Archive for the ‘Getting to Spirit at Work’ Category

A Time of Review . . . A Time of Intention

December 31st, 2013

Traditionally, on the last day of each year, I  take the opportunity for reflection. What were the highlights of 2013? What did I achieve? Did I really make a difference in the life of another? Did I grow, personally and professionally? Did I live in alignment with what I say matters to me? Was I intentional? Purposeful?

Did I flourish? Did I get to the heart of what matters about my work? Did I work in a way that was meaningful to others? Did I make a contribution?

Overall, am I happy with how 2013 turned out? With my accomplishments? The risks I took? The lessons I learned?

What am I grateful for?

What are my desires for 2014? My intention? What do I want to change?  How will I get there?

Lots to ponder. This type of reflection is a great opportunity for closure of the passing year. To acknowledge the gifts and accomplishments of 2013.  And, at the same time, it generates excitement and energy for the coming year. It helps us set our intention and to take responsibility for the forthcoming year.

As 2013 comes to a close, I invite you to carve out some time to do a similar reflection. And would love to hear about your accomplishments for 2013 and your intentions for 2014. Something magical happens when we write our goals . . . whether that is the power of intention, a reprogramming of the brain, or the law of attraction . . . the research shows that we are more likely to achieve our goals when we write them down.

This process has helped me to appreciate the relationship that I have with you . . . whether that is through the eCourses or self-studies you participated in, the newsletters I have crafted for your reading pleasure, or the collaborative work we have done together. Thank you for that!

I have received a lot of positive feedback from you with regards to the online learning environment we are creating and plan to grow it in 2014. I look forward to connecting again in the new year.

Wishing you a flourishing 2014!

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Is having spirit at work simply following your passion?

October 18th, 2011

For some of us, spirit at work is about following our passion. For others, following a passion is not enough. We only have to look at the number of nurses, teachers and social workers who leave their chosen field after a few years, disenchanted. 

People who follow their passion can also lose their way. Once we lose touch with why we are doing the work we do and how it makes a difference, all the constraints, pressures and lack of resources can feel overwhelming. So how can we expect to feel good about our work, never mind experience spirit at work? 

Perhaps you have lost touch with what first drew you to your particular work. Maybe you took your job because you needed work and never took the opportunity to uncover the deeper meaning of what you do each day. You might be at a time in your life where work feels like an unsatisfying burden. Family and personal responsibilities may require you to stay in your current job. Perhaps you retire in a few years and want to leave your work in a good way – feeling good about your organization and your contribution. It doesn’t matter; you get your spirit at work back. And, if you never had it, you can create it. 

I have found that there are two ways to get to spirit at work: Discover and follow your passion, or find the deeper meaning in your current work. Do what you love or love what you do. Based on experiences of everyday people who have spirit at work, I have created and tested a process you can follow to bring forth or enhance your spirit at work. What follows are nine ways to foster your spirit at work. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity. These ideas have been tested. Moreover, most of them have empirical support from other fields.

I invite you to join The Power of Spirit at Work, a six-week eCourse starting October 22. How it works: This 18-hour, 6 week eCourse is presented in six parts, one each week. It includes videos, self-assessments, readings, facilitated e-discussions, and, if you are collecting Continuing Education Credits (e.g., this qualifies for 18 Category A credits), a post test. Click on the link for more information and pricing.

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Creating Spirit at Work

October 16th, 2011

How do you feel about your work? Seriously. Do you look forward to work every day? Most days? Even some days? Are you passionate about your work? Do you feel good about the work you do and the contribution you are making? Are you making a difference or are you just making money? 

There is more to work than putting in eight, ten or twelve hours a day. Work is much more than meeting deadlines and coming in under budget. And there is definitely more to work than a paycheque and pension. Money isn’t everything and it certainly doesn’t buy the fulfillment many of us are seeking. Yes, we need money to put a roof over our head and food on the table, but once we have that, most of us find we are looking for more. That “more” is an opportunity to make the world a better place. To do meaningful work and make a difference in the lives of others. To feel good about what we are doing. To have spirit at work. 

Spirit at work is present in people who are passionate about and energized by their work. These are the people who would continue to work even if they won a lottery, because to them, work is an opportunity to make a contribution. Spirit at work is something that is inside each person. Accessing it is an inside job. 

This blog is about spirit at work: What it is and how we can foster it. Any yes, we can foster it.

Starting October 22, I am offering The Power of Spirit at Work, a six-week eCourse. This 18-hour, 6 week eCourse is presented in six parts, one each week. It includes videos, self-assessments, readings, facilitated e-discussions, and, if you are collecting Continuing Education Credits (e.g., this qualifies for 18 Category A credits), a post test. Click here for more information and pricing.

Because I have been tardy in getting this newsletter out (those darn competing priorities) I have decided to extend the early bird rate. That is already in addition to the already reduced introductory fee – something we have decided to do for each new course.

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What makes social workers happy and what keeps them in the field?

April 6th, 2011

Social workers experience higher than average levels of attrition, stress and burnout than other helping professions such as nursing and teaching. Whereas 6 per cent of American nurses and 8 per cent of teachers left their occupations in any given year from 1992 to 2001, the figure was 15 per cent among social workers. Researchers at the University of Calgary suspect similar findings in Canada.

Common issues faced by social workers include scope of practice, perceived freedom and flexibility, work-life balance, support mechanisms in their workplaces, the physical workspace itself, as well as their relationships with clients and colleagues, including supervisors.

“Social workers, by their very nature, care about people,” says John Graham, a U of C social work professor. “People in human services . . . suffer from high caseloads (and) need the support to do their jobs.”

Given this concern, Graham, along with PhD Candidates Andrea Newberry and Micheal Shier teamed up to investigate what made social workers happy and what kept them in the field. This positive and affirmative approach is in high contrast to the traditional problem-based approach such as studying sources of stress and burnout.

Surveys were sent to 2500 social workers in Alberta. Of the 700 returned, the researchers completed in-depth interviews and job shadowing with the 13 “happiest” social workers.

The happiest social workers reported higher levels of fulfilment in areas such as flexible work schedules, better work-life balance and a stronger sense of engagement.  Having a high degree of freedom built into their jobs gave them the flexibility to manage the demands of their jobs with their personal lives including the opportunity for “self-care.”  This behind-the-scene support made a big difference and enabled them to do their jobs well.

“We’re much better at helping others when we’ve learned to find satisfaction and happiness in what we do, and to develop organizational cultures that reinforce these principles,” says Graham.

Their findings have implications for a variety of career fields. Our experience and research tells us that when employees get to the heart of what matters about their work, when they feel like they are making a difference, and they feel like they are part of a community, employee spirit at work –that sense that we are fully engaged and fulfilled by our work – increases. When employers create the conditions to foster spirit at work, the effects can only multiply.

We have demonstrated that not only can you increase spirit at work, as it increases so too does personal well-being, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Client service and productivity goes up. And absenteeism and turnover goes down.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore spirit at work and its contributing factors in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps renew employee wellness and increase performance and retention by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Five Ways to Increase Positivity at Work

March 29th, 2011

We can increase our positivity ratio by decreasing our negativity or increasing our positivity. Here are five ways to increase the positive in your life and your work.

1. Find meaning in your day-to-day life. What is good or positive about a situation? What is the “silver lining” in a difficult situation? What are you here for? How are you contributing through work?

 2. Savour the good. We have a lot of good things happening in our lives and at work, but we tend to skip over them. Be mindful. Appreciate. Slow down and attend. Enjoy. Recall the good. Share with others. Celebrate.

 3. Count your blessings. Give thanks. Show appreciation. Express gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal.

 4. Make connections. Develop relationships. Spend positive time with others. Cultivate loving concern for others. Connecting with nature is another way to increase positivity. Go outside, especially in spring or summer.

5. Use your strengths. We are far more likely to flourish when we have opportunities to do what we do best. Discover your strengths and find ways to incorporate them into your life and work. Simply learning about our strengths will give us a boost, though temporarily, in positivity. The lasting boost comes from finding ways to apply them.

Living with purpose and meaning, living in the moment, appreciating self and others, practicing gratitude, connecting with others and drawing on our strengths are wonderful ways to increase our positivity ratio and spirit at work.  Not only do they feel good, they have an incredible impact on how we experience our work.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Five Ways to Decrease Negativity at Work

March 25th, 2011

High-powered teams have a positivity ratio of 6:1. That’s right. Six positives for every negative. What is the positivity ratio at your workplace? And what can you do to increase it?

Two ways to increase our positivity ratio: Increase the positive and decrease the negative. Let’s talk about decreasing the negative.

Reducing negativity may indeed by the quickest way to increase your positivity ratio. The concept of “negativity-bias” tells us that our negative thoughts are much stronger than our positive thoughts. So, mathematically, we will get the best and fastest results by reducing negativity.

1. Dispute negative thinking. Dispute negative thinking the way a lawyer would: by examining the facts. Ask: What were the negative thoughts? What triggered the negative thoughts? How did those thoughts make me feel? How does this compare to reality? What is the truth here? Then dispute the negative thinking with the truth.

2. Break the pattern of ruminating. When something negative happens, we have a habit of going over it again and again in our mind. Telling others. Not letting it go. Often finding ourselves spiralling down and getting stuck in the depths of despair. Once you are aware of the fact that you are ruminating, the quickest way to stop it is to distract. Find a way to lift your mood – in a healthy way (no drugs or alcohol).

3. Become more mindful. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as: “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” So being mindful means paying attention to your inner experience and thoughts without judgment. Become a witness to your thoughts and your feelings, and in this case, your negative thoughts and the feelings that arise. With awareness comes choice.

4. Reduce the negative input. Unfortunately, negativity grabs us. It draws us in. And gets a grip on us. What are you watching on television? Reading in the newspapers? What types of movies interest you? Media violence zaps your empathy and your kindness. The same is true for gossip. Shut off the television. Get your news online and choose what you want to pay attention to. Stop the gossip.

5. Change how you are with negative people. Get interested in them as people. Take the lead in the conversation. Ask questions. Look for positives. What are their strengths? Passion? What do you share in common? Choose activities that you are both interested in. Inject compassion, hope or humour. Reframe the relationship.  Ask: what can I learn from this person? Are they a teacher in disguise?

It is next to impossible to have spirit at work and be negative. It is next to impossible to be part of a high-powered team and be negative. It Is next to impossible to feel good about our work and the contribution we make when we are negative. But it is possible to reduce the negativity in our lives and our work – simply by shifting our thinking. It is time to rethink our life and our work.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Just how positive are you?

March 18th, 2011

What would you say your positive to negative ratio is? Five to one? Three to one? One to one? The vast majority of us hover around 2:1. Unless we are mentally ill, most moments in our lives are at least mildly good. But that is not good enough to flourish. Barbara Frederickson’s research shows that we need a positivity ratio of at least 3:1 to flourish.

The tipping point – that sweet spot in between where a small change makes a big difference differs depending on the situation. Where we need a 3:1 positivity ratio to flourish, happy marriages have a positivity ratio of 5:1. And high-powered teams have a positivity ratio of 6:1. That is six positives for every negative!

Why do we need so many positives to counteract the negative? It is something called negativity-bias. Simply put – the bad (or the negative) is stronger than the good. Just think about how we are drawn to the negative. Whether it is TV or the newspaper, negativity sells.  We become engaged when we hear about something bad that has happened to someone. Gossip draws a crowd. Unfortunately, the negative is way more powerful than the positive.

Two ways to increase our positivity ratio: Increase the positive and decrease the negative. So what can you do to reduce the negative and increase the positive in your life? And at work?

Spirit at work and positivity goes hand-in-hand. Actually, happiness in life and positivity goes hand-in-hand. The more we can reduce negativity and increase positivity in our lives and at work, the more we will flourish. The first step is to be mindful. So in the week ahead, I invite you to become a witness of your thoughts. Then once you have this awareness, I invite you to see how you can reduce the negative and increase the positive. And observe how you feel. And how others begin to respond to you. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Are you happy at work?

March 1st, 2011

Not too long ago, happiness was considered “fluff” and not worthy of attention. People would laugh if your spoke about happiness at work! But not anymore.

Google “happiness” today and you will see how that has changed. You will find tons of web sites and blogs claiming to know the secret to happiness. Universities are offering courses on happiness. Researchers are specializing in the area and are writing books about how to increase your happiness level.  Even academic journals are dedicated to the subject. And “happiness” conferences are popping up everywhere. Including a happiness at work conference in Copenhagen this spring.

And why wouldn’t they? Happier people, well, they are just happier. They are more fun to be around and are more likely to have more spirit at work. All of which positively impacts productivity.

Need more convincing? In comparison to less happy people, happy people:

  • have more energy and are more motivated
  • are more optimistic and more resilient in the face of hardship
  • are healthier, have stronger immune systems, and take fewer sick days
  • are more cooperative, better liked by others at work and have richer friendships
  • make better and more informed decisions and are more productive in their jobs
  • are better leaders and negotiators
  • are more open to learning new things and show more flexibility and ingenuity in their thinking

How could this not have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and productivity? So what is holding us back from promoting happiness, and particularly, happiness at work?

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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What have you done to be kind this week?

February 14th, 2011

Today is the start of Random Acts of Kindness Week. What have you done to be kind? At home? At work? In your community? To yourself?

We used to believe that only the person receiving the act of kindness was the one who benefited. Now we know that in addition to the person receiving the kindness, the person expressing kindness and anyone observing the act benefits in the same way. Scientific research has demonstrated that acts of kindness towards others result in a strengthened immune system and an increase in serotonin levels for both the person receiving and the person extending kindness. (Serotonin is that all-important substance that occurs naturally in our body and contributes to feelings of calm and peace.) More surprising, the benefits extend to anyone witnessing the act of kindness. Hence, the “ripple effect of kindness.”

Want to try it? Start by making a list of ways you might be kind throughout the week. Then choose one act of kindness each day. Notice how you feel as well as the reaction you get.

Here are a few simple ways to express kindness:

  • Let someone go ahead of you.
  • Greet the receptionist by name.
  • Hold the door open.
  • Pay for coffee for the next person in line.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Take a senior for lunch.
  • Greet someone with kind words.
  • Plug a person’s parking meter.
  • Pick up a piece of garbage in a public area and take it to the trash.
  • Volunteer to help someone.
  • Send a thank-you note.
  • Offer the seat next to you to a stranger.
  • Surprise someone with flowers, a fruit basket or a box of chocolates.
  • Bring a coffee to a colleague who is working late.
  • Send a birthday or anniversary card.
  • Offer to take some of the load from a colleague or staff member.
  • Listen, really listen to understand.
  • Donate blood.
  • Invite a new member for coffee.
  • Ask your supervisor how you can help.
  • Share a kindness story with others.
  • Hold a kindness day at work.

We never know when our act of kindness will have a profound effect. A smile, letting someone go ahead of us at the grocery till when they have just a few items, being present in the time we have with another person, making a phone call to check how someone is doing – these are simple but effective ways of touching another person’s heart. Acts of kindness are definitely a pathway to spirit at work. So, go ahead and find a way to make someone’s day, every day.

Adapted from my book Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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What are you thinking?

February 7th, 2011

There is never a moment when we are not thinking — and our thoughts are either positive or negative. Unfortunately, we tend to have more negative than positive thoughts. In fact, we have at least 65,000 thoughts a day and sixty-five percent of them are negative.

Negative thoughts can eat at our confidence, our self esteem and our spirit. They can prevent us from doing what we really want to do. Moreover, “negative self talk” impacts the immune system. It takes a great toll on our bodies and sense of well-being.

On the other hand, the power of positive thoughts to affect our experience of life has long been recognized, embraced and promoted as a path to wellness. Several books have been written on the effect of positive thinking. Norman Vincent Peale is one of the best known for his book The Power of Positive Thinking.

More recently, scientists are proving that the power of positive thought impacts our health, well-being and motivation. A study at Northern Arizona University showed that a group of runners was able to achieve an overall twelve percent increase in the test group’s strength just by thinking and speaking positively about their muscle systems.

In another study about visualization in the mid-1990s, Stanford University took two groups of basketball players through an experiment. One group practiced shooting baskets. The second group didn’t step into the gym; instead, they only visualized taking shots. Amazingly, the group that used visualization improved their shooting skills by thirty percent over the group that physically practiced shooting hoops with a basketball. Both of these studies demonstrate the power of the mind-body connection.

This discovery is not limited to sports. Many successful people credit their success to their positive thoughts. When we think positively and visualize a positive future, we tend to have positive experiences.

It is no surprise that positive thoughts are associated with spirit at work. That which we give our attention to grows stronger. When we begin to think positive, we begin to see and act positive, and, as a result, we attract positive people and experiences to our lives. It is time to rethink our thoughts and our work.

So what are you thinking? And how are you thinking? Are your thoughts positive? Or are they negative? What will you do, starting right now, to increase your positive thoughts?

[Excerpt adapted from Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters.]

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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