Transforming Your Workplace
By Ariel & Shya Kane
Have you ever wondered what could improve your personal effectiveness, productivity and sense of satisfaction? We have. In fact, the two of us have devoted the past 20 years to discovering and rediscovering the answer to this question. Over this time we have repeatedly seen that no system of rules has lead us to be our personal best.
Sometimes it has been the supportive words of a friend, and other times it has been gathering the strength to overcome a challenging obstacle. Still other times, it has been discipline and simply going for it that has helped us to shine. Above all, it has been the willingness to look and re-look at the view we take of the world, our environment and ourselves that has supported us in continuing along our own personal paths.
If you want to be happy and satisfied, it is important that you investigate how it is that you relate to your world, your workplace and to yourself.
The Workplace as a Gateway to the Moment Let’s look at the workplace to access how you relate to your life. By and large, most people spend the majority of their waking lives at work. If you consider the time it takes to get dressed, take yourself to work and bring yourself home at the end of the day, not to mention all of the time you spend thinking about what needs to be done there, then a huge portion of your life and life energy is invested in your occupation. Because “work” is such a major portion of the average person’s life, we thought we would look at this aspect.
A powerful approach is to assume that life is holographic. In other words, if you look at any one aspect of your life, it will reflect how you are in all aspects. This could be equated to DNA. The DNA in a strand of your hair is the same as the DNA in your bone marrow, the same as the DNA in your blood. So for the sake of this article we will assume the way you are at work is typical of how you are in all aspects of your life.
It has been said that it is easy to become enlightened on a mountaintop but difficult in the marketplace. On the “mountain” there is not much in the way of distractions, intrusions or deadlines. In the “marketplace,” however, life is full of distractions, intrusions, interruptions, frustrations and unexpected events. Add to this people. Lots of people and all of the dynamics that come along with dealing with different cultures and personalities. It is easy to be satisfied when all the circumstances line up perfectly, but for most of us in our jobs, life does not always turn out the way we prefer and the challenge is to find real balance in a day-to-day sense.
I’m not sure what I should be doing, but This Isn’t It!
The two of us, like everyone else, must eat. Therefore we shop for food and this brings us in contact with supermarkets. Frequently when we go through the checkout counters the clerks ask, “How are you today?” Our response is usually somewhere between good and excellent. When we ask them how they are doing the response is interesting to say the least. Frequently it will be, “I don’t know yet,” or, “I will be better in two hours, at the end of my shift,” or, “I’ll know when I get home.” Recently, we brought our items to an available cashier. Rather than ring our order, the employee stood complaining to her co-worker that her hours had been cut back. She told her fellow cashier (and us) how she couldn’t understand why the boss wasn’t more feeling and why he failed to recognize her contribution and hard work. Loudly she wondered why she used to work 20 hours a week and had just been cut back to 6 hours. We thought that complaining about the boss in front of customers might be at the top of his list of reasons.
Thinking that you could or should be doing something different than what you are doing acts as an inhibitor not only to workplace satisfaction but also productivity. If you were just to look and see what was needed at your job and do it, without resisting, without complaining in your head whether you should or not, you would get a whole lot more accomplished with a whole lot less effort.
You can look at it this way —you have to do the work anyway. You might as well just do it rather than complain about it and then still have to do it. If you just do it without complaining, you become the author of your life. That is a cool idea, isn’t it? Satisfaction resides in the moment. If you are in your life without resisting what shows up, life (and your job) is satisfying.
It’s Flu Season. Get Virus Protection for Your Mental Hard Drive
Large office buildings have trouble with air conditioning/heating systems re-circulating the same air and spreading viruses through the work force. Well, office gossip can debilitate your productivity and satisfaction much like this season’s strain of the flu. It works like this: a co-worker “sneezes” his or her current complaints in your direction. The boss is a jerk, I hate my job, I’m not appreciated around here. There is a short incubation period, 24 to 48 hours, and soon you come down with the same virus which you then pass back and forth and on to others until the workplace becomes infected with a never-ending, evolving strain of “This isn’t it.” The best virus protection against the workplace attitude flu is to really get involved in your work, and to bring “complaints” only to those who can actually do something about them. Incidentally, a friend of ours, a president of a computer company and manager of a sales force, has noticed a direct correlation between productivity and complaints — those who are producing don’t find things to complain about and those who aren’t producing always complain that something or someone else is the cause for their lack of success.
Don’t Tell Me What to Do
Many people mistakenly have the idea that not wanting to be told what to do is a sign of independence or individuality. It is not. It is actually an old, conditioned program that springs from early childhood, sometimes referred to as the terrible twos. Small children, while trying to define themselves as individuals, frequently say, “No, I don’t want to,” to any request made upon them. When you are capable of following instructions exactly, then there is room for true creativity and genius. If you must always modify requests or projects to make them your own, then you are forever destined to be reactive to those around you.
Transforming Your Workplace
There are three principles that are essential to transformation. We will give them to you here so you can see how they apply to your workplace or situations in your work environment.
1. Anything you resist will persist and grow stronger.
2. No two things can occupy the same space at the same time.
3. Anything that you choose to be exactly the way it is will complete itself, in that moment, and lose its power over you.
Here are the principles in practical terms. First, anything you resist will persist and grow stronger. For example, take a look at those things about your boss or co-worker that you focus on because you don’t like them. Notice how they seem to intensify? Notice how when you focus on these dislikes your productivity and satisfaction levels are non-existent?
This brings the second principle into play: No two things can occupy the same space at the same time. In other words, if you are focusing on your complaints, then you can’t be doing your best work. Of course, the converse is also true — if you are focusing on doing your best work then you can’t be complaining. This dovetails nicely with the third principle: Anything that you choose to be exactly the way it is will complete itself, in that moment, and lose its power over you. Another way of looking at this third principle is anything you leave alone will leave you alone. There are often compelling distractions in your business environment, either circumstantial or personality conflicts. However, if you turn your attention from your disagreement with the way things are, it minimizes their impact and allows you to get on with your day.
Don’t Change your Job, Transform It
What we are going to suggest is that you don’t change the way it is that you work. In fact, don’t change anything about you. What we wish to suggest is that you bring awareness to how it is that you interact with your job. Our definition of awareness is a non-judgmental witnessing, viewing or seeing what is. If you simply become aware of the amount you resist being told what to do or complain, you will begin to have an accurate depiction of how you are interacting with your life. If you become aware of what occupies your time at work, you will see how negative conversations or complaints to others or internally to yourself, deplete your satisfaction with what you do accomplish. We are of the opinion that the acknowledgment of what is, the simple seeing of a behavior, is enough to complete it. If you see how your automatic complaints and resistance to being told what to do dominate your life, there is the possibility of no longer being dominated by that automatic, reflexive behavior.
Ariel and Shya Kane are internationally acclaimed seminar leaders and business consultants whose revolutionary technology, Instantaneous Transformation, has helped thousands of individuals and companies worldwide. The Kanes’ best-selling book, “Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work,” is available at local and online bookstores, by calling toll-free (800) 431-1579 or via the Kanes’ website: www.ask-inc.com .
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