the pressures of work

The Search for Value – an intelligent response to the pressures of work

The Pressures of Work

No pressure no diamonds – is a great quote from Thomas Carlyle that epitomises a winning response towards the pressures of work…and life. I recall being told quite early in my career that a diamond was simply a dead piece of wood put under immense pressure. This insight changed my perspective towards pressure. Suddenly pressure was a potential force for good rather than a negative emotion caused by the overload of life.The Search for Value 1

Clearly, pressure is a relative term. When circumstances change for the worse some people can only see and feel negative energy. Others see the opportunity it provides. Put simply some people wilt whilst others thrive on the pressures of work. In this short piece I will explore the pressure created by an organisation being asked once again to do more with less. This is a reality for many organisations in the last few years and, I fear, for many months to come.

The initial reaction always seems to be to reach first for the ‘cost’ lever. “Sharpen the pencils at both ends”, “slash all ‘unnecessary’ expenditure”, “baton down the hatches” are the clarion calls that ring throughout the land. This sends a shiver through most people as they consider, usually not for the first time, what can be cut and what can be stopped? This ‘cut the costs’ call to arms is almost universally received with gloom, worry and despair. The more cynical managers will say ‘here we go again’ and will watch like hawks as the scarcity mind-set begins to paralyse the organisation. They fatalistically observe the consequences as under investment and short term cost cutting begin to break out.

The Search for Value

I contend a better response to ‘cut all costs’ is to start a ‘search for value’. Read more

reframing for resilience

Got a pile of manure? Look for the donkey!

Reframing for Resilience

I very frequently apply the insight from my donkey story to whatever life experiences I am currently facing. This is a story about research conducted with two boys. One was placed in a room full of toys and the other was placed in a room full of manure and they were left alone for the day. When the researchers returned, they went first to the boy with all the toys and as they neared his door they heard him crying, when they asked him why he replied that the toys were broken and he was bored. As they neared the boy with the manure they expected it to be even worse, but at the door they heard whistling and singing and scraping sounds, intrigued they opened the door to see him busily digging away. ‘What are you doing?’ they asked – ‘With all this manure’ the boy replied, ‘There must be a donkey close by, and I want to find him!’ The moral of this story is that life may give you a big pile of manure at times, so dig for the donkey; there always is one if you look carefully! It’s a resilience booster!

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Mind Chi and Worry

“Will it help?” – Manage change, worry and guilt

Will it help? 

This is such a simple question and so very helpful when it comes to worry.

If you saw the film The Bridge of Spies, you will have seen it was the Russian Spy’s response to the American lawyer’s question ‘Aren’t you worried?’

When you (or a friend) are dealing with change, it means, in some form, changing a habit. Changing a habit can cause you to feel the strain from stress, however this only deepens the pain as you feel the world going in a different direction. Ask yourself ‘Will it help?’ and the answer is no! For a while why not just ‘float’ a little. Fill your lungs with air and let the water gently carry you until you feel ready to paddle in your direction.

Next time you hear a friend (or yourself) worrying over something, going over and over the same territory in chicken circles just stop for a moment and with concern ask, ‘Will it help?’ Read more

Burnout-Joy-Meter-608x336

Do You Have Joy At Work?

Are You Having Joy At Work?

Joy? Have you given any thought to having joy at work?! (Or joy in life in general?)

Are you like many I ask, whose response often is that they feel they don’t deserve joy, my reply is, “Oh yes you DO!’ And furthermore, it is a motivating, exciting and energising factor, well worthwhile.

 

But does any busy executive really have a shot at finding joy on the job?

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