It doesn’t matter what you do for your team or for yourself. If you’re determined to be unhappy, then circumstances don’t matter.
I can just hear the hue and cry. “You just don’t get it. I WANT to be happy. I WANT to be engaged at work but the behavior of (fill in the blank: coworker, boss, subordinates) is standing in my way.”
Poppycock. (Did she say, “Poppycock? Who says that these days?”)
You can get frustrated without getting discouraged. You can be disappointed without giving up. And you can be happy even in the face of incredible challenges. In fact, some of the unhappiest people I know seem to have no challenges at all! They’re rich, they’re healthy and successful beyond all measures. And they are completely miserable.
Conversely, we all know those who are struggling financially, have family members who are ill, and cannot seem to get ahead. And yet they are happy. Probably because they’re focused on helping others instead of whining about their own lives.
Happiness has everything to do with focus. Where’s your focus? Are you focused on what works in your job or on all the things that you believe to be wrong? Are you focused on the value of your teammates or are you continually searching for ways they don’t measure up? Are you doing the same to yourself?
The title of this blog came from a story I heard once. A young man finally decided he was an addict and he needed to stop drinking and taking drugs. After he was clean and sober for six months, he was complaining to his counselor, “Nothing’s really changed. I’m still miserable. All I want is to be happy.” The counselor looked at him thoughtfully and then responded, “Go ahead! Who’s trying to stop you?”
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9/11/2018 – Today, along with millions of Americans, I have been watching footage of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Recurring themes include heroism, people’s inherent kindness to others during times of duress, and going the extra mile.
These attributes are why I have never despaired, “What will become of us?” I know that, deep down we are all connected and want the best for each other, for our country, and for the world.
What does this have to do with employee engagement? Simply this: you needn’t wait for a crisis to practice kindness. You have opportunities all day long, both at work and in your personal life.
At work, striving for an environment where employees look forward to coming to work each day is one of the kindest things you can do for your co-workers, and yourself. Caring enough to ask, “How are you doing? How can I support you?” goes a long way toward allaying any underlying fears your team may have. Fears like: “Am I alone? Does anyone care that I’m struggling? Does my work even matter?”
A sense of belonging is also one of the themes of the 9/11 aftermath. We bonded together as Americans.
We all want to belong. If you doubt this, think back to your High School days.
Work is a place where the opportunity to experience a sense of being included is present every day. More than anything, creating an environment where everyone strongly feels they are an important part of the team ensures a culture of engagement.
While we are remembering 9/11, we also have an eye on Hurricane Florence, scheduled to hit the East Coast soon.
It is comforting to know that neighbors will help neighbors even if they live in different states far away.
Having said that, please don’t wait for a crisis to help your neighbors at work. You don’t know who on your team may be suffering now and need a kind word, a confidence-boosting assignment, or some feedback that will help them to grow.
“Make a difference, not just a living.” – Anonymous
Let’s strive to be every day heroes. No one will make a documentary about it but to those around you, it can make all the difference between an existence of simply marking time or work they look forward to each day.