GOOD MORNING MONDAY – AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS FOR A GREAT WEEK
Good Morning – it is Monday! Today is the gift that you may wish you had back tomorrow. So, open your arms, eyes, mind, and heart and take it all in. Truly this is your moment and your time. You may never have this opportunity again. Today is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. How will you spend it? Be delighted in the prospect of this new day. Today is a fresh start; it is another try. Believe there is a bit of magic waiting for you around the corner. Say yes to life today and be yourself. Never be afraid to ask questions; never be afraid to try something new; take a chance. Do one thing that scares you every day (Unknown). Know that life is an amazing adventure. Be courageous and live it fully!
This week I want to broach the topic of “work and love” 😊. Many of you spend most of your daily waking hours doing your “job”, away from your home, in the “workplace”. More than likely, you are working harder than you ever have before. Most likely, you spend more than 8 hours every day at work. You spend more time at work than you do with your families and loved ones. Each of you desires to be fulfilled in the work you do and the places in which you do your work. Think about it; if you are spending at least 8 hours a day at work; you are spending a minimum of 1/3 of your life at work. So, you may ask yourself, “can I expect to be satisfied, happy and fulfilled at work or is that just for other parts of my life? Do many of you still operate from an “old-school mentality” or experience this mentality from others that sounds a lot like:
it is called work for a reason,
work is hard,
work does not need to be fun,
you need to leave your emotions at the door,
you need to leave your personal life at home,
you don’t need friends at work, or
you don’t need to be friendly with your co-workers, etc. (…and I could go on and on ….)
Thankfully, this mentality is quickly falling by the wayside. Companies are understanding that creating an environment where you can be and do your best is not only good for you, but also good for the company.
Each of you strives to find meaning in your day to day life. There is brain research that supports the fact that you are wired to find meaning and connection in everything you do (this includes work). This is what keeps you alive and makes you human. Because much of your life is spent at work, it does seem logical and appropriate that your work life include fulfilling, satisfying work, good relationships with people you work every day, and a caring, connected environment. Love and a sense of belonging are as necessary as the air you breathe.
You might be asking, “what’s love got to do with it anyway?” Well, it turns out – a lot!! Typically, “Love” is not a word you often hear uttered in office hallways or conference rooms. Yet, it has a strong influence on workplace outcomes. The more love and kindness co-workers feel, the more engaged they are. The love that is being talked about is “companionate love”,(not romantic love). Companionate love is based on warmth, affection and connection. Those workers who perceive greater connection, affection and caring from their colleagues perform better.
In fact, in a longitudinal study on the impact of emotional culture within an organization examined the effect of companionate love on well-being and performance. This study found that employees who felt that they worked in a loving, caring culture reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork, improved performance and they showed up to work more often, and this type of a culture also reported higher client outcomes.
Studies of this type were done across multiple industries: long term care settings, financial services, real estate, public utilities, aerospace, etc. and the results were the same; the industry did not matter. People who felt they worked in a culture where they were free to express warmth, kindness, tenderness, caring and compassion for one another were more satisfied with their jobs, committed to the organization, and accountable for their performance. Some well-known organizations that are leading the pack in creating cultures of companionate love are:
Whole Foods Market has a set of management principles that begin with “Love”,
PepsiCo lists “Caring” as its first guiding principle,
Zappos explicitly focuses on caring as a part of its values stating, “We are more than a team…. we are a family. We watch out for each other, care for each other and go above and beyond for each other”
Recently, I had conversations with a host of employees asking them what they like about their work, their work environment and what keeps them coming back every single day. I heard things like:
My co-workers have my back,
I feel supported,
I can count on the people I work with for help,
I enjoy the people I work with,
The people are kind,
I have friends here,
It feels like a family here,
I like helping our customers,
I like solving our customers’ problems, etc.
Sounds very familiar based upon the research quoted above 😊.
It is important to recognize that workplace cultures should not only focus on a “cognitive culture” values such as results orientation, innovation, teamwork, etc., but also include cultivating and enriching an “emotional culture” such as kindness, connection, caring, and humanity as well.
Remember, what really sustains a culture of companionate love are the small, everyday moments among employees like: your teammate bringing you a soda because he/she knows you are “chained to your desk” with a deadline, going out of your way for someone without them having to ask, asking a colleague how they are doing and then “really listening. When we make kind, generous actions a way of life at work, stress will not vanish, but it will make it more manageable.
Now that you have this new insight, ask yourself, “what can I do this week to create a more nurturing, supportive, caring environment in my workplace?”