“The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is the knack of getting along with people.” —Theodore Roosevelt
Today, we call this emotional intelligence. My latest book, "Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: A Guide to Effectiveness is the Workplace," provides over one hundred methods for increasing your emotional intelligence as an employee.
The Mirror Exercise
There is an old saying that points out, “We dislike most in others, what we dislike most in ourselves.”
that in mind, to remove excess negativity, resentment, judgment, or tension in
a relationship, use the mirror exercise. The next time you feel angry,
frustrated, or judgmental of another, flip it. In other words, ask yourself
where you behave like the other person (or worry that you may lapse into that
behavior and so spend lots of energy trying hard to not be “that way”). Instead
of looking at them and labeling, look at yourself and make a mental shift.
instance, let’s say you are very conscientious about being on time. You wake up
earlier than you’d like; you speed sometimes to make it there on time; you get
upset with slow traffic; you start the morning frantic and frustrated with your
family… all to make it there at the stroke of your start time. Now, let’s also
say that you have a co-worker who consistently “slides in” at least 5 minutes
late on a regular basis.
are great that you highly resent this behavior. After all, you are really
making timeliness a priority and this person clearly doesn’t care, right?
likely happening is that you are realizing that you too have an issue with
punctuality. Otherwise, you would find yourself easily getting to places in
plenty of time. That this other person is seemingly not going through the pains
that you are to be on time angers you. This is because you feel you are giving
up a great deal in terms of peace of mind and lowered stress levels to honor
your priority of punctuality.
of resenting the latecomer, try instead to see that you are also capable of being
late. We are all sometimes late!
Realize that you are transferring your own self-judgment onto the other person
(’cause that’s easier and more fun) and continue on to the next page for releasing this judgment.
After three decades of working with employees in America's workplace, I have come to one conclusion: Everyone must exercise the M/R formula---Manage Results or Maintain Relationships.
This formula is inherent in all relationships, not just coworkers, and provides the answer to how much conflict or how much harmony we will experience in any given relationship.
Everyone is born with one type of brain or the other. We are either the type of person who is excellent at managing results or we are the type of person who experiences ease in maintaining relationships.
A person who excels in managing results is someone who will master data, facts, logic and see things in a black or white lens. A person who is successful in maintaining relationships will exhibit traits like a strong ability to empathize, a master in communication, and a focus on creating peaceful outcomes.
Because a person can only be born with one or the other as a natural tendency, we are required to exercise the weaker side to be complete. To be an effective individual, or be someone who has achieved balance, we must recognize which type we are and emphasize or practice the type we are not naturally.
The impetus or motivation for doing so can be provided by explaining what happens when someone relies too heavily on one or the other. If one is too reliant on managing results, they will be someone who insists on achievement, meeting goals, focusing on budget and improved numbers, and containing or compartmentalize feelings. If one is reporting to this type of person as an employee, they will experience a strong focus on the bottom line, growth, reports, mathematical proof of momentum and will not be encouraged to expect verbal affirmation; a lack of understanding or interest in personal details; a limited focus in ensuring health, relationships and recharging or restoring to avoid burnout.
In contrast, if one is too reliant on their natural tendency toward maintaining relationships, they will be concerned with being liked, but they will rarely be looked to or relied upon to lead in difficult situation. This person will focus on being "part of the gang" and will have a limited ability in making a decision that will be unpopular, even if it's the right solution for the overall organization or unit. This is true for a family unit as well as a workplace unit. While able to empathize, sympathize, and soothe others, this person will struggle in the areas of money matters, gathering research, identifying trends and making decisions.
In order to be an accomplished and complete individual, we must pursue the M/R balance. We need to identify which side of the human brain we have naturally, and then recognize we lack the traits and tendencies of the other. In every situation we encounter, we must relax our natural inclination (because we will always have this ability even when we are sick, tired or stressed), and purposely use or focus on our weaker side in order to strengthen it. This is the way we become a highly effective and mature individual, experiencing satisfaction in the workplace or in our personal life.
Our thoughts create our experience. From the time of Buddha, this has been a truth revealed to us as humans. Unfortunately, for many of us, we have no formal training in how to manage our thoughts and therefore have some control over our experience. Instead, we form a habit of looking for what is wrong or what is missing. We go over mistakes from our past and worry about the ones we may make in the future. And then we wonder why we are anxious, depressed, irritable and unable to fall asleep.
You could embark on the path of meditation. You could also enter therapy to notice your thoughts and decide which ones to keep and which ones to discard at any given moment. But, you already know this. This information has been around since the 60s. You don't want to (and I don't either) for several reasons including: it's too hard, it's expensive and it's time consuming.
So what to do? Find a mantra. What's a mantra? It's a simple sentence that you can repeat to yourself over and over, when you are driving, when you are falling asleep, when you are worried. It is a focal point for your untrained mind. It is the habit, the habitual thought, that will replace your current habit of random fears and judging others.
I have some suggestions, but I strongly urge you to find your own. It should be FUN to find your mantra. And it should create a feeling in you that calms and comforts you. It should seem like a universal truth to you, not wishful thinking or positive thinking.
"Thank love for this moment in its perfection."
"I can do all things through (Christ, Buddha) who strengthens me."
"In this moment, everything is okay."
"I am supported in each moment."
Thoughts are not benign. They literally create reactions in our bodies. These reactions range from adrenaline surges to dopamine releases; cortisol and hormones. Your physical body's state will determine how you feel. And this feeling stems from the thoughts you are constantly thinking.
Things come into our lives and then they go. Those things sometimes create bad feelings, and so we are grateful when they leave. Other times the things are good and we mourn when they go, wishing they would stay forever, instead of seeing this as the natural ebb and flow of life.
Because these times can BOTH be so painful, we tend to clinch, tense up, against ANY changes at all. Because we just don't believe we can handle any more processing, any more work, any more pain. But this doesn't work. And it's the root of stress and even addiction.
I'm going to ask you to do something completely counter-intuitive, but will actually work like a charm. I want you to sit for a minute, take a deep breath and PURPOSELY feel these feelings. Really lean into them. Whatever you experience, whether a mental labeling (Oh, I feel sad and its seems to be in my stomach area to the left) or you actually cry or rage or feel otherwise negative---let it happen. Let it roll through your body. You may want to put out a yoga mat and roll around however your body dictates---possibly moaning or making other strange sounds as the body releases pent-up emotion. See whatever comes as energy, and try not to label it as "good" or "bad".
Hopefully, this will become a regular practice. When you feel any emotion, good or bad, you let it in. You stop what you are doing and bring in full force....and eventually....what you will notice is that these emotions, once fully felt, will go. You no longer feel the feeling for days and even weeks. You are back to normal or even peaceful as soon as you completely feel the feeling. Now, a word of caution: you can't go into this process saying, "If I feel the feelings, then they will go away!" You can't go in with that agenda, but that is what will happen.
And over time, you will see that emotions can't kill you. It sure seems like they are going to, but it turns out they just need expression. They need to roll through the body. What's ironic is that the holding in or avoiding emotions actually WILL ultimately cause disease and premature death! We all know that now with studies that connect unexpressed anger with heart attack and intense sadness with cancer and so on. Not to mention the intermittent back pain, headaches, etc.
In short, the answer is not to feel better. We need to get better at feeling. When we block the negative expression, we will find that we also can't really take in the good times...we don't completely feel the joy of a wedding, a graduation and so on, because we've blocked those channels too.
I have discovered that everyone understands on some level the need for digging deeper into our psyches to realize how we are blocking our own goals and what we can do to take personal responsibility for the issues we are facing. This ultimately becomes a feeling of taking control--or empowerment--and it involves looking at the collective unconscious (a term coined by Dr. Carl Jung---the creator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The collective unconscious can be accessed in many ways (dream interpretation is one such way). It can also be accessed through tarot.
Dr. Carl Jung (shown in the photo above with tarot cards) was reported to open his own therapy sessions with a tarot reading. The tarot offers a gentle understanding of these obstacles and how to remove them. We are often unable to face what we are doing to "get in our own way" when we are troubled, and the tarot can act as the catalyst to this form of self-sabotage.
I have spent decades honing my skills for reading the tarot while simultaneously educating myself on workplace communications training and qualifying for multiple certifications for world-renowned instruments (i.e., MBTI, emotional intelligence, 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' and so on). My clients find that this unique combination results in significant changes in behavior and favorable results in their workplaces and personal lives.
To prep yourself for this form of self-discovery, I suggest reading an article I wrote for EZINE ARTICLES that offers additional information about what tarot is, what it can do for you, or even to show someone in your life who may be skeptical about this information. EzineArticles (entitled "Tarot is Totally Normal").
If you would like to explore what a tarot reading would be like (or to start a tarot conversation), please let me know by sending an email to email@example.com. We will determine together if a tarot reading will help in your situation (from there I will send you a simple link to PayPal to use their process or use your credit card for $25. This will provide for unlimited access to me to resolve your situation). Please put in the subject line TAROT so that I can differentiate between your request and spam.
Your communication via email will begin the process for an extended, confidential one-on-one reading where we can delve deeply into questions that are currently eluding an answer for you. We will look at obstacles and blocks that YOU can remove...to ensure that you realize a stress-free situation, healthy relationships and a happier disposition. Email (or Facebook Chat/Messenger) also gives you a written record of our conversation so that you can review the comments and your progress later.
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Usually, my posts are advice to you on how to love a job that you currently don't. This post is a little different. It's an example of a man who took his skill from his job and his own personal life experience and turned it into a successful non-profit.
Glen was a licensed social worker, employed by my employer at the time: Wake County, NC. He came to my presentation skills class to get advice and feedback on a presentation that would launch and promote an idea he had to start a non-profit for wayward or absentee fathers. Being a single father of three, and working with men in our community who were struggling with this role (and those that were impacted by these men's choices: their former partners and children), Glen saw a way to actually SOLVE the problem of fatherlessness in our community, not just penalize it.
His idea? Was to bring these men in and TEACH them the skills needed to live and be fathers. He saw the generational trickling-down of decades of fatherlessness and knew theses men weren't going to change by just being judged or financially penalized (or sometimes imprisoned). He wanted to teach the life skills these men never saw--the skills they never witnessed first-hand growing up. And that's exactly what he did.
His presentation blew me away. Just like on my site, and in my training classes, I'm not interested in treating symptoms or learning how to "fake it." I'm interested in changing your mind and therefore your whole experience and reaction. His plan was the same. He created training classes on everything from anger management to financial planning. He provided these men with resources and fundamentals like interview clothing. I was so excited about this, I couldn't wait one more minute before I picked up the phone and contacted the director of child support enforcement. I didn't really think she would say "yes," but she did. And she was so blown away, she contacted a judge that worked most of the child support cases---and that judge loved it so much, she made Glen's program a regular "penalty" as part of the sentencing phase!
Today this non-profit is a success (see the new website and please consider a donation: http://www.afatherforever.com #healingempoweringandrestoringmen). Can you take this story and maybe even take it one step further: ask yourself what can YOU do to set up such a foundation? Maybe your ideal career isn't working for a big corporation or having a consulting business, but to put your time and heart into a non-profit?
"The course of conflict isn't determined by the person who initiates,
but by the person who responds." ~Unknown
Here's a little information that outta raise the hair on the back of your neck:
The effects of conflict in the workplace are widespread and costly. Its prevalence, as indicated by three serious studies, shows that 24-60% of management time and energy is spent dealing with anger. This leads to decreased productivity, increased stress among employees, hampered performance, high turnover rate, absenteeism and at its worst, violence and death.
Good times. And you wanted a job.
First, let me direct you to the tools already available on my site for handling difficult co-workers and/or your own negativity in contributing to conflict:
Warning: Make sure this is YOUR business. Many times, we get involved in other people's workplace conflict because we believe it is the right and kind thing to do. And we make a mess of it. Or we end up in the middle of it. Here are some articles I've written for ensuring you are seeing things CORRECTLY before inserting yourself into the conflict: