Entries Tagged as Corporate Training

How Will You Grow This Year?

January 23, 2017 ·

According to StatisticBrain.com, in 2015 the top New Year’s resolutions were: to lose weight, to get organized, to spend less and save more, to enjoy life, to stay fit and healthy, to learn something new, to quit smoking, to help others, to fall in love, and to spend time with family.

Do you see something missing there? Where are to career-related goals? In making plans and setting goals for the upcoming year, we ought not to overlook creating resolutions for how we spend more than a quarter of our time. If we are looking to improve our personal lives through resolutions and goals, we should definitely put some thought into improving our professional lives.

So don’t just go back to work right after the New Year’s celebrations and then keep on doing the same thing. Think about what you want to accomplish—increasing your client list or hitting a higher bracket in sales. Think about what you would like to happen—start that side business you’ve been thinking of, that big promotion, or even getting an award for your work.

Like personal resolutions, professional resolutions can be vague—attract new clients—or specific—attract two new clients a month. Just making a resolution, or setting a goal, will start you on your journey. However, remember the more specific a goal with the more specific steps of achieving it, the more likely you will be able to succeed.

Things to think about in setting career-related goals:

  • What do you want to accomplish this year?
  • How do you want to grow in your field?
  • Where do you want to be at the end of December?
  • What steps can you take to get to where you want to be?
  • What milestones will help you get to where you want to be?

Get those goals and resolutions ready because there is no better time than at the start of a new year to begin making your goals into reality.

Tags: Corporate Training · Leadership Development · Personal Development

Communication and Compassion

August 15, 2016 ·

In last month’s blog, we talked about how being “professional” at work doesn’t mean that we can’t also show compassion. Often times, at our place of employment, we try to strip all emotion from our work. But humans are full of emotion all the time, so disciplining ourselves to be less compassionate and loving serves to keep us isolated in a place we spend so much of our lives.

Yes, it can be difficult to be understanding and show compassion to our colleagues. We spend at least 25% of our time during any given week with a large group of people that we didn’t choose and with whom we have to work closely. There are people that we like more than others—sometimes making true friends—but there are also people that are tough to get along with, making it hard to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

This is where professional compassion can be most useful—it opens up channels of communication with our colleagues and helps us to understand where they are coming from. Susan Jeffers wrote in Dare to Connect, “What creates conflict are the differing needs, expectations, perceptions and experiences of everyone involved.” By being in contact with our emotions, by not being afraid to try to empathize with all of our colleagues, we can be a better co-worker and a more productive employee.

The first step towards achieving understanding is to know that we don’t know, and can’t know in many cases, what other people are feeling or thinking.

“In our effort to convert conflict into discovery, expansion, and cooperation, it really helps to see ourselves as beings with very limited vision. By definition, we can see the world through our own eyes...and no one else's. That's pretty limited! Conflict simply signifies that those with whom we have disagreements see with different eyes.”

Trying to at least acknowledge that your colleagues have individual lives, individual fears and goals, will go a long way in helping to understand where they are coming from. The next step is to really listen.

“Understand we don't have to end up agreeing with each other.  But in the process, we learn what the world looks like, from different points of view. So LISTEN AND LEARN is the key to using conflict as discovery. The more we hear and the more we see, the more we allow into our internal computer, and the more creative we become—and the more empathy we have for other positions, thus allowing connection to occur.”

Each of these steps you can undertake on your own to improve both your work experience and that of your colleagues. Many times, those colleagues you already find recalcitrant will not be affected by your effort to understand and listen. If you are reaching out with love and compassion and they can’t see it, it is a poor reflection on them, not on you. By reaching out to everyone with the same level of empathy, you are creating a workspace that is supportive and productive for those around you and, more importantly, yourself. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Personal Development

Genuinely Contributing to the Workplace

November 23, 2015 ·

“If we are constantly expecting, we will spend a great deal of our lives disappointed that the world isn’t treating us right.” - Susan Jeffers

We all go to work each day with the basic expectation that we will be compensated for our efforts. Yet how many of us go to work each day and expect praise or acknowledgement, attention, or returned favors? We get in the habit, whether we like our job or not, to expect that when we contribute to the company or business we will get a return above and beyond compensation. We aren’t giving because it is the right thing to do. We are giving from a mentality of “what’s in it for me?”

This is a fearful way to approach a work environment. Always looking at how your actions will benefit yourself is an act of fear. People who feel this way will never be able to genuinely contribute, to their jobs or their personal lives. They are filled with a sense of scarcity, as if there isn’t enough to go around and if they share what they have, they fell they will be left with nothing. The fear is that there is not enough love, not enough money, not enough praise, not enough attention—simply not enough.

As Susan Jeffers wrote, “Usually fear in one area of our lives generalizes, and we become closed down and protective in many areas of our lives. Fearful people can be visualized as crouched and hugging themselves.”

This fearfulness can manifest in the workplace as:

  • Successful business people needing their boss’s approval
  • Coworkers that seem to be competing with everyone
  • Company executives who make harmful, irresponsible decisions
  • Persons who have to control everything down to the tiny details
  • Coworkers who always expect the “favor” to be returned

These people are all operating, in some way, out of a sense of fear for their own survival. As Susan said, “They all are, in effect, crouched and withholding inside.”

She wrote, “If you recognize yourself in this description, join the rest of us. There are few in our society who have actually been taught the secrets of growing up and giving. We have been taught the illusion of giving, but not the actuality of giving. As we have been taught to be careful in terms of our physical safety, we have also been taught not to let anyone con us or take advantage of us. As a result, unless we get something back, we feel used.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you feel as if you are doing extra to contribute in order to get “paid back” in some way, then you need to step away and think about why. What need are trying to fulfill? When you address that part of you, you will be able to turn off the negative mind-set of “what’s in it for me?” and become a person who acts on “what can I do to help?”

Learning to give genuinely is a lesson easily learned but hard to put into practice. Yet it is a reachable goal. One that is very much worth reaching for. 

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Living in the Now

November 04, 2015 ·

“If you see your tasks in life as drudgery, then they are drudgery. On the other hand, if you see them as an opportunity, then your tasks in life will take on brighter meaning.” - Susan Jeffers

A few months ago on this blog, we talked about the “When…Then” type of life. As Susan Jeffers described it in End the Struggle and Dance With Life, “we get in the habit, from a very early age, of looking forward to the big events in our lives…We expect to find happiness only in these brief, but exciting, events. We tell ourselves that when we go on vacation then we’ll be happy. Or when we retire then we’ll pursue those hobbies we’ve always wanted to do.”

The way to counteract the “When…Then” lifestyle is to be mindful of what is going on around you every second of the day. Rather than watching the clock tick away until “quitting time,” think about how you can make each moment count by giving it your full attention.

To follow-up, we wanted to give you a practical example of how this approach worked for one person. Tracy was working at a job in marketing for a non-profit company. It was not a job that she wanted, she had aspirations in a different industry, but she had taken it because she needed a job and an acquaintance, one of the managers, desperately needed staff. After nearly a year at the job, she was miserable. Her misery isolated her, keeping her from making friends with her colleagues or even noticing that there might be a friend among them. For their part, her colleagues kept their distance, everybody too busy to try and befriend someone with a miserable personality.

Then, getting tired of being unhappy, Tracy signed up for a self-improvement course. She shortly discovered that it wasn’t her job that was making her miserable, it was her own attitude towards it. Tricia vowed to make changes in her life and over the next few months really worked to change her attitude.

The job she had wasn’t the one she wanted, but it was a good job nonetheless. Tracy found that the part of her job that she liked—event planning—was similar to the career she really wanted. She put her best effort into learning all she could about that part of her job, while making an effort to participate more in meetings and in casual conversation with her colleagues.

Her transformation was amazing. She became an integral part of the company’s team and she began to really enjoy the work she was doing to support the company. Work was no longer eight hours of drudgery, but an experience of growth. When an opportunity came along in the field she had originally wanted, she had more than enough experience to go for it, and when she left the company, she did so knowing she had contributed positively.

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Change Is Scary, But You Don’t Have to Be Afraid

October 12, 2015 ·

Change can be scary for everyone, but it is often even more frightening when it happens in the workplace. So many of us get used to our “daily grind” that when something happens to change it we find our fear levels amped up and rising, even if we are not under direct threat of losing our position. Whether it’s a company buyout, new management, or just a minor change in staffing, the uncertainty that comes with change can make us feel threatened. Yet fear will not help us do our jobs better. We are more likely to undermine our good intentions and efforts when working under the burden of fear, leading us to feel powerless.

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers offers a number of exercises that can help us feel noticeably more powerful when confronted with changes to our work environment. Adapted from those exercises are five that can help us deal positively, rather than fearfully, with workplace change.

  1. When facing a change at work we are often holding on to a “picture” of what we think it should be. What image are you holding onto? Be as honest with yourself as you possibly can. When you are aware that you are seeing things as you wish them, you can stop yourself to take another look to how things really are.
  2. Be mindful of all the options you have during the course of a given day. When uncertainty begins to overwhelm you, think instead of all the possible ways you can act and feel about the situation. Be conscious of the alternatives available to you. Make it a game. In no way should you put yourself down for being upset. Those worries are a great clue as to where you need to begin changing your thinking.
  3. Take a pen and paper, or open a new document on your computer, and make a list of all the choices available to you. In every situation there are at least thirty ways to change your point of view. Writing them down helps you to clearly see all angles, giving you the opportunity to choose the most auspicious mindset.
  4. Notice how you talk with coworkers. If your conversation includes a lot of complaining and blaming, think about ways you can communicate your opinions without being negative. If you find that some colleagues are continually negative and unsupportive, try to avoid them, if possible.
  5. Look for any gifts you are receiving from the change you’re experiencing. It may not seem like there are any, but if you look at things differently you may be surprised. Think about it: you may be garnering further career experience, maybe you could come up for promotion earlier than expected, or maybe you’re just being given the opportunity to really evaluate what you want out of your career. Any happening can be a gift if you look for it.

Change is scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Recognize your fears and then turn your mind to more constructive thinking. It may be hard to put your worries to the side, but far more constructive to find the optimistic aspects of any situation.

The important thing to remember is that change is not the end of the world—it never has been. Change is really about new beginnings. New starts may be a little scary, but they are also exciting, giving us the chance to stretch outside our old limits. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

What Can Happen When the Bottom Line is Expanded

September 16, 2015 ·

In the last blog, we talked about making room in your work goals to be a more connected coworker. In this blog, we want to show you an example of how it can work. This is an example taken from Susan Jeffers book Dare to Connect.

In one of my workshops, I instructed all my students to try expanding the bottom line and participating full-out in their jobs for one entire week. I asked them to “act-as-if” their actions really made a difference to everyone around them. The key question they were to ask themselves during the week was:

“If I were really important here, what would I be doing?”

And then they were to set about doing it. Peggy resisted the assignment. She lamented that she hated her job in a public relations firm and was just biding her time until she found a new one. Each day was pure drudgery as she watched the clock slowly move through the eight painful hours. With great skepticism, she finally agreed to try it for just one week, to expand her bottom line and commit 100% to her job, knowing that she really counted.

The following week, as I watched Peggy walk into the room, I couldn’t believe the difference in her energy level. She reported the events of her week:

“My first step was to brighten up the dismal office with some plants and posters. I then started to really pay attention to the people I work with. If someone seemed unhappy, I asked if there was anything wrong and if I could help. If I went out for coffee, I always asked if there was anything I could bring back for the others. I complimented people. I invited two people for lunch. I told the boss something wonderful about one of my co-workers. (Usually I’m selling myself!)

Then I asked myself how I could improve things for the company itself. First I stopped complaining about the job—I realized I was such a nag! I became a self-starter and came up with a few very good ideas which I began implementing. Every day I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and I set about accomplishing them. I was really surprised by how much I could do in a day when I focused on what I was doing! I also noticed how fast the day goes by when I am involved. I put a sign on my desk that said, ‘If I were really important here, what would I be doing?’ And every time I started to fall back into my old patterns of boredom and complaining, the sign reminded me what I was supposed to be doing. That really helped.”

What a difference a simple expansion of the bottom line made in just one short week! It made Peggy feel connected to everyone and everything around her—including the organization itself.

It’s important to note that her commitment didn’t mean she had to stay at this job forever; it only meant that while she was there it was in everyone’s best interest, particularly her own, to create a caring environment. Who wants to spend their days in an energy filled with alienation, boredom and negativity? (I would find it strange if anyone answered YES to that question!) It is also worth noting that with such positive energy, the likelihood of Peggy getting a great recommendation and finding a new, more challenging job would be greatly increased!

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development

Expanding the Bottom Line

August 31, 2015 ·

The “bottom line” is a very important concept in business—it signifies the particular end that justifies all the means. If you ask most people to identify what is presently the bottom line in their work world, they would most likely answer, “Getting Ahead.”

This is really a shortened version of “Getting Ahead—usually of someone else in terms of profit, status, and/or power.” This does not make for great work connections or good relations with coworkers. But, what if we expanded our bottom line to be, “Getting Ahead and caring about coworkers”?

As we add a level of connectedness to our bottom line, our purpose is greatly expanded. As Susan Jeffers said in Dare to Connect, “We can begin to bridge the gap with our coworkers as we start to see them as people just like us, people who would welcome our caring and consideration.”

It may seem that “Getting Ahead” and “Caring About Coworkers” are conflicting concepts, but they don’t have to be. The actions and attitudes that come from the narrow bottom line of “Getting Ahead” are very different from those that come from the expanded bottom line of “Getting Ahead and Caring About Coworkers.” It changes our thinking from You OR Me to You AND Me.

Thinking along the lines of the expanded bottom line, ask yourself:

  • Am I a positive force in at work?
  • Do I help people feel good about themselves by building them up or do I pull them down by being judgmental and critical?
  • Do I offer my help to those who could use it or do I withhold, out of fear they may get ahead of me?
  • Am I a taker, or do I also give a lot to those around me?
  • Do I show genuine interest in the lives of my co-workers, or do I act as if I couldn’t care less?

When we answer these questions truthfully, we can begin to adjust our thinking towards working with others instead of just trying to get ahead. Expanding the bottom line can not only make work more productive, but more interesting and pleasurable too. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Leadership Development · Susan Jeffers

The “When…Then” of Working Life

August 17, 2015 ·

How much of your day do you spend working? A third? More? How much of your job do you like? Do you find yourself fantasizing about three-day weekends and your next vacation? Or do you put your nose to the grindstone in anticipation of the next bonus, raise, or maybe even promotion?

If you do, then you may be suffering from “When. . .Then” syndrome. You go through the motions now so that one day, later on, you will be happy. You put all your happiness on hold until those times when you have achieved some long, sought-after goal. When you go on vacation, then you will be happy. When you get that raise, then you’ll be happy.

But what about today? Why aren’t you happy today? The thing about our work, jobs, and careers is that not every moment is going to be fulfilling. Sometimes you have to sit through boring meetings and sometimes you have to do the filing. Just like at home you have to wash the dishes or mow the lawn.

Even though we all are saddled with duties that we feel are not fulfilling, there is no reason to look at them that way. Filing? A necessity, certainly, but also an opportunity to be organized and ready should you need any of that information. Another long meeting? Surely it’s not a waste of time when you are working towards keeping colleagues informed and working together to make the company work better.

Susan Jeffers promoted this policy after living many years with the “When…Then” syndrome. When she realized that living that way wasn’t making her happy she formulated this idea: “If you see your tasks in life as drudgery, then they are drudgery. On the other hand, if you see them as an opportunity, then your tasks in life will take on brighter meaning.”

Every task you do at work, everything you think of a chore, helps fulfill the needs of your job and the company. If you think about how much good each task means for your position, for your colleagues and bosses, and for yourself, it will help you feel more connected to each moment of the day. So rather than putting all your hopes into the “Then”, put your energy into appreciating what is going on in each moment of your day. Be mindful of what you are doing. By taking this more simple approach, you don’t have to wait for the “When”. For that time is now.

Susan said it best when she wrote:

We don't have to wait until we are old to gather the riches;
we can gather them every day of our lives.

Tags: Corporate Training · Individual Training · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Networking with “Everybody Training”

June 04, 2015 ·

Networking has become one of those things that nearly everyone has to do. Today’s business climate is based on connecting and sharing. Some people enjoy the interaction, and some do not, but most understand how important it is to connect to others in your field. However, the connections that we are making tend to be on a cursory level, keeping our interactions with others from going deeper.

How can we take our networking to a new level? Right now, we go into an event and shake as many hands and collect as many cards as possible. But, there is a better way to approach our networking opportunities.

As Susan Jeffers explained in her book Dare to Connect, we approach other people based on the idea of “What’s in it for me?” We think about meeting people who can further enhance our business and our careers. We think of it as a “me” opportunity. “What can I get out of it?” Therefore, any connections we make are tenuous at best.

Susan recommended that we change our thinking about meeting new people by re-educating ourselves with “Everybody Training.” In this exercise, we teach ourselves to not just think about our own needs (which excludes others) but to also think about the needs of those we are trying to connect with (which is inclusive). We need to train ourselves to think about how we can help the people we are networking with. We need to think about what we have to offer them, not just what we can get out of our interaction. Our thinking changes from “What can I get out of this?” to “What am I going to give?”

When we think in this way, networking becomes about building sincere and lasting business connections, not just a collection of business cards. And, in many ways, it makes approaching networking easier. If we aren’t so worked up with goals about how many connections we make or meeting the “right” people, networking becomes a more enjoyable enterprise. As Susan wrote:

Connection is made easier when we approach other people with the primary purpose of meeting the needs of other people.

Next time you go to a networking event, look at not only what you would like to get out of it, but also think about what you can offer to the people you meet. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Leadership Development

Letting Go of the End Product in Favor of the Process - Part 1

March 31, 2015 · 1 Comment

Most of our jobs are about goals, milestones, and deadlines. That is how projects are completed and products are launched. We dutifully work towards meeting our deadlines and goals. However, while working toward a specific goal, we often lose sight of the time and effort that go into it. The work feels like a burden that will only be relieved when the goal is met.

But the burden never really goes away. There will always be new goals and milestones and deadlines in a work environment. So, if you are planning to catch your breath or catch up when your objective is met, you will likely be disappointed. Another source of disappointment is if, after all your hard work, you miss your deadline, or the project falls apart, or the client rejects your proposal. What then? You will be facing frustration, fear, and sadness on top of the disappointment.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Outcomes don’t need to be the things that define us—in our working life or in our personal life. When so much of our working lives are dedicated to things being done on time and in a certain way, it can be difficult to look at your job and see things that aren’t goal related. We are taught from a very young age to achieve goals: studying for tests, working towards good grades, etc.

In only looking to the future outcome of our work, we may not be seeing all the good that is going on around us. Just like in school, where so much of our learning is in the interaction with our fellows or finding enjoyment in learning something new, at work there is comradery and friendship, there is satisfaction in efficiencies (not just in a job well done), there is pleasure in new ideas and creativity. Yet, how many of us take the time to appreciate those things?

“Stop and smell the roses” is an old cliché, but wise nonetheless. But for those of us in competitive work environments today, maybe we should change it to “Slow down and appreciate the little things.”

1 CommentTags: Corporate Training · Personal Development