5 Ways To Thrive At Work
Wish you had the energy to be more productive at work? To be able to truly engage your teams, delight your customers and sell more? Without burning yourself out in the process?
A growing body of research suggests leaders who have higher levels of wellbeing – the ability to feel good and function effectively – are more likely to enjoy all of these benefits. But as one CEO asked me recently: “Where’s the roadmap to cultivating wellbeing and just how are we meant to fit this in?”
It was a Good Question
One of the most popular theories of wellbeing is that proposed by Professor Martin Seligman who believes that in order to consistently thrive we need the presence of: positive emotions, the opportunity to be regularly engaged in our work, good relationships, a sense of meaning and purpose and the ability to accomplish what matters most to us. Sounds simple enough.
The challenge is that just like eating one piece of broccoli won’t suddenly make you healthy, doing one thing to improve your relationships is unlikely to leave you thriving. Instead one of the easiest ways I’ve found to improve wellbeing for busy business people is to leverage their strengths – those things they’re good at and enjoy doing - to create small daily wellbeing habits as they work. (Maintain Healthy Relationships)
To ensure you can fit this small change into even the busiest days, you can leverage your brain’s natural neurological habit loop – a cue, a routine and a reward – in just eleven minutes so the practice becomes excuse proof. This week business leaders and their teams around the world have been identifying small habits they will try from August 17, as part of the free one week global Strengths Challenge.
Here are five small wellbeing habits you might want to also try:
1. Be Curious
When you’re interested in new ideas you feel open and alive. It’s a simple way to inject more positive emotions into your day as you feel your horizons expanding in real time, and with them your own possibilities. Try this daily strengths habit:
When I turn on my computer (cue), then I’ll use my strength of curiosity to spend ten minutes reading and learning something new (routine), before sharing this idea with a colleague (reward).
2. Get Creative
Creativity isn't limited to writers and designers, one poll by IBM found 60% of CEOs cited creativity as the most important leadership quality, compared with 52% for integrity. Immersing yourself in a creative activity - be it mind mapping new customer solutions, re-designing workflow challenges, finding new ways for your team to bond together - can be a wonderful way to induce the state of flow that researchers suggest is where your greatest learnings and success are likely to occur. Try this strengths habit: (Learn From Successful People)
When I arrive at work (cue), then I’ll spend ten minutes using my strength of creativity to mind-map new ways we can serve our customers (routine),before getting my morning coffee (reward).
3. Be Kinder
When it comes to improving your wellbeing your relationships with others matter more than anything else. Re-frame acts of kindness such as checking in on what’s working well for a colleague, bringing back a coffee for someone sitting near you, or performing a small favor from “time-suckers” to “time-savers”. Each time you genuinely connect with someone the pleasure inducing hormone oxytocin is released into your blood stream lowering your levels of stress and improving your concentration and focus. Try this strengths habit:
When I go to get my lunch (cue), then I will spend ten minutes using my strength of kindness to check in with a colleague on what's working well for them (routine), before getting something to eat (reward).
4. Be Purposeful
The single strongest predictor of meaningfulness is our work is the belief that what we do has a positive impact on others. This is why leaders at Facebook invite software developers to hear from users who have found long-lost friends and family members thanks to the site, and leaders at Wells Fargo film videos of customers describing how low-interest loans have rescued them from debt. In most cases our jobs do have impact, but we're often too distant from the end users of our products or services to appreciate this. To help you be more purposeful, try this habit:
On my way home from work (cue), then I'll spend ten minutes using my strength of gratitude to find one way I had a positive impact on someone today (routine), before heading in my front door (reward).
5. Be Gritty
Grit is the passion and perseverance for accomplishing your long-term goals. More than IQ, hard work or good looks it's been found by researchers to determine who is most likely to succeed in different fields. While we're still learning about the best ways to cultivate grit it appears one strategy worth pursuing is to cultivate a growth mindset, believing that with effort and practice you can continue improving.
This requires being willing to embrace your failures as teachable moments, hear criticism as opportunities for learning, and be willing to stretch outside your comfort zone even when you're not sure you can guarantee success. To help you be more gritty, try this habit: (Mantras of Success)
When I pack to go home (cue), then I’ll use my strength of honesty to acknowledge failures, fair criticisms and areas for ongoing learning and improvement and make a note of these for tomorrow (routine), before going home.