It's March in a year of chaos and discord. As we leave behind February, the month of love, and I watch the world, there are many examples of people hurting each other by letting their negative emotions take over their lives. One of many recent tragedies includes the high school students from Kentucky and their behaviors. Anger is not only contagious but very bad for your health.
Here’s a little extra love for you. Pick one or more of the ideas above and post a picture of something you’ve done on my LinkedIn page (Lou Russell @nolecture) before Valentines Day (that’s 2/14 in case you need to put that on your calendar). Next send me your email address to email@example.com and I’ll send you a FREE copy of our Talent GPS book (check it out on Amazon).
So you see! There’s no end to the things you might know,
Depending how far beyond Zebra you go!
- On Beyond Zebra (a book about the alphabet)
Another fast path to being lucky is learning stuff all the time. If you’re not a person who is motivated by learning new things for no good reason (yup, that’s me), schedule little learning nugget times for yourself while you are driving in the car, walking or running, eating lunch or hanging with friends. There are lots of digital ways you can learn without opening a book. You can follow podcasts while driving or working out, make a list of interesting topics or questions to share with others at work, ask someone to explain something to you, quickly scan the news (skip the crazy bits) or carefully wander Instagram looking for the hip hop parrots like Ellen does (if you find one, share it with me!). One of my friends at work stops in and talks to me about books for a few minutes. At first I feel anxious (SO much to do… ya right) but really this pause helps me be more effective at what I’m working on. Be inquisitive – what would happen if just this once you changed your coffee or drink selection? What would happen if you learned a few more magical things that PowerPoint can do? What if you dug out your old piano music and tried it again?
“Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh the THINKS you can think up if only you try!”
- Oh the Thinks You Can Think!
The fastest path to being lucky is noticing and looking out for others. There are habits that you can acquire whether you are an introvert or an extravert. People around you see your energy, even though you think they don’t. First moment you walk into the office, think about what emotion you choose to project today. As you walk on to your bus, or airplane or meeting room, make eye contact and acknowledge them. As you leave a conversation, thank the people who have cared for you. Very small actions create contagious behavior – good or bad.
“A person’s a person no matter how small.”
- Horton Hears a Who
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.
- The Lorax
It’s easy to get frustrated about trivial things. It’s easy to compare yourself to other people, telling yourself that they are so much luckier than you. These negative mental models reinforce ongoing negativity. Our brains are built to organize things like “let’s group together all these negative things”. This is where it’s important to remember our EQ mindset:
1. Notice that my mood is changing for the worst 2. Choose and redirect your thoughts and behaviors
To love yourself in February, consider having a bit more empathy for yourself. Try this exercise every day at 3 PM:
You have the power to bring joy to you. At first, your emotions may be negative but they’ll start to improve as you go.
“It’s a troublesome world. All the people who’re in it
Are troubled with troubles almost every minute.
Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…oh muchly much-much more
Unlucky than you!”
-Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?
It’s February, so love is in the air. I love the witty writing of Dr. Seuss and the little ‘quotes’ book my sister gave me for Christmas. Let’s celebrate SELF this month with his help. Starting with…
“Come on! Open your mouth and sound off at the sky!
Shout loud at the top of your voice “I AM I!”
ME! I am I! And I may not know why
But I know that I like it. Three cheers! I AM I! “
– Happy Birthday to You
I found this little quiz pretty eye opening. Like you, I consider myself civil. Like you, I have moments of passive aggressive or just aggressive incivility. One of my habitual natural behaviors is to decide whether or not I like someone instantly, and if I don’t like them, behave as if they are invisible or don’t exist. This is not a conscious reaction but it is horrible. Noticing my emotions changing and choosing how to regulate them helps me be my best but if I’m stressed, tired or angry, I’m heading down the dark road. As mentioned above, one journey down the dark road generates lots of make-up work to restore relationships. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to waste time being a jerk.
Three deep breaths, get calm and quiet, and answer a sample of the questions from the book honestly. The full quiz is here. How often do you do these things? (1 – 5 5=I do this always)
Now that you’ve had a bit of a digital slap in the face, what’s the next step? How about penance? Think about ways you can begin to apologize for previous behaviors and ask for help learning and adapting to more enabling behaviors. This takes a great deal of courage, but you’ve got that.
Civility has taken a vacation. Different opinions have become disturbing battles. I’ve struggled with how to talk about this and the reaction that may occur. In this newsletter, I’d like to share some thoughts about getting back to the values of respect and decorum.
In our politically ‘taking sides’ discourse, different opinions have gotten personal and hateful. The media feeds it; fear and anger can make them more money. In many instances, people are criticizing others without any respect or solutions. Everyone is yelling and no one is listening. Hope is under threat.
‘Out of the mouth of babes’, I’ll start with this video from a sage small child: https://www.facebook.com/NTDTelevision/videos/2808170575891701/
This is my favorite part of a project. Creating a visual Scope Diagram helps you personally clarify what work you’ll need to do (eyes wide open) and allows you to share with others the magnitude of the project they’ve asked you to do.
The Project Charter shows the name of the project in the middle (that’s where the Project Manager role is) and shows the stakeholders as boxes circling the project (the reality of non-dedicated helpers). A couple of rules of note: Each Stakeholder must have at least one arrow in and out of the middle. Each arrow must touch the center and a stakeholder. There are no double-headed arrows and there are no lines between stakeholders (secrets). Remember, these stakeholders are roles; we don’t know how many people there will be yet.
Imagine your boss asked you to oversee the United Day Way of Caring in addition to your other responsibilities. You create this Scope Diagram to make sure you’re synched-up with what her expectations are. When you show it to your boss, she says “Wow, I had no idea it would take this much effort – let’s skip it this year.” Visual scope is the best way to communicate the size of the project to the other stakeholders, specifically the Sponsor.
2018 October Newsletter: The Circle Game – Creating Simple, Self-Service Career and Succession Plans
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the Circle Game
– Joni Mitchell
It is difficult to hire and retain productive staff with the competition between companies for new talent. It seems like a revolving door – the minute your team seems aligned, another change occurs. When you experience the same issues repeatedly, it’s time to step back and think about how to stop the Circle Game. In this newsletter, as we shoulder through toward the end of the year, let’s step back and organize our talent. Otherwise, the circles continue.
Whether you’ve been in the workforce for 30 years or 3, work has changed. Everyone is juggling multiple tasks and projects. If you’re like me, you’re always trying to check off your work quickly to get it all done, but you can’t remember what you did that morning. It’s frustratingly hard to make an impact when speed is the priority. Like you, I strive to do a great job, not dial it in. It’s a complex work environment, and I need many other people to help me with my projects which also adds to the confusion. Add a job opening to this and you’ve got a lot of anxiety. Anxiety leads to blind spots and mistakes as we go round and round and round in the Circle game.
You’ll learn how to: