I’m not a “praise person”. Is workplace praise a big deal?
I try to stay positive at work, but how does one do that when there’s literally NO upside?
Reader, this question comes from a great guy in an operations leadership position for many years. Through decades of change, he’s adapted each time his industry faced setbacks, most recently in the face of the pandemic.
To the client: I love this question, my friend. It made me laugh – although I’m not laughing at your stress. I felt joy in your honesty, and felt hope that we can find upsides if we look carefully. I thought of your personality assessment, which shows outstanding analytical gifts. Those gifts of detail-driven, logical and careful thought often come (as do all personality gifts) with a darker side if strengths are overused. For analysts, that can mean a failure to consider what positives might be possible, even in the darkest of times.
I have a few questions for you.
Will you be watching for tiny wins and possible solutions when opportunity knocks? Or will you rule out the fact that improvement is possible?
Will you remember why you keep choosing to do this work? We have a free, downloadable tool called “Your Mission at Work”, to help anyone articulate their reason for working. When you embrace your unique mission, very little can keep you from good effort (win or lose) every day.
Worry is a heavy habit to carry. Worries are familiar and hard to give up, even though they don’t help us survive or thrive. Recently, my team admitted aloud to one another one bothersome worry and swore to set it aside for one whole month. Each time the worry surfaced, we released it. All our other worries were allowed to stay. With determination, we broke up with the selected worries and they lost their hold on us. Check out a two-page summary of our experiment here.
You had setbacks this year. Like many of us, you’ve faced health concerns with loved ones as work grew more stressful. Taking care of yourself (mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually – there are many types of wellness!) is a must to sustain yourself in this world, and you control your self-care.
Post-traumatic growth refers to benefits of uniquely bad times. It often happens naturally, but you can nurture it by seeking learning opportunities and:
- recalling successes – were you prepared, did you use resources well, or keep communication flowing?
- disclosing – talking about the short and long-term effects of tough times turns worry into reflection and problem-solving. It’s a stretch for introverted or less expressive individuals, but changing times call for changing strategies.
- developing your own narrative. You’re the author of this book. How might the story turn out? How does it lead to a better future because you waded through the muck?
Finally, serve. Don’t stop serving. People do better in the aftermath of tough times if they have paid or unpaid work that benefits others. 25 years of research demonstrate that folks who decide to show compassion surf change better. A few more upsides might include resilience, new ways of doing business, deeper relationships, richer appreciation for life, and more meaning in each day.
I’m lucky to know you and glad you shared such a pertinent, helpful question.