1. Take up a hobby or pursuit that activates your imagination and involves listening and speaking.
Think about the things you do outside of work. Who you are at work, reflects who you are everywhere else and what you do in the rest of your life impacts upon who you are as a boss or colleague.
If for example you experience work as pure grind, lacking in fulfilment, connection or inspiration – but you also have the misfortune of finding your life outside of work full of grind, that is to say, without any inspiration also – then the chances are you’ll be unlikely to be the person that people turn to for a sense of fun, laughter, or just general positivity. You’ll be less likely to have an optimistic outlook, or be able to come up with solutions, or see the big picture.
Feeling ground down, numbed out, bored, dead inside, unsupported, uninspired – any of those qualities are red flags and will likely be affecting your emotional and physical well being as well as your capacity to be a high performing employee, or someone who people enjoy working for, or besides.
This isn’t to be hard on people who already hold a lot of burdens outside of work though. Some pressures are just extremely difficult and for some people they may affect your functioning and attitude at work. Anything from an invisible disability or challenge, sick children, chronic illness, all of these things and more will of course impact upon how optimistic or engaged is at work.
In which case the question here is how might you access more support? And keep asking that question of yourself til you can come up with one possible avenue you might not yet have considered.
This post though is not for people holding additional burdens that are pressing down on you – I am talking honestly to those of you who have a good family, have financial support and a loving home to return to each night.
If this is you – then it’s difficult to say this, but the only thing getting in the way of you exploring new ways of being in the world are your beliefs. Cynicism, jadeness, oh and some of us, women especially, tend to think we don’t deserve time to enjoy life and that anything that is centred around work or family cannot be justified. And that our primary function is to put everybody else first.
For those of you who think that way – if it helps to dissolve your sense of over responsibility and dislike of pursuits that aren’t considered ”productive”….Then it is this…
To remember that waking up your imagination and trying out something new will improve your capacity to connect with others and may even improve your relationships two fold as a result.
So join a choir, or am dram, or do a team sport that is fun for you – if it helps you, great, but long term, it will also help you nearest and dearest also.
Consider being part of a group experience that involves team work and collaboration.
Anything from a drama class to a book club or team sports can help you become a better listener and remind you of the benefits of tuning into both yourself, as well as others.
If we never prime that muscle, it’s easy to forget.
If you hold a position of power it’s even easier to forget how important it is to support and listen, as well as make the important decisions. Make yourself experience what it is to be the one who listens and is placed equally to others in the hierarchy, you’ll soon hone your listening, collaborating muscles in no time at all.
2. Consuming art in some shape or form has the capacity to wake up the brain to discover and enjoy new ways of looking at the world.
Engaging with what’s unfamiliar to us, relatively speaking, can be good for our imagination which in turn helps primes your empathy muscles.
Reading books helps develop critical thinking, a capacity to consider multiple perspectives. This is good for all of those times when you’re feeling stuck (bored, dismissive, rejecting) of somebody else’s perspective.
This is good if you tend to assume you always know best about everything and everyone and also if you tend to use your own logic and rational to disconnect from people everytime they speak, by assuming they have nothing of value to contribute, without any real invistigation.
According to controversial intellectual and psychiatrist Jordan Peterson – this is why people who are artists tend to be less individualistic and more open and curious in nature (and coincendentally left leaning politically) because they are much better equiped to put themselves in other people’s shoes – it’s a well nurtured habit. Though he quite rightly points out (and I say this as an artistic type) that creatives may struggle to make their bed or create order in their lives – but they are much better equipped to learning, openness, willingness to make mistakes in pursuit of an experience, or of knowledge – throughout their life time.
People who are more logical and linear and data orientated may be much better at creating a thriving business – but they are often less naturally talented at empathy, curiosity and knowing how to figure out what drives people at work to be more fulfilled, efficient, successful.
In my opnion, both types of people have a great deal to learn from one another.
If you tend to be dogmatic as a person, then start engaging in (in other words MAKE ART) or consuming some form of art – this will definitely help your thinking become more expansive and will begin to disupt any tendency to get stuck in your ways.
In short, art makes us curious. So consider taking up something artistic, or absorbing more art.
3. Ask questions about what people’s dreams and passions are at least once a week and slow down when you do so so that you can actually take in what they say.
There’s no point even asking someone about their weekend for example, whilst you’re already halfway out the door. Stay PRESENT – which means slow down, take them in, listen.
This used to happen to me all the time when I worked on reception – people would talk to me at 10-20 minutes at a time. During that time I’d have asked them about their interests and why they mattered to them and they’d happily share about their passions and i’d learn more about who they were and what made them tick.
But inevitably, when it should have got to ”my turn”, they might ask ”Oh what did you do this weekend?” but they’d engage for less than a second. They didn’t ask more open questions so that I could respond and often, physically, they would already be walking off before I could barely open my mouth.
Let’s not be that person.
People notice these kinds of behaviors and it does no favours to building likeability, trust and connection!
If I was to give homework from this week then – I would say pick 1 of these 3 tips here and practice them for the next 4 weeks and see what changes. Then add in another tip and another, over time.
In my next blog post I’m going to write about what we do when our judgements are coming up and we feel disconnected from who we are speaking to. By this I mean…
-All the times you judge someone else’s interests as unimportant but you’ve been waxing lyrical about your own for the last 10 minutes 😉
-All the times when what someone shares about themselves actually bores you and you notice that you switch off inside.
-All the times you refuse, in short, to engage with the person in front of you and what gets in the way…Usually bad habits, hidden beliefs and judgements and an unwillingness to challenge yourself in exploring further.
If you’d like to discuss how I can work with your organisation please do reach out…
M:07947 448 434
What I do…
I create fun, interactive workshops and experiences and can come in and give a talk, run an event or workshop. Whatever I create is bespoke to your company and your needs.
My main areas of interest are helping teams get to know each person in their business better – their dreams, wants, needs in relation to work and beyond.
I help facilitate deep talk, instead of small talk.
- I can also teach listening and confidence skills utilising my acting training to improve your teams listening skills and turn up the volume on empathy, trust and connection.
- Alternatively if you want an opportunity to get clear about what motivates your employees to feel more supported and inspired at work I can help with that too. Culture consists of people and to understand what motivates people to feel inspired and connected – there needs to space given to genuine discussion and honest shares.
- Oh and if you would like to have more open discussions with the women in your organisation also about what’s working (and what’s not) from their perspective, then feel free to email me also.
Feel free to email me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a wonderful week folks!