Category Archives: gratitude

Love and Work

Today is Valentine’s Day, when we think a lot about love. Most of the focus is on romantic love, hearts and flowers, and all that.

Let’s take a moment to recognize another aspect of love: the love we express when we work.
 
Gifts from the Heart
No matter what form your work takes, when you show up and contribute energy, smarts, and time, you are sharing your uniqueness.
 
You may think of your value in terms of the tasks you perform. Yes, that contribution is important.
 
How you do those tasks and interact with people is at least as important. You have a direct effect on the well-being of those around you. Perhaps you wouldn’t say you love every one of those people. Just the same, they feel your presence — and your love.
 
Even better, what is good for you, i.e., whatever nurtures your soul, gives you joy, makes your day, is also good for the people around you.

Doing Work You Love
A real luxury in life is getting to do work that you love. Those moments of being fully absorbed, creating results, helping people, learning, succeeding, and being recognized, are sources of motivation.
 
If this is a frequent experience for you, congratulations.
 
If you don’t have much of that, guess what? It is up to you to get creative in your career. Whether by enhancing what you are doing now, or following your heart to make a change, or finding a way to do what you love outside of work, you have to express your gift.
 
An Underrated Resource
For some bizarre reason, work cultures often undermine or discount the gifts of the heart.
 
HR manager and author Tony DeBlauwe has identified a condition he calls EAD, or Employee Adaptive Displacement, which names the hidden demoralization of many people at work. You can read his recent blog post and download the full paper for more of Tony’s insight.
 
These workers’ hearts are not engaged. Not only are they unhappy, they are not performing at their potential. 
 
Engaging the heart has many benefits. The Institute of Heartmath offers statistics proving that the heart has many times more electrical current than the brain.
 
They and others also show that appreciation and gratitude reduce stress and increase health at work. There are lots of reasons for your left brain to buy into the love thing. Today, use the excuse that it is Valentine’s Day!
 

A Round of Appreciation

Why not add a few ounces of appreciation for yourself and others today?
 
Start by recognizing the commitment it takes for you to do your work, to offer your skills, and to help the team.
Give yourself some appreciation for that!
 
Look around, either in person or in your mind, at the people in your work life. Is it not some form of love that they express each day?
 
It may seem strange to think of our presence and our contributions as love.  Try putting on that filter and experience the giving and receiving of love that constitutes work. Open your heart to the possibilities.
 
Share the love this Valentine’s Day.  Namaste
 
(You can read the Messenger, including Why Influence? at http://emailbrain.com/new/viewnewsletter2.aspx?SiteID=9958&SID=1&NewsletterID=1065542)

Gratitude and Renewal

Lagging behind Canada by more than a month, we in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. For most, it’s a big family, food, and football day.

It’s also a time to appreciate the good in our lives. It turns out that we are making ourselves happier and more effective when we are grateful.

The Rutgers University newsletter tells us that “Expressing or feeling genuine appreciation can have a powerful influence on emotional outlook, psychological well-being, interpersonal bonds and even problem-solving, according to Rutgers psychologist Nancy Fagley, who conducts research on appreciativeness.”

An important point in the article is that appreciation can be learned. We need to exercise those muscles of appreciation to counteract the tendency to take things and people for granted.

Whether with family and friends or by yourself, you can renew your feelings of gratitude in many ways.

Here are some ideas:

1. The gratitude list. Start a list of what you appreciate. Keep it at hand for reading and for adding more.
2. Think of a few things you are grateful for before going to sleep at night. This seems to increase a sense of satisfaction with life.
3. Start a round of appreciation at the Thanksgiving table. Everyone says something for which they are thankful this year.
4. Write a thank-you note. When was the last time you did that without being obligated to?
5. When someone thanks you, rather than quickly dismissing it with an “It was nothing,” take it in, savor it, and mean it when you say, “You are welcome.”

Writing this reminds me of how much I appreciate my family and friends, the place that I live, the work I get to do, and you, for taking the time to read the Messenger.

I wish you time for gratitude and renewal throughout the holiday season.

A Brief Lull? Use It!

I was inspired by a couple of blogs on what to do during boring meetings or conference calls. I agree with the writer that if you don’t need to be there, you don’t need to be there. Solve that.

Even in worthwhile, non-boring meetings there are lulls. At a conference, waiting for a talk to begin. A break between phone meetings. The time to sit and think while taking a bus, train, or plane. An alternative to fretting while waiting for that slow download.

The BNET blogger, Laura Vanderkam, got me started with one of her suggestions for a meeting: “Look around the room and think of one genuinely positive thought about each of the participants.” I like that one. You will feel better and you can bet you will have better rapport in your interactions.

You are an energy source. You can take that moment of lull to be aware of the energy you are holding. If it is not what you want to feel or share, take the moment to breathe, listen to your inner dialogue and notice your mental images.

Ask what is needed to shift your mindset. Maybe what will come up is a problem to solve or an irritant you can re-frame or address. There may not be an immediate answer. At least you can label and file it for creative solutions later. Then free your mind to be in the present.

It’s true that changing the inner conversation produces a change in results. Nonetheless, I sometimes find I can’t get much change working at the level of my conscious internal dialogue.

In moments of quiet I may be able to pick up the smaller voice, the little nag or self-criticism that is so familiar I don’t even notice it. Catching that thought during a lull in what I’m doing can lead to a hidden treasure in the form of old programming that I am ready to release. Later I can take time to journal or reflect or counsel with someone to help me let go of the deeper self-sabotage altogether.

Here are a few other handy fallback thoughts for when there’s a lull.

Gratitude List. What am I grateful for today? Right now?

Top Priority. What is my main focus in work or personal life? Keep it in mind in random moments.

Messages to send. To whom do I want to send good wishes, a thank you, just a thought?

Intuition. Open to the sense of knowing, receptive to a deeper awareness. What idea or wisdom comes in as a thought or image? Maybe jot it down or ask further questions and let answers arise.

And the best of all: just breathe and be present. Enjoy being alive in this moment. Put attention on what you are experiencing with all your senses. Hush the voice that says you should be doing something more “productive.”

A brief lull gives us a chance to remember that, as a favorite prayer says, “In this moment, all of my needs are met.” Ahhhhh.