20 ways to write an Affirmation, Intention or Opportunity Story

intentionsAfter watching the movie The Last Holiday with Queen Latifah and LL Cool J, I was taken with the idea of a book of Possibilities.  Queen L’s character created a book of possibilities.  It had pictures of what she wanted in her life.  A book version of a vision board if you will.  So, I created my book.  I am into words so I wrote stories about my future.  I would date then write my “story”.  Many of them have come to being!   Setting your intentions or writing an affirmation is an incredibly easy thing to do. All you need to do is come up with a positive intention or affirmation that describes and sums up your future you.  I listed 20 ways to help you get started to write intentions, affirmations, opportunities or possibilities.

  1. Take your intention and affirmation seriously. Believe it.

 

  1. Write about what you want. What you really, really want. (Thanks Spice Girls).  You don’t have to limit yourself to what you have now.

 

  1. Speak in the first person. Use “I” or “me” statements.  Use the most powerful words ever, “I am”.

 

  1. Write in present tense. Close your eyes and imagine that you are already experiencing the wonderful things that you desire.  “This is happening now”.

 

  1. Write with gratitude statements from the heart. Write as an expression of “grateful having”, rather than wanting or needing.

 

  1. Write in the positive. Instead of “I will not eat sugar” write, “I will eat healthy foods”.  Use “I am” or “I do”.  Do NOT use the word NOT.  (LOL)

 

  1. Write as yourself! You only need these intentions for YOU!  Use your own words and slang. Be your unique you.

 

  1. Write with Passion and Feeling.

 

  1. Write in your learning mode. If you are more visual use imagery (word pictures).  If auditory use sounds (Crunch!).  If Kinesthetic use emotions and feelings (make things move – Actions).

 

  1. Write your affirmation or intention or about the new opportunity as you are already there. Do NOT worry or write about HOW you are going to get there.

 

  1. Write about the things you have and are grateful now. Give yourself Kudos for the strengths and skills that you already have too!

 

  1. Write about ANYTHING. Things, feelings, experiences, relationships.  ANYTHING you wish to manifest.

 

  1. Don’t let your version of “reality” stop you. Go for the moon!

 

  1. Write many or write few. Write a story or a statement.  Do what you feel.  It must feel “right” for you.

 

  1. Only write affirmations for yourself – you cannot change other people.

 

  1. If having difficulty believing, use words like, “I choose to be…” “I am so happy that…”  “I expect that..”

 

  1. Be accepting of yourself and your beliefs. Do not judge yourself, your statements or your new reality.

 

  1. Change, upgrade and evolve as the intentions manifest.

 

  1. Always write the date that you wrote the intention. Then write the date that it happened.  I put the date I first wrote the intention in the upper right corner.  When it has manifested (happened – came true) I write a note on the bottom with the date I realized it came to into being my present reality.

 

  1. Have FUN! If writing the details is not fun – don’t write the details!  Write what feels best for YOU.  It is about you.

Enjoy your future!  Love yourself and others.

#intentions #Lawofallowing #affirmations #manifesting

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Heart intelligence – Not Emotional intelligence…what is it?

Heart Intelligence“I don’t love you like I did before – it’s all different now – I’ll leave in the morning”, he stated with no emotion at 2am in a hotel room.  He didn’t love me anymore.  He told me then left.  My heart was broken.  I fell down on the carpeted floor as he slept soundly in the other room.  My heart was broken.  I couldn’t speak.  No air was coming in or out of my body. Suddenly, it felt like my heart burst open inside of my body.  Such pain.  I felt such pain.  I clutched my heart and rolled into the fetal position.  I couldn’t move.  It hurt.  My thoughts ran a million miles per hour.  What should I do?  What can I do?  I had no answers. This was the end.  I cried, I sobbed.  I had never heard such sounds coming from a human before.  Those sounds were coming from me.  I couldn’t breathe, my heart!  I clutched at my heart.

That is when I realized that my brain was not always in charge.  I have always been a logical person;  T – Thinking on the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.  Then I discovered emotional intelligence – I realized that I can change my emotional intelligence.  The first time I took the EQ-i (emotional intelligence assessment) my scores showed that I was not that flexible (J – judgmental on the MBTI). I was determined to change this about myself to make it easier for my friend, family and co-workers.  I am still working on my flexibility but recently I learned that I changed my score and I am more flexible now than I was 4 years ago.  I also learned how to identify and name my emotions because of that assessment.  But, what is Heart Intelligence?

When I first heart about the heart-mind connection.  Learning that the heart has a higher electromagnetic field than the brain I was shocked.  The heart has intelligence?  A nervous system? This information was new to me.  I always thought the brain was the center of all human thought and emotion.   I’ve studied the brain.  There is an emotional part to the brain.  Heart Coherence is the linking of the brain and the heart.  The brain thinks logically and the heart give the brain emotional, spiritual and intuitive information.

As I meditate and slow down my mind I do feel more connected with my intuition.  I now    know that this is my heart intelligence.  So many times we are conflicted between our head (mind) and our heart.  I used to make lists of pros and cons when making a tough decision, but it never balanced because the heart is not logical.  When there is a coherence between the heart and the mind these decisions will be easier for all of us.  There is personal, social and global coherence according to this video by Gabirel Gonsalves about Heart Intelligence.  When I meditate I work on my personal heart coherence.  When I am surrounded by those I love I radiate social coherence.  After that sad break up years ago I went for a walk and asked the universe to make me happy again.  I breathed in goodness and breathed out all of my heart pain.  Today when I do yoga outside on my lanai, I throw my arms up, breathe out and give my love to the universe.  This is global coherence.

The Heart Mind Institute has been studying this connection for over 25 years.  They have created many exercises and ways of reducing stress and anxiety.  Ways to get to the “happy place”.   So, next time I will think with an open HEART as well as an open mind.

Stay tuned for more about Heartmath as I continue my research.  What are your experiences with this subject?

#heartmath  #emotional intelligence  #multipleintelligences

 

Retirement Coaching – Certification needed!

retired“What is a retirement coach?” asked Susan at a recent networking event.  I was stunned.  Isn’t it pretty self-explanatory?  Coaching is a relatively new profession; I get that.   Many people are not completely sure if they can trust “coaching” unless you are wearing a whistle and they are running around.  Business gurus (like Tony Robbins) suggest that we all should get a coach.  In fact, he is NOW a coach himself!  There are all types of coaching: executive, life, financial, athletic, career, skills, and performance.  So why not retirement coach?

I was thrilled when I was studying to be a retirement coach.  I had “coached” and mentored unofficially (meaning I was not certified to coach or mentor) for years.  Coaching is a profession because of the certifications but a coach does not NEED a certification to go into business as a coach.  This is similar to the workplace training profession.  I know many trainers who have their own business, “hang their shingle” and attract many customers.  Many are not certified as trainers (CPLP).   When the certification came out in 2003, I was one of the first in line.  Education is very important to me.  Experience is very important to me.  When I was selecting a business coach, I chose the one that I deemed knowledgable and skillful; Sheri Kaye Hoff.  She has a Ph.D and many coaching certificates.  She never stops learning and is always one step ahead of me.  That is what a coach should be!

Now, I was asked by Susan, “How can you be a retirement coach when you have never retired?”  Good question Susan.  I explained to her that I am certified.  I studied, I took a test, and I practiced.  Plus, I LOVE and have studied/researched older adults.  I wrote my dissertation about people who are retired (Older Adults Learning Online Technologies: A Qualitative Case Study of the Experience and the Process).  I have experience, education and a certification.  She seemed a bit amazed when she asked me, “So, why did you get certified when you already had a Ph.D.?  I get that question often – not just with retirement coaching but in general.  Why did you get your certification in workplace performance when you already had your Ph.D. in Adult Learning?

When hiring a coach, a trainer or any service professional be sure they know what they are doing!  That seems like wise advice but so many people do not take this into account when they are “shopping” for support.  I want my tax person to be a CPA.  I want my electrician to have education and experience – why not my coach?  Why not my retirement coach?  Shouldn’t our coaches be the most experienced, knowledgable and educated?  According to retirement options.com, people spend more time planning vacations than planning for retirement. Sure, most of us plan financially but not for our psycho – social well-being.

We need to consider so many options when we retire. Where will we live in retirement?  Where should we get our first house then plan our second move if we need long term care?  How do we wish to socialize and with whom?  How do we feel about time management?  Are you a morning person and your spouse a night owl?  Sure, when we are working there are not as many issues; we get into a pattern.  We are used to our routine.  Did your work define your life or do you have another purpose to your life?  A retirement coach can help you answer these questions and more.  But remember, choose a certified retirement coach.  A coach with experience and knowledge.

#retirement  #retirementcoach  #coach   #certification  #cplp  #retirementoptions

 

lori photo 10-2015Lori Ann Roth, Ph.D., CPLP, is the President of Learning and…   She is a life-long learner and self-awareness expert who is dedicated to helping individuals and teams learn so that they can be their best. “Be the best YOU” is one of her favorite sayings. She is a creative and experienced learning and development professional who has been in the field for over 35 years and loves to help adults learn by facilitating a fun yet educational experience.  Lori has transformed individuals and teams to be more productive, communicate better and solve problems faster through assessments such as the MBTI, DiSCÒ, StrengthsfinderÓ and Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i).  She is a certified retirement coach.

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Twelve Benefits of Journaling

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When I was 12 years old my parents left me in the car as they went shopping for two hours  and I had to entertain myself (yes, they could do that back then).  I had purchased a small book with a horse on the cover assuming it was a book about horses.  When I opened the book there were no words; the book was blank.   This was my first introduction to journaling and I have been journaling at least once each month for the past 42 years.  I define journaling as writing your original thoughts in a book, blog or online app at least 1 time per month.  As opposed to a “diary” which is an accounting of your day to day events.  Below is a list of benefits you can receive from journaling.

  1. You can sleep at night.  Before I learned how to journal I had thoughts invade my brain.  “What do I need to do tomorrow?  What will I make for breakfast?  How will I show up in the big meeting on Tuesday?  Did I turn off the light in the TV room?”  Now, I journal before bed and I write down all of my thoughts, worries, dreams, and strategies.  This helps me delete the random thoughts so I can sleep.
  2. You don’t worry anymore. Recently, I realized that I don’t ever have to worry.  I have always heard the mantra, “live in the present” but I just learned how to apply it to my life.  I write what I am worried about in my journal then I go about my day.  I let my journal worry for me and I take action to solve my issues.  We worry about the past or the future.  In the present we are living the problem so we are not worrying – we are living.
  3. You don’t hold a grudge. Many of my family members and friends that I know hold grudges.  Someone made you upset so you just don’t talk to them or you talk about them – neither is a good strategy.  I write about what made me upset and keep writing about it – I get my emotions out, then I strategize about what to do in that situation.  Then I let it go once I have my plan of action.
  4. You can “remember” the past. Sometimes the past can be blurry.  Most of us cannot remember what we ate for lunch yesterday.  I have said to myself, “what was I thinking back then when I made that stupid decision?” Yes, I have gone back years in my journal to try not to make the same mistake again.  This is indeed an excellent benefit.
  5. You remember great ideas. I keep a journal beside my bed because I get great ideas in the night.  When your body sleeps your mind is still processing.  I have learned how to ask for an answer to a problem that I have before I sleep and my mind will process the answer.  This happened to me as I was writing my dissertation.  I was fixated on the next step in my theory when at 2am – BOOM – the idea came to me.  Fortunately, I had a journal handy and wrote down my idea – I found it in the morning and totally forgot that I was awake at 2am.  It was almost as if someone else wrote the answer to my questions – in my handwriting.
  6. You feel better. According to Dr. Marty Seligman authentichappiness.com and Robert Emmons http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/author/Robert_Emmons  being grateful – giving thanks – makes you happier.  Keeping a gratitude journal where you would write 5 things you were thankful for not more than 3 times a week seems to be a key to being happier.  I have been keeping a gratitude journal for the last 5 years and I am definitely happier after I write in the journal.
  7. You see answers to your prayers. I keep a prayer journal.  I learned how to do this from my roommate in college.  She told me to write the date of the prayer – the prayer – then the date it was answered across the top of the page.  I have been doing this for over 30 years and I can see what my prayers were from the past and how they were answered.  I am NOT saying that all prayers will be granted (like a genie) but I can see the date that they were answered.
  8. You won’t stress out. Have you ever been so upset and there is just no one to talk to about your issue or you don’t want to talk to anyone?  When I am so upset that I can’t even talk to anyone I write and write and write.  I get it all out.  At times, I can’t even read what I wrote but that does not matter.  I got “it” out onto the paper and out of my brain.  This is wonderful “therapy” too.
  9. You won’t lose friends. Have you ever been so upset with someone you love that you told them without your filter?  There is no way to take back what you say.  If you write in a journal when you are upset with a friend, they don’t need to know what you think or write about them.  I have done this many times.  After my emotions are out then I can think logically and strategize about what to do and how to better communicate my issue with my friend.
  10. You will lose weight. Yes, even Weight Watchers(C) knows that if you write down everything you eat you will eat less.  This strategy has been proven in many University and independent studies including WEB MD http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20080708/keeping-food-diary-helps-lose-weight
  11. It can help you write better and faster. They say that practice makes perfect.  In the book, Outliers by Malcom Gladwell http://gladwell.com/outliers/the-10000-hour-rule/ he says that after 10,000 hours of practice you can be a “master”.  The more you write, the better you get at writing.  I have noticed that my thoughts come faster and I can type as I think.  It is easier for me to sit down to write now than it was when I was in college.  Words, thoughts, ideas just come to me faster because I have practice writing my ideas in a book for many years.
  12. You can be more positive. If you saw the movie with Queen Latifah https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Latifah called Last Holiday, you know that she kept a “possibilities journal”.  Her journal had pictures of all of the things on her bucket list.  I have a special journal where I write what I want to happen in the future.  I have lists of things that I wish to happen in my life.  This type of journal gives me hope that I can live a better life, that good things will happen – even if it just a story I tell myself.  If find that I am much more positive after writing in my “possibilities journal”.

Now that you have these twelve benefits to journaling how do you get started?  First, I would decide what type of journal that you wish to keep. I would suggest a general journal to start.  Next, write your ideas, thoughts or emotions as the mood strikes you.  There are no rules.  Be creative with your journal or not.  Now you can start to gain some of these benefits.blog description of Lori

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#journaling #self-awareness #happiness

 

 

Self-Awareness Training…I know someone who needs THAT!

looking for shellsWhen I describe what I teach, so many people say that they know someone who needs this training.  I hear stories such as “My co-worker is so awkward that he shared with our boss that he (the co-worker) is lazy and only does the minimum” or “Joe is always yelling – his voice is so loud but he does not realize this at all.”  Not once does someone say to me.  “Self-awareness training? Oh I need that!  Sign me up!”.

Are you a self-proclaimed assessment geek?  Do you love those quizzes on Facebook?  You know the ones…What animal would you be?  Which Disney princess are you? or Which Harry Potter Character best describes you?  I have a wonderful friend and colleague, Tami who states that she has done so many self-assessments.  She truly wishes to know more about herself and how she relates to others.  So, often we are working with rediculous deadlines and feel that we don’t have time to “work on ourselves”.   So many of us wish to find out more about ourselves but the term self-awareness training seems to have negative connotations.  Let me make this term a bit easier with an example of self-awareness done right!

One of my favorite self-awareness models is Ingham and Luft’s Johari Window model diagram.  This 1955 model is an oldie but goodie.  I love to use it working in groups.  But, it is very helpful when beginning a class about self-awareness.  This model has four regions

  1.  The open area – what you know and understand about your self and others know too
  2. The blind area – what other people know about you but you do not know about yourself (Joe in the above example)
  3. The hidden area – what you know and understand about yourself and don’t share with others
  4. The unknown area – what you don’t know about yourself and others don’t know either.

This model is graphically represented as a window with 4 panes.  Imagine a square with a plus sign through it and each of these areas are a pane in the “window”.

When I share this model with individuals in my classes it seems that they never realized how multi-faceted their world is to them.  This model seems entirely self-explainatory until area #4.  I get questions about why this is even in the model if know one knows.  I suggest that you CAN bring out characteristics, strengths, behaviors,  feelings or attitudes.  Can you imagine learning about one of your strengths that you’ve never explored before?  Realizing that you are more empathatic than you ever thought you were – but only around your family.  Suddenly becoming aware that you have a more positive attitude than you thought you did?  These are all “light bulbs” that went off in the heads of participants in a recent class I taught.

Now isn’t that fun?  Learning more about self-awareness models can be a first step to self-awareness training.  It is exciting to learn more about yourself and your colleagues, friends and family.  So I challenge you to listen to others.  Elicit helpful feedback.  Then you will be on your way to discovering more about yourself!  Becoming more self-aware should be a treasure hunt for all of us.

lori photo 10-2015Lori Ann Roth, Ph.D., CPLP, is the president of Learning and…  She is a life-long learner and self-awareness expert who is dedicated to helping individuals learn so that they can be their best selves and work with others.  “Be the best YOU” is one of her favorite sayings.  She is a creative and experienced learning and development professional who has been in the field for over 35 years and loves to help adults learn about facilitating a fun and yet educational experience.  Get this free and fun eLearning training now!  Lori has transformed individuals and teams to be more productive, communicate better and solve problems faster through training, coaching and facilitation.  See more at www.larg.com

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#self-awareness   #johariwindow   #training  #learning

 

 

The strangest answer ever to the question…What is your greatest strength.?

What are your strengths and weaknesses interview questionMarcus Buckingham said, “Teams that use strengths, massively and consistently out preform teams that don’t use their strengths every day even if you are slightly positively deluded as to what your strengths are – it doesn’t seem to matter” in the video Marcus Buckingham presents the Business Case for Strengths.  This is a great video that discusses great teams not great companies.  According to Buckingham rarely 1 in 10 people feel that their strengths are in play in the workplace.  It is important when interviewing to know your strengths to be productive in your new company.  But, what if you really don’t know how to find your strengths?  I had that happen recently.

While teaching a class on Interview Skills I had a huge range of participant’s age ranges and experience levels.  One 19 year old man, we’ll call him Joel, had never held a job and had absolutely no idea how to interview.  He had no idea that most interviewers ask that fated question, “tell me about your strengths and weakness”.  When we did a role play he was absolutely lost – he joked around because he was feeling incompetent and did not want the group to know that he was lost.

I realized what was happening and listened in as his partner said to him, “Dude, I really care about you.  I want you to get a good job.  Let’s really work on this.”  I was touched and asked Joel what is your greatest strength?  Now I have asked that questions to probably over 100 people in the last 10 years.  He gave the strangest answer I had ever heard.  “My thighs”!  (WHAAAT?)  When I asked if I heard him correctly he said yes. His thighs.  I asked him what was so great about his thighs.  He said he works out every day and he used to be really skinny but now this is his greatest thing about him.  OK…I decided to go with that thought and try to move him closer to an interview scenario. “So, you work out everyday?” I asked, “Even when you don’t feel well?  Even when you have something better to do?”  “Yes”, he said, “everyday”.  Well, you have great discipline!  That is an excellent strength in the workforce.  People know you will come into work on time and do your job with great discipline.

He was shocked that he had discipline.  He thought he was mostly lazy and that is why he never had a job in the past.  He liked to play video games at his parent’s house.  But, now he realized that he had to get a job and was attending this class.  Now, he had to learn to apply his greatest strength to the workforce.  But, that is another story.  So, back to Marcus Buckingham’s quote about being deluded as to what your strengths are.  In fact, Marcus said, “positively diluted as to what your strengths are”.  Well, Joel was diluted when he said, “my thighs”.  If he were the mail deliver in a company and walked (using his thighs) each day would that make his team great?  I am still trying to come to grips with the Buckingham quote.  What has your experience been with people who truly do not know their strengths or have been “positively deluded” as to what their strengths are?  Sure, they can take the assessments – but some do not have the means.  Let me know your experiences.

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#strengths   #funny   #Interviewskills

30 Years and NO progress! Or Drifting all alone…

driftingThis is the most difficult blog that I have written because it is so personal and evokes horrible feelings.  It started when Woz, a friend from college, messaged me for some help.  Her daughter, lets call her Karen, was having some problems in the workplace and Woz was a stay at home mom then worked in the family business, an orchard.  Woz has never worked in an office or in Human Resources and she was seeking some real life answers from someone who had lived what her daughter was now living.  So, I suggested that she call me so I can get all of the details.  The rest of the story resulted in a huge realization that after 30 years there has been little change in workforce civility.

Karen was an intern at a utilities company in a Michigan.  She did so well that her boss, Bob, offered her a job after she got her BA degree.  Karen was thrilled that she had a job right after college, different from most of her friends.  Bob told her that she was very intelligent, a go getter, very hard worker and a fast learner.  He was thrilled at how quickly she learned how to create a risk management document for this company.  She worked well with others in the company and collaborated to get the information she needed for the risk management assessment.

Bob retired and she was now supposed to report to Joe.  Karen was not happy to report to Joe because at the company Christmas party last year Joe was drunk and said some very inappropriate sexual comments to her and another female colleague. She was shocked but let it go because she never saw Joe in the workplace.  Now, she had to report to Joe and he had no idea what a risk management assessment was or why it was important.  Joe began to make comments about her being too young to be working at the company and he documented her to HR because he thought she misused a credit card (her old boss Bob approved the purchase – but he was retired) and was 2 minutes late for a meeting.  There were other comments about being fired.   Karen was getting stressed and went to the doctor who recommended drugs for anxiety.  Her new boss told her to write a letter documenting “how sorry she was” for not complying with the policy.

I suggested that Karen go to HR (they call it compliance) and get a champion.  Compliance told her to write a letter documenting that she read the policy (they also said that she did not misuse the policy).  Cut to the chase… she was told to take a “career day” to decided if she wanted to keep working for the company (paid leave – but everyone knew she was being disciplined).  She tried to get in contact with HR but no one would call her back.  She tried to document the sexual harassment, the comments Joe made to her each day threatening to fire her.  When I spoke to Karen she kept commenting, “why can’t he just let me do my work and stop threatening me?”  She felt like she was drifting all alone on the ocean.

In my 30 years in the working world I have been bullied by 4 different people and sexually harassed once.  For most of the jobs I put up with the bullying until I found a new job (which usually took 6 months to a year).  Listening to Karen’s story and hearing the frustration in her voice brought back that anxiety – those horrible feelings of being bullied and feeling unempowered, helpless and lost.  Drifting all alone on the ocean… no one to help me.  All that I wanted to do was to collaborate with people, do my work and help others.  I realized that negative and snide comments by my boss was not helping me do my job.  I needed helpful, supporting comments and resources that only a boss could provide.

Then I realized through supervising highly productive, intelligent people how to get the most from them!  I needed to provide resources that they request, be there to brainstorm or suggest options and to motivate and support them.  I needed to seek out what they were doing right and comment on that action.  Or give them a little treat or a card or email (I was known as santa claus by one group) when I saw them do something particularly wonderful.  I even had a “gold star” that I gave when they did something absolutely amazing that I would have never thought to do.  Literally I would give them a gold star sticker.  Those gold stars were only given out about 1 time every 3 months to someone.  People like Karen and other highly productive, intelligent employees do not need to be micromanaged.  They need support.

How do we give our managers that education?  How do we let them know that positive reinforcement is so much more effective than negative?  Sure, there are a million management programs out there – but why do some people NOT get the message?  I really did think that the workforce has become more positive in the last 30 years.  But, I am naive.  There are still those people out there who were bullies in school and that worked for them  – so they continue that behavior in the workforce.  I have worked with Dr. Laura Crawshaw the boss whisperer and Dr. Gary Namie Workplace Bully institute who are making progress one day at a time.  But this is still a huge problem in our workplaces.  There is only so much emotional intelligence and strengths training can do to help us deal with this harassment.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions.  I will look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

 

#civility  #bullying  #humanresources #emotionalintelligence #strengths

Best friend at work – is this good or bad or generational?

best-friend-at-workI was teaching a class today and this item came up in conversation.  Does having a “best” friend at work increase productivity?  Gallup’s research says “yes” – Having a best friend at work means workers are more likely to report that they are recognized, listened to and encouraged (I am paraphrasing).  But…my class was against having a best friend at work saying that they would socialize too much, take too many breaks and not get as much work done.  If their best friend did not work with them they could concentrate more.

Being intrigued, I did a bit of research.  After a while, Gallup changed the word “best” to “good” making it a different question because audiences were having a tough time with the word “best”.  Gallup article.  The question did not produce the same results.  It seems that having a “best”  – not just “good” friend at work produces more productive teams.  So, having a best friend creates the best workgroups (highly productive vs mediocre).

Next, I realized that most of these participants in the training today were either older Gen X or younger baby boomers.  People from about 40 – 58.  My train of thought went to Generations…are they different?  Maybe Gen Y and Z love the best friend but the earlier Generations were not too sure about this “fact”Forbes article.   I am a younger boomer – on the cusp of X (if you will) and I thought about having a best friend at work.  I agreed with my class that on days that I was not focused, it would seem easy to hang out and discuss all kinds of topics with my “best” friend.  However, if my “best friend” (and here I am thinking of my actual “bestie” Carol) were on my workgroup team and we were competing for the award of the most highly productive team (stay with me on this)… we would do great.

My best friend and I would be great together in a work group.  This is not big news but, Carol and I can read each other’s thoughts; I bet you can say the same about your “best” friend.   If we have a disagreement, we have navigated that path before and know how to compromise, compete, accommodate or any of the other Thomas-Kilman Model dimensions.  Been there – done that – we can communicate faster than with just anyone on any team.  We can encourage each other and call into memory a time when we did something great.  We know each other’s strengths.  We also have that dimension of Trust.  And as we know The Speed of Trust is real.  The more you trust the faster the interaction (or communication) will be – and with good results.

My class still did not agree with the research.  What do you think?

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Originally published at https://wordpress.com/post/largblog.wordpress.com/596

#bestfriendatwork #Gallup  #Strengths   #conflict

 

Five skills and attitudes Technical Professionals should invest in for the Future

keyboardjpgYears ago I worked for a SAN software (and hardware) Engineering company.  I taught SAN software engineers how to rack and stack the equipment, how to configure a switch and other equipment such as storage arrays and blade servers during a 5 day class. I also taught a 2 day class called “Consulting 101”.  In this class the engineers would learn how to talk to the client, how to escalate a situation that they could not handle and practice various situations through role plays.    One of the engineers stated in a very frustrated voice, “I’d rather take a month of technical classes than a day of this people stuff!”  All of the other engineers agreed with him.  WOW!!!  I had no idea that these “soft skills” were so difficult to learn.

I ran across an article by Lei Han Soft Skills List – 28 Skills to Working Smart that defined and listed soft skills that we all need in the work environment.  He grouped these skills into four groups that we all need in our work life.  These skills and attitudes mirrored Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence model and the 15 factors in EQ-i Bar-On model.  The 15 factors of the Bar-On model – – Reuven Bar-On .  I added the last group – gratitude attitude because I think this is lacking in most organizations.  It is a skill/attitude that we can learn and develop; it can make a true difference in our lives and the lives of our colleagues.

  1.  The ability for Self-Management.  We all know those people who “lose it” in the workplace.  Sure, all of us have our breaking points but usually we can manage our anger, behavior and emotions.  Being aware of and able to identify feelings is the first step to perceive and accept ourselves.  Knowing our strengths, personality and preferences helps us to get along with others in the workplace.
  2. People Skills include Communication Skills and the ability to get along with a team.  This is critical in any work environment but tech environments seem to be more team oriented these days.  Gone are the days when one person was in charge of all of the IT in a company.  Now there are customer service support teams, help-desk teams, server teams and teams to trouble shoot.  Leadership is also included in this area of people skills.
  3. Work Attitude is the willingness to learn and loyalty to the organization.  We all know people with great attitudes at work.  We want to work with them, to talk to them when we are having a rough day and wish we had their attitude.  These are the people who are not Polly-Ana and dream of rainbows and unicorns but realistically optimistic and helpful.
  4. Professional Attitude includes what we expect from people in the workforce each day.  Dressing professionally (for the work environment), getting to work and meetings on time, common courtesy.  Not, people who think that the workplace is an extension of their (dysfunctional) family where they are the “boss” and can do whatever they desire.
  5. Gratitude Attitude is the ability to appreciate all people in your workplace.  To appreciate your job, team, boss and organization.  This is not the rewards and formal recognition program that many organizations boast about but the ability of each person to sincerely look out for the other.  To help, support, encourage, uplift and inspire others.

This is a great list for technical professional who wish to advance in their careers.  Having the proper soft skills and attitudes can lead to leadership opportunities, leading a team or department.  It can also work for non-techs as well. I try to develop these skills and attitudes as I work with different groups and teams.  Not only for them but for myself.  So, instead of learning the next new tech app today, try on a new attitude or soft skill!

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Originally published at https://wordpress.com/post/largblog.wordpress.com/529

#softskills #tech  #Peopleskills   #emotionalintelligence

 

 

Are you a Motivational Listener?

motivational-listener“I need to keep my mouth shut”, Debbie said as we were discussing talking to people of all nationalities and backgrounds on our trip to Cuba.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Debbie is one of the most nurturing, generous, loving and caring people that I know (and I know a LOT of caring people).  “I just get myself in trouble.  For example, I asked one lady about her husband and he recently died.  I felt awful”,  Debbie explained.

Our tour guide, Jorge, talked non-stop for four hours about Cuba and their culture.  On the four hour trip back from Havana, he asked us questions.  Leslie and I were in the front seats of the bus and I was listening as he asked her, “I hear that American doctors are so rich that they never touch their patients”.  I realized that people in Cuba have a strange idea of what an “American” is – they may see some TV shows (although they need to buy “the package” in order to watch – Internet is not available).  Leslie listened to his entire question and answered in a most interesting fashion… she said that this was not her experience but possibly other people have had doctors like that.  she went on to describe her experiences with doctors.  As I listened to their conversation I realized that Leslie listened to his question then gave him both sides of the answer.  One from her point of view and one from an opposite view.  She is very diplomatic.  I learned a lot from listening to them talk about America and his perception of Americans.

Then Jorge asked me, “I hear that Americans don’t know their neighbors”.  I decided to not just be diplomatic but use what my colleague, Rick Holt, calls “Motivational Listening”.  This is where you ask questions to get people to talk and open up about themselves.  He believes that we learn more by listening than talking (I’ve heard that there is a reason we have one mouth and two ears).  So, I asked Jorge.  “Do the people in Cuba know their neighbors?”  He explained that each community is VERY close and everyone helps each other.  When you don’t get your ration of  eggs from the “notebook” because all of the bakeries got them – your neighbor will loan you eggs.  He says that most people do not travel much or leave their place of birth unless your job is in another city.  But, most people and their children stay in the province of their birth.  Hmmmm.  Interesting.  I listened and now I could answer his question with more detail – understanding his perspective and what type of answer he was seeking.  “More Americans are moving  around now for jobs or military than in the last 50 years.”  I told him where I had lived in the last 25 years (Michigan, Maryland, DC, Virginia, Texas and now Florida).  “I have always known my neighbors and if I run out of eggs or milk I can also go to my neighbor and borrow something instead of going to the store.”  I told him that each neighborhood is different and that it just depends on the people but in my experience I have always known my neighbors.

Instead of putting my foot in my mouth and just blurting out my perspective, I realized that it was important to practice Motivational Listening when interacting with Jorge.  This is tough for me, because like Debbie, I am such an extravert that I love to blurt out my opinion and ideas per my perspective!   I’ve learned much from Rick on the topic of Motivational Listening.  I learned that instead of asking “about your husband”.  I ask “Please tell me about your family”  – asking more broad questions instead of such direct questions seems to help.

Jorge and I are now Facebook friends and I have received a few emails from him in the last week.  I am trying to practice motivational listening via email – and FB.  I’ll try to see his perspective and ask the correct questions – broad and open-ended.   I sincerely think it helps with my Cuba – American relationships.  Try some Motivational Listening today.  It may surprise you that if you change your questions – then listen, you will notice people open up, express themselves, and feel comfortable with your conversations.