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:
In our last FISH! blog we explored how to mindfully Choose Your Attitude. In Part 2, we shed some new light on a particular attitude: When people say “Choose Your Attitude”, they usually mean, “Choose a Positive Attitude!” It can feel like an accusation or an order. What if you’re not naturally outgoing or you don’t have a sparkling smile? If you take care of your customers and get your work done, does it matter how you do it?
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?
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.
Gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore. Research shows people who regularly acknowledge and reflect on what they are thankful for are happier and healthier. In a study of 24 personality strengths, gratitude was one of the most influential in helping people enjoy their lives. But practicing gratitude isn’t always easy or automatic. It takes more than waiting for something good to happen, then casually noticing it. Your brain has a tendency to regulate itself, like an emotional thermostat. This is called hedonic adaptation. The more you’re exposed to something that stimulates your emotions—whether it’s a loving family, a job promotion, fun hobbies—the less your brain is stimulated by that emotion.
“Can we talk?” It’s a critical question in every workplace. Whatever the subject, how we communicate builds trust or tears it down. Sometimes, when we have territorial spats or personality clashes, it seems easier to just stop talking. But that doesn’t help. Think about it: Have you ever had a great relationship in which you didn’t talk to each other? When we stop communicating, we fill that gap with our own interpretations, insecurities and fears—in short, what we think is going on. That’s how you create silos and opposing camps. To improve your relationships, shift your conversations. Here are four FISH! Philosophy tips for conversations that strengthen relationships.
Surveys show 95 percent of us think we’re self-aware. Unfortunately, research shows only 10-15 percent of us really are. Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself accurately. It’s understanding your personality, feelings, strengths, weaknesses and behaviors. It’s recognizing how your actions impact others. Psychologists say self-awareness is a foundation to happiness and success. Seeing yourself clearly helps you build stronger relationships and communicate more effectively. You’ll make wiser decisions and be a better leader.