In this video I guide you through a short and effective 5 minute mindfulness meditation exercise that you can do anytime and anywhere.
When I hear something once, I listen closely. When I hear something twice, I take note. When I hear something 3 times in one week, I take it as a sign that something bigger needs to be done.
And this is it.
Last week, in my practice I was told on 3 separate occasions by 3 separate clients about how they are feeling discouraged, disillusioned, disgruntled and disappointed with their bosses because they’ve been working really hard and their bosses don’t actually seem to notice.
They feel they’ve been pushing hard, giving extra, and going above and beyond what’s required of them and not once have their bosses demonstrated their appreciation in any way, shape, or form.
Two of the three have actually started to look for other jobs mostly because of this.
For some reason, their bosses can’t or won’t give these hardworking employees a little bit of praise and recognition with a “Good job,” “Thank you,” “That was awesome,” “You are a appreciated and valued here,” or “Your efforts have not been going unnoticed.”
It’s something so simple but it makes a big difference to the person on the receiving end.
All of us want and need to feel appreciated and valued. In our families, with our friends AND in our workplace.
And it’s especially necessary when someone has taken their valuable time, energy, and effort to go above and beyond what’s required or expected of them.
When they’ve given a lot and are pushing themselves they need to be replenished and refueled. And a simple “Thank you” can often provide the amount of fill-up needed to keep them working hard AND feeling good about doing so. Without it, many of us start to feel burnt out.
Now, some of you may already know this and do make the effort to tell your employees that you recognize and value them, and if you are one who does, that is excellent. Good job. You are making a significant and positive difference in people’s lives, and ultimately keeping good employees around to work hard for you. You get it, and that’s great.
But maybe you didn’t know how important this simple little practice was – and now you do.
And maybe you’re a boss who’s been taught or trained to not “spoil” your employees.
So don’t spoil them. Just appreciate them. And tell them you do.
And boss or not, the same goes for your personal life – don’t underestimate the power of the Thank You. Because really, who doesn’t want to feel like someone notices and cares about them and the efforts they are making?
In this video I give a simple and straightforward explanation of what Mindfulness is all about and why it’s all the rage right now.
I’d say it’s safe to say most of us like being liked.
And there are times when maybe we’re not so sure how liked we are and would perhaps like to be a little more liked. I mean really, who doesn’t want to be on the top of the invited-out-for-lunch group at the office? Or the person getting ample calls, texts and emails with requests for weekend plans?
Of course, some people are just more likeable by nature – usually those who have a more easygoing or optimistic personality.
That said here are some pretty straightforward things any of us (Type A’s and pessimists included) can do to make ourselves more likeable without having to morph ourselves in to some kind of Polly Anna.
1. If You Think Something Nice About Someone, Say It!
My goodness, why wouldn’t you? I know we all think positive, encouraging, flattering, complimentary things about others at least sometimes, so if you think it, share it! (and I know a lot of people don’t because I am one who does, and often when I do people say: “It’s really nice of you to say that. I think things like that too about others but often don’t say it to them.”) I don’t really get that.
Just the other day I was walking down the street and a total stranger said to me in passing “I like your scarf!” It was something so little, but that small kindness from a stranger really warmed my heart and put a smile on my face.
If you can say something that will make someone feel good, why wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity?
Because when you make someone else feel good, you’ll notice yourself feeling good too. How does that nursery school song go again? “Love is nothing unless you give it away, give it away, give it away… you end up having more!”
2. Don’t Put Yourself Down. Ever.
No one really likes being around someone who bad mouths and criticizes people, and people also includes you!
It might not seem like a big deal if you casually refer to yourself as an idiot, or crazy, or stupid, or boring, or whatever, but when you call yourself down in front of others it will either lead them to think you actually might be those things, or they will feel offended that you would talk about their friend (which is you) like that.
Even if you don’t actually think of yourself as any of these things, say it enough times and I guarantee you will.
3. Just Say Sorry:
Well, not just say sorry, but if someone tells you about something you’ve done to hurt or upset them, before you start to tell them why you did what you did, acknowledge them.
Tell them that you can understand why they’re feeling the way they are and then apologize and mean it! Once the person feels like their complaint has been genuinely heard they are likely to be much more willing to hear your reasons for why you may have done what you did.
4. Say YES Every Once and Awhile, Even if You Feel Like Saying No:
Having boundaries and allowing yourself to say No is great! But sometimes it’s also good to do something even if it doesn’t totally work for you or isn’t all that convenient.
People tend to like others who are willing to go out of their way for them without making it in to a big deal, and it will also make you feel good to do something nice for someone even though it may not have been all that convenient for you.
5. If You’re Having a Bad Day, Think About How You Can Make Someone Else’s Day Better:
A client once told me on days when nothing seems to be going right and she can’t seem to shake off a crummy mood, when she goes on her Starbucks run she makes it a rule to buy the coffee for the person behind her in line.
Without fail, it automatically makes both their days.
It doesn’t have to be a stranger though. When all you can think about is how lousy you feel or how hard your life seems in the moment, instead of getting stuck thinking about how you want someone to come and do something to make you feel better (which you don’t always have much control over) step outside of yourself and think about something kind or thoughtful you can do for someone else (which you do have total control over).
This will make the other person feel loved and valued which will make them appreciate you for your thoughtfulness and kindness.
Now what do YOU think? What have you found makes you like certain people more?
Well, yes and no. But I’m inclined to think from what I’ve been hearing and reading lately it’s more of a yes.
I’m not exactly sure how I’m defining successful here but the more time I spend reading posts on LinkedIn and other business and entrepreneurial type publications the more I keep coming across articles written by those – somewhat semi-famous in their fields — about how they achieved their major career successes.
What I’d been looking for to motivate and inspire I found was often leaving me feeling discouraged and frustrated. This is because the more articles I read the more I kept hearing similar messages about how to be a successful (seemingly defined by wealth, power, and prestige).
Phrases like ‘Never let yourself be satisfied’, or ‘Aim higher’, or ‘Work harder’, or ‘Push yourself beyond what you think you can handle,’ or ‘As soon as you reach a goal, set a new and bigger one,’ or ‘Don’t rest until you get there’ (for someone who loves her sleep this one sounds awful), or ‘Don’t ever let yourself settle’, and so on and so forth. I think you get the idea.
I do believe such authors are genuinely trying to be inspirational, but after a while it starts to seem like the underlying messages are all the same: “The only way to be successful is to never feel good about who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re at.”
Now I’m not saying having goals, dreams, and ambitions are bad. Not in the least – in fact I think having things we are working toward and accomplishing on a regular basis is a pretty critical part of our personal happiness and satisfaction, but where is the line?
The more I read, the more I hear: “PUSH, PUSH, PUSH! GO! GO! GO!” and the less I hear: “Set a goal, work toward it, reach it, and feel really good about what you’ve done and be really proud of yourself for persevering and doing a good job.”
Or “Take time to appreciate and be grateful for what you have and what you’re doing with your life.” Or “Find a moment to look back to where you were and where you are now, and let yourself just absorb and sit in this feeling accomplishment.”
It seems pretty unhealthy and unbalanced to push so hard without ever allowing oneself to be satisfied or just take a few minutes to sit and absorb and feel good about the goals one has reached.
And what drives such behaviour? From where I stand it seems like many are out spending their time, energy, and effort working themselves to the bone in order to prove they are good enough. That they are worthwhile and significant human beings. And it comes at the expense of all the other really important things in life.
If this is the case, then it must be worth it. But do you think it works? Can we actually prove our worthiness or significance through our big accomplishments?
I have heard many times from clients I work with that they just really want to be successful to prove to someone (usually a parent- oh Freud does it always have to come back to the parents?) that they are good enough.
And to that I ask: “So then what? Once you’ve achieved your ambitious goal that you believe will earn you wealth, awe, and admiration at the cost of all else, what will happen? Do you feel like you will finally be happy and this feeling of internal discontent will be resolved?”
Can one be willing to sacrifice and forsake all else – friends, family, wellness or any other semblance of healthy life balance without being motivated by an internal struggle toward resolving something deeper?
And if this is the case, is it worth it? Especially if “getting there” won’t actuallyget you there?
And if you’re never actually allowed to be satisfied, how can you ever feel content with yourself and your life?
Is it possible to push oneself this hard AND be emotionally and psychologically well-balanced?
Just because its what I’ve been reading about and experiencing in my practice, it doesn’t mean I’m across the board right with this and there aren’t also many exceptions.
But I want to hear from you. I want to hear about what you think are healthy and positive motivators for success. And further to this, how do YOU define success?
It feels good to feel good. That’s not new ground-breaking information. I know. But many of us look at people who seem to feel good and have it more or less together more or less of the time as being special kinds of people that we could never be.
But the truth is, they’re not that special (sorry guys). They’ve just learned, implemented, and intentionally practiced some really healthy perspectives, attitudes, and behaviours that are actually not all that complicated, and do wonders for building and maintaining positive self-esteem and happiness.
So here are a few things they have learnt and made habits of doing:
1. They Allow Themselves the Freedom to Say “No” and are Able to Extend the Same Courtesy to Others.
Many of us have a hard time saying No, and some even think of it as a four letter word. But when we mistakenly convince ourselves that No isn’t even an we are left feeling stuck or forced in to doing something we really don’t want to do.
And acting out of a sense of obligation and lack of choice usually leads to frustration and resentment toward the person with the request. And that’s just no good.
The same thing goes the other way: we can make a request, but also let it be known that No is a perfectly acceptable answer. It’s important for us to communicate to others that we’re okay if they need to use their No and we understand if they are not always able to meet our requests.
Emotionally Healthy People know that giving themselves, and others the freedom to use their No if they need to goes a long way for building positive and healthy relationships at work, at home, and with their friends.
2. They Don’t Expect Other People to Read Their Minds
We often think that people should just know what we want or need and if they really cared about us we wouldn’t have to ask.
But last time I checked, telepathy is not a skill most of us have been blessed with, so expecting others to know what we need when we need it is likely to be a recipe for disappointment and frustration.
Some people have a hard time being overtly direct in their communication all the time, and that’s okay. If you need to lay a hint or 2 that’s fine.
But if the person on the receiving end doesn’t seem to be catching the hint, instead of feeling hurt, angry, or resentful, them, emotionally healthy people are able to just come right out and ask for what they want or need – and they are able to do this with much more grace and ease if they have mastered #1 on our list.
3. They are not Motivated by Guilt.
I’m not going to lie. This one can be a little bit tougher to work through.
People use guilt to get what they want because it works.
There’s nothing like tapping in to someone’s secret and deep seeded belief that they are not good enough unless they do what we want to spur them in to action.
But emotionally healthy people believe and know they are good, loving, caring, and valuable individuals regardless of whether or not they are able to do whatever anyone asks of them at any given time.
Again, they know it’s okay to say No sometimes without feeling like a failure.
4. They Look For Opportunities to be Grateful.
You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again – there are few things that make a bigger impact on our mental health and wellness than finding opportunities to be grateful.
Yes, there is always something to complain or feel ripped off about, and allowing ourselves to wallow in our self-pity from time to time is perfectly okay – we all need to give ourselves the freedom to feel sad, mad, bad, or angry sometimes.
But Emotionally Healthy people also allow themselves to experience the joy of looking at and acknowledging the goodness in and around their lives that they have been blessed with on a regular basis.
5. They Allow Themselves to Say Thank You.
For some reason, many of us get weird when someone notices something positive about us or pays us a compliment.
We shirk it off by saying something like “oh it’s nothing” or “It’s no big deal” or even put ourselves down with “Oh no, it’s not that good – most people could have done better.”
Humility is a lovely quality. Self-Deprecation is not.
Emotionally healthy people are able to see that someone taking the time to give a compliment is a gift from them to us.
And if they don’t receive their gift with grace and gratitude it’s like saying “No, take the gift back – I don’t want this.” And that’s not very nice and doesn’t make anyone feel anything good.
What do you do to take care of your emotional health?