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Entries for the 'Loving Monday' Category

Loving Monday: Kids Pulling in Different Directions

Monday, October 31st, 2011

loving_mondayImagine that each of the tasks you need to complete today is a small child pulling at your arms. Not only pulling, but all pulling in different directions.

Being small children they are not reasoning with you calmly or waiting patiently to take turns. They are screaming and begging and tugging for all they’re worth.

No matter which child (task) you choose to go with, all the others are going to scream and pull all the harder.

You don’t stand a chance. You lose no matter what you choose.

And so some of us try to go in all directions at once. Give a little something to every child.

You can see what is going to happen. Pulled in every direction, you go nowhere at all.

We need to do one thing at a time. This involves making a choice.

We need to address the angry, screaming “kids” who have to wait. This involves a conversation.

When we are willing to choose and converse, we put ourselves in a position to make concrete progress on our to-do list.

Working on one thing at a time allows us to focus and follow through. No partial efforts. No incomplete processes. No hanging decisions.

Conversing with the other, unchosen priorities (whether people on the team or voices in our heads) allows us to assure them of their importance so that they don’t need to kick and scream in order to be noticed.

Next time you have a to-do list longer than Santa’s, imagine yourself in the center of a group of screaming children pulling you in all directions at once.

The fantasy of being able to actually move in every direction at once quickly explodes. (Hopefully in laughter.)

Make a choice and have a conversation.

You’ll be amazed at how much you get done today.

On your side,

- Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.

Loving Monday: Who’s Got Your Back?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

loving_mondayWho’s got your back?

It’s a challenge to stay fully engaged and keep working hard when we feel we’re on our own.

We need friends. We need fans. We need allies. We need cohorts. We need cheerleaders. We need partners. We need loyalists.

We need to know that someone is on our side.

Who is that person for you?

Who’s got your back when you’ve made a mistake and need an advocate?

Who’s got your back when you need a leg up, an encouraging word, or some cover from criticism?

Whose name comes to mind for you? Anyone?

If no one comes to mind, then consider building a couple closer relationships. It doesn’t have to be anything major or intimate.

What you want is to begin building rapport, comfort in conversation, and trust in communication.

You will be surprised at how much trust expressing interest is what someone else is doing will earn you.

Going it alone is going the hard way.

Who can you show some support to today?

On your side,

- Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.

Loving Monday: When Showing Up Involves Taking a Risk

Monday, October 17th, 2011

loving_mondayMost all of us will show up bodily at work today.

But will we be there in spirit?

With business leaders being as embarrassingly insecure as they are, there can be enormous risk in fully showing up at work.

To enthusiastically contribute one’s skills, talents, gifts and passions in many workplaces is to inadvertently remind one’s supervisor that they do not possess those same attributes.

A few—might I add, smart—leaders celebrate having team members whose skills complement their own.

Most, though, seem distressingly threatened.

Hence the tragic risk of showing up fully.

I have a friend whose initiative, creativity, and hard work ethic is being interpreted as aggression, arrogance, and an effort to make others look bad.

Go figure. Is it his job to make his boss feel more secure? Of course not.

But can he ignore the reality that someone with more positional power than him keeps misreading his style and contributions? Absolutely not.

Some of us end up laying low, if not hiding, in order not to ruffle feathers or be misunderstood.

Everyone loses when this happens.

How can you  be both true to yourself and take into account the perception challenges insecure leadership poses to your efforts?

How can you both muster the courage to show up fully at work and also participate in the shaping of how those efforts are perceived?

Such are the risks of choosing to show up in spirit as well as in body.

The risk may not pay off. Such is the unpredictable nature of other peoples’ insecurities.

On the other hand, the risk may both earn you the respect of your supervisor and set a healthier tone for an entirely new way of working together.

You’ll never know until you try. You already know that waiting for your supervisor to change is futile.

We need to you to show up today. Do yourself and the rest of us the favor of taking that risk.

On your side,

- Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.

Loving Monday: Begin With an Ally

Monday, October 10th, 2011

loving_mondayReality can be harsh. Reality includes angry bosses, frustrated clients, and co-workers who don’t carry their weight.

You, of course, will face all these realities with poise and grace, because you are a secure leader who is comfortable with the whole spectrum of work realities.

Having said that, though, you don’t need to begin your week with your worst problem.

You don’t need to have the first thing you hear to be insults, complaining, or criticism.

Try starting the week spending time with an ally.

Go for some coffee together. Take a walk around the premises. Meet for breakfast before coming into the office.

Choose to make the first thing you hear be compliments, encouragement, acceptance, respect, and expressions of support.

Reinforce in your soul that you are a gift with the input of someone who is on your side.

It can be a good friend, a trusted co-worker, an admiring fan, a supportive supervisor, or an adoring significant other.

The point is to begin the week with the positive, excellent truth about yourself.

From this solid foundation, you will be better equipped to face your mistakes, confront unexpected problems, and sort through the myriad of mixed messages that one encounters in a messy and complex workplace.

Pause and put a call into an ally right now. Begin the week with the truth.

On your side,

– Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.

Loving Monday: Staying in the Game

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

loving_mondayThere are times when simply getting the job done isn’t enough.

There are times when how the work was completed overshadows that the work was completed.

We all get weary. We all experience boredom, stress, and fatigue among other difficulties at work.

Very few of us can simply override these feelings by sheer force of will, working with as much vigor, enthusiasm and effort as we would in the best of times.

We need a way to stay in the game when work and life pressures are weighing heavily on our spirits.

Who would you give the promotion to? The person who is engaged or the person who is distracted? The person who is taking the initiative or the person who is doing the bare minimum?

Who would you give the job to? The person who believes in their ability to make a meaningful contribution or the person who is trying to get away from a bad supervisor? The person who is eager to jump in with both feet, or the person who wants to know how much overtime is expected?

We need a way to hold ourselves with poise and a comfortable confidence. We need a way to stay interested and engaged. We need a way to restore (more…)


Loving Monday: Taking Your Cue

Monday, September 26th, 2011

loving_mondayI remember when I first caught myself taking my cues from others.

I‘d be about to pass by someone walking the other way, and I would keep an sly eye peeled for whether or not they would greet me.

If they did greet me, I’d instantaneously gauge their mood and respond appropriately. If I received a warm greeting, I’d respond warmly. If they were grumpy or stressed I would either keep my distance with a curt reply or engage with a sympathetic “How ya doing?” Or if no acknowledgment at all was extended, I would keep my focus elsewhere and carry on.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was taking my cue from others. I was playing the passive, responsive role in the relationship.

“What’s the big deal?” you might ask.

Well, it’s a big deal if I’m in a great mood, ready for a good day of engaging work, and I let someone else’s mood determine mine.

It’s a big deal if I want to greet and be greeted in the morning, and I miss out because I waited for the other person to initiate.

It’s a big deal because others might be operating out of a perspective of caution or fear or anger or bitterness in any given situation, for example. If I take my cue from those people, then I’ll be interpreting and responding to them instead of to the situation. Not taking my cue from others, I may very well have chosen to respond to that situation in a very different way.

By taking my cue from others I turn my brain, intuition and social skills off too early. I grant more credibility to other people’s discernment than my own.

And so I have stopped taking my cue from others, so to speak. If I want to greet someone, then I do. And I let them greet me in return. I have more say in my own day, because people are responding to the mood, tone and subjects that I am putting forth instead of the other way around.

Who are you taking your cue from?

On your side,

– Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.


Loving Monday: Detour to the Friendly Voice

Monday, September 19th, 2011

loving_mondayThere are a lot of voices around us.

The boss voice telling us to get busy. The employee voice asking us to make a decision. The co-worker voice requesting assistance.

We hear critical voices second-guessing our choices. We hear fearful voices resisting our initiatives. We hear angry voices attacking our motives.

Each voice articulates something worth listening to and much more that needs to be ignored. We spend a lifetime learning to discern between what has substance and what is the speaker’s personal issues spilling out all over us.

Getting our week off to a good start involves beginning with a friendly voice or two.

Someone who believes in you. Someone who is already on your side. Someone who has demonstrated that they want good things for you.

These people are a rich source of encouragement, affirmation, compliments, and confidence.

Not that we are going to these people in search of the unsolicited pat-on-the-back. (Though that is certainly an idea worth exploring.) We are choosing, however, to begin our weeks with the truth about ourselves. A positive truth about ourselves that we can do something with.

We are setting our perspective for the week in terms of our capabilities, our strengths and our potential. Beginning with a friendly voice in our ear, we are better situated to face the obstacles, the conflict, and the mistakes we encounter along the way.

We cannot inoculate ourselves from the dark voices or the difficult events that arise in the course of a week. But we can be well-grounded in all that is solid and constructive in who we are.

Why start the week with someone yelling at you or complaining to you, if you can take a small detour and find a friendly voice to enthusiastically greet you, affirm you, or appreciate you?!

On your side,

– Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.

Loving Monday: Inserting a Warm Word in a Cold World

Monday, September 12th, 2011

loving_mondayIt would probably catch everyone off guard.

Out of the blue, or so it would seem, you blurt out, “You really know your stuff. Thank you for all you contribute.”

Or when she’s not looking, you sneak up and announce, “I couldn’t do this without you.”

Even more inexplicably, you confess, “This team is one of the things I love most about this job.”

It can be a cold world. Tight deadlines. Tighter margins. Nasty vendors. Nastier clients. And a tough economy to boot.

We are busy. We are stressed. We are juggling multiple responsibilities, and it’s taking our full focus not to drop anything.

It’s into this cold world that a warm word can make the difference between surviving and thriving.

To hear that one’s ideas are appreciated, that one’s contribution is recognized, or that one’s presence is valued can transform a stressed, weary, minimal effort into an energetic and passionate engagement.

We get caught up in the busyness and stress of the job’s intensity ourselves. It is easy to forget that people run on more than a paycheck to keep their motivation and energy levels up.

Yes, it would be nice if someone directed a warm word your way. In the mean time, though, take the initiative yourself and insert a warm word into someone else’s otherwise cold world.

Looking for a simple structure to guide your words? Download a copy of our “Say Thank You and Mean It” tool. (click here)

Let me know what happens!

On your side,

– Karl Edwards

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.

Loving Monday: Lighten Things Up

Monday, August 29th, 2011

loving_monday Yes, work is difficult more often than it is fun. Yes, difficult work can be meaningful and rewarding in many ways even if it is not fun.

This week, though, I want to focus on making work fun.

Or at least inserting a bit of fun into an otherwise serious and focused environment every once in a while.

While I couldn’t resist the image of a full-on practical joke, I’m not suggesting that practical jokes are the best way to bring a bit of lightness into the workplace. (Though I do love the occasional clever stunt.)

I‘m thinking more of maintaining a good sense of humor. Of being able to poke fun at the ridiculous side of some of your policies and procedures. Of sharing funny stories from home about the antics of your kids or relatives.

I’m thinking about making ice-cream runs in the afternoon. Of refilling coffee cups just to be nice. Of all standing up and stretching legs at the same time.

Transform envelope-stuffing into a party. Turn a dreaded deadline into a race.

Work too easily morphs into pressure and stress instead of meaning and reward. We need to intervene and help everyone keep a sense of perspective.

Humor is one such tool for maintaining perspective. Keeping things light. Injecting some fun. Enjoying the others on the team.

How do you lighten things up in the serious world of work?

Loving Monday is a weekly column designed to encourage us to step into our weeks with an intention to show up authentically, engage fully, and choose to make it a good week for ourselves. Explore past columns here.

Loving Monday: On Guard!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

loving_monday“Wait a minute! The week hasn’t even begun, and I feel like I’m under seige.”

There are demands coming from several fronts. There are complaints echoing off the walls. There are attacks spewing from your small and mean-spirited co-workers.

Before you even have a chance to implement any game plan of your own, you’re knocked off balance and reeling from what feels like an assault on all sides.

Demands, complaints and attacks are not unusual workplace dynamics. But when they all come at once it can be overwhelming.

Instead of your usual calm and measured poise, you find yourself angry, defensive, and ready to strike back.

This is the moment when you need to set down the phone, step outside, and walk around the block three times.

The first trip around the block is for venting. Wave your arms in the air. Kick a tree or two. Shout out all those colorful adjectives that describe everyone else so (more…)