Spring has indeed sprung and there have been tremendous challenges in my work and life in the first quarter of 2010. We welcomed a baby boy into this world, we placed my wife’s mom into a long-term care facility, and we had to put Winter, her 15-year old Teacup Maltese, to sleep. Talk about challenges.
And that is what this News-you-can-use-letter is all about — helping you better deal with challenges: whether it’s layoffs in and around your life, a misalignment between your work and your passion, or the recently passed Health Care Reform Act!
Before leaping into this month’s content, I’d like to welcome all of our new readers/subscribers. Please feel free to share your thoughts, feedback, questions and ideas with me. My goal is to provide you with a newsletter that is both interesting to read AND useful.
Coach’s Corner Pushing Past Obstacles
One of our readers had a comment on last issue’s column on Goal Setting/Achievement. He was wondering what the effects of downsizing in the workplace are on the remaining employees. He’s seen many co-workers fired or moving-on in the past few months and wonders whether this can act as a deterrent or obstacle to achieving one’s goals.
One of our primary “social needs” or triggers is the need for certainty. Knowing what is “coming next” calms us down. Uncertainty, on the other hand, trips our limbic system and shifts us to a more fight/flight mode. Anything that increases uncertainty will tend to increase this state.
Layoffs in and of themselves are difficult for employees AND companies to manage. But the WAY this is handled goes a long way toward a better or worse situation for all involved.
The more advance notice management can give of a serious situation and the prospect of layoffs, the more uncertainty they can eliminate. The challenge with this approach is it can “tip” management’s hand. Many companies would rather not share this type of news. By not giving advance notice and simply announcing layoffs, employees are taken by surprise and there is an immediate and usually strong negative response based on the immediate increase in the level of uncertainty: everything was “fine” yesterday but today people are losing their jobs. “Am I one of them?” is the question that springs to mind for many employees. Uncertainty! To make matters worse, many companies communicate very poorly (creating even more uncertainty). In the worst cases, companies don’t cut deep enough so a continuing series of layoffs occur which heightens the state of uncertainty. Employees are consumed with when will “the next shoe drop” and too much energy is wasted on imagined scenarios.
In this state, few people will think of self-actualizing (can you blame them). Folks will either ignore the situation and hope they’re not affected OR fight whatever change is occurring and try to hold on to whatever ground they can.
What to do?
As an individual, work on creating some level of certainty for yourself: work on what you CAN work on, perform your job well, update your resume, get back in touch with your network, talk to informed sources in and outside of your company, set aside some time to focus on your goals.
For a company, determine the trade-off between the potential value/cost of communicating/not communicating with your employees. Minimize the level of uncertainty as much as possible. Doing so will make a smoother and more productive transition for all.
Question: What if your business is what you do to make money but it is not your passion. How does one stay motivated then?
Coach: Great question — and one that is probably true for many readers. I’ll answer the question in two “Ways.”
SUGGESTION: Way One is to move toward doing what you love as your work. That means to research different options or paths you can pursue to better align your passion with your work. My father once said, “If you can’t be a rock star — be a drum technician, own a recording studio, work in a music store, sell ad space for a music magazine…” You know, get near the heat!
Way Two is to use your work to fund the pursuit or practice of your passion until your work is your passion. Lower (yes, lower!) your expectations of what work means to you in the short-term and accept your current reality: work is a means to an end, your sponsor to a better life, your passion underwriter.
I think the quicker you can accomplish Way One, the better. Way Two is harder because the bulk of our time is spent AT work. Unfortunately, more of us fall into the Way Two category: Way Two Tired, Way Two Bored, Way Two Uninspired (forgive the pun!). If that sounds like you, perhaps thinking through this suggestion a bit more might be worth your time.
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Most of us wrestle with similar situations and questions. If you have a burning question or issue, send it to me and I’ll address it here.
Note: All identities remain completely confidential (no real names will be used).
In the Professional Spotlight Robert Sammon Financial Services
Every issue, I spotlight a talented colleague from my growing network. This issue, it’s Robert J. Sammon, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, founder of Robert Sammon Financial Services.
Robert is a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry. His focus is on assisting companies in the selection, implementation, and servicing of group health insurance plans. With the recent passage of the group health care bill, it has never been more critical to align yourself with a competent, seasoned, ethical and leveraged broker who will be able to guide you through the myriad changes coming your way. Rob can help you learn more about the changes to the law and whether your current plan is truly the best option for your company. He can provide you with an update about which plans are the most competitive on both a premium and benefit level.
Also, think about the level of service you are getting from your current broker. Rob is often hired not to necessarily make immediate plan changes, but because people realize that they can obtain a far higher level of service from him for the same price they are currently paying.
A conversation with Rob will provide some insight as to what is happening in the industry and possibly save you some money on your health care plan. Call him at 212.242.8002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes On … Perseverance
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.”
“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”
~Henry Ward Beecher
“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.”
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
“Victory belongs to the most persevering.” ~Napoleon Bonaparte
“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
~John D. Rockefeller
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”
~John Quincy Adams
5-4-4 Executive Coaching
Create a Space for Strategic Thinking
You’ve heard of 911, 411, even 311. Now’s there’s 5-4-4, but before I get to that…
As an executive or business owner, you are probably busy putting out fires or responding to other people’s challenges, issues, requests… Your inbox may be overflowing and the demands on your time are increasingly greater. It may even seem like work is encroaching more and more on your personal life. It can be difficult–perhaps impossible–for you to find a way to think strategically.
Don’t get me wrong, putting out fires is great, but if that’s most of what you spend your time doing, all you end up with at the end of the day is a charred landscape. Depressing!
As an executive & business coach, I provide you with the space to think about your top issues. I offer you an objective yet challengingperspective. And I create a level of accountability that helps you stay on track and move toward your objectives.
So what’s this about 5-4-4?! Be one of the first three executives to contact me in April and receive five coaching sessions for the price of four. That’s 5 for 4 or 5-4-4.
Use this offer for yourself or send it to a colleague, a direct report — anyone you think is serious about being more focused, fulfilled, and satisfied with their work and their life.
For more information about Response-Able Consulting LLC and our brain-based approach to coaching, visit our website.
Offer Expires: April 30, 2010
Response-Able Consulting LLC uses a variety of brain-based coaching models to help workplace and business leaders create the kind of results that support achieving their life’s work, vision, and purpose.
By working with how your brain works, we can facilitate positive change and help you get from where you are to where you want to be more quickly.
If there are issues keeping you awake at night, please share them with us and we’ll address them in future newsletters. I hope you found this issue useful.
(We typically distribute our NEWS-you-can-use-LETTER once each quarter.)
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