Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why Are We All So Busy?

Recently I've noticed a trend. Whenever I ask one of my friends or acquaintances "how are you doing?" inevitably they tell me how busy they are. It seems that everyone I speak with is overwhelmed with demands at work and demands at home. There is little or no time to enjoy what we work so hard to acquire or build. Especially in the North East US everybody seems to be in a rush (just drive any of our roads). And I'm in the same boat.

Sometimes we need simple reminders to slow down, to enjoy life. This morning I came across this article by Sean Doyle. He writes brilliantly about the challenges we all share and how to back off the pace a bit. I couldn't have written it better, so here is the link to the article. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Look For The Helpers

"Look for the helpers. The world is full of helpers."   Mr. Rogers

We live in a world of contradictions. There is violence and peace; anger and love; builders and destroyers; the selfish and the selfless. Our 24/7 news cycle highlights the darkest of these comparisons and leads us to picture the world as a selfish, frightening place and we might think our only reaction is to defend ourselves and take as much as we can. Yet watching the video of the senseless bombing yesterday at the Boston Marathon the reaction of many of the bystanders near the center of the bombing was amazing.

The first responders were not the only ones running toward the blast. The videos clearly show other people coming to help immediately, even some of the runners. In the confusing aftermath, people comforted the injured, helped them to safety and then went back to help some more. Contradicting the selfish, cowardly acts of the perpetrator were many men and woman willing to venture into harm's way to help others.

Too often we fall under the darkening spell of 24/7 news where we hear of every act of violence, senselessness and selfishness in the world until we can be overcome with fear or even worse, we become inured to it all and only want to protect ourselves.

Mr. Rogers is right. The world is full of helpers. Most people want to do the right thing, to live the best they can and to enable others to do so. Why isn't this news? Because we just assume that is what we should do as human beings; help others.

So today, look for the helpers and thank them. Better yet, be a helper. It will change someone's day and in a small way it will change the world for good.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Choose Your Energy

Yesterday, as Jan and I commuted into New York City to facilitate the third day of our Positive Leadership series, I looked around at the other commuters on the subway. Of course as a traveler I know that it's important not to look like a victim when traveling around any city. But the next time you are on the subway, bus, or walking through your city or town note what you see. What I saw was mostly negative or slightly bored expressions and it made me wonder: is this the energy we are bringing into the workplace?

Be honest. What kind of energy do you bring into a room? Is the energy positive or negative? I'm not talking about being so cheerful you make people cringe as you walk into the room. But do people cringe when you walk in from fear of your negative energy or worse, your wrath?

You might protest that you work in toxic environments with people you'd rather not associate with. Yet, even in the midst of really negative work spaces we have the choice of what we bring to the situation and to the day. We can choose to be victimized by the negativity around us, or choose to stand in our own integrity and live and act the way we want to.

Positive energy is important to how we are perceived by those around us. We might think that by being stern and authoritative we project a leadership quality. Yet Alex Pentland in the research he did at MIT on charisma discovered that one of the most important elements of charisma was projecting positive energy and being energetic about what you do.

It is very simple. Every day we choose the clothes, the shoes and perhaps the coat we wear. We also choose the attitude. More than the clothes, the attitude makes the man or woman. So think about that tomorrow morning as you prepare for your day. The attitude you choose and the energy you convey can make your day, along with those around you.