ones you still need.

5. Don’t give in to self-doubt.

If you’re in a position of leadership or power, that’s not an accident. Know that you have what it takes to be there. Others believe in you–prove them right.

6. Own your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.

Are there ways you can turn one of your weaknesses into a strength? Start doing what it takes to make this happen, one small step at a time.

7. Take a good look at your priorities.

You have a lot to do. But do you find yourself getting the low-impact things done first? If so, what are you avoiding, and why? (If you’re not sure what your priorities should be, here’s a simple test that will help.)

8. Try something outside the scope of what you’ve already done.

It could be as simple as making a pitch in a meeting or approaching a prominent person at a business function. If you feel uneasy, remember that’s a natural result of stretching your own boundaries. Discomfort equals growth.

9. Take stock of all you do.

Chances are, if you took a few minutes to write down everything you’ve accomplished in the past week, you’d be pretty impressed with yourself. So do it. Then slip one or two of those accomplishments into your next conversation with a higher-up or customer. Modesty doesn’t work in business.

10. Learn to be kind to yourself.

Are you putting unrealistic expectations on yourself? Probably–most of us do. Adjust your own expectations, whether that means changing your timetable for accomplishments or getting others to help. You deserve to treat yourself at least as well as you treat anyone else.

11. Take stock of your greatest strengths.

Select one of them, and think about how you could use it to move yourself and your career to the next level. Make a list of steps you need to take to make that happen, and a plan for when you will take those steps. If you’re not sure what steps to take to get to the next level, here are some tips that may help.

12. Trust your own gut.

Your experience, your intelligence, and your instincts will lead you where you need to go. So next time you face a challenging situation, get input if you need it, then take decisive action.

13. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

How have you grown in the last six months? And how have you positively changed the lives of other people? Thos accomplishments should be celebrated. So celebrate!

Letting-Go Leadership A Guest Post by Scott Mabry

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“An attachment isn’t a fact. It is a belief…” ~ Anthony De Mello

Let go.

This line of thinking is counter-intuitive. Our instinct is to hold on, to protect, to become attached, to expect. The more we attach ourselves to expectations, people or things the more anxiety we create and the less effective we become.

So why do we “hold on” in unhealthy ways? As leaders, we believe we are responsible for what happens in the organization. And because we hold this belief we are afraid. If the outcome is not what we desire, or think others expect, we will have failed. We will not have lived up to the reputation and titles we have worked so hard to achieve or perhaps to some standard we internalized earlier in life. To protect ourselves we micro-manage, manipulate others and view a negative event or unflattering comment as an attack on our professional identity. We even become attached to the label of “the leader”.

This mindset ultimately leads to frustration and conflict. We might come to view people as barriers or means to fulfilling our goals, or as irritations that interrupt our more important tasks. Our vision becomes clouded and we can no longer see the true context of each situation. We begin to  direct our actions toward the goal of protecting our interests and our reputation rather than serving the best interest of the people and mission. This can become a habitual, almost mindless strategy of self-protective behavior, and it leads to suffering.

When we let go we are free to enjoy the experience of leadership and to bring our best to every situation without the burden of attachments and expectations. We can practice leadership and continue to learn with the freedom of knowing that none of this was ever really ours to possess. We can learn to see the situation in front of us for what it is and nothing else. In this way, we open to learning and giving others the space they need to grow. This is by no means Laissez-faire leadership. Accountability, vision, values, influence, etc., still apply. Only now, they can be expressed free of a personal agenda grounded in fear and scarcity.

Let go of…

Control – You don’t really have it anyway. If you think you are in control rest assured that circumstances will conspire to teach you otherwise.

Outcomes – Allow things to unfold differently than you imagined. The way you see the outcome determines what it will mean to you, not the outcome itself.

Fear – When you are afraid, you project thoughts, attitudes and beliefs onto people and situations creating serious leadership blind spots.

Knowing – When you let go of knowing you create room for learning. Otherwise, you are stuck.

Proving – Trying to prove to someone else that you are “worthy” or that you deserve “respect” is a bottomless pit.

Achieving – Who you are becoming is more important than what you are achieving. Be then do.

Importance – Needing people to need you is not healthy. It leads to creating problems that only you can solve. Less you more them.

Comparison – Be true to yourself and stick to the path your heart has given you. Your journey is unique.

and…

Hold on to love.

Leadership grounded in love produces an enduring value that lives in your heart and not on your résumé.

The Self-Leadership Golden Rule and Law A guest Post By Jon Mertz

Self-leadership receives decent attention, as it should. Leadership does begin from within and then is exemplified through collaborative relationships, interactions, and work. Faisal Hoque in a Fast Company article highlights many essential ways to improve and become a more authentic leader. Many other good articles can be found through various searches.

So why write another article? Two reasons. First, self-leadership is vital to empowering positive leadership capabilities. Second, there is a rule and a law often overlooked when it comes to self-leadership. The rule and law are:

The Golden Rule of Self-Leadership: What you do for others you should do for yourself.

The Self-Control Law: Control yourself first before others.

All the other self-leadership suggestions and practices are valid. Without this rule and law, many self-leadership activities will be wasted and ineffective. Leaders need to abide by this self-leadership rule and law to make their self-leadership practices work.

The Golden Rule of Self-Leadership

We know the Golden Rule as a respectful practice of treating others the way we want to be treated. In self-leadership, a corollary exists – what you do for others you should do for yourself. Here is what I mean.

As good leaders, we encourage team members to take vacations, unplug, spend time with their family, and give back to their community. We do this but then we do not do the same. Too many leaders are forgoing activities that embrace a complete life. Work becomes the dominate force and energy suffers. More than this, the very teams being encouraged to adopt these healthy practices suffer from your drained leadership.

Giving to others needs to come from a source of where you give to yourself. I am not talking about material giving. I am talking about soul, mind, and body giving. Self-care matters. Self-care sparks leaders to be better humans first. Self-care needs to come from a giving heart. From here, much goodness radiates from within and all around to and for others.

The Golden Rule of Self-Leadership is not self-centeredness. The Golden Rule of Self-Leadership is about self-care. Healthy habits create healthy leaders. Healthy habits boomerang. What is given needs to come back, be practiced, and then given outward again. This is healthy self-leadership.

The Leadership Self-Control Rule

Leaders that cannot control themselves control others. Really think about this. We know this to be true. Leaders who cannot control themselves dominate conversations. Leaders who cannot control themselves hold others back and push others down. Leaders who cannot control themselves must always be right. The list can easily be added to but you know what I am talking about.

Maybe their intent is not bad but their actions send the message that nothing really works unless I am involved and I am leading it forward. Within their mind and soul, they may believe they have the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. This may be true some of the time but it rarely will be true all of the time.

Good self-leadership skills embrace self-control. Maybe all leaders have the gene within that tells them they know it all. However, good leaders know this is not really true and they practice effective self-control to keep their inclinations and go-to actions in check.

Self-control means:

  • Letting others take the lead
  • Listening proactively
  • Providing a vision and then letting others engage to make it happen
  • Delivering a framework when needed but empowering others to use their creativity
  • Building a platform of freedom to act while giving the authority to act and the accountability to match

Good leaders suppress the urge to always control. When self-control reigns, others will follow your lead. When self-control reigns, control will shift to a broader set of leaders, meaning each will contribute more and the organization will act in a way to better control its destiny.

When a larger group of effective leaders unleash their talents, the organization has more control in maneuvering within their changing markets and competitive landscapes. This is the win-win a leader can create when effective self-control is practiced.

The Cost of Ineffective Self-Leadership

When ineffective self-leadership is practiced, many suffer. Relationships begin to spin downward. Purpose becomes blurred. Organizational politics rise. Time is wasted.

More than all this, a leader becomes a side-show rather than an empowering act to follow. We live in a time when the distractions seem countless and the challenges seem endless. Good self-leadership practices can create the environment of clarity, responsibility, engagement, and collaboration. Using the Golden Rule of Self-Leadership and the Self-Control Law will enable leaders to be more effective in their work, more enabling in their organizations, and more trusted in their communities.

The most important difference steadfast self-leadership makes is a more fulfilled life at home, work, and play. Engage the self-leadership golden rule. Abide by the self-leadership law. Practice meaningful, accountable self-leadership.

– See more at: http://www.thindifference.com/2015/04/the-self-leadership-golden-rule-and-law/#sthash.wQoPKJ9p.dpuf

Missing Education Predisposing RNs to Burnout A Guest Post by Megan Dobbs, RN

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Photo Credit: NurseTogether.com

Nursing school teaches us basic skills and minimum critical thinking competency to pass a Board exam. It does not prepare a nurse for the emotional toll that comes from quality patient care, high patient census and short staffed units. The effects of the resulting nurse burnout  ravages the ranks of novice nurses, on whom the future of our profession rests.

Our calling, in it’s nature, does not make emotional boundaries easy to erect. The NLN tells us to be compassionate and empathetic, at our core. As a direct result, many nurses who do not have emotional coping mechanisms in place, will reach a point of “burnout” or compassion fatigue. In the May 2013 article by Megan Murdock Krischke (http://www.nursezone.com/Nursing-News-Events/more-news/Suffering-from-Compassion-Fatigue-Burnout-or-Both-What-a-Nurse-Can-Do_41375.aspx),  surveyed healthcare workers reported up to 60% had experienced symptoms of burnout, leading to 45% leaving the workforce in the next two years. In addition, this phenomenon is not occurring in our veteran nurse population. Nurses under 30 years old, experience a higher burnout rate, according to this article in The Online Journal of Issue in Nursing, by the ANA(http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/vol132008/No1Jan08/ArticlePreviousTopic/WhyEmotionsMatterAgeAgitationandBurnoutAmongRegisteredNurses.html)

Why? And how do we fix it, in order to preserve a workforce of nurses? I suggest a solution be instituted at the point commonpoint of all nurses. In nursing school.

Do you remember the first few weeks of nursing school? Those critical lessons set the tone for your education, and later, for your practice. They provided the foundation on which your build your skills, bedside manor, prioritization and organization systems. What were those first few lessons about? I remember talking about basic patient safety, beginning skills practice, learning basic documentation. We learned the actions of a nurse, an education based on the patient in the bed in front of us. If, in addition to our patient care, new nurses are taught self-care and emotional coping mechanisms, at least our highest risk population for burnout would have some basic tools to combat the emotional stress of the profession. This aspect of nursing education seems to be missing, and it is predisposing our profession’s young to burnout. Our veterans, by the statistics, have developed these skills themselves over time, and by necessity.

In the classrooms, it is imperative that nurse educators cover topics such as:

1. Identifying signs of burnout

2. Resources identification, both at university and employer level

3. Basic effective coping techniques

4. Ineffective Coping (possible origins  of controlled substance abuse by nurses?)

As these topics are as vital to effective patient care, as they are to a nurse’s self-care, they should also be included on the RN Board exams. We are proud to be nurses; it would be a shame to loose new stars in our field due to a lack of education and support.

READ MORE: http://megandobbsrn.tumblr.com/post/93621197695/missing-education-predisposing-rns-to-burnout

Healthcare System Fail: Is This Why Nurses Are Overwhelmed? A Guest Post by Colin Baird

 

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One of my most memorable experiences was more than a decade ago while working for a Level One Trauma Center on the East coast. I was sitting in a hospital break room during one of my breaks as an inventory coordinator when a nurse walked in. I simply asked how her day was going and she fell into the chair next to me crying. Surprised by her reaction I asked “What’s going on?” and she replied “I just lost my third patient today!” The impact of her personal experience stuck with me. Even now, looking back, I can’t help but think how difficult a day it must have been for her.

Until that moment, my only experience with nursing had been as a patient. Seriously injured while serving on active duty, it was a nurse who saw me first and it was a nurse who discharged me from the hospital. It was a nurse who was responsible for all of my care. Like an air traffic controller, it was a nurse who coordinated my care as well as the care of many others.

The Most Overwhelming Parts of Nursing 

What I didn’t know at the time, but more than a decade later I would learn that the most overwhelming parts of nursing are the constant system failures. More than 30 percent of nursing time is spent hunting, fetching, and clarifying work not patient care. This is not the cause of any one person or processes, patient care has just evolved this way over time.

Fast forward more than decade and those experiences of stress and disappointment still exist for nurses. The reality here is that Health Care Organizations/Hospitals (HCO’s) function in a way that requires nurses to focus more of their limited time and attention diagnosing systems needs rather than focusing on patients care. Nurses scrambling for linen, supplies, equipment, or waiting to clarify a medication prescription are just a few examples. It’s all the unrelated system needs and its failures, not patient care, that adds real cost. Overburdened, a single nurse could be caring for as many as five to six patients struggling in a system that’s failing him/her.

Between 2000-2007 Healthcare Spending Grew at Nearly 6%/Year

In recent years, the cost of healthcare has gotten a great deal of attention and with good reason. Between 2000 and 2007, healthcare spending grew at nearly six percent per year, a much steadier growth rate than inflation or wage growth. Future healthcare costs has even been a security concern–increases in healthcare spending are and will increasingly take money away from military readiness. Many scandalous stories about the costs of healthcare have been told. And while we share Americans’ outrage at the cost of healthcare, there is some good news on the cost front: healthcare spending has been leveling off in recent years.

The Real Scandal of Healthcare

Progress on the cost of healthcare notwithstanding, there is a serious scandal in healthcare–the toll that healthcare takes on the people who deliver it. The burdens of regulation, cost reductions, and quality initiatives piled onto nurses and other clinicians are undeniable. The biggest current and future risk to health care is shortages of nurses and doctors. Especially in nursing, “there is growing evidence that the job people are asked to do is unreasonable and consequently moving people out of the profession”; emerging shortages are weighing down further the workload and feasibility of already overworked doctors and nurses.

In a recent study of forty hospital units, more than one third of nurses reported that they intended to leave their position within the next year; sighting emotional exhaustion and lack of personal accomplishment, two key indicators of nurse-burnout. “And as growing evidences has shown, nurse-burnout dramatically influences how satisfied patients are with their care.”

The performance of nurses and their impact on quality is determined by many factors. 

In the end, though, all research on the quality of nursing care either concludes the absolute necessity of support departments providing nurses with what they need, or assumes that these departments will do so. Put another way, treating nurses as customers is at the heart of all work on the quality of patient care by nurses.

Efficiency–how hospitals must operate–will loom large as the Affordable-Care-Act (ACA) is rolled out and sequestration cuts continue. Efficiency will equal profitability; without it continued financial pressures will mount. Leaving only two choices for HCO’s/Hospital; open or closed!

– See more at: http://www.nursetogether.com/reflection-of-our-healthcare-system#sthash.EYGofURy.qUqs91r1.dpuf