This tool is life-changing!
Make yourself and your family more resilient against depression, anxiety and the challenges of life.
This tool is life-changing!
Make yourself and your family more resilient against depression, anxiety and the challenges of life.
Savoring the memory of a vacation can be as good as the vacation itself, sometimes better. There is a fascinating article describing how even anticipating a vacation can give one joy.
I met a wise young man recently that created a delightful, and (I think) scientifically sound method for helping people enjoyably savor their vacations even better–while still on them. I begged him to let me share his creation.
This graphic was created by Greg Sullivan of Sullivan Gang Graphics.
Sullivan Gang Graphics115 S Handley St Wichita, KS 67213Phone: 316-262-6242
Priming for Human Resource Pros
As in many jobs, you in HR have the huge challenge of influencing people without being able to simply tell them what to do. Because you are usually not the direct manager of the people you are working with, you will often find yourself in a situation where you have to manage up—you have to convince people above you in the organization about how decisions are going to affect employees.
Another unique challenge for you HR pros is finding the balance between helping people fulfill their potential and holding them accountable. And if all of this weren’t challenging enough, you also have to help guide change you didn’t initiate. Whew!
Many of these situations apply to other managers as well, but you HR pros have some very interesting challenges when it comes to managing the dynamics of people.
In my book, Energize, I talk about the three characters in your mind that are necessary for motivation. You HR pros have to be good at doing all three:
Calming the Cavemen
On a daily basis, you are going to have someone (or a group of someones) in your office who need calming. Since the cavemen part of our brains—the survival instinct—is always looking for threats, this can result in rigidity, irrationality and overreaction. When you encounter employees with an overactive caveman response, you must help them calm their fears, straighten out misconceptions, come up with solutions to their challenges, or simply find a positive attitude if they are angry. HR pros need to be able to empathize as part of calming people down.
Convincing the Thinker
The thinker is the part of the brain that is able to think clearly, consider the future, and process complex ideas. As an HR pro, you need to be able to help convince the thinker when it comes to your colleagues. To do this when managing up, make sure you have facts to back up your suggestions. Talking about how to positively affect the bottom line will make managers more open to your ideas. When it comes to motivating employees around change or resolving issues, you can use tools such as listing long-term benefits for achieving a challenge and brainstorming multiple plans and consequences. If employees feel like they are part of a solution, they are more apt to participate in it.
Energizing the Artist
Being able to activate the artist in others is a powerful motivational skill. The artist fuels our passion for things we feel deeply about. When you’re guiding change, it’s especially beneficial to help people tap into their artists. You can do this by identifying how the change applies to their passions and values, as well as highlighting the benefits of the change for their jobs and duties.
One of the key things to remember when guiding or influencing change is that motivating people around the change is critical. When we are overworked and life is hectic, it can be easy to treat change like a transaction, and simply tell people that they must do it. That occasionally works with some people, but usually backfires if employees don’t understand the need for the change and aren’t emotionally invested in it.
Being in HR is in some ways like being a parent. A big portion of your job is trying to influence. (But one hint here: Don’t ever think of your employees as children, even though they may act like it from time to time!)
If you’d like to chat more about HR challenges, I would love to help. And check out these additional blog posts to watch fun videos on how to Calm the Caveman, Convince the Thinker and Energize the Artist.
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Ryan Estis tell this story again yesterday at dynamic NEHRA conference. The hero of this true story, Lily (#LilyEffect), demonstrates powerfully how we can create purpose that fulfills ourselves, wow customers, and create “evangelist customers” who spread the word about us.
Our brains do some weird things when we are successful. It can pay to prepare for it. Especially, because we can get what I call “expertitis.”
I have a confession to make. After getting some really rough feedback about ten years ago I realized that I had come down with a bad case of expertitis. I had become successful as a change agent, and at helping people transform. This success unfortunately went to my head (which swelled a few sizes). I began to lecture people who had no interest in my advice. I was showing the first two symptoms below. No surprise, my success rate (and popularity) began to decline.
Symptoms: Expertitis is that dreaded egotistical state that shows itself in one or more of the following behaviors:
My solutions to priming by brain to be more realistic and helpful were simple, if not easy.
I’d love to hear what you do to balance yourself and prevent expertitis.
Also, I love learning about other brain geeks that use research to help us all learn how to work and live better.
I’ve followed Dr. Srini Pillay for a while. Here are his great suggestions for counteracting expertitis in the Harvard Business Review blog. The Unexpected Consequences of Success
Jason Silva is one of the most profound thinkers of our day. To make it even better he is a master video producer (and host of Brain Games) so creates dynamic videos to explain his concepts.
I challenge you to create vital cycles of optimism. Design experiences for yourself that increase your passion, enhance your optimism, and as Silva says, “make your life a work of art”.
Would you like to be calmer in the face of work and family stress?
Would you like to be more content with life as it is, and less affected by the imaginary dangers that play in your mind?
I’m going to give some of my thoughts, and those of Sam Harris, a renowned philosopher and neuroscientist.
Increasing mindfulness does all three of these things. Mindfulness is being able to calmly face the exaggerated threats our mind creates without fighting, fleeing or freezing. That means to not have to suppress our unwanted urges, run from our own emotions, or deny our own thoughts and feelings. Instead, noticing our thoughts and feelings with equanimity, allowing these urges to “float” by instead of choosing to react to them. Then choosing the “right” action toward what is best for oneself, instead of merely away from momentary discomfort and toward comfort.
I created the ACT Team to give people an easy step in this direction. These represent aspects of our brain that embody certain fearful urges and motivations. Seeing them as somewhat separate allows us some mental distance, and increases the ability to choose “right” action instead of simply react to their promptings. This also allows us to see ourselves as more than our thoughts, our feelings and our urges. In addition, it allows us to influence our own motivations a bit more objectively, instead of be a victim to them.
The fearful urges and motivations we feel in a given moment distort our sense of what is real, creating reactionary “inner movies.” Inner movies are our brain’s guess of what is real combined with our biases, fears and hopes. It plays them out in our minds like a visual, auditory or sensed movie. Most of the time we’re caught up in the inner movies of life, not realizing that they are simply movies, not reality. Mindfulness is being able to look past the movie to see what is really there, with less bias from our fears, hopes and biases. This is what I argue that “enlightenment” truly is—seeing reality more clearly. More mental light is now shining on what is actually happening, and less on the internal distortions. For example, we may have an inner movie that our child is “shaming the family” by choosing career we dislike, when the reality is that she is usually simply being attracted to what she finds interesting and enjoyable. You can see how much unnecessary conflict this kind of inner movie causes for ourselves, and for those around us.
Sam Harris explains mindfulness well in his book “Waking Up”.
My friend Joseph Goldstein…likens this shift in awareness to the experience of being fully immersed in a film and then suddenly realizing that you are sitting in a theater watching a mere play of light on a wall. Your perception is unchanged, but the spell is broken. Most of us spend every waking moment lost in the movie of our lives. Until we see that an alternative to this enchantment exists, we are entirely at the mercy of appearances…
We crave lasting happiness in the midst of change: Our bodies age, cherished objects break, pleasures fade, relationships fail. Our attachment to the good things in life and our aversion to the bad amount to a denial of these realities, and this inevitably leads to feelings of dissatisfaction. Mindfulness is a technique for achieving equanimity amid the flux, allowing us to simply be aware of the quality of experience in each moment, whether pleasant or unpleasant. This may seem like a recipe for apathy, but it needn’t be. It is actually possible to be mindful—and, therefore, to be at peace with the present moment—even while working to change the world for the better.
(Sam Harris teaches how to achieve mindfulness through various exercises in “Waking Up”. He has audio guides to this kind of mediation on his website. He manages to extract the powerful insights of Buddhist meditation from the mythology, so that it’s relevant to everyone regardless of your beliefs.)
Happiness. Bliss. Serenity. Mental Health. There are many worthwhile goals of mindfulness meditation. A very small segment of people find sitting for days, weeks, months or even years at a time appealing. The goal for most of us though, as Harris describes it, is increasing happiness. Not reaching some magical state of nirvana, enlightenment, etc.
What is the next step you will take to becoming more mindful?
To make better decisions?
To be more content with life as it is, and less affected by the imaginary dangers of your inner movie?
Tom Raffio interviews Bob Faw about how to get your ACT together on their radio show.
Here are tips for motivating yourself, and others, particularly during busy or stressful times.
Tom Raffio is the leader of Northeast Delta Dental. He is also the co-author of “There Are No Do-Overs: The Big Red Factors For Sustaining a Business Long Term” with Dave Cowens and Barbara McLaughlin
In addition to calming the Caveman’s fears and energizing the Artist, positive change of any type also requires convincing the Thinker. This part of the brain wants to have a clear vision of how to get to your goals. If there’s too much detail, the Caveman gets bored and confused, but too little detail leaves the Thinker unconvinced. For example, when I had to change the vicious cycles of economic despair into the vital cycles of a great career, I created a few steps that I thought would lead me to my goals. I planned the first step, but I didn’t worry too much about the following steps until I was ready for them. Each person’s Thinker is different and requires a different blend of information. Experiment to find out how much planning is enough to make your Thinker confident, without planning so much that you lose motivation in the process. The Caveman part of our brain starts to rebel when plans get too complex.
Some people need lots of background information and analysis to help convince the Thinker. However, people who have stronger Artist tendencies are happier with a big picture and motivating reasons; and are impatient with too much data. When motivating others, choose your approach based on what they prefer.
There are some things that both the Caveman and the Thinker like. For example, both like it when you are clear about a specific amount to accomplish. This works whether your goal is money, job satisfaction, depth of relationship, or any other goal in life. Both of these parts of the brain also like things that are clearly beneficial to all aspects of your life. For example, when I started doing more public speaking, my Thinker enjoyed the mental stimulation and potential for bringing in more work, my Caveman enjoyed the fun I had working a crowd, and my Artist thrived on the passion I felt talking about positive change.