Friday Fun Facts: The 4th of July Holiday

4th of JulyAs we get ready to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, here are some facts you may not know:

    • The Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776, was meant to justify a revolt against the British, with a list of charges against the British king
    • The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It was initially adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776; it was revised into the current declaration two days later, July 4, 1776
    • The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men representing the 13 colonies. The moment marked the beginning of all-out war against the British, leading to the American Revolution which is said to have started in 1775. The Declaration was signed more than two years after Boston officials refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, fueling colonists to dump the tea into the harbor in what became the infamous Boston Tea Party
    • There were three U.S. presidents who died on July 4: two passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. while James Monroe passed away on July 4, 1831
    • The first Independence Day celebration occurred on July 8th, 1776. The Liberty Bell was sounded and the people of Philadelphia gathered to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence
    • The Fourth of July did not become a paid Federal holiday until 1941; from 1870 until that time, it was an unpaid Federal holiday
    • The first fireworks display took place in 1977 and the first barbeque took place in 1977 to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and breaking from British rule. Both are traditions that take place today.
 Wishing you a relaxing and safe holiday, spent in reflection of the freedoms we all enjoy in the U.S., and in gratitude for those who have fought for these freedoms. Happy Independence Day!

How to Deal When You Feel Like Throwing In the Towel at Work

I received another question today from a potential career coaching client who stated “I give up, I can’t do this anymore – HELP!” I see this request often, which is sad to say. As much as we want to believe that things have improved, I would say they have not when we look at workplace unhappiness. As I’ve reported before, the levels of engagement have only risen 1% in three year (Gallop, 2015); while hiring has picked up and jobs are becoming more available, workplace behavior seems to have ‘stalled.’

towel

Some responsibility lies on employers while the other half lies on employees to monitor their own behaviors, to be more empathetic, and not come from an “I” framework at all times. Feeling as if you want to give up is not a fun space to be in and there are ways to effectively deal with the situation when you feel like throwing in the proverbial towel:

  • First off, do nothing right away. Making any types of decisions or taking actions when under stress and pressure can lead to them being irrational and could cause the situation to be worse
  • Next, breathe and deeply; this will help to calm both your mind and your body so now you can ..
  • Take stock of the situation, looking at it not just from your perspective but from those involved. This is not as difficult and, while we can’t know what is in someone else s head, we can look from an outsider’s viewpoint. You can take the slant as if you were being asked by a friend to give your opinion on the situation. Being fully aware of the events that occurred, and the parts each ‘actor’ played, helps to resolve the emotions that can get in the way.
  • Assess your emotions and how they may be leading you to feeling so defeated; look at what other situations you might be facing (i.e. sick parent, dog, child, etc). that might be heightening your emotions. I see people who are dealing with multiple issues, leaving them with little left to face their battles.
  • Mind-map options and solutions for dealing with what’s on your plate, giving each a priority listing for what needs to get done first, second, etc. Having adequate information is critical to making good decisions. Remember to keep breathing as you do this.
  • Practice self-care – do some form of exercise daily, meditate for two minutes, color, garden. journal, take time to do nothing; any and all, or more, will help you to have more energy, be happier, and take the control back in your life.

So remember when you feel your work has taken control over your life, and you want to ‘throw in the towel,’ that YOU are the one in control and not the other way around. Changing your attitude and actions can positively affect the situation; following the steps above can give you a variety of options (not often realized when under intense stress) to decide on how you want to handle your work and feel happier. Only you can decide on which path to follow.

Friday Fun Facts: Moving Up in Your Career

Whether you are a job seeker or are wanting to get ahead in the workplace, here are questions you should be asking:

  • Are there any new projects going on and how can I help with those?
  • What issues is the company, or my department, facing?
  • Are there work tasks that aren’t getting done that I can jump in and complete?
  • What solutions can I come up with that would help get the work done?
  • What problems might my boss be facing and how I can I support him/her?

As employers are looking for solutions to their work problems, being solution-focused is a key that will get you in the game!

Road Sign Oppertunities

Problems at Work? Your Face Might Be the Reason

Without fail, Julie (not her real name) makes sure she gets to work on time and is ready to get going on her job tasks. If you were to ask Julie, she would tell you that she loves her job and loves focusing on ensuring her customers are satisfied. However, Julie will also tell you that her work and ethics are not recognized by either her supervisor or her coworkers; in fact, she feels that she is often ignored or criticized by them. Julie is confused and frustrated. She also feels her job is in jeopardy.

Julie is right. But it’s not for the reasons she may believe. It really comes down to her face, particularly her facial expressions. For Julie, it’s her lack of expression that is putting people off. Julie has been told that she is ‘unapproachable’ and that she is not a ‘team player.’ This has led to problems at work for her that she does not know how to deal with. So Julie keeps to herself all day, focusing only on her work.

straight face 2

Something Julie wants to consider is that her face is leading to her problems at work mainly because she is not being open and inviting in her facial expressions; everything today is how you make me feel. So if her coworkers don’t feel that Julie wants to interact and be a part of the team, or her boss feels she isn’t open to direction or is creating an adversarial workplace, Julie’s troubles will continue until she leaves, either by her own volition or not.

I have seen this over and over with really high-level performers who are having difficulty in getting hired, getting a promotion, or are now a target of criticism. Our facial expressions say so much without us even being aware of what we are conveying. Some people are very intent listeners while others need time to process what’s in front of them; some people fear others anger or criticism or may be having personal problems. These are parts of one’s personality and, while they may be difficult to change, the situation is not hopeless.

One step I encourage my clients to do is to become more aware of their own behaviors; asking friends or family members to observe how their expressions come across leads to that awareness and working to change any adverse behaviors. The act of awareness can help to slow down and think of how you can come across in a more open manner. Smiling is another step to take; practice smiling in a mirror, think of something funny or pleasant, or put a pencil in your mouth – all of these will lead to a smile and create that openness to draw others in.

Another way to turn this around is to have more interactions with your coworkers – ask about their weekend or their kids, have lunch with them, or ask their opinion on something. We all want to know we’re important so finding something interesting about your coworker makes them want to interact more and they think more highly of you. The¬† mood of the workplace lightens and it feels more cohesive. Soon, coworkers will seek you out in a positive way.

Julie began to follow these steps; one she implemented immediately was putting a smile on her face. She reported that she smiled at her boss, whom she said did not expect it from the look on his face, but that he later did smile back as he passed by her desk. Julie truly did smile now and she can begin to turn things around to her benefit.

So, if you’re having problems at work, take stock of how you’re coming across to others and follow Julie’s lead to turn your situation around starting today.

Friday Fun Facts – Your Brain

brain

Here are some facts to know about your brain if you want to get more tasks done:

1. You can focus on only one conscious task at a time

2. Switching between tasks uses energy so if you switch a lot you can make more mistaks

3. Doing multiple tasks at once will lead to a big drop-off in accuracy and/or performance of those tasks

4. The only way to do two tasks fast and with accuracy is doing each one at a time (Rock, 2009)

Treat your brain well and it will do the same to you!

Caught in Your Own Belief Trap as it Relates to Your Career

I’ve found myself feeling ‘stuck’ lately as I’m working to expand my business. It can be very frustrating to see the vision but be slow on taking the action on which is the exact direction to go. I know that I’m not alone as I work with those who are in a career transitional phase and come in for help to get out of their ‘stuckness.’

career indecision

In looking to understand why, it comes down to thoughts and beliefs which have been embedded in our brain; often, these thoughts have been there for a long time which we don’t often realize. They are the result of an early experience we’ve had that imprinted in our brain; they become a belief as we think about them over as we try to understand them. Beliefs are individual and not necessarily true, although some will live and die by their beliefs even with proof.

Some common beliefs I’ve heard that are career-related include:

  • this job is too hard
  • I’ll never achieve what I want to do
  • I have to stay in this miserable job in order to have money
  • my boss (or coworker) hates me
  • I am a failure or I’m not as good as my peers
  • I’ll never get promoted or recognized for the good work I do

I could go on and on in this list. The sad news is that your beliefs can keep you stuck and forever. The great news is that you can let these thoughts go – all it takes is you to make the choice to do so. Here are a couple ways to do so:

  1. Write about it – the art of journaling is a great way to release all negative feelings and gain a new perspective on a situation as it acts like the ‘third eye’ for what you might not understand about your situation. All those thoughts get jumbled in your brain and your focus goes on the most memorable so taking them out and putting them on paper releases the replay button and helps you to really ‘see the situation while coming up with workable solutions.
  2. Challenge your thoughts and beliefs – we never know anything with any certainty, especially our own thoughts and beliefs so when we challenge them, they can either lose their power or strengthen; a great exercise is called The Work (Byron Katie) which asks the questions: a. Is this true? b. Do you know this to be absolutely true (can never answer yes)? c. What do you feel when you believe this thought? d. What would you be like if you didn’t have that thought? Answering these can be life-changing as you begin to realize your thoughts have no power over you; once you understand this you can now refocus on more positive ones and create new beliefs that will move you forward.
  3. Visualize your best career and life – our visual field is our most powerful so take advantage of this tool and ‘see’ what you want to do if you could create this life if time or money were no consideration. Whatever you visualize you can do if you make the decision to go after it and you take massive action.

Don’t allow your long-held thoughts and beliefs to hold you back from having the career you’ve always envisioned. Following these steps is a start to releasing them and turning your career around. They also can validate if you’re in the right career or doing the right steps to get there. These are steps I’m using so I encourage you to join me on this journey. If you want some help, don’t hesitate to contact me for help at http://www.cyscoaching.com

How many of the thoughts do you identify with? What has it cost you? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday Fun Facts

smiley face

If you want to be happier in your career and your life, here are some quick suggestions from the author of the book, Happy for No Reason (Shimoff, 2008):

  • Take ownership for your own happiness
  • Focus on gratitude and forgiveness
  • Listen to your inner voice
  • Find your passion and follow your inspiration
  • Surround yourself with support

Happy Friday!

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