Love Your Work?

September 15, 2008

Do you love your work? If you do you are in the top 30% of the workforce. Fast Company magazine recently reported that 1/3 of the workforce hates their job, another 1/3 like and or dislike their job depending on the day, the week or the assignment and that 1/3 actually report loving how they exchange their time for money.

So for 2/3 of the workforce there is a conversation that ought to include new ways to see work and life so at the very least they can feel satisfaction with what they do. If not, what’s it all about and who or what are you waiting for to make your shift towards the top third. Life’s too short.

I recently spoke at a Human Resource professionals event in New Brunswick. It was a great session full of wonderful people who really care about the human element in the world of work. I love human resource professionals because beyond the daily duties of hiring, firing, performing and paying, rewarding or laying off they are very committed to the quality of life at work. This audience was particularly lively, and it was a breakfast meeting!

I thought I would share what some of they remembered from my presentation. Some of the comments are picking up what they took away from what I said but there are also many reminders and reaffirmations that were rekindled because they took time from their busy schedules to sit with colleagues for a while and explore the question I was presenting, “How do you help people love what they do and feel happy and productive in work and in life?”

Here is some of what they shared:

– What you think about you bring about
– Attitude is contagious, make yours worth catching
– Stress is an imbalanced thought
– Bring what you love to work
– Positive thoughts inspire “positivity”
– Take time to talk to people
– Happy at work = happy at home
– Bring something you love to your work
– Given empathy brutality isn’t possible
– Don’t be afraid of success, embrace it
– You should not need a vacation from work if you love it
– Be happy at work by bringing love to my job and hope to inspire others by being so positive
– Create instead of gossip
– We have a choice of how we think
– Don’t separate work and life
– Keep that belly laugh rolling and set influence on the office by smiling
– The definition of success.
– Work should be an extension for you life
– Shift from TGIF to TBIF (Too Bad its Friday, cause I love what I am doing)
– If you feel happy, you should tell your face

Life Mountain

September 12, 2008

Are you a patient person? Or do you zip around cars on wide streets to find yourself at a stop light and the person you just whipped around rolls up behind you? Or are you more like the person in the passed car who chuckles at the irony of the great equalizer we call traffic lights? Have you ever asked the question of yourself or others, why is everybody in such a hurry to be somewhere they are not?

I learned something about patience from a mountain I hiked up recently in Costa Rica. (Yes, that explains the regurgitation of others wit and wisdom in this newsletter these past weeks).

Cerro Chirripo is 12,280ft at the summit. From the top on a clear day you can see both oceans that caress the Eastern and Western coasts of this pristine Central America country. The trail starts at just under 5000ft elevation and winds 14.5 kms up through the cloud forest jungle. If you are lucky you can reach 11,000ft to the base camp lodge in the same day. If you are unlucky you sleep in the woods because there is nothing but trail between. Here’s the math, over 6000 ft elevation gain in just over 14 kms. Unprecedented and Unbelievable!

By comparison, I’ve had the honour of hiking the Rockies, Masada in Israel, the Appalachians, the Alps and of course the Himalaya (as you can tell from my keynote topic). This single day broke the barriers as it was without a doubt the most physically and psychologically demanding I have ever encountered. But we left at first light and made it in 10 hours, clothes sweat soaked and as the sun went down I pulled extra pair of socks on my hands. Success with no twisted ankles or appreciable muscle soreness, even the next day when we made the final ascent to the summit. So what’s the secret? Answer: Patience with a dash of perseverance.

The only way to physically endure the high altitude without embolisms and not tax your muscles to jelly or worse, throbbing with pain, is to walk at a pace of grace, stop to re-balance lost fluids and take long breathes to reduce the chances of altitude sickness. The best way to emotionally endure is to be blessed with a fabulous companion on the journey like my partner Andrea. We paused every 100 metres of ascent to acclimatize and restore the balance of our “drive and go” energy with rest and stillness and when we did we took notice of the incredible beauty and the vistas around us.

Here’s the metaphor in a question. Do you stop to re-balance your “drive to the prize” energy with stillness and calm? Do you skip timeout opportunities like break, lunch or a sit down meal with loved ones to balance off the crazy bustle of a busy day. The mountain top, whether that be a big project at work or the ultimate summit, death, will always be there so slow down, take it easy, call on patience and enjoy the ride.

For my partner and I it was only when we stopped to smell the bromilades (the jungle equivalent of roses) that we really embraced the beauty of the moment. From monkeys swishing from branch to branch high above to a butterfly that alighted on our backpack or the flock of parrots flying overhead. In sitting still enough we heard a rustle of a huge black beetle in the dry leaves at our feet. Sure the summit vista rocked but the true beauty is really the quality of journey along the way that is worth the celebration. And who you share the long of road of life with.

Teed off or Inspired?

September 12, 2008

Do you ever get irritated at the pokiness of the security screening process in our post 9-11 airports? Ever get annoyed with buddy who tries to walk through the scanner with a pocket full of change, a big watch and a cell phone only to be told to backtrack empty into the tray and try again? Doh! Or get a bit perturbed when they scan and search polite little old ladies? Maybe I just twigged your own story?

I was on a 6 am flight back from Belfast. The lines were long in what I call the cattle pen. (I get flashbacks to the family farm when we ushered beef cattle onto trucks with their “one way” ticket.)

I was very aware that boarding time was ticking down as I got to the head of the line and the xray table. I had already cleaned out my pockets as I pride myself in getting through the metal scanner “clean.” My coat was off and my laptop out of the bag 5 passengers before. If only buddy with the change collection would take a lesson.

My body got through but my goodies laden bag got the old suspicion laden question, “Is this your bag sir?” In for the full meal deal, I fear.

I tried to be patient, really I did, as every nook and cranny of my bag was poked and prodded. Just when I thought it was over….the dreaded sniff test aka, the full meal deal. Change of gloves and another eternity taking measurement.

At least it took long enough to allow for an intuitive flash that went like this. I asked the question to myself. What are the choices? To be resentful or be grateful. I chose the latter and when she finished and handed back my boarding card I looked her in the eye and said, “I want to thank you for your diligence in keeping us all as safe as possible.”

She looked a mildly surprised and replied in a precious Irish accent, “We don’t often get many people thanking us.”

There might have been a time where I could have quipped, “I bet you don’t” But that was not the nature of the connection. The nature of the connection was a feeling of mutual appreciation and a pure intent of offer a sincere acknowledgement.

I felt better, she felt better. The world is right for just a moment as I went along my merry way. How much did it cost in money or in time? Priceless!

Innerwealth Alive

September 12, 2008

Innerwealth helps people discover bigger answers to the question “How do You Want to Live and Give?” This is less a question to be answered than a lesson learned in life or, as some authors have put it, a mystery to be lived. We seek, fail and eventually discover how to have the time of our life. Every child plays grownup, pretends to be a super hero and yearns to build and fly higher. For adults we might call it playing the bigger game.

“The cosmic life journey: Born, Happy – Sad, Joined – Separate, Order – Chaos, Balance – Out of Balance, Collect moments of love, Die. Repeat as Necessary”

As a person journeys to work each day they are probably thinking about the weather, the gardens they pass, or the occasional cat that stumbles on their path or the stories of others on the bus and the congestion of traffic. At the most they may be thinking of how their family felt as they departed, deadlines or assignments due, practical jokes to play or even dreading an encounter with difficult coworker or client. Most don’t people don’t flip on the TV or talk to someone in the check out at the grocery store and ask themselves “what will I learn from this that will enhance my sense of meaning for my life and make me a better card player, lover or neighbor?”

Our success with in daily encounters with others, ideas and our environment can be measured by tapping into a deep wellspring. Every human on the planet, regardless of color, wealth or religion, from childhood to old age can measure greater satisfaction in life by the degree to which they encounter, and ultimately gradually acquire, the following four attributes of being human: caring , connection, contribution and chuckles. With these four attributes then we have achieved peace and harmony and can see the richest beauty in all things and experiences. It is not a moment but rather the possibilities of a million more moments. This is what could be lost if we were not so conscious of being ever so alive.

These four attributes of being human, qualities, or hallmarks of success can be accomplished on an immediate, short term level through the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This might include a good meal with friends, watching a hockey game playoff, attending theater, movies and arts, or throwing the ball for a dog. But they are transient and dependant on our ever unreliable environment to make us feel alive. They become an all too infrequent and shallow shortfall if one is really reaching for the most out of life.

There is, for some, a call to more, a call to understand a greater role in the participation of life and its infinite capacity for love. For those the principles underlying Innerwealth approach to getting back to our true nature of inspired living and fulfilling work will ring true to their heart and soul.

The Four Human Attributes Explored

People are more internally motivated with harmony and energy to give when they believe that their needs and values are engaged and their whole person body, mind and heart is supported to reach and maintain greater balance, wellness, harmony, purpose and commitment to their life and work.

Core among these needs and values are:

1. Care — How much do I matter?

Establishing a safe and supportive work environment where individuals feel heard and empowered by colleagues means that they will bring their heart and hands to work, allowing for the whole person to engage, to feel cared for, to take care of self and respect and care for the needs of others and the overall health and vision of the organization.

Beyond this many people are realizing that they are the only person that will spend the rest of their life with so rather than expecting others to meet their needs people are seeking handy applicable self-empowerment tools to take responsibility for self worth and to gain control over fulfillment.

2. Connection — Where do I belong?

People are starting to seek deeper answer to this question than popular culture or the main stream organized religions can provide. The more unconditional the giving, the more purity of intent with the offer, the closer we share with integrity of true love.

Human nature is about connection-to have a sense of belonging. The organization that acknowledges that ‘work family’ relationships contain both support and healthy challenge are the most effective. Connection to a balanced lifestyle ensures healthy individuals who come to work ready to grow and commit to the task at hand in the company of others.

3. Contribution — How do my skills and time make a difference?

Individuals thrive when they know why do what they do and can clearly see progress and how it contributes to the overall purpose. As this furthers their daily satisfaction a sense of fulfillment and their commitment grows. When individuals have a sense of contribution, the overall respect in the work place is enhanced. Motivation shifts from external to internal sources, resulting in an inspired work place of empowered individuals, contributing to a greater purpose than their own.

More and more people are speaking and seeking the journey of life as a way to discover who we are, to leave the world a bit better than when we came. We see the world as big as our family or community so having healthy children that can do better than us, go off to school and get a better job is our great reward in our old age. For others it is a more universal call to participate.

4. Chuckles / Craic — What if life and work were play?

If the shortest distance between two people is laughter. Imagine the energy and lightness of connection between staff members or a project team that shares the same common aspiration, to make work fun.

Joy and humor are cousins and people who seek to find the beauty and lightness of heart will find that humor is fed from the same wellspring. Personal spirituality is defined as how many eyes you looked into in a day. Personal spirituality seeks to accomplish similar things that all world religions offer, the ever growing ability to make meaning of life and to offer a path to something better, call it heaven, nirvana or enlightenment. Personal spirituality is not exclusive or organized religion and it is not dependent on organized religion for success.


Integral to each program, keynote speech or individual consultation is the power of

be more
Presence – Discipline to focus on life force energy in the moment.

feel more
Passion – Measured by your desire to create opportunities to express your values.

serve more
Purpose – Crystal clarity of knowing what you are doing and for whom.

Lost Art of Courtesy

September 12, 2008

Have you witnessed an act of common courtesy recently?

Do you find that such a self aware act warms your heart and gives you hope for the civility of humanity? I think that courtesy lived out in tiny ways every day is what weaves us together as humans. To consider the feelings of others. To see another person as a person with needs, concerns and dreams like yours is the greatest micro celebration of peace between people that exists.

The Bantu people of Subsahara Africa have a delightful word that captures this way of being that spawns the behaviour of courtesy. They call it Ubuntu. It can be translated into English as “I am because we are.” Here is an example.

I was settling into my seat for an overnight flight from Toronto to London, England. It was one of the big jet liners, a 777, that configures with 3 seats on each side by the windows and 3 seats in the middle. I was on the aisle of the center section of seats. Two rows ahead of me a couple was settling in with an 11 month old baby. When most people had stowed their goodies and the overhead bins were up, the father stood up and made an announcement to everyone seated in his vicinity. He confessed to the joy and challenge of traveling on our 7 hour overnight flight with a small baby and that while they would do their best to help their little guy settle into nighty-night there were no guarantees. As a preemptive compensation he unwrapped a box of orange disposable industrial strength ear plugs and proceeded to hand them out to interested parties seated within the potential, “crying zone.”

I felt a great sense of gratitude for his consideration and told him so a little later in the flight. He said that he didn’t want to be the kind of parent that lived in what he called a “baby bubble” and wanted to consider others needs as well.

When I returned from chatting with him the couple I was sitting with had just received their in flight meal. I noticed they were just sitting looking at their meal. I asked if everything was all right and they told me they were just waiting until I was served. Common courtesy is alive and well so keep an eye out for it or better still be the sort of person who puts ubuntu into action everyday with every relationship you encounter. A little micro peace in a crazy world.

Truly Grateful?

September 12, 2008

Okay, Canadian thanksgiving is cleaned up and digested. Family have gone home. US and Australia is coming soon and I have a question> How thankful are you….really?

I ask cause its relatively easy to say a few words of gratitude for great friends and family. Give a blessing or two for the turkey or pizza. You may even see a street teen washing car windows and utter a thanks that your kids may be messy but at least their home. But how thankful are you really? Do you truly have an attitude of gratitude or truthfully now….some stinking thinking?

Here are a series of people and situations that challenge most people “thankability”

– difficult people
– illness
– accidents
– job loss
– divorce

Pick one close to you but not to recent in time because proximity and emotional pain can cloud clarity of the next question.

What are 20 benefits of that experience to you or others? Make a list. Check it twice and lets see if we can shift naughty to nice or as the case may be the stinking thinking of resentment to the lighter heart of gratitude.

What we can not be grateful for runs us.

True Appreciation

September 11, 2008

What do you say when someone offers you a sincere compliment? Do you look em in the eye and say, “Thank You” or do you slough it off and shuffle sideways with a hint of apology in your response like, “Well its no big deal,” or “I got it at Frenchies” (Infamous used clothing store for those who live in the UK and US and Western Canada) Or at least not really allow the recognition to truly settle as a little voice in the back of your head gets louder with the old saying, “Pride goeth before a fall.”

This weeks special report is about one aspect of the emotional dimension of energy, the give and receive of a simple compliment. It’s all about energy and whether the flow is complete or not. When you say thanks and openly receive your compliment life is complete. When you block, slough or otherwise dismiss the goodness in others that they see in you, then the bond is incomplete and we have not honoured what makes right relationship with others.

The short version of today’s message is an invitation to complete the appreciation energy exchange by receiving it with a hearty, Thank You!

For this concept explored 10 times deeper pour a cup of tea and listen to the audio file at the link below called Recognizing and Appreciating the Good in Others

You will discover the answer to the question how is giving a compliment like a mirror of me?