What’s the #1 attribute that helped you get where you are in your career?
This is a question Forbes writer Christine Perkett, gave13 successful women.
- a sense of adventure
- learning to write
- physical energy
- being relentless
- tenacity (again)
One Thing That Got Me Here: Tips From Successful Women In Business, Music, Technology, Culinary Arts And More
Here is some fresh bright wisdom we can all learn something from:
All of these ladies inspire me – and I believe they’ll inspire you to chase your dreams, combine business savvy with your passion, and in general, live a “go for it” life – despite what advertisers, men and the rest of the world try to tell you what you can or cannot do. One common theme you’ll see? Do. Not. Give. Up.
What’s the #1 attribute that helped you get where you are in your career?
This week’s Happiness At Work Edition #83 collection features a special section of stories about creativity.
Our lead story offers some really helpful ideas about the link between creativity and continuous learning, and how we can keep this alive and happening in our organisations, and for ourselves too.
BY KEVIN WASHBURN
Creativity. The word stirs and scares us. We associate it with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Barrie’s Peter Pan, Botticelli’s Temptations of Christ, and other incomparable artistic achievements. But creativity empowers more than art; it is found wherever success and effectiveness thrive, and in organisations characterised by a learning mindset…
We don’t have to be Beethoven to allow creativity to help us and our organisations produce exceptional results. As with many things, how we think, how we approach our work, and how we use our resources determines our continued vitality…
Dis- & Re-
Creativity arises from a readiness to dis- and re-assemble. Researcher and author Nancy Andreasen suggests this willingness is key to creative thinking: “…during the creative process the brain begins by disorganizing, making links between shadowy forms of objects or symbols or words or remembered experiences that have not been previously linked. Out of this disorganization, self-organization eventually emerges and takes over in the brain. The result is a completely new and original thing: a mathematical function, a symphony, or a poem.” Creative thinkers eagerly break apart entities—both concrete and conceptual—and reassemble the pieces in new ways to craft or express something in a novel way…
Such readiness in practicing professionals keeps individuals and organizations growing. Healthy institutions know what works today may not work tomorrow. When results from the status quo diminish, a readiness to dis- and re-assemble is a positive vital sign.
Working for the New
Disassembling may reveal a need for new tactics rather than a restructuring of established practices. Perspective, more than any other factor, influences the success of new ideas. When individuals possess a willingness to work on establishing something new, results can exceed expectations…
Organizations with learning mindsets keep what works while learning new routes to increased effectiveness. They have a willingness to work for something new.
Equipping & Enabling
Growth is free, but sparking it often requires investing. Organizations treasuring a learning mindset devote resources to equipping and enabling their most valuable assets: their people. Failing to devote time, energy, and yes, money, to professional development indicates an institution in decline. While professional growth can and should be a personal pursuit, it is beneficial for us to be challenged by others, by individuals we may not encounter via social media or even books and graduate classes. These sparks can move minds, making new solutions and new approaches more likely.
Here are 7 more stories we think you might like to know about:
By Leo Babauta
We all procrastinate, and by and large, we all know the solutions to our procrastination…
…clarify what task is most important, clear away everything but this more important task, clarify my motivations for this task, break it down into something smaller and easier if I feel difficulty.
These aren’t hard solutions.
But they don’t work unless you’re aware of what you’re doing.
You can’t step back to clarify what your Most Important Tasks are unless you realize you’re procrastinating in the first place. You can’t break a task into small steps unless you realize you’re dreading the task. You can’t clear away distractions unless you realize you’ve been following the urge to go to these distractions.
Awareness is everything with procrastination. The problem isn’t finding solutions to procrastination — it’s being aware of what’s going on in the first place.
Once we know what’s happening, the fixes are (fairly) easy.
The problem isn’t just being aware of what’s going on — it’s remembering to be aware. This remembering is what mindfulness is about. Too often we forget to be aware.
So let’s talk about the awareness of what’s going on when we procrastinate, and then how to remember
Awareness of What’s Going On
So what’s going on when we procrastinate? Try these:
- Following urges to distraction. We get the habitual urge to check email or social media or news. Or we get the urge to go to something easier, more comfortable. The urges can be beat if we are aware they’re happening.
- Dreading hard tasks. Our minds tend to focus on the hard parts of tasks that we’re procrastinating on. Without thinking too much about them, we label these tasks as hard, scary, overwhelming, time-consuming. If we’re aware of this, we can solve each of these problems — hard tasks can be broken into easier ones.
- Fear. Procrastination is often about fear — fear of failure, fear of success, self-doubts. But we don’t often know that this fear is even there — we just act on the fear. Fears, once we’re aware of them, can be beaten by the light of day. When we see fears out in the open, in the light, we can see they’ve been overblown in our minds. The worst-case scenario of failure is often not that bad when we really think about it.
- Not being motivated. Lots of times we forget our motivation for doing a hard task. Why are we putting ourselves through this suffering? It’s way easier to put it off and do other “important” things instead. But when we remind ourselves of our motivation, we can focus. So we have to be aware that our motivation isn’t clear, or that we’ve forgotten what that motivation is in the face of discomfort.
- Not being clear on priorities. What tasks are more important? It’s hard to know when you’re caught up in the flow of things, just doing things left and right, quickly switching between tasks, and so on. Everything seems important. But when we step back and think about what matters most, what will make the most difference in the world and in our lives, we can see what we need to focus on, to make time for. We can’t step back unless we’re aware that we’re getting caught up in less important tasks.
- Compulsively checking things. Often we compulsively check email, social media, blogs, news sites, etc. We have those tabs open all the time and go and check them every few minutes. Why? What need are we fulfilling? Often it’s a need to be up-to-date on everything, a fear that we might miss something. And often it’s just the temporary pleasure of getting something new in our inboxes, of finding something interesting/pleasurable.
These are some of the more common examples of what’s going on when we procrastinate. But how do we become aware? How do we remember to be aware?
How to Remember
The problem with remembering to be aware is that we get caught up in our moment-to-moment actions. Once we open a computer, for example, a series of habitual responses kicks in and we’re suddenly in the deep end. It could be hours before we come up for air and realize we’ve been procrastinating.
So what we need are a set of tools for remembering.
Here are the ones that tend to work for me:
- Recognition of harm. The first thing you need to admit is that the procrastinating is actually doing bad things to you — if we think it’s not a big problem, we won’t take any of the other steps listed below. So what harm is the procrastination causing? Well, it might be stopping you from achieving your dreams or big goals, from pushing your boundaries and learning new things. It might be causing you anxiety, and making your work suffer.
- Commitment. Making a commitment to being aware is a great tool for remembering. What kind of commitment? You can write it on a piece of paper and look at it every morning. Or tell someone else about it. Post it on your blog or Twitter. Have someone check on you weekly. Whatever you do, commit as seriously as you can.
- Setting intentions. As you start an activity, like opening your email or starting to write something, or even opening your computer or starting your day, pause to think about what your intention is with that activity. Make an intention to be mindful and notice your procrastination. Setting intentions doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll actually achieve what you set out to do, but it helps. And it helps you to learn to get better at that with practice.
- Reminders. Every hour or two, have a reminder that helps you to check in to see if your actions match your intention, to remember to be aware of what’s been going on with your procrastination.
- Recognize signals. There are signs that you’re procrastinating — anxiety about your tasks, compulsively checking things, a rising urge to go do something other than the present task. These signs might be physical (tightness in your chest, for example) or they might be certain actions (checking email) — but you can learn to recognize them with time. They are flags, waving and telling you that something is going on. Notice the flags, and check in to see what’s going on.
These aren’t things you can master in one day. They take practice, and they take commitment. But if you can solve the mindfulness problem, procrastination becomes a much more manageable beast.
Leading or participating in a change is likely one of your biggest challenges in 2014. Here are ten trends that will cause waves this year. Ask yourself:
1) What can I learn about this trend?
2) What opportunities does it present in my organization?, and
3) How can I incorporate this trend in our change today?
Trends in What We Want:
1. Desire for Meaning
Meaning and purpose build a lasting commitment to change—not just compliance or reaching a metric. Meaning is defined as a commitment to something bigger than self. Today there is a growing emphasis on ‘what’s in it for us’ more than just ‘what’s in it for me’ which can have a very short shelf life.
2. The Real Deal
In our over-advertised, Photo-shopped, create-your-brand culture, it is expected that ‘who you are’ and ‘who you say you are’ align. Authenticity—the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intention – is essential for anyone building commitment to a change. It’s also an essential ingredient in finding meaning in our work.
3. Fast and Bite-sized
There is growing evidence that social media and changing technology are rewiring our brains with shorter attention spans than ever before. And, the exploding trend toward mobile means we are engaged all of the time, but not for long. The forty page presentations and lengthy emails aren’t the answer.
4. Customised By Me For Me
We design our own car features and phones, custom build athletic shoes, and create a display of our unique interests on Pinterest. This growing trend drives the shift from “one size fits all”, or your market segment, to “one size fits me”. Individuals want the bigger meaning, but the application must be individualized to stick.
5. Grapevine Becomes Primary
The grapevine, or word of mouth, is becoming the communication channel of choice. Research tells us that we listen to the recommendations of those we know much more than to campaigns or packaged communications. According to an Ernst & Young study, “Peer recommendations—not paid-for advertising, whether on social media platforms or in print—are what count.” Your change needs a word of mouth strategy.
6. Retro Communication
As we spend more hours in front of a screen, the more unique human interaction becomes. We use technology for convenience, speed, efficiency and even cost. Human interaction can be simple or obvious, yet is often forgotten. Direct human interaction is a key differentiator that drives engagement and positive word of mouth. Know when technology works for you and when it gets in your way.
Trends that Affect How We Work Together:
7. Upside-Down Hierarchy
Social media has had a dramatic effect on leveling the playing field by allowing anyone to have a voice, platform and a following. Our stories and information don’t need to be filtered through an “expert” or an official source. The hierarchy and the command-and-control environment in business are giving way to a culture with more flexible and collaborative leadership unrelated to title or years of experience. An organic, flexible change plan is essential.
8. Peer Power
Crowd funding allows anyone to be an investor. Companies like Lego are crowdsourcing ideas for new designs from customers and there are increasing avenues to share our assets with each other. A self-created group can solve, invest and share without a traditional hierarchy. Find areas of your change that can be crowd sourced and designed by a broader group and then act upon it. You’ll drive up engagement.
9. Virtual Reality
Technology continues to enable a new era of virtual collaboration and sharing. Virtual collaboration from anywhere in the world can be a strategic advantage in your change rather than a challenge to be managed. While not new, the virtual opportunity is so often underplayed.
10. Demographic Tsunami
In the four generation workplace, millennials will make up approximately 36 percent of the 2014 U.S. workforce and become almost half by 2020. Boomers are retiring at record numbers. For the first time a generation is entering the workforce engaged in technology well beyond what their employers use today. We all know this demographic change is upon us, yet are we redefining how we start and lead changes as a result? Our success will depend on it.
What’s the first question exchanged when we meet someone new? You guessed it:“So… What do you do?”
In our culture, what you do for a living is inextricably tied to society’s perception of your worth. A stable job with a good salary is highly regarded, but we often look less lovingly upon the self-trained artist or entrepreneur who gives blood, sweat, and tears to make their vision possible.
Why is this? Is the number on your paycheck the true meaning of success?
Instead of focusing on money or power, let’s focus on what’s fundamental: happiness and a sense of purpose. These two elements drive us to do more than status or material gain.
People don’t succeed by migrating to a particular industry or job. They thrive by getting curious about answering questions about who they really are and doing work they truly love. In doing so, they unleash unthinkable creative and productive energy. To truly be happy, our work must have meaning.
This is not a new idea. For decades, psychologists have known that humans are more motivated by personally meaningful goals than by external rewards such as money or status. Put simply: When you love what you do, it shows. You’re lit up by your passion, you put in extra effort, you’re a source of great ideas. Others envy your confidence.
Remember that 95% of the time finding oneself doesn’t happen in one major epiphany. Clarity comes in fits and spurts. Passion evolves.
All of us are born with innate strengths and aptitudes. Nurture your interests and have patience when finding ways to exercise passion for something — even if you don’t see a way to make money from it yet. Be persistent and remain open to the possibilities.
The first step is to simply explore your whims — those little sparks of interest you’re not sure what to make of yet. To help you figure out what you find meaningful and inspiring in your life, try this exercise:
Get out some blank paper or open a fresh computer file. Write for a minimum of five minutes straight. Do not censor yourself. Write freely. Jot down whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly or unformed the idea seems.
- Name the top 3 peak experiences in your life. What do they have in common? What does this tell you about yourself?
- What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
- What are your strengths and values?
- If money weren’t a problem, what would you spend your every day doing?
- What would you be doing if you knew you couldn’t fail?
- What’s your favorite way to spend your free time?
- What have you done in your life that you are especially proud of?
- What activity are you doing when it feels like time just flies by?
- When do you feel the most alive?
- What kind of impact do you want to have?
- What kind of professional and personal breakthroughs do you want to experience?
- What are things (a language, a sport) you want to learn?
- How do you envision you will leave your goal or legacy on people’s lives?
- What are you excited, happy, and enjoying most in your liferight now?
Life isn’t predictable. Often the path to success isn’t clear-cut. The real secret to success is embracing life’s twists and turns. By dispelling limiting beliefs, you’re igniting a fire to help your interests grow and thrive. So the next time someone asks you, “What do you do for a living,?” you won’t have to know the final answer, but you’ll already be taking the next step.
Try to divide your employees into two groups: those who enjoy their annual performance reviews, and those who don’t. Turns out you can’t do that–they all hate performance reviews.
The study suggests that employers should realize that nobody, regardless of how they say they like to learn, is all that happy to be critiqued, so employers might consider framing their feedback in a more positive light…
You might also consider offering solutions and avoiding negative terms (like “don’t” or “shouldn’t”) in your feedback.
The results of the study should not cause you to devalue feedback. In fact, a Gallup study found that employees who receive negative feedback are 20 times more likely to be engaged than employees who receive no feedback at all.
A more realistic approach might just be to recognize and accept that no one’s going to jump for joy over a performance review. That doesn’t preclude looking for ways to improve the process, though, such as by reviewing teams rather than individuals.
The word “yes” leads to happiness.
The word “no” leads to success.
“Yes” creates opportunity. Saying yes a lot makes more things happen.
“No” creates focus.
Adam Grant has days where the door is closed, the answer is no, and important work gets done.
Other days are designated for new initiatives, helping others, and the answer is yes, yes, yes.
There’s a level of trial and error to see what works for you personally but this type of deliberate split is the first step to work/life balance…
And here is a lovely 2minute video that might just breathe a little extra happiness into your day (even is we’re not at the beach on holiday).
You will find all of these stories and more in this week’s new Happiness At Work collection