No -- this article is not about calorie consumption or about how journaling can help people shed some unwanted pounds (although it certainly can). This
article is about how much energy (or weight) we give to certain people, conversations and events in our lives.
The other day I had a conversation with Jonathan, my oldest stepson, who is studying to be a Frame of Mind Coach for the youth market. He was telling me about a
frustrating conversation he had with his younger brother, Brian.
Why were you so mad at Brian?
He knows how to push my buttons.
What do you mean?
He said I need anger management therapy.
It pissed me off.
Why do you think he said that?
Just to get under my skin.
I see that he succeeded.
Yes -- he was being rude and disrespectful.
And if he said that you would make a lousy ballerina would it bug you as much?
No because I would make a lousy ballerina.
So just because Brian says that you need anger management therapy, does that make it true?
No, it just makes me angry.
Funny how that works huh? What you focus on grows...
Yah, real funny.
Why do you give his words so much weight? People can tell you that your skin is red and blue with pink polka dots and it wouldn't phase you, but when Brian
gives his opinion, you get agitated and give life to his words. Before getting all riled up, use your judgment and decide how much weight you should be
giving to the people, events and conversations in your world. So much of the time, we give far too much weight to other people's comments when they are
often unfounded, small-minded, or ill-informed, and we allow those comments to define who we are. I remember when I started my coaching business and a good
friend of mine said, "Coaching is so intangible, why don't you sell t-shirts instead?" Can you imagine what my life would have been like if I had given
that comment any weight? Self-doubt would have seeped in and Frame of Mind Coaching would not have been borne.
We all have to work at sorting through our conversations, our inputs, and our experiences to determine which ones deserve our attention and our
contemplation. This skill is one of the key success factors of highly successful people, helping them to make decisions with greater ease and fluidity.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to determine how much weight to give to another person's opinion:
Does the comment correspond with my vision of myself?
Does the feedback touch on a fundamental truth about me?
Does the input help me to expand or does it diminish me?
Does the source have credibility?
Do I feel resistance, and if so, what is my resistance to this information really trying to tell me?
Weight Theory: Not everyone, not every conversation, nor every event deserves the same energy, attention, or focus. Choose your inputs and influences
with care. Remember -- What You Focus On Grows so be scrupulous about what you focus on.
"I love my new job!" A friend said to me recently during a day at the beach. "The time passes by so quickly. It doesn't feel like work. I'm doing
exactly what I want to be doing," he said passionately. I was immediately struck by the enthusiasm and overwhelming positivity of the comment. It is not
every day that you hear people express such a strong, keen interest in their job.
Hearing this comment made me curious. What is it that makes people happy at work? Are people happy because they are passionate about what they are doing?
Is it because of factors like good pay, good coworkers or a good boss or team? Or is it simply because of a positive mindset and attitude that they bring
to their workplace each day?
I set out to investigate, and soon found that workplace satisfaction is rarer than one might think. According to Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace report, seventy
percent of U.S. employees are either "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" at work. According to Mercer's 2010 What's Working survey, 32% of US
workers are seriously considering leaving their organization (up from 25% in 2005).
Seriously? That many people are disconnected from their workplace? This pondering of workplace happiness again resurfaced when I received an e-mail from a
Program Chairperson at the International Coaching Federation. "I'm no longer in this position, but I will gladly forward your inquiry to someone who will
be able to help you," the e-mail read. "With Enthusiasm, Laura."
With enthusiasm? How incredible is that? Someone so in tune with their fervor for work life that they emit happiness in the most random of places: in their
Another conversation immediately came to mind. A few months ago, I was chatting with a friend after an a capella performance. "I know that whatever job I
do I will always be happy," this friend said. Wow.
I approached Kim Ades while further pondering the recipe for workplace happiness.
"It is clear and simple," said Kim, and my eyes bulged a little at the idea that something so complex might seem so easy. "People are
fulfilled with their job when they are growing and when they know they are contributing. People are happy when their jobs align with their 'sweet spot,'
their unique talents and skills -- the ones that come to them naturally and light them up. It's our responsibility to make sure that we are operating in our
sweet spot the bulk of the time in our careers. We often believe that it's our employer's responsibility to generate our happiness -- the truth is, our
happiness is in our own hands.
How crazy. This means we can all bounce off the walls each day at our jobs. We can all change how we do tasks so they channel our sweet spot. And maybe,
the next time you hear someone say "I love my new job!" it will be you.
Further reading about work satisfaction