Monthly Archives: July 2018

The happiness factor

 

My youngest child turned eight yesterday, and the unbridled joy that poured from her on her birthday was infectious. It was an understated but close family celebration, and she reveled in being the center of attention for an entire day. From presents to cake to games to photos, my daughter smiled and laughed and danced. It occurred to me that she was happy – spontaneously, effusively happy. It also occurred to me that the difference between children and most adults I know is not principally whether they are happier or not, it is that they don’t try to be happy. Happiness is a powerful emotion. It has been associated with having a healthier heart, a stronger immune system and a longer life. But the main reason we’re attracted to it is because it feels so good. That’s the reason it is the final objective of almost the entire bookshelf of the self-help industry: stronger relationships, more money, greater sense of purpose, higher success, a more desirable job – in one way or another these make us feel happy, at least for a period of time. It is also the reason that the self-help industry is worth more than $11 billion a year in the US alone, and the global depression drug market is poised to surge to $16.80 billion by 2020. Everyone is after the happy kick, whether they find it in a book, a podcast or a pill.

This is in the context of global increases in depression and anxiety, and what seems to be a growing aversion to not feeling good. We have come to regard emotions like sadness, anger and loneliness as ‘bad’. Undoubtedly, they don’t feel great, but just like all emotions they contain information that can be used to make better decisions. Writing off ‘negative’ feelings eliminates a large portion of the human spectrum of emotions, leaving us chasing a one-dimensional ‘happy’ version of life. And the chase itself is damaging, because in our achievement-obsessed culture happiness is frequently sold as a goal that needs to be attained. If you’re not attaining it and everyone else is – as appears to be the case every time you log onto social media – you must be a failure, which is generally how you end up feeling after an hour of looking at your friends’ holiday photos on facebook. And Martin Seligman – who’ll we’ll meet later – identified the risk of this constant sense of failure in his depression-related theory of Learned Helplessness: after enough conditioning in pain and suffering, human beings will begin to believe that they have no control over what happens to them, and will begin to assume helplessness.

Rather than a goal, happiness is a state – a composite of psychological, neurological, physiological and even spiritual elements, the blend of which varies from person to person and time to time. But, as Dr Rick Hanson proposes in his book Resilience, this changeable state can be made more of a habit by utilizing the brain’s dependent neuroplasticity. Proactively engaging in positive behaviour supports the creation and reinforcement of neural pathways that generate higher levels of wellbeing. Proactivity is an important part of this concept. As Stephen Covey points out,

‘[Proactivity] means more than merely taking initiative. It means that, as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.’

It’s an attitude that directly counters Learned Helplessness, which is why it is the cornerstone of Martin Seligman’s other great contribution to mental wellbeing: positive psychology. In his work on depression Seligman came to the view that modern psychology was too strongly focused on pathology and mental illness, and not focused enough on mental wellness. Basically, mental health practitioners were spending most of their time analyzing what was wrong, and not really looking at what was right. When Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1998 he used the opportunity to promote a new approach to psychology, one based on the positive, the uplifting and the inspiring. Sounds great, but what about the painful and the sad? Life isn’t just unicorns and rainbows. Positive psychology agrees, intentionally embracing the more difficult aspects of human experience, but granting them the weight they really deserve. Yes, things can be bad and it’s important to acknowledge that, but things are seldom as bad as we make them out to be and that’s important to acknowledge too.

Seligman’s perspective has become widely popular, not because it’s another feelgood fad aimed at denying the challenges of the human condition, but because it lends itself to practical and accessible long-term change. Rick Hanson’s work reveals that the cumulative effect of small habit changes can be profound and, to echo Viktor Frankl, the capacity for positive change resides in all humans. Yet, this is not the same as chasing happiness – this requires a willingness to be self-compassionate and accepting of what is, not an obsessive attachment to what could be.

Click here for a list of simple practices that help build emotional wellbeing.

Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash

 

Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Advertisements

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 51: Business renovation

adult back view beach calmness

Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

And now the days are hot. A mid-July heatwave brings quieter streets, a hazy calm, and the world at work is out of office.  But that’s just great for me. My work life balance just seems to be getting better. A run in the cool early morning. A call with coffee at 10.00.  Think-work on the laptop in the cool inside while the sun bakes outside, and fruit smoothie breaks in the garden.

I’m still not making any money and its two years now since the Mirror Mirror concept formed, yet I’m on a good track. And isn’t this work-life balance – and the quality, creativity, and productivity it brings – one of the reasons why I chose to become self-employed?

Ahh.

Continue reading

It takes a strong person to admit when help is needed!

Help you to succeed in life and work

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

By: Anja Uitdehaag

Brene Brown has found through her research that women tend to feel shame around the idea of being ‘never enough’… at home, at work, in bed, never pretty enough, never smart enough, never thin enough, never good enough…

Men tend to feel shame around the fear of being perceived as weak, or more academically, ‘fear of being called a pussy’.

Both sexes get trapped in the same box for different reasons.

If I ask for help…
I am not enough.

If I ask for help…
I’m weak.

It’s no wonder so many of us don’t bother to ask, it’s too painful.” 

Amanda Palmer

I pride myself on being independent and doing things my own way.

My whole life I’ve been a person who thought I was being strong by doing everything on my own, even if it meant doing it with…

View original post 399 more words

It takes a strong person to admit when help is needed!

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography

Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

By: Anja Uitdehaag

Brene Brown has found through her research that women tend to feel shame around the idea of being ‘never enough’… at home, at work, in bed, never pretty enough, never smart enough, never thin enough, never good enough…

Men tend to feel shame around the fear of being perceived as weak, or more academically, ‘fear of being called a pussy’.

Both sexes get trapped in the same box for different reasons.

If I ask for help…
I am not enough.

If I ask for help…
I’m weak.

It’s no wonder so many of us don’t bother to ask, it’s too painful.” 

Amanda Palmer

I pride myself on being independent and doing things my own way.

My whole life I’ve been a person who thought I was being strong by doing everything on my own, even if it meant doing it with struggle.

For me “I can do it myself!” is somehow a much more instinctual reaction than “thank you”.

Continue reading

Be “You-Er”; Lead Like You Do

adult business choices choosing

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

by Anja Uitdehaag

All things being equal, people will work with people they like. All things not being equal, they still will – John C. Maxwell

Let me start with a question:

In Business or elsewhere in your life, think about times when you tried to be something you weren’t to impress others or gain acceptance. What did that experience teach you? Why do you think you fell into it?

It is tempting for women who report primarily to men to believe they have to copy-paste men’s management, leadership and interpersonal styles. They adhere to many of the “rules of conduct” that spelled success for men.

Continue reading

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 50: All change

five people fist bumping

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

Just on my way back from a one week trip to London – wow. It seems like everything is changing so fast!

Great response from a conference on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday morning’s intro meeting with a Strategy Implementation consultancy was very positive.  My new Director was able to join – I think it really gave him some confidence. The next steps agreed were:

  • let’s run a Quick Scan with his team
  • let’s produce a one-pager to share with a current client.

On Thursday, the leader of the conference I’d attended on Monday (who also runs a consultancy) got in contact to say he’d approached one of his clients who is potentially interested in running Mirror Mirror across multiple teams.

Both consultancies were talking about delivering the whole customer facing process themselves. This means we would effectively then just ‘license’ the use of Mirror Mirror. Taking on that business model – to sell licenses and mainly, or fully, work with consultancies to deliver – has a number of refreshing advantages. It isn’t a million miles from the way we’d been thinking before, but if we move away from being consultants ourselves and can scale up that way, it makes our job much more focused, lean, and simple.

Then to top it all off, Friday, a Head of Comms in an international European organization sent me a meeting request.  That wasn’t unexpected, but it felt new.  Normally I’m the one doing the polite chasing – but here we are – I’m being chased! It felt like we were on a whole new flow.

But back to the license-sales model.  Thinking more on that, immediately, 2 new priorities go straight to the top:

  1. We need to train the trainer – to get that design and content ready – not too difficult.
  2. We need to upgrade our software – the black box that could now be our main revenue stream – needs to upgrade. That’s a major cost and I’ve got some ideas about the funding for that.

Now, instead of losing sleep because I’m worried about the future of the business, I’m losing sleep because my mind is whirring with excitement about the future of the business!

And new challenges come up with every new era. With two new team members joining, how to strike a deal with them that balances an offer of ownership / revenue shares with what they will provide in return, and that is also fair to the two of us who have already been working at this for 2 years. Tricky stuff.  The answer isn’t obvious and I discuss it 1-1 with each team member.

With the new wave of confidence being generated by all of this good news, I pick up hints of guardedness among what the other three may be ok with in a new configuration of arrangements that I haven’t felt before in the business. I realise that I’m feeling nervous about handling this issue properly. I’m not great with interpersonal conflict and fear this topic may jeopardise the goodwill and harmony we need to move forward as a team of four.

But I have to pick myself up and get out of fear-mode. I can’t solve this immediately and there must be a good solution at hand.  Relax – this is inevitable.  My goal is to be transparent with all four of us so that we understand and are happy with the various arrangements among us. The skill now is to mediate towards that understanding and come up with something that has been properly thought through instead of acting impulsively.

Then it crosses my mind that maybe I am being completely naïve – maybe it won’t be possible to find a win-win for all.  Was transparency a mistake here? I hadn’t even considered NOT being transparent because the values of the business are grounded in openness, respect, and inclusivity.

But I’ll press on with finding a solution that fits. I don’t want to lose anyone and I want those values to be real.

 

Mirror Mirroris a proprietary organizational effectiveness process. It is the quickest and most cost-efficient way to accelerate shared understanding and ownership within teams as a means of improving strategy implementation.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

The secret to becoming charismatic is less about you and more about how you make others feel.

Help you to succeed in life and work

27.jpg

By: Anja Uitdehaag

 Recently I’ve met Tamara – a Sales Leader of a big International Company. She has that extra special something that you just can’t put your finger on. She has a magnetic energy and ability to engage others that truly sets her apart.

She has “charisma.”

Charisma is the ability to attract, charm, and influence the people around you. Related terms and phrases include: grace, exuberance, equanimity, mystique, positive energy, joie de vivre, extreme charm, personal magnetism, personal appeal, electricity, and allure.  Usually many of these specific qualities must be present within a single individual for the person to be considered highly charismatic by the public and their peers.

View original post 670 more words