One of the greatest misconceptions of modern times is the belief that ‘happy workers are productive workers’. As much as there is evidence to back this up, there is just as much evidence to disprove it.
Our emotions are the dynamics which colour our lives. They give moments meaning, frame our memories, and let us know how we’re doing. The truth is that our emotions drive us in different ways – and it’s not necessarily the good ones that make our work great.
Being emotionally intelligent is knowing ourselves, acknowledging our sensations, and knowing what does and doesn’t work for us. It is sometimes at the depths of desperation that we are catapulted forward to overcome a challenge; or it is the vehement anger that burns deep inside which ignites the passion to just get something done; or the simple sadness that forces us to face our own truths, from which a greatness emerges.
Artists across all disciplines are renowned for using their deepest feelings to spur their most prominent work. So too, is the average working person driven by stress, which gets them out of bed in the morning.
The fundamental question is not ‘are you happy enough to be productive?’ but rather, ‘what emotion initiates your efficiency, so that the best of you can emerge?’
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A few years ago I was sitting at a lunch listening to a woman who specialised in personal branding. The thought kept coming back to me, “Why would anyone need to brand themselves?” All through her endless rambling I rolled my eyes and wondered why everyone else seemed so interested in what she was saying.
Then I started watching people in various situations. It was the most remarkable thing:
Those who had branded themselves were treated according to their branding. They looked good, they seemed comfortable with what they displayed, and they stood out from the crowd.
So, it appears as though I was behind the wave, and was only just beginning to see the benefits of personal branding.
What one action, decision, or choice has the single biggest impact on the growth of your personal brand?
If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what three things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI (return on investment) on your time and money?
For those looking to create a strong online brand, which online influencers would you recommend they follow?
From these questions you can see that establishing a personal brand follows the same logic as a business brand:
You need to establish who your target market is, and what you want to tell them about yourself. Once you have answered these questions, the work begins – you live the brand.
Branding yourself is about how you dress, speak, where you are seen, what topics you discuss, who you associate with, and what others think of you (which is what you want them to think of you). The result is unbelievable: People start to treat you the way you have trained them to.
If you have a need to be seen in a certain way, for any purpose, start your personal branding process now. The ‘you’ that you create becomes an artwork for others to admire.
You know what’s amazing? If you look at great inventors, composers or artists, there are always stories detailing how they spent hours as children investigating, growing and cultivating their competencies in one way or another. That passion then grew into an art form, which became integrally and seamlessly part of their lives.
Think about when you were a kid. What did you spend your time doing? What was your greatest pleasure? Did you transform it into your adulthood occupation? Or are you miles away, doing something that makes you count the hours until you can be free from your office? And how is it that some people get it right and love their work?
When it comes down to it, it’s the strength of the passion that ultimately drives people to become fully engaged in what they love doing. They cannot imagine doing anything else, and in many cases, they cannot force themselves to do anything else.
It may sound a cliché, but you really are the captain of your own destiny. It’s up to you to steer the ship of your own path, and chart the waters of circumstance in the direction that you aspire to. When you were a child, if someone asked you what you wanted to spend your time doing, the answer came really easily.
So think about this: What is it that you really love spending your time doing? And how can you make a career of it?
In 2009, Vishen Lakhiani was asked to speak at Engage Today in Calgary, alongside such luminaries as Sir Richard Branson, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Stephen Covey, Nobel Prize Winner F.W. De Klerk, Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos.com, and world-famous artist Wyland. He talks about ‘flow’, the ultimate state of human existence. You’re in the ‘flow state’ when you are being pulled forward by big goals, but are also happy with exactly where you are.
The concept of being ‘in your flow’ sounds so simple and easy. Most South Africans however profess to being very stressed or under immense pressure. The question is, how much of that stress is beneficial, and how much is necessity?
Defining stress in these terms is unconventional. Traditionally stress is seen as the ultimate evil, to be avoided at all costs, and is perceived to be neither beneficial nor essential. However, if you think about it, the business world thrives on stress. It is the pulsating pressure that makes things happen and moves us forward.
So how does that help us get into our flow? Psychologically, you’re in your flow when you have the perfect balance between feeling challenged, using your abilities to create meaningful work, and finding happiness in the moment. Experiencing the right amount of stress can stimulate you to achieve the overcoming of obstacles, and the advancement of yourself. That way, you play to your natural strengths and keep yourself vital.
By redefining how you think about stress, how you experience it, and by assessing the levels of stress you can tolerate before it becomes harmful, your flow overflows and your stress levels work to your advantage.
“Inhale the future. Exhale the past.” – Unknown
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