It takes kind to know kind

Picking up my new eyeglasses at BJs I noticed how different my interaction was with Ann-Marie, the optometrist there. She was extremely positive about my new glasses, and frankly about everything else. You can’t fake caring. She was genuinely trying to make my day better, and she did the same to a co-worker that was wandering by. 

There was nothing specific, nothing I could put my finger on. There was no script for her to follow. When you know, you know.

I thanked her for being kind. Without a thought she said, “It takes kind to know kind.”

What an affirming return gift for gratitude expressed! 

What do you notice? And what do you affirm in others? 

If you see a kindness, it means you too…are kind.

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We rush ahead so we can save time so…

“Though we rush ahead to save our time, we are only what we feel.” – Neil Young, On the Way Home

We do what we do, to feel as good as we can. 

Rushing ahead, trying to ‘save time’, it’s in the service of a promise to feel something we want to feel and to avoid something we don’t want to feel.

The question for today: Is it working? If we’re only what we feel, what are we actually feeling?

If rushing ahead isn’t doing it, time to try something new. Perhaps the opposite of that.

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What percent of Americans plan to work past age 65?

74%.

That’s a lot of people! Unfortunately, the data doesn’t show what the percentage is of ‘want to keep working’ vs. ‘have to keep working’. 

However, in a recent survey it was found that 21% of working Americans aren’t saving anything at all, and 69% of working Americans are saving between zero and ten percent of what they make. And the percent of people saving nothing jump up when it’s just Millennials and Gen X in the mix. These two age groups are hardly saving at all. 

A lot of people are going to be working past age 65 because they have to.

Are you more engaged if you have to do something or if you want to do something? Are kids more engaged building snow forts or shoveling the sidewalk?

So, this means that we’re growing a work force that is going to be less engaged as they age. You may even be one of them. If so, start saving today. Cut your expenses and save that money. You can keep working as long as you want, but you’ll be happier if you keep working because you want to instead of because you have to.

And if you end up having to or are in that situation right now? Find your strengths, and use them every day. Your engagement level will rise and you’ll be happier. And your emotions – happiness included – are contagious.

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Who do we appreciate?

Yes, the title may be a familiar chant to you from sixth grade. I’m tickled also by Microsoft Word chiding that it really should be, “whom do we appreciate?” That’s the upper-crust British version. 

Instead of giving a bunch of cheap plastic gifts from China this Christmas that will end up in the landfill next year, give your partner/parents/friends/kids appreciation

Appreciation engages the frontal cortex – the connector in your brain. And it quiets the amygdala in the limbic system – the alarm bell in your brain. Target your appreciation with characteristics that fit and give specific examples of how it shows up in their life. 

Here’s a cheat sheet to help you, based on the work of John Gottman.

And how are your 40 days going? I’m continuing to work on getting what needs to be done efficiently without panic or pushing. And other readers are doing great work. The best day to start your 40 Days to Change for Good was November 11. The second best day is today!

Jerry says:

“My 40-day focus is on experimenting with habits for self-care. That looks like:

– walking at least 20 minutes/day

– meditating at least 10 minutes/day

and the big one…

– in bed by 11 pm.”

Lou says:

“Count me in, so busy but I’ve got so many songs started my 40 day journey will be to work in unfinished songs an song ideas each day for 40.  Not necessarily to finish one each day but to work on some.  That’s the journey.  Excited about this, thanks for the push.” (You can check out Lou’s jug band here.)

Laura is working on “discipline – being mindful of doing things on a disciplined basis. I can achieve a goal but what I lack is a consistent discipline. It’s not a specific thing, I just want to be more mindful about whatever it is I choose to be disciplined about.”

Posted in Purpose, 40 Days Change, Brain Science, EI | Comments closed

What was the original intent of labor-saving devices?

Vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, washing machines, electric irons, hay thrashers, computers, the wheel, the rifle, the iphone…all have been touted as labor-saving devices. Why? Why did we want to save labor? Why do less?

I’ve been pondering this on my 40 days to change for good this year. I’m focusing on efficiency – doing the work that needs to be done ‘good enough’ and not trying to make it perfect. Emails back and forth to clients are shorter for example. It has worked out pretty well so far, although accompanied by some old fear that something’s not quite right, as if this new way of doing the work is somehow dangerous.

Why would I want to be more efficient? It frees up time I used to not have. Now what?

There are two choices. I can do more work, or be done and go enjoy myself. Or work on filling the wood shed (which is a strenuous version of enjoying myself) or a thousand other non-work-related ‘things-to-do-when-you-own-a-house’. 

I’ve been experimenting with choosing to not do more work. That leaves enjoying myself. What a concept!

This was the original intent of selling labor-saving devices to the harried housewife of the 1940s. Get the chores done and enjoy yourself. At least that was the concept the Mad Men sold. Think of the Jetsons. In the future everything onerous will be done by robots. The only thing left to do is to get into wacky misadventures or sit on the couch eating bon bons.

The computer really helped, and the smart phone really helped. No more faxes, letters typed and sent. No more traveling face-to-face. No more filing cabinets. The list goes on and on. All that time freed up.

Well, how are we doing with enjoying that time? Everyone I meet out in the world, every team I work with, every executive I coach – there’s not enough time to get everything done in the day. There’s a greater scarcity of open time than any in modern history

We took that time and…filled it up with more stuff to do.

I think modern advertisers realize this and have given up. Labor-saving devices are now sold as productivity tools. So we can be more productive, get more stuff done. The treadmill speed can increase.

If this is you and your life? If it is, is it working for you? 

What would you like instead?

Posted in Purpose, 40 Days Change | Comments closed

Readers just like you are on the 40 Days to Change For Good Journey

You’re not alone. You’ve got company as you try to change something that matters to you. Here is what some readers are working on. I hope it inspires you to have fidelity to your 40-day journey or to start yours today.

Jerry says:

“My 40-day focus is on experimenting with habits for self-care. That looks like:

– walking at least 20 minutes/day

– meditating at least 10 minutes/day

and the big one…

– in bed by 11 pm.”

Lou says:

“Count me in, so friggin busy but I’ve got so many songs started my 40 day journey will be to work in unfinished songs an song ideas each day for 40.  Not necessarily to finish one each day but to work on some.  That’s the journey.  Excited about this, thanks for the push.” (You can check out Lou’s jug band here.)

Laura is working on “discipline – being mindful of doing things on a disciplined basis. I can achieve a goal but what I lack is a consistent discipline. It’s not a specific thing, I just want to be more mindful about whatever it is I choose to be disciplined about.”

Posted in 40 Days Change | Comments closed

Globally, what percent of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work?

Globally, what percent of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work?

85%

That’s most of us. It’s a sobering number. The U.S. numbers are a little better. As of 2018, 34% – a third – employees are actively engaged. That still means 2/3 of us aren’t. 

So there’s work to be done, by all of us. 

To be kinder to each other because so many of us are unhappy. And all of us humans want to be happy.

And to help each other find a way through to engagement with our work. An engaged person is a happier, more fulfilled person. 

And it starts with finding, then using, our #1 engagement tool we were born with – our strengths

Learn more: StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.

(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

Posted in Passion, Strengths, StrengthsFinder | Comments closed

What accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement?

What accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement?

  1. Manager/team leader
  2. Time spent together face-to-face
  3. Team diversity
  4. Clear goal

The answer?

A – the manager or team leader. 

It’s (almost) all on you as a leader to make or break this team. Which one will it be, make…or break? Learn the strengths of your people, develop them and pick the right roles for each person, no matter how difficult those decisions may be.

Learn more: Team Collaboration Quest – How can we communicate effectively with each other? How can we trust each other and take risks? What are the stages of team development? What do we do best? How do we look at the big picture and see how our individual contributions create success for all of us? 


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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40 Days to Change for Good begins

40 Days to Change for Good begins once again November 11th. This annual tradition (started in 2010) is a simple 40-day ritual of daily working-on-something-that-matters. It has been profoundly helpful to many readers. 

Pick something you want to change for good or move ahead on something large that you’re having difficulty persisting with. Day 40 begins November 11 (Veterans Day) and Day Zero is December 21 (the Winter Solstice). Learn more in my e-book (free to you) here. And I’ll be writing more in my blog as well. 

Curious about what I’m working on this year? I’m focusing on efficiency. Doing work-related tasks – especially things I don’t love doing – quickly and simply. Less polish, more progress. And more time open to enjoy just being and enjoying this precious life.

One of the tactics to make your change project real and for you to complete it is to make it public. What do you want to change for good this year? I’ll make it public for you in the next newsletter.

And if you want to help your team make a change for good, book either How To Complete a Project or the 40 Days to Change for Good change leadership team development for January and beyond.

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What are the right strengths to have on a team?

What are the right strengths to have on a team?

Teams ask me this question all the time during StrengthsFinder trainings. “Do we have the right strengths? What are we missing?” 

Gallup found something interesting when they tried to figure out the right strengths to have on a team. They found it doesn’t matter as much what the composition of team strengths is. What matters most is the awareness of the strengths that are on the team already. 

You can’t use the tools you don’t know you have. Take the StrengthsFinder assessment with your team, link it to what it looks like in real life and expand from there.

Learn more: StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.

(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

Posted in Passion, Team Building, Strengths, StrengthsFinder | Comments closed