If you are leading an organization in times of difficulty, you need an extra spark to keep your head up. The requirement for you to be the chief encourager and visionary doesn't dissolve because the economy is down. The expectation for you to show up with vision, passion, and commitment still rests upon you. In times of difficulty, there is a separation among leaders – those who just have a “title” that indicates their leadership and those who truly have the mantle of leadership. The title will give that person access, provision, and affluence. The mantle of leadership, however, may also provide sleepless nights, heartache, and discouragement – as well as joy – at various times.
There’s no denying it. We live in a different world than the one we lived in just weeks ago. Businesses worldwide have been affected in ways that are still largely unknown. Storefronts across the nation have either shut down completely or they are adapting to the new normal. The ways in which we interact with one another have shifted from mostly in-person to strictly virtual platforms—and our prior social norms are expected to transform in the near future to fit the post-pandemic reality. As we physically distance and adapt to this new world, we’re called to bravely show up for ourselves and each other. Now more than ever, looking to the practices of The FISH! Philosophy can help shape how we take on each day...
Human survival used to depend on being aware of everything around us, from predators to deadly weather. These days the “threat” is a constant flood of information. More texts and emails. More calls. More news. More entertainment. More everything. The result? We are trying to pay attention to so many things that we are losing the ability to focus for long on anything. According to one study, the average person loses concentration after eight seconds. A goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds. The ability to maintain attention is key to decision-making and performance. Research has found a correlation between focus and career advancement. Here are five tips to improve your focus skills:
Job skills are critical for success. Attitude may be more important. More and more companies consider a prospect’s attitude at least as essential as education and skills. This trend is growing as the pace of change accelerates. To these employers, it makes more sense to hire people who are positive, collaborative and adaptable vs. someone who is hard to work with and resistant to change—and whose present skills, however considerable, may soon be obsolete anyway. If certain attitudes are vital to success, where do they come from? Are you born with them? Or can you develop them, like any other skill?
As the school year wraps up, take a moment to remember your favorite teachers. They didn’t just teach you about academics. They taught you about life. They inspired you to want to learn. They showed you how to work successfully with others. We’ve met many dedicated educators who use the FISH! Philosophy to improve the lives of their students. Here are 4 lessons we can apply to our adult lives:
The Greek philosopher Aristotle had a foolproof strategy to avoid criticism. The answer, he said, was “saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” None of us gets through life without being criticized, whether it’s by parents, teachers, friends, bosses, coworkers or spouses. Some differentiate criticism from feedback. They say criticism implies judgment, while feedback is about looking for a solution. A good distinction, but feedback often contains elements of criticism. And criticism can be delivered with the most caring intentions.
Human beings, like all animals in communities, are wired to feel what people around them are feeling. It’s an evolutionary trait: When a cave dweller anticipated a threat, the sooner other tribe members picked up on those perceptions, the safer they’d all be. It works much the same today, except the threats aren’t woolly mammoths. Our stresses come from being asked to do more with less. Information overload. Fear of mistakes. Tension with coworkers. Possible layoffs. It’s estimated up to 50 percent of employees view work as the main source of stress in their lives. That means you or the person working next to you is probably feeling overwhelmed. Inevitably one of you will start to feel it too.
Was that a stuffed fish flying through the air? Todd Wilkins couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Todd was in Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie Children’s Hospital) in Chicago with his four-year-old son, Michael, who was being treated for neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer. Todd was watching Michael on the overnight shift. Usually a confident person, tonight he was feeling nervous and unprepared. As Michael slept, Todd left the room to ask the nurses a question. He turned the corner and saw a nurse toss a stuffed Pete the Perch to a coworker.
In last month’s blog, we kicked off our 20 Years of FISH! celebration with memorable quotes from people who have used the philosophy to improve their lives. This month we explore another great FISH! insight: “To change an organization, you’ve got to change yourself. As I work on myself I find I have a bigger impact on people than when I was trying to work on them.” Rob Gregory, owner, Rochester Ford Toyota It’s tempting, especially for leaders, to try to “fix” people—to “improve” them so they do more of what you like and less of what you don’t.
Time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been 20 years since our award-winning video, FISH!, introduced The FISH! Philosophy to the world. Over the next year, we’ll celebrate by sharing inspiring stories, tips and activities to help you continue to live the four practices. Be sure to look for special offers on our programs and workshops throughout the year. In this month’s blog, we kick off 20 Years of FISH! with 10 great quotes from people who have used The FISH! Philosophy to improve their work and lives: