Tag Archives: Positive Psychology

The Business Case for “Happiness”

So which comes first? Success or “happiness”? It’s ingrained in our American culture that if we work hard, we will become successful and once we are successful, then we will be happy. But is this really true? As we learn more about what really motivates people and how positive emotions influence all facets of our lives we see that this formula is actually backward.

Don’t believe me? Think about it . . . if success brings happiness, then each time we get that new job, new promotion, find that ideal husband, new house, new car or lose that five pounds we would be happy. But often something very different happens. We start thinking that this isn’t enough – we push out the criteria for our happiness even further. We are always waiting, waiting, waiting to really be happy.

So this is what the hard science tells us . . . in the last 10 – 15 years there has been an abundance of research in the area of positive psychology or “happiness”. And the results are clear . . . positive emotions engage and motivate us to stretch, grow and perform at our very best. We see the world clearer, especially the possibilities that we could tap into. And from that foundation of personal confidence, resiliency and creativity, we make ourselves available for opportunity. Success then seems to find us – almost falls in our laps.

So here’s the ROI of happiness . . . People do business with people they know, like and trust. We all like to be around positive, energetic and optimistic friends, family and work colleagues. We even do business with companies that project that positivity – think of highly successful Southwest Airlines. And we have total control over our own emotions – negative and positive. I vote for putting my time and energy into where I’m going to benefit the most and that is in my own “happiness”.

Posted in Kit's Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Emotional Intelligence: Use It or Lose Your Career!

You may think I’m exaggerating but it’s true. The #1 reason professionals stumble in their career advancement is because of their lack of social and emotional intelligence. They may have all the knowledge, skills and even years of experience but they have earned a reputation for not being able to get along with their colleagues, direct reports or even their bosses.  In short, their own self-awareness; empathy for others and ability to manage their own emotions is limited or nonexistent.

These folks (are we talking about you?) are just known for being difficult – they don’t listen, are confrontational, unpredictable and even arrogant in their beliefs. They may be in a supervisory or middle management position because they have been with the company for so long but now their career is on thin ice and they wonder why.  But others know why . . .

So what exactly is “social and emotional intelligence”?  Here is a excellent working defination from the Institute for Social & Emotional Intelligence (ISEI), Denver, Colorado.

  • “Social and emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships”.

I’ve been giving workshops on emotional intelligence (EQ) for years – it’s truly my favorite topic because it impacts every aspect of our working and personal lives.  I’m delighted now to be in an intensive coach certification course (October – November) through ISEI with my Australian coaching colleagues to learn even more.  I’ve already started to pull new ideas and tools into my training courses and with my individual coaching clients.

So let’s remember that 80 – 85% of our career success at the upper levels depends on our ability to connect, communicate and collaborate with others. Our own personal work experiences confirm that research.  We have all known industry leaders who have those qualities – they inspire, motivate and engage their teams and employees resulting in people working harder with energy, creativity and greater flexibility.  The result? Less employee turnover; higher productivity and greater profits for the company.

This is emotional intelligence competencies in action. Let’s be known as one of those leaders!

 

 

Posted in Career Tips & Strategies, Communication Tips, Emotional Intelligence, Inspirational Leadership, Navigating Change, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Using the MBTI to Make Life Easier

There are at least a hundred personality assessments on the market today – all with the promise that if we know ourselves better we will be happier and more successful in both our personal and professional lives.  We can take Emergenetics; the DiSC; the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI); Skill Scan; StrengthsFinder 2.0; Career Liftoff; Knowdell’s Motivated Skill Sort; the traditional 360° Assessment; Personal Branding surveys; Emotional Intelligence self-assessments and the list goes on and on.

But are they worth it?  Can they help us learn something about ourselves that we didn’t already know?  And how can we use the information to make our life a bit easier each and every day?

My answer is yes!  A bit of self-knowledge wisely applied can go a long way.  But first make sure to ask and answer these two questions for yourself ahead of time:

  1. What do I want to learn about myself?
  2. How will I apply that learning to my life today?

The answers to these two questions may be more difficult than you think.  That is why it is important to take the assessments under the guidance of a certified administrator that can clearly delineate the differences in the assessments, what you can expect to gain and then help you clarify how the resulting knowledge can benefit your goals at this time in your life.

But what about all the on-line assessments?  Yes, they have certainly gotten better in the last few years with many providing you with a robust report with more detail than maybe you even wanted.  A word of caution – be careful of the freebies.  You may be left with more questions, be more confused and more vulnerable for them to sell you a bigger package.  Look before you leap!

I am biased though and believe that nothing takes the place of talking with a real live professional that knows and cares about your own goals.  I want to know that they really know what they are talking about.  Over the years I’ve obtained certification in several of the well-known assessments.  I weave them into the beginning of the leadership or career transition coaching that I’m doing and people love them.  Maybe it’s the mystery of figuring out “Who am I really?’ or maybe it’s just trying to figure out what makes their husbands tick?

My favorite is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  It’s the best-of-the-best because once we know and really understand our own innate “preferences” life really does become much easier.  And the icing on the cake, is now we know what motivates and energizes other people both in our families and in our work settings.  We also become a little less critical and a lot more appreciative of the “gifts” we all bring to the table every day.

Posted in Career Tips & Strategies, Communication Tips, Emotional Intelligence, Inspirational Leadership, Navigating Change, Personal Development, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Simple Smile Shifts Energy

I’ve been experimenting with this idea for several months now . . . does the simple act of smiling to yourself shift your own energy?

This experiment came about quite innocently when I would be feeling a bit frustrated (like lots of us) when trying to take care of household business calls that seem to have no end.  It’s not the fault of the person on the other end of the phone (when I actually am able to talk with someone) but it seems like nothing is simple and almost always one call necessitates another two or three calls.  I’m thinking of calls like scheduling medical appointments for family members; sorting out errors on bills, arranging for car/dog/house maintenance etc. etc. You know what I mean.

So I tried experimenting with putting a smile on my face (none can see me) to observe what would happen. Interesting, several things would almost always occur quite quickly. First, I noticed that my voice would soften and become a little lighter. It also had a warmer quality to it.  My shoulders relaxed a bit and I sat back slightly in my chair.  I also was more attuned to the conversation and was listening a bit closer.  And if I really wanted to test the waters, I would find a moment to just laugh slightly to see if that created a nice connection with the other person.

I was pleasantly surprised at the result of my experiment.  Each time I coached myself to smile, my energy had clearly shifted in a very subtle way.  It was not dramatic – I hadn’t done anything extraordinary but my energy had simply shifted to a more positive and collaborative posture.

Did the smile get business done any faster or better?  Maybe not or maybe so.  But it does make it easier on me.  I’m being a bit kinder and gentler on myself.  Now on to more phone calls . . .

 

Posted in And a Bit More, Communication Tips, Emotional Intelligence, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Choose Not to Be Afraid

At 4:45am each morning I take the dogs outside for their first potty beak and to pick up our local paper off the front driveway. As our  golden retriever and westie (Snowball & Dooley) are rolling in the snow making snow angels, I am glancing at the paper’s headlines under the garage lights.

Almost without fail, the front page stories shout at me about something that is going to immediately endanger myself or my family.  It can be anything from global terrorism; the national economy, our local unemployment statistics; home foreclosure rates or a whole array of looming health disasters that will kill me off before the day is done.  I’m surprised I can stagger back into the house for my first cup of coffee.

Fear, worry and anxiety are epidemic in our world today.  The media, our politicians and even our family & friends are telling us constantly to “be afraid” of everything and anything.  Yes, there are some very real things in 2013 that we need to be concerned about but do we really have to be worried 24/7?  No, we don’t!

It’s our choice – what are we going to be concerned about (in a healthy way) and what are we going to let go.  It takes practice but over time each of us develops an inner “check list” of what is worth getting our “knickers in a twist” (as the Brits say) and what needs to go on the back burner.  That’s when our inner voice – the language – we use in speaking to ourselves becomes critical.

My challenge to you, is to pay attention to what media generated “fear” can hook you and then be touch with yourself in choosing your response.  It’s your choice.  Do I retreat to my comfort zone?  Second guess myself constantly? Become critical of others?  Cynical of the world around me?  Think about it . . . and I hope you choose to put fear in its proper place.  You are in control . . . not it.

Posted in And a Bit More, Communication Tips, Navigating Change, Personal Development, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment