The Loves of My Life…
In other cultures, there are multiple words for the various kinds of love that we experience. I am told that there is a word for romantic love that is different from the word for the love a parent has for a child, and another word altogether for loving an activity like eating or walking on the beach…
I could Google this and learn about it, but I think that it would be more fun if you, my blog readers, would write to me and tell me about your many loves.
I use the word “love” all the time!
I love my kids with such intensity that I can feel it in my bones. I love my house. I love my friends. I love pizza and french fries (I like a good salad but I don’t love salad). I love my husband so much that I refer to him as “A lover” in my contacts list on my cell phone.
AND I love my work!!
When I think of work, I think of anything we as humans do that is productive. If you are a student, that is your work. If you are caring for a loved one, that is your work. You may have two (or more!) jobs.
So, I love feeling productive. I love helping clients. I love being creative. I love my colleagues. And I have memories of things that I loved about previous jobs. I will share mine, if you share yours!
A project that I loved doing…what project did you love doing?
A work group that I loved being a part of…what work group did you love being a part of?
Something about my workspace that I loved…what is something about your workspace that you loved?
A technology that I loved…what technology did you love?
A favorite restaurant near work that I loved frequenting…what restaurant did you love near work?
A stretch assignment that hurt, but after the fact, I loved…what was your favorite stretch assignment?
A boss, or mentor I loved because of how he or she believed in me…what boss or mentor believed in you?
A colleague I loved…what colleague(s) have you loved?
A piece of clothing that I loved wearing to work…what article of clothing have you loved wearing to work?
I can’t wait to hear about your work-related loves. If you tell me yours, I will tell you mine!!
It was winter break, and my son Jeffrey was ten years old. I was curled up on the couch with my computer and I let him in on a little secret: I was buying his dad, Bill, a massage table for his birthday in February. It was something Bill had coveted since we had started taking massage courses together. Jeffrey looked a little uncomfortable with this news, but when I asked him what was wrong, he sloughed me off. Since he wasn’t forthcoming, I just went ahead and pressed “place order” and didn’t give it another thought.
Two days later, a huge package showed up at our door. Impressed with Amazon’s efficiency, I stashed it away.
One week later, my January birthday arrived, and Bill was distressed. “I am so sorry. I ordered you something, but it hasn’t come yet.”
But there were flowers and a card – so I thought I had already received my gift. I was happy.
Three days later, another enormous box arrived. It was addressed to me. That’s when I started to put two and two together. I lugged out the other box. It was addressed to Bill. I was guessing that we were now the owners of two massage tables! When Bill got home and we opened both boxes, there was a lot of laughter. We wondered how much return shipping would cost!
It became clear that Jeffrey had known all along. When I asked why he didn’t tell us, he said, “You both told me not to tell.”
I see this type of scenario play out in business all the time. It’s commonplace to come upon confidential and sensitive information in the workplace. And my experience tells me that we’re ill-equipped to handle it well. We don’t talk enough about who to tell, when to tell, what to tell, and how to tell.
If harassment, discrimination, or ethics are involved, it’s your responsibility to report it! Yup, if you see something, say something. But beyond that, the waters are murky. If you’ve been taken into someone’s confidence, your role should be to support and guide that person, and always encourage them to take the appropriate steps to address the situation. It’s not your job to fix the problem or to become the spokesperson. I encourage organizations to develop policies around sensitive information.
Ultimately, in Jeffrey’s situation, he did the right thing, even though we did have to pay for return postage. What conundrums with sensitive topics have you encountered faced about sensitive topics at work?
About 18 years ago, I attended a networking event (with my four-month-old daughter strapped into a snuggly), and I was lamenting to some colleagues that the lion’s share of my consulting business came from one client – a great client with whom I thoroughly enjoyed working, but one client nonetheless. I feared that I was not creating the stability I needed to build a successful business. If that one client pulled out, I’d be sunk, I griped.
This reaction from a colleague made a huge impact on my business acumen. “Let me get this straight,” said Corrin. “You have a client you love, you have three children who are healthy, and you’re worried? You should be grateful.”
I left that event thinking: She is right. My cup is way beyond half full. I need to focus on what I have, instead of what I don’t have.
Positivity is a powerful business tool. And while the field of positive psychology offers up an abundance of evidence for the connection behind optimism and positive outcomes, my belief in the concept came from a personal experience.
I was reminded of that networking event a few months ago when a coaching client told me, “I am just going to pour positive energy into what’s in front of me! Not because it’s something I should do, but because when I pour positivity into anything, it seems to get better.”
All of us can learn from this. In organizations, we tend to focus on what is going wrong instead of what is going right. And when we fail to pay attention to what’s going right, it can evaporate pretty quickly.
Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to reframe your mindset. Let’s say that your team landed three new clients, but missed their revenue goal. The negative message is that the team failed. The positive message is that any of those three clients have the potential to become million-dollar clients.
Or maybe your logo redesign required lots of back and forth with the design team. Negative message: This costs more than we planned. Positive message: We ended up with a logo that everyone is happy with and that will endure.
So how can you inject your workplace with positivity? Ask yourself these questions:
- What have I done well this week?
- Whose work in the last month should I affirm with praise or a note of recognition?
- How will I reward team members who have contributed to the success of our organization this quarter?
The bottom line is that what we think about and emphasize is what grows. So plant the seeds of positivity at your workplace and see what sprouts!