Sometimes you hear a presentation and it stays with you. That happened to me when I heard Bruce Kirkby (that is KirKby, with two K’s) talk about “When Magic Happens” during the early bird session on the last day of the HRPA conference (January 25, 2013). Bruce started by telling us he graduated years ago with an engineering degree from Queen’s University, but he fell into an unconventional path where magic happens. And this guy has had some big adventures. His presentation made an impression on me, and I choked up a bit when listening to him that morning (and now as I write this post).
Bruce told us a story about a sixteen year old girl and an incident when her boyfriend tried to teach her how to drive a car. We can imagine how that ended. The experience was such that she was seriously afraid of driving and had not driven a car since. This young girl was now a married woman (no, she did not marry that boyfriend), and she was a mom with children. She felt very dependent on others to get from place to place and she really wanted to overcome her fear so she could drive her kids to their activities. As part of the TV series he was hosting Bruce Kirkby set her up to conquer her fear of driving. Guess what – after three days of intense driving lessons, she was driving. You might think – big deal. But she was driving a real race car in a real live race. She immediately went home and acquired her beginner’s driver license and finally her driver’s license.
During very real intense real human moments, when you conquer your fear, magic happens. ~ Bruce Kirkby
Overcoming her fear and learning how to drive opened this women up to new experiences like trying skiing, and asking for (and getting) a promotion at work. And it went on from there. This is the magic of overcoming your fear. It has a ripple effect.
We use the word adventure as a metaphor for attaining our dreams. ~ Bruce Kirkby
This is the visual that Bruce used to describe adventure. He said that most of us live in the “small circle” where we are comfortable. But “We deserve to live in the big circle. That is where magic happens.” The big circle is the visual to describe adventure (and personal growth).
And Bruce went on to describe adventure this way “Adventure – how do I put it into words. It isn’t just climbing a mountain. It’s crossing a threshold. Getting out of our comfort zone.” But where does your comfort zone end? What is your fundamental fear?
Fear is a compass.
We think happiness is comfort. We search for comfort, the routine, habit and resist change. ~ Bruce Kirkby
Think about this for a moment, if we are chasing comfort in our lives, what are we missing? Are we pushing away growth? Do we know where the threshold is where fear turns from being a motivating factor to paralyzing us so much that we can’t move forward?
Bruce describe the comfort zone as “Hey diddle diddle. Going down the middle.” We need to be aware that when we experience fear, that is our compass guiding us towards growth. We need to know our threshold of fear. We need enough fear that it moves us forward out of our comfort zone (green) and stretches us towards growth (yellow), and not so much that fear becomes paralyzing (orange) so that we are stuck where we are, never changing, and never growing.
I know how fear can paralyze you. I am deathly afraid of heights, so much so that when I climbed the fire tower in Parry Sound, Ontario with my husband, then boyfriend, I could not look down when climbing up to the top. When I had to go back down down the mesh steps I could not do it. I was literally paralyzed. I had to crawl down the stairway with my eyes closed, with my husband placing each foot one-by-one on the descending steps until we reached a height I could manage. So knowing your fear threshold is important.
Touch the rock.
I was surprized to hear that Bruce Kirkby has (had) a fear of heights as well. And he climbed a mountain. He asked us: Does fear stop you from trying new things? He told us that one time when he was climbing a mountain they arrived at a section where fear nearly paralyzed him so much so that he almost didn’t make it to the top.
Touch the rock. Don’t let your imagination of fear turn you back from experiencing awesome experiences and personal growth. ~ Bruce Kirkby
When my children were young, my husband and I went back to the fire tower in Parry Sound, and I got half way up and I panicked. I went back down because I didn’t want my kids to see me that frightened. But as I reached the bottom of the tower, I knew I would miss their accomplishment of climbing that great big tower and to see their reactions to the magnificent view. I basically sprinted up the tower and got there just in time as they reached the top. Did I have trouble going down? Of course I did, but I walked down keeping my eyes to the horizon, not to the bottom, and I didn’t need help, except for the wee hand that was grasping mine, and a little voice saying “You can do it mommy.” My husband and kids were so cute when they cheered and clapped when I reached the ground. I sure felt like kissing the ground, but I had touched the rock and it felt great.
Life is too short, too precious. Just get up and do the things that you yearn to do. ~ Bruce Kirkby
When Bruce was on his first book tour he said people often asked him how he managed to write a book. He told them all, and there were many who asked him the same question, if you want to write a book, “go home and write it.” Out of all the people that he spoke to, one woman went home that very day and started to write her book. And during his next book tour, there it was sitting right next to his on the book store shelf.
Why do we make things so hard? When we say – Pick up a pen and paper and start writing – it doesn’t sound so hard. But why do so many not do the things they yearn to do? (Hint: it might have something to do with an abundance of “bozosity,” so read on if you are curious).
Second day sucks.
Bruce said that in any adventure, you will come across the little bump that can stop you. But if you can get over it, it gets better. Life certainly throws us curve balls. But if we can get over the hurdles and obstacles, it makes us stronger and we LEARN from that experience. I think that gives us more POWER in our own self, then we had before.
Ignore the bozos.
Sometime when you start out on a new adventure, or new journey to personal growth, people will attempt to prevent you from trying.
Ignore the bozos. Don’t listen to them. There is a preponderance of bozosity in the world. ~ Bruce Kirkby
(Don’t you just love that term, “bozosity”). He also noted that he is often his own bozo and that we all are often our own bozo. And we have to stop the negative dialogue going on in our own head trying to prevent us from leaving our comfort zone. Sure, we should listen enough to weigh all the pros and cons, but finally at this point, it is like Robert Frost and his two paths as a metaphor: Do we want to stay in our place of comfort or travel the path where magic will happen?
I loved the touch points in Bruce Kirkby’s presentation, “When Magic Happens.”
Fear is a compass.
Touch the rock.
Second day sucks.
Ignore the bozos.
Not only can these concepts be applied to our life but also to our careers and in the workplace. Imagine using these concepts when it comes to creating a new product or service, or heading out in a new career direction.
After this session, I tried my first Google+ Hangout Live Broadcast, and I finally posted my first vlog. Was I scared? Yes. I had major “bozosity” going on – what if I make a mistake, what if this and what if that?Just stop already. Are the videos perfect? Far from it. Did I grow and learn from doing them? Absolutely. And that is what life is all about, isn’t it?
Which path are you travelling? Which path are you going to take? What are you scared of the most? It is never too late.
Please share your comments. And if the comments section is closed, please contact me to share your comments and refer to this post “When magic happens.”
Joanne Royce creates happy, healthy, and productive workplaces through HR, recruiting, and training initiatives for organizations that invest in people to invest in success.
Photo credits: Joanne Royce (photos of slides from Bruce Kirkby’s presentation, “When magic happens.” February 2013, HRPA 2013)
I created this vlog in May 2012 and never posted it. I guess I was still too “scared” to post it then, but I’m posting now. It’s almost 7 minutes long, so just over 1 minute per tip. Here it is …
Today, I’m doing something that scares me. I’m posting my first vlog on six tips for success in your first career job (or in any new job)! I hope you enjoy it. Doing something new can cause the “fear-factor” to increase and sometimes if we wait for perfection we will never do it.
What are your tips for success in your job, especially a new position? Share in the comments section below. If the comments are closed, you can contact me; just mention the blog title along with your comments.
Joanne Royce creates happy, healthy, and productive workplaces through HR, recruiting, and training initiatives for organizations that invest in people to invest in success.
How can not setting any new year’s resolutions help you succeed?
New year’s resolutions set you up for failure.
Fitness Trainer Claudine De Jong mentions in her blog post “Cut the fad out” that New Year’s resolutions ultimately fail. Setting “short term goals” work much better because they are less intimidating. Slow and steady wins over new year’s resolutions that are hard to sustain over time (i.e. fad diets).
Leo Widrich in “The science of new year’s resolutions: Why 88% fail and how to make them work” explains why our brains fail at new year’s resolutions. It is because “when you set a new year’s resolution, an enormous amount of willpower is required. It’s an amount that your brain simply can’t handle.” The good news is that we can train our brains to succeed, by making less abstract, tiny goals, linked to small and specific behaviours.
One goal that I set last year was to become a more physically stronger person (I know, this sounds like a very abstract goal). This was after a ski trip last February, when I sadly and shockingly realized how out of shape I had become. Too much sitting at a desk can make you weak (and can kill you, or so the scientific research tells us so). I certainly had the motivation to want to get in shape and like many people, I have signed up for gym membership in January, started out with a bang, and ended with a fizzle. So this time, I made the best investment in my health that I could. I found myself a fitness trainer (through Twitter), who just happened to be Claudine De Jong. I wanted to learn how to become healthier without relying on a gym to get me there.
Claudine believes that slow and steady sets the pace and prevents injuries. I didn’t start out lifting heavy weights, working out seven days a week and setting myself up for failure. I started out slow by setting a goal to work out once a week. According to the scientific studies, by starting out with a small behaviour change, I was training my brain for goal success.
This kinder and gentler approach, with small changes in behaviour, made things happen. I noticed changes in my body. I was no longer huffing and puffing up the stairs. My energy increased. I was more conscious about what I was eating and cut back on the “white” stuff (white sugar, rice, pasta, milk, flour) and red meat. I increased my intake of water, whole grains and lentils. I liked how my clothes were fitting. I liked that I no longer felt “stuffed” after eating. I started getting out and going for walks on the weekend with my husband. The slow and steady, one small behaviour change at a time, had a snow ball effect, resulting in a stronger and healthier me.
So this year, instead of setting a New Year’s resolution, set smaller, short-term goals, and be specific about the behaviours that will get you there. This process works whether setting personal or workplace goals. And if being a stronger you is one of your goals, contact Claudine De Jong to help you get there or get you started.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and productive 2013.
Joanne Royce, Royce & Associates provides Outsourced HR, recruiting, and training solutions to organizations wishing to create happy, healthy, and productive workplaces. Give us a call.
Posted by Joanne on December 24, 2012 Comments Off
Tis the season for sharing the valuable commodity of TIME with loved ones. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas surrounded by the most important people in your life. Disconnect and be in the moment. That is what Christmas is all about.
Posted by Joanne on December 21, 2012 Comments Off
Last week’s blog was about following your passion, but following your passion is a journey and it isn’t always easy. First you have to find it. And it can be a long and winding journey with ups and downs.
Tips for finding your passion
Reflect on what you enjoyed doing when you were a child. As a child did you enjoy building towers and bridges, and taking apart radios to “see what’s inside?” If you did you might find your passion as an engineer, or mechanic. If you liked drawing and art, plus building structures, then you might find your passion as an architect.
Listen to the commonality in the words used to describe you or the nicknames given to you. “S/he would be a great lawyer.” And most especially why? “S/he is a great debater who has a well thought out approach about an issue and knows how to argue her case.” If you were called “The Harmony Builder” or “Ann Landers” as a teenager because you were a good listener and looked at both sides of an issue and your peers sought you out to help solve relationship issues, you might well find your passion in social work, counselling, or another one of the helping professions, including Human Resources.
Contemplate on the courses you enjoyed the most at school. If you loved writing poetry, and English classes, including grammar, you might find your passion in writing travel articles while travelling the world. If you enjoyed Math because it involved a system, formula, and process to obtain the correct answer, you might enjoy work that is more absolute and process-driven like an financial analyst or programming.
Think about the jobs you enjoyed the most. If you had a job at a grocery store, did you enjoy interacting with customers while on cash, or would you rather have been behind the scenes wrapping chickens? This will indicate whether you are more task-oriented or people-oriented and will help you find your passion at work. If you were in sales and loved it, but then accepted a position as a Sales Manager and hated it, you know where to find your passion.
Use assessment tools like Myers-Briggs, to increase your own self-awareness. Are you an extravert who gets energy from active involvement in a variety of activities and gets excited around people or are you an introvert who gets energy from ideas, pictures, and reactions inside your own head, who prefers doing things alone or with one or two people? If you are an introvert and a supervisor in a manufacturing plant dealing with people issues all day, you will likely come home drained and you might find your passion in a more task-oriented role like an analyst or an electrician.
Think about your current job. What are the tasks you enjoy the most and the least? If you enjoy a specific task, talk to your manager to find out how you can increase the scope of that responsibility in your career plan. What type of work environments do you thrive in? One that is more structured or one that is ambiguous and free flowing. This will help you find your passion.
Volunteer if you can’t find your passion at work. If you can’t find your passion at work, and changing jobs is not an option, seek out a place when you can volunteer in an area that you enjoy. Maybe it’s volunteering with a crisis support centre or building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
Look at the hobbies that bring you passion. Do you love photography or cooking? Continue to do that until you can leverage your skill and passion into full-time work.
Will mistakes be made? Yes. Will finding your passion take time? Yes.
Finding your passion involves time, energy, and self-awareness. Very rarely does it just happen.
Find and follow your passion. But remember that the journey is it.
How did you find your passion? What obstacles are you encountering in your journey to find your passion?
Royce and Associates offers career coaching, workshops and assessments to help individuals find their passion. Contact us for more info.
Posted by Joanne on December 14, 2012 Comments Off
With every generation there is a shift in how each group thinks about life and work, and what each generation values most.
Workaholic, helicopter parents versus entitled, instant gratification children
Not the best labels, but we all do it, don’t we? It is important not to label any generation or make overly-generalized statements about each group. While each generation views work and life from different angles because of different experiences during their formative years, it is important to value our differences, and to search for commonalities as opportunities to connect.
This graph shows how the “Follow your passion” phrase has been referenced more frequently by the media and by parents during Gen Y’s formative years, so it is understandable they have this idea about work and life. When I saw this graph on a colleague’s Facebook page, I commented:
Does everyone agree with follow your passion in this job market for young people? Does it get you your first job? I read a great post a while ago from a millennial who wished she (he) didn’t get that advice because it doesn’t say anything about doing the “not so great stuff” (my words) before getting to follow your passion. She(he) actually said it wasn’t good advice and she (he) would have rather had the ‘real life’ message and practical advice. It was interesting reading that post. It’s even more interesting that the ‘follow your passion’ message is coming from GenY’s parents, a generation who were brought up by parents whose message to them was “work hard.”
P.S. I’m all for following your passion, but it’s not as easy as the message sometimes infers.
It was ironic because I was referring to a blog written by GenY by Cal Newport (although I mistakenly referred to him as a her), on the Harvard Business Review Blog called “Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem” and it actually included the same visual. It’s a great post and highlights some of the difficulties with the “Follow your passion” phrase. Cal says:
This simple phrase, “follow your passion,” turns out to be surprisingly pernicious. It’s hard to argue, of course, against the general idea that you should aim for a fulfilling working life. But this phrase requires something more. The verb “follow” implies that you start by identifying a passion and then match this preexisting calling to a job. Because the passion precedes the job, it stands to reason that you should love your work from the very first day.
It’s this final implication that causes damage. When I studied people who love what they do for a living, I found that in most cases their passion developed slowly, often over unexpected and complicated paths. It’s rare, for example, to find someone who loves their career before they’ve become very good at it — expertise generates many different engaging traits, such as respect, impact, autonomy — and the process of becoming good can be frustrating and take years.
I’m a big advocate of following your passion, and doing what you love. But I also coach my children and clients to, “Find your passion, but until you do, bring your passion to work and life.” My parents used to say, “Work hard and do it with a smile.” We can only find our passion through experience, successes and failures, and understanding our own likes and dislikes.
We all want a nice home, but we still have to take out the garbage.
That’s something I say and use as an analogy to illustrate what needs to be done to find your passion. It’s important not to sugar coat the journey. “Follow” and “find” are indeed, verbs. Sometimes we have to do the not so great stuff to get to the passion. It is not instantaneous and there will be ups and downs along the way.
“Real life is expensive. Can’t wait until payday.”
This quote is from my recently graduated GenY son. He is enjoying his first career job, related to the field of his study and has his first apartment. Yes, real life is expensive. It would be great if money did not matter, but it does. Bills have to get paid, and the economy needs to be healthy for us to create jobs that allow us to find and to follow our passion. Luckily he is working in a job where he is learning, and enjoying the people he works with including playing on the company’s hockey team.
Does your company have a high performing manager who gets results? Sounds ideal doesn’t it. Well it is not always ideal especially when that high performing manager is a bully. What does a bully manager sound like and act like in the workplace? Over the past weeks, I asked several people from different industry sectors this question and the following is a compilation of their answers:
Often bully managers are Type A personalities who work long hours and seem to get results, but unfortunately they have little emotional control or self-awareness, so they often take their frustrations out on their employees. They are like ticking time bombs waiting to explode and they are rude. Because of this, they are heart-attacks in the making and sometimes have serious health issues.
Unfortunately employees, especially GenY employees in their first job straight out of college or university, might put up with the bully. Maybe they don’t realize what a good manager should be like, or maybe they are worried about paying the bills. With a bully manager, once confident and performing employees, become frazzled and unhappy. They begin to feel stressed, desperate and trapped. They worry about how they might get out of the bully’s clutches and each day it becomes harder and harder to go to work. Unfortunately nothing is ever said to the bully boss (or it is glossed over), even though complaints are made and workplace violence and harassment legislation noted, because the bully “gets results.” Absenteeism and presenteeism are the norm in the departments of bully managers.
Bully managers often have the ear of top executives. They give passive-aggressive compliments praising employees, but then effectively negate the praise by immediately disclosing mistakes made. They revel in negative side conversations and back stabbing, pointing out even the most trivial mistakes and distributing emails to everyone, including those who don’t need to know. They thrive on office politics. They like to appear as the saviour leader, who coaches (aka bullies) people into becoming better employees and scared to death sheeple (people who follow like sheep, without thinking).
Bully managers, don’t have any self-awareness so they don’t realize that employees are leaving because of their bullying behaviour. Paying more won’t help stop the revolving exit door and the high turnover costs the organization big bucks. It won’t decrease absenteeism and presenteeism either.
Did my informal interviews uncover the same behaviours noted in formal research on bullying in the workplace?
M. Sandy Hershcovis of the University of Manitoba, and Julian Barling of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, reviewed 110 studies conducted over 21 years on bullying and sexual harassment. They found different forms of workplace aggression and bullying behaviour, including:
incivility, rudeness and discourteous verbal and non-verbal behaviours,
bullying included persistently criticizing employees’ work,
repeatedly reminding employees of mistakes,
spreading gossip or lies,
ignoring or excluding workers,
insulting employees’ habits, attitudes or private life, and
interpersonal conflict included behaviours that involved hostility, verbal aggression and angry exchanges.
The researchers found that bullied employees are more likely to:
quit their jobs,
have lower well-being,
be less satisfied with their jobs
have less satisfying relations with their bosses than employees
reported more job stress,
less job commitment and
higher levels of anger and anxiety.
Bully managers and those who support them because “they get results” are hurting not only employees but also the company’s productivity and profit levels. And it can cost organizations big bucks if a bully boss causes a “constructive dismissal” such as the $1.4 million dollars (yes, that is correct) awarded to a former employee of Walmart Canada, who was forced to quit her job because of a bully manager (Rudner, 2012). It can cause serious branding issues for the company if an employee leaves on bad terms because nothing was done about the bully. Who wants to work for a company that does nothing about bullies?
There has been lots of talk about bullying in the school yard, and bullying on social media, with some tragic results, but sadly, bullying still happens in the workplace too. What has your experience been with a bully manager? Have you brought the issue forward and nothing was done about it? Is a high performing bully manager ever acceptable? Please share your thoughts below.
Next week, my post includes one of the best profiles of a workplace bully developed by an expert on bullying. Will you recognize someone you work with?
One rainy day last month my husband and I were in Kingston, Ontario where we had two very different customer experiences in the retail setting. I worked in retail in the past, so I know that dealing with customers all day can be challenging. This is what we experienced.
1. Home Depot
My husband and I visit Home Depot looking for a specific order. We are greeted by several employees – “Good morning. Do you need any help?” We are assisted with our order and then proceed to the loading area, where we wait for the order. Again we are greeted and asked if we need help. There is a positive buzz around the place. As we wait for our order, we overhear two coworkers greeting each other.
Coworker 1: “How’s your morning so far?”
Coworker 2: (with a huge smile on her face and a bounce in her walk), “Just livin’ the dream. Just livin’ the dream.”
It made us both smile and brought the sunshine in on a rainy day. The people working at Home Depot that morning sure did bring their spirit to the workplace.
2. Coffeeco Espresso Bar
My husband and I enter our favourite coffee shop with smiles on our faces, each anticipating a truly magnificent cup of coffee. We look at one stony-face behind the counter and then look at the other stony-face. No smiles, no greeting. Undaunted, we cheerfully ask for our coffees, still no smiles. These two co-workers certainly don’t seem like they are enjoying work at all. (This by the way is very uncharacteristic of our favourite coffee shop because the staff are usually happy and upbeat, so make sure you drop in). As my husband and I fix up our coffees, we look at each other, and we are both thinking the same thing. It’s a rainy day, SMILE and let the sunshine in.
What different customer experiences we had that day!
“Some people appear to be incurable pessimists, seeing the negative in everything. Others are upbeat and optimistic convinced they could cope with whatever life throws at them. At the extremes, these two different ways of seeing the world can tip people towards anxiety and depression or flourishing and wellbeing. Such divergent outlooks on life seem to be fairly hard-wired. Remarkable new evidence, however, is questioning just how wired-in traits like optimism and pessimism really are.”
It does not matter whether we have an optimism or pessimism “gene,” because we can, thankfully, learn to be more upbeat and optimistic. The author states we have a sunny (optimistic) brain and rainy (pessimistic) brain and the good news is that both are highly “malleable and open to change.” Who wants to be a negative energy vampire anyway?
It starts with the power of one. We can each bring a smile, and our sunshine into the workplace. And when we do it sparkles and spreads!
Welcome to our blog. Use our insider tips on human resources, training, and interpersonal relationships to create your own happy, healthy, and productive workplace. We'll also comment on life in general and share info and highlights from books.