Blog Categories: finding meaning in work
Posted on November 12, 2017
It’s fascinating what causes people to remember certain experiences, activities, and times in their lives. Yet, most of the time we wonder what we did last week that was meaningful or, how fast time is going by and … what is there to show for it? This article describes the research behind what makes certain events memorable and how to create more of them to savor and enjoy the life we have. Here are some hints: tell a employee that you appreciate their work, celebrate getting past a disagreement and remaining friends, mark a memory with a ritual that involves a sensory delight…live your life and look to make more moments of connection and gratitude.
Posted on January 12, 2013
Research shows that when we can maintain a ratio of 3 (positive emotion) : 1 (negative emotion) in the work place we show up more able to make and maintain productive relationships, have more effective team interactions and more successful client interactions. Maintaining this ratio is challenging given the negative bias of negative emotions on the brain: we are biologically hard wired to pay more attention to negative emotion. Often stated: positive emotion is like “teflon” on the brain and negative emotion more like “velcro” on our brains.
So what to do?
These resources offer brilliant ways to practice increasing positive emotions and thinking to get to the tipping point each day at work of 3:1:
Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity, Three Rivers Press, 2009: This book, now available in paperback, is written by an award winning social scientist. Dr. Fredrickson not only explains her research but gives poignant examples from her own life of how she maintains positivity. The book also lists exercises and methods to practice daily to maintain the 3:1 ratio at work and in life. Also, check out Dr. Fredrickson’s website: www.positivityratio.com to test your positivity ratio each day.
Lynn Johnson, Enjoy LIfe: Healing with Happiness-available on his website and on Amazon. The subtitle of this book is: How to harness positive moods to raise your energy, effectiveness and joy. Dr Johnson gives really practical suggestions to maintain the positivity ratio as well as clear descriptions of relevant social science research.
Barbara Fredrickson and Marcel Losada, “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”, American Psychologist, October 2005. For those interested in reading the research data.
Martin Seligman, Flourishing and Authentic Happiness. Dr. Seligman is considered the Father of Positive Psychology. He is a must read if you are interested in studying Positive Psychology and applying the findings to your own life. He posits that in order to flourish in life (and to increase positive emotion) we need: Positive relationships, Engagement or flow, Relationships/social connnections, Meaning or Purpose and Accomplishment in our lives.
Posted on February 8, 2011
Retreat facilitated by Rosemarie Perla, Executive Coach and Consultant
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
—Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers
Purpose of retreat: To give the business professional time out to consider vision and values related to their work life; to design how they want to continue contributing in their careers and in their communities.
When: Friday, April 8, 2011 starting at 1 PM to Saturday, April 9, 2011 ending at 5 PM.
Where: St. Emma’s Monastery, 1001 Harvey Ave., Greensburg, PA (approximately 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, PA)
Who: Business Professionals wanting to develop strategies for integrating personal strengths with their leadership skills and presence.
Cost $275.00 (registered by March 18, 2011) includes room, most meals and retreat materials, $300.00 (after March 18, 2011)
Retreat held in Monastery Guest House. First 10 registrants are guaranteed a room with private bath. All other registrants will have private room with shared bath.
For more information, or to pre-register – Call or email Rosemarie Perla at the Perla Group – Coaching and Consulting: Rosemarie@PerlaGroup.com or 412.621.7996. Details to follow. WWW.PerlaGroup.com
Posted on January 23, 2011
“The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business”
Theresa Amabile Professor, Harvard University
Daniel Pink challenges and inspires in this visually brilliant video as he teaches us how to reconsider what motivates ourselves and ways to breath life into motivating others. Remember these three words: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose and then take a few minutes to watch this–you will go away enriched and motivated to find your highest levels of creative thought and work. Click on this link to view the short video:
Posted on January 23, 2010
“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do”
Jahad-ad-din Rumi (Persian poet 1207-1273)
Remember when you were a little kid and you would dream about who you wanted to BE when you grew up? Just the thought of independently communicating your power at a job where you expressed your talents, strengths and interest…felt, well it felt grown up.
Then you grew up. Keeping the enthusiasm, interest and passion alive for your work can be a challenge. Think about how much time we spend at work. Today, with lean teaming and downsizing, people often spend more than 8 hours a day in the workplace. Why not reconnect with that early enthusiasm that drove you to consider expressing your gifts, your sense of contributing to the world and making a difference?
First, identify your strengths and then find ways to use them and develop them at your job. A previous blog I wrote (October, 2009) directs you to a website: www.authentichappiness.com where you can take a short test (the VIA Strengths Survey) that identifies your top 5 strengths. Consider exploring ways to express those strengths at your job. For example, if “Love of Learning” is a strength of yours, then you might organize a “lunch and learn” for co-workers in the workplace.
A second way that can move you toward happier times in the workplace is to notice how often you give into negative thinking at work. Many times this is fueled by unhappy co-workers. Walking away is one answer to this type scenario… as my colleague Dave Ellis says, “That’s why we have feet.” However, it is harder to walk away when those thoughts stay in your own mind. When you notice those “grumpy” thoughts, instead of entertaining them, consider the alternative of letting them go. The more energy you put into these thoughts, the more you’re apt to go down the negative spiral, which brings your energy down, and your thoughts following. Or, to ask yourself, “What do I want to change about this situation?” Then move into productive action and become a part of the answer instead of continuing the complaint. We know we work best when we are in a good mood, which means shifting those thought towards being grateful, appreciative and glad to be working and contributing.
The next time you find yourself feeling unhappy at work—try asking yourself what is right and good about your work? In my work as a professional coach and psychologist, I have the opportunity to talk to people who are successful by societal standards- having prestige and great paying jobs; as well as people who are working in low-income jobs. Both types of people tell me they are sometimes happy at work and sometimes not – what makes a difference is how they practice being happy where they are. They begin to learn more, grow more and then often find more opportunities coming their way as well. Researchers are learning that, regardless of your work, when you practice positive emotion in the workplace, you increase your problem solving capacities, bring more meaning to your workday and build resiliency- all important factors in developing happiness.
Take away: If you want to be happier at work, start with how you are being at work: exercise your strengths and express more positive emotion in your present job. Perhaps you might find that uplifting and empowering feeling you had once when you dreamed of what you would be when you grew up. Wasn’t happiness a part of that dream?
Fredrickson, B.L. & Losada, M.F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), 678-686.
Colan, L.J. (2004). Passionate Performance. Dallas, TX: CornerStone Leadership Institute.
Lynn D. Johnson. Happiness: Create the Perfect Job. 2008 – 801.261.1412.
Posted on July 8, 2009
These blogs will offer three things: an inspirational quote that seeks to inspire you, the reader; second, a teaching or strategy which will intend to broaden and build a set of skills or resources that can positively serve you in your work life; and, thirdly a take away: a practical tip to help you see that there is more than one way to do it as you are learning to be and show up as your best self each day in your work and life.
A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
Common sense may tell us that when we are calm and experiencing positive emotions, we show up as more intelligent. However, haven’t you had a time when you looked back on your life and remembered something that you did when you were scared and angry? Then later, this action seemed really dumb? Certainly we can all recall a lot of these “What was I thinking?” incidents. So, how to cultivate these positive emotions to move toward being our creative and intelligent “best” especially in the work place?
Psychologists now believe that there are three core positives feelings: compassion (a feeling of understanding of others coupled with a desire to help), curiosity, delight and joy. Love, the magical combination of all three, is the greatest positive feeling. And, any of these positive emotions stimulate positive thought: creativity, insight and peace – which leads to our best thinking.
How do we make these shifts into positive emotion? What do we look for when asking ourselves for the highest and best way to deal with a challenge? For example, we might ask: Is there another way to feel, do or respond to this situation?
The key here is that the answer to this question often comes from inside of ourselves. There is an old Sufi (a Persian mystical sect) story about this. It seems that Nasrudin was seen madly riding his donkey from one side of town to the other, searching for something. Finally the people in the town stopped him and asked, “Mullah Nasrudin what are you looking for?”
“My donkey” was the frantic reply.
Take away: Like Nasrudin in this story, we often race around looking for answers outside of ourselves. Sometimes the answers may not come as we expect. Yet, when we listen to ourselves and, at the same time, shift into positive emotion; this is often the time when we have the most insight and creativity. Yes, we all have untapped wisdom within. Look for it there.
Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD Positivity, Crown Publishers, 2009
Lynn D. Johnson, PhD “Activate your frontal lobes: One Minute to Increased Intelligence and Creativity” firstname.lastname@example.org. 1999-2004
Chris Peterson, A Primer in Positive Psychology, Oxford Press, 2006
Martin Seligman, Flourish, Free Press, 2011