INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
• In your quest for happiness at work/in life, try aiming for something else that yields happiness as a side effect, and a deeper level at that. Usefulness. Adopting this one-word mindset at work means you won’t coast. Ever. You seek to add value in every meeting. You view relationships differently, especially with your employees as you bust barriers for them, invest in and coach them, and give them feedback, resources, and learning and career opportunities. You strive to be of service. Constantly ask yourself at work, “Am I being useful?” It jars you out of complacency and puts a different lens on every interaction. Ask it as a productivity hack. If your answer is “no,” you must be doing something unproductive. To be useful in life means to be there for your friends and family, to share equally in the unpaid labor around the house, to be involved in your community, to hold the door for a stranger. Again, ask, “Am I being useful?” You’ll be less likely to plop in front of the TV, more likely to get to that project you’ve been putting off. Even choosing to relax or do nothing becomes a break to improve your energy and desire to be of service later on.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake I’ve made)
• I’ve learned my belief I’m great at multi-tasking is a big, fat, lie. All I’m doing is sacrificing the power of my full presence. In fact, research shows multitaskers are actually far less likely to be productive, yet they feel more emotionally satisfied with their work, thus creating an illusion of productivity. Fact: trying to do two cognitive things at once can’t be done – the mind doesn’t work that way. Even trying to parallel path a cognitive activity with a more automatic activity doesn’t really work; that’s why the National Transportation Safety Board says texting while driving is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level 3X the legal limit. What we’re really good at is what neuroscientists call task-switching – shifting focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed. But the tasks still use the same part of the brain. That means it takes more time to complete the tasks you’re switching between, especially since your brain struggles to filter out irrelevant information (as this Stanford study shows), and you make more errors than when focusing on doing one task at a time in order. As a result, research shows an incredible 40 percent of productivity is lost. Studies also show we have a much lower retention rate of what we learn while multi-tasking. Net: draw a line in the mental sandbox and commit to one thing at a time.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
• When you feel significance in your work, or life, is waning, when meaning is missing a bit, try these 6 Significance Sparks:
– Lead what only you can lead. What are you uniquely suited to lead or what unique contribution could you make, based on your organizational position, skills, or passion? What “superpowers” (extreme strengths) could you use to make things worth happening, happen?
– Work on a system versus in a system. It’s good when you make solid contributions working in the system and improving the smell of the place. It’s significant when you lead unexpected contributions working on the system to change the DNA of the place.
– Be the champion for change sorely needed. ‘Nuff said.
– Help solve a circumstance. Think of the last time you were in a pickle and someone went out of their way to help you out. You don’t forget that. Neither will they.
– Fill an unmet need or do a deed that needs doing. If you don’t, who will?
– Help move someone forward. It takes a village.
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