Are you ready to accomplish something important? Are you ready to help others do the same? Either way, coaching is the key to making it happen.

Dealing with Stress

You know, when you think about it, there are two ways you can deal with stress.  One thing you can do is to remove the thing that’s stressing you out.  Problem is, one reason it’s probably stressing you is that you can’t get rid of it.  So, what to do?

Well the second way to deal with stress is to change how you see it.  One powerful way to do that is to draw a bull’s-eye with three rings to it.  I know—it sounds a bit weird, but try it.

Once you’re done, write in the outer ring a list of all the things that could be bothering you that you have absolutely no control over.  Death, taxes, rules and people you can’t change.  That sort of thing.  Often, we focus and obsess about things we can’t do anything about, but if we admit we have no control over them, we can lighten up a bit and begin to focus our energies on other things . . .

Like the second ring.  Here, you can list the things and people whom you can influence, but can’t totally control.  If you’re in sales, your customers can go there.  Or maybe someone at work has a say over your project.  You can present to him all the reasons you think things should work the way you want them to, but, in the end, it’s his call.  Obviously you should spend a certain amount of your psychic energy on these things, but with everything in the second ring, you can only do what you can do, and then you need to let go.

Finally, there’s the sweet spot—the center of the circle.  That’s where you enter all the things that you have total control over.  Do you oversee the budget on a project, or how a task gets done?  Or even closer to home, do you control things like the training you get?  The center’s where they all go.

The point is that when you’re stressed out, break the problem into its parts and put each one in the ring where they best fit.  Remember that you put in the outer circle things and people you have no control over.  And, you stop focusing on them.  Next, there’s the middle circle, where you can exert some influence.  Spend some time doing just that.  And, then there’s the center circle, where you list the things you have total control over.  And it is there where you spend most of your energy—psychic and otherwise.

Look, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.  When things start stressing you out, remember to put them in their one of three places, then get to work on and only think about what you can actually change.

Try it, and lighten up!

Your personal success team

What if you had a group of people in your life who only wanted the best for you? People who wanted you to succeed, and people you could support the same way? Well, such groups exist. They’re called by different names like success teams and strategic support groups, and they all are meant to help their members grow and do well at work.

Now, there’s no perfect model for a success team, but here are some general guidelines you can use to start your own.

It’s best if you have 5 to 10 members. Whether your group is made up of co-workers or friends who work elsewhere, they need to be people who can trust each other and hold confidences. That is essential.

Find a convenient time and place to meet and do so once every week or two. Your group is a place to kvetch, for sure—a little complaining can go a long way. But make sure your conversations are more strategic than anything else. Your group can be the perfect place to set career goals and plan how you’ll achieve them. It can also be a great group in which to brainstorm how to make things happen at work and deal with challenges. And it’s the ideal place to get and offer feedback about how group members are either succeeding or sabotaging themselves.

Make sure that each meeting has some structure so everyone has some time to talk and to ask for what he or she wants from the group. And make sure that everybody gives themselves homework to do by the next meeting. This is a great way to make sure everyone is actually doing something to accomplish what they want.

Gather the right people and follow these simple rules and you’ll be taking a significant step towards realizing your dreams at work. It’s the sort of teamwork that pays off for everybody.

Success without struggle

So, how’s work? Does your job tend to be something you enjoy for the most part, or is it a struggle, full of busy-ness, and stress, strained relationships, and exhaustion?

It seems that we’ve all been raised to believe that to get anything important done, it takes hard work, effort and, well, more hard work.

But while some things that we want to get done can take a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be a lot of hard labor—it doesn’t have to be a pain—work doesn’t have to be a struggle. Sure, work can be full of problems and challenges, but here’s the point: Are they interesting problems and challenges for you? When work gets interesting—when you care about what you’re doing—it gets easier, more fun, and you get more productive.

If work isn’t as interesting as you want it to be, think about how you can do less of the work you don’t care about, and take on more of the problems and challenges that you do care about. If you’re having a hard time with that one, sit down with a friend, co-worker, or how about your manager? Then, brainstorm ideas around this. It could be the most important conversation you have in a long time.

Your Real Work–Management as More

According to a recent Career Builder survey, here in 2014, fully 21 percent of employees are planning to quit their jobs and find new work. (Last year the number was 17 percent.) And Bloomberg.com reports that more people are quitting their jobs now than at any time since 2008. With so many people getting ready to bolt, you have to wonder what that means for your own workplace. The cost of replacing an employee can easily be as much as his or her first year’s salary. That’s too much to pay. Luckily, you don’t have to.

Fortunately, we know that engagement makes people want to stay with their organizations even in the good times, and perform in ways that allow their teams and their organizations to succeed. The numbers back this up. Gallup has found that organizations where most of the employees are highly engaged are:

• 27% more likely to report higher profitability.
• 38% more likely to have above-average productivity
• 56% more likely to have higher customer loyalty, and
• 50% more likely to have lower turnover.

So, engagement is essential, but what does that mean, exactly? I see engagement as the experiencing of one’s values and strengths. Values have been called the emotional paycheck of work. They are the positive feelings we have when we do our work in ways that matter to us. Values can’t be taught. They’re a part of who we are. Experiencing feelings of creativity, expression or accomplishment are examples.

And whereas values are feelings-based, strengths are defined more by innate talents and activities, specifically things we do without effort like being able to stay on task without supervision, or deliberate well, or to see the bigger picture. Gallup’s wide-ranging and in-depth research shows that in organizations where leadership focuses on strengths, employees are over eight times more likely to be engaged in their work than workers with managers who do not focus on strengths.

Therefore, I suggest that if you are a manager, your real work isn’t making sure that the job gets done. Your real work is something more. It’s helping those you manage to be engaged while the job gets done. That means that your real work includes helping them to discover and leverage their values and their strengths. There are many ways to do those two things. I can assist with advice and workshops, and then help you learn how to have powerful coaching conversations with your people to support their engagement over time.

When you start having those kinds of exchanges you will start to see what I mean about management being more, because what this kind of conversation does is lift you and your employees up and out of how work has always been done. Up and out of the kind of work where you’re waiting for the end of the day, for Friday, for your vacation, and finally, retirement. This, then, becomes work worthy of you and your people. It becomes work where you all get paid to be yourselves because when you are, your organization and your customers win, as well. This truly is management as more, and if you want it to be, it can become what your real work will be from now on.

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