You Matter: Three Ways to Make it a Better World

You Matter!
Remind yourself every day – You Matter!

We are all part of an ecosystem – several, actually. Our families, communities, schools and workplaces are all environments of which we are a part. We affect, and are affected by, everything else that is a part of each ecosystem.

I love the definition of ecosystem from Wikipedia; especially the description of how all living organisms are “linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows”.

I constantly remind myself to be mindful of the “nutrition” and “energy” I am adding to the lives of the people I meet and interact with every day. Am I adding something positive? Do I contribute something that helps and supports people? Social contagion is real. We catch each other’s emotions just like we catch colds and flu viruses from each other.

A recent article got me thinking about this again. Erica Pearson of the New York Daily News describes a University of Pennsylvania study that found negative tweets by younger people are associated with higher rates of stress and heart disease in the larger community. Tweets about hating and being bored and unmotivated were linked with higher heart disease in the community. Tweets about friendship and about what’s good in the world were linked with lower rates of the disease. The study found that it was not the “tweeters” who experienced the increase in heart disease, but that those young people were representative of the larger community in which they reside. In other words, communities that are less well (more disease) are those that seem to be associated with more negative and unmotivated young people (at least according to their tweet content).??When people in your community are angry you are likely to feel that simply through psychological contagion,? said lead researcher Johannes Eichstaedt, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student.

So, what are people ‘catching’ from you? If you are hanging on to anger and negativity, it is not just affecting you, but it is affecting everyone around you. The entire ecosystem is changed by you and the nutrition and energy (or lack thereof) that you contribute.

Maybe a better question is, what do you want people to catch from you? Start by thinking about the kind of world you want. I cannot say I have ever met a person who said they want to live in a world that is negative, angry, sad and unmotivated. My guess is all of us – or most of us – would say we want to be part of world that is positive, peaceful, happy and energized.

Here are three ways you can contribute healthy nutrition and energy to the ecosystems of which you are a part every day:

1) Ask yourself, and answer, ‘What’s good today?’ Then ask one other person.

2) Compliment/appreciate one person in your life. Wait long enough to see them smile and light up when you do. Remind yourself of that memory as you drift off to sleep.

3) Spend 1 minute in total silence. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and turn down the volume on your internal dialogue. Just be.

Do you make a difference? You bet, you do. What you think about, feel and do will either add to or detract from the health of your ecosystem. What will you choose?

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker and Author, Deri?s message reinforces that positive habits are the pathway to a happier and healthier life ? at work, at home and at any age!?www.derilatimer.com

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Thinking’ About Retirement

Many of my clients are facing a mass exodus of boomers who are preparing to retire in the next few years.? I regularly meet many of those soon-to-be-retired people in the workplaces I visit and at workshops and at conferences in which I take part.? I love to engage in a conversation about how people are feeling about retirement, and about what their plans are for this next phase of their life.? Having spent the early part of my career?in human resources, I spent a great deal of my time?coaching and counselling people who were preparing for that next phase of their life.? Through both my professional and personal experiences, I have discovered some key prinicples to keep in mind as you ‘think’ about your retirement:

1) WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET:

You are in far more control over your life experience than you imagine.? Ask yourself: What am I focusing on?

I recall a short story by Carl Sandberg ?that appeared in one of my university textbooks on the topic of ‘perception’.? It?went something?like this:

Drove up a newcomer in a covered wagon: “What kind of folks live around here?”?

“Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?”?

“Well, they was mostly a lowdown, lying, gossiping, backbiting lot of people.”?

“Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of folks you’ll find around here.”?

And the dusty grey stranger had just about blended into the dusty grey cotton-woods in a clump on the horizon when another newcomer drove up.? “What kind of folks live around here?”?

“Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?”?

“Well, they was mostly a decent, hardworking, law abiding, friendly lot of people.”?

“Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of people you’ll find around here.”? And the second wagon moved off and blended with the dusty grey…

This short story beautifully illustrates a key principle in thinking about retirement.? What you experience will depend on what you are looking for, and on what you believe is true about your possibilities in retirement.

2) WHAT ‘TURNS YOU ON’ WILL KEEP YOU MOVING:

Spend some time thinking about what sorts of things will get you ‘springing’ out of bed every morning in your retirement.? If you know anyone who is retired, they’ll tell you they are busy.? However, many will also report that they are busy ‘being busy’; the busy-ness is not necessarily energy-inducing!??Take a few moments to answer questions like:

  • What gives you energy?? What are your passions?
  • What are your strengths?? What are you doing when you are at your best?
  • Who are your heroes?? Whose life is an inspiration to you?
  • What do you want to discover or learn?? What piques your interest?

3) WHERE THERE’S BALANCE, THERE’S FREEDOM:

Think about they key factors in the Wellness Wheel😕 Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Social, Family.? How are you doing in each area?? Are you balanced?? If are are not balanced, add more activities in the neglected areas?so that you can experience a more ’rounded’ life.? More balance will give you more freedom to ‘roll’ with life.

Here are some indications that you are ‘out of balance’:
  • You experience frequent headaches, tension, ‘stress’
  • Your main interest in this job is the pension you?ll collect at the end of it
  • You describe your life as ?all work and no play?
  • You feel like you are just ‘going through the motions’ in your life
  • You long to be back in university or school, even though you didn?t like attending either one
  • You might be heard saying “life sucks and then you die”
  • Sunday nights are slightly depressing, thinking about Monday morning

?4) WHAT YOU DO NOW YOU’LL DO THEN:

There is strong evidence suggesting that the habits you develop pre-retirement will?be the ones that follow you post-retirement.? So, think about your current habits and make changes or adjustments now rather than waiting until your retire.

Do you: Work?long hours and go home exhausted?OR?Work regular hours and enjoy time with family and friends?

Do you: Have no defined goals at work or at home?OR Works toward personal and work?objectives regularly?

Do you: Have few interests outside of work OR Have many interests outside of work?

Do you: Miss vacation to work OR Take and enjoy vacation?

Do you: Have friendship that are mostly at work OR Have deep friendships that are outside of work?

Do you: View life as difficult OR View life as a celebration?

5) WRITE A NEW SCRIPT:

Throughout your life, you might have been living other people’s scripts – your parent’s, your teacher’s, your spouse’s, your children’s, your employer’s….etc.? Now it is time to write your own script.? What do you really want for your life?

As you plan your script, you might consider the following:? What is the storyline?? Who are the characters? Where does the story take place? When do certain events happen? Why does the story progress in a certain way? How will the story unfold?

6) WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED WILL SERVE YOU WELL:

You have likely been blessed by being able to develop some core skills throughout your life.? These skills will serve you well in retirement:

Time Management: All those time management principles that you learned at work are just as useful in retirement.? Two very important points to keep in mind are: 1) you can learn to say ?no?, without feeling guilty (a critical retirement skill); and 2) if you do not schedule your own time, someone else will!

Communication Skills: Communication strategies such as active listening, questioning, and empathizing are life skills that will serve you well throughout your life.

Conflict Resolution Skills: The transition to a new life phase can cause tension in relationships as you navigate a new was of being with a partner or spouse.? Use your communication skills to diagnose the conflict, generate ideas for resolution, implement the solution, and follow-up to ensure the solution is working.

Fun Skills: Having fun at work is important ? and it remains so in retirement.? Remember that ?fun? is a state of mind, as well as an individual experience.

In closing,?remember the basics, like those illustrated in?the?poem (adapted here) by Robert Fulghum ‘Everything I?Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’:

All I really need to know, about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten.? These are the things I learned:

Share everything.? Play fair.? Don’t hit people.? Put things back where you found them.? Clean up your own ness.? Don’t take things that aren’t yours.? Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.? Wash your hands before you eat.? Flush.? Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.? Life a balanced life.? Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.? Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.? Be aware of wonder.? Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.? And then remember the first word you learned; the biggest word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is there somewhere.? The golden rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology, politics, and equality.? Think of what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and mild about 3 o’clodk every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap.? Or we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own meses.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional, the speaking profession?s measure of excellence in professional platform skill. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement.? www.derilatimer.com

 

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Ten Tips To Revitalize Your Recognition Strategy

Employee recognition is not just a nice thing to do for people; it?s the right thing to do for your team and for your organization.? That is, if you want to keep benefiting from the positive outcomes your team members create for your business!

Every week I am in a different workplace interacting with different people, and yet there is a common theme in our discussions.? There is a recognition-deficit among us!!? When I ask people what they’d like to see MORE OF from their leader, or when I ask them what their organization can do to engage them MORE, the overwhelming response is … provide more recognition!

An effective employee recognition strategy is a communication tool that is simple, immediate, and powerfully reinforcing.? Here are some simple tips to revitalize your recognition strategy:

1. Be mindful. What is important to recognize?? Who will you recognize (individual, team)?? When, where and how will you provide the recognition?? What principles or values does this recognition support?? What are the potential benefits and pitfalls of this recognition?

2. Engage the team. Ask your team members for their ideas on recognition.? What have they experienced and liked?? What have they not experienced that they think might be a great idea?? Perhaps invite them to form a sub-team whose sole purpose is to generate new recognition ideas.

3. Plan it. Put it into your calendar as a reminder (daily, weekly, etc.)? This will keep recognition ?top of mind?.? I know, it sounds a bit like you are “planning to be spontaneous”.? You are busy.? You know recognition is important to you, your team and your organization.? The flag in your calendar is just a reminder to keep you on track.

4. Document it. Keep track of your recognition efforts ? who was recognized, what was the recognition for , when did it take place, how did it happen?? Make a note of the reception you received; was it positive, negative, neutral?

5. Own it. Even if the recognition program or token comes from the organization, make it your own.? You will be able to deliver it much more authentically if you take what’s available to you and add a little personal twist to it.

6. Use the platinum rule. You’ve heard of the golden rule – treat people as you’d like to be treated.? Well, when we are talking about recognition, the <em>platinum rule </em>works best.? Treat people as <strong>THEY</strong> would like to be treated.? Craft your recognition to suit the needs and interests of the receiver.

7. Be enthusiastic. Communicate the importance of recognition by maintaining high, positive energy when you are delivering recognition.? If you aren’t in that emotional state, get there (see?Wake Up To Your Habits!’ cards as a resource to help you) …or wait until a better time.

8. Time it well. Ensure that you deliver recognition as close as possible to the behaviour or outcome you are reinforcing.? Make sure the recipient is ?available? ? physically and emotionally ? to receive it.

9. Set people up to succeed. Put people in roles they find energizing and meaningful.? Help them to be easy candidates for recognition.

10.Use a variety of tools. Almost nothing beats a sincere ?thank you? from you.?? You can also provide learning opportunities, assign a special project, and fill your website with success stories.

Happy recognizing!

Deri Latimer, B. Mgt., CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of the top 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional, the speaking profession?s measure of excellence in professional platform skill. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement.

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