Stop Broadcasting Fake News (to Yourself)

Digital news concept

Don’t worry, this is NOT a political post about fake news. It’s also NOT about the media’s coverage of politics. This post is about the fake news we tell ourselves and how unhelpful it is. The fake news we make up about work negatively impacts our ability to be satisfied, energized & productive – AKA engaged. Fake news leads to job dissatisfaction & burnout and can increase stress and negativity.

Here are 2 examples of fake news that we create that might feel familiar and what you can do about them.

Fake News about the Future

Because the future hasn’t happened yet, any negative fake news we tell ourselves about it isn’t helpful. Recently I was talking with a manager and she was worried about a merger that was happening between her hospital and a larger hospital in a neighboring town. She created a story about how the bigger hospital was going to change everything and make their community hospital feel more “corporate”. The merger is set to happen in March 2018. She’s creating fake news today.

So, here’s what’s potentially happening. She chooses to worry about something for 3 months that may or may not even happen. Notice I said, “she chooses” …because in essence that’s what we do when we create fake news about the future.

My mantra is “If I don’t know the ending to a story, write a happy ending.”

(feel free to tweet that out @vickihess)

Some of you might be shaking your head thinking I’m delusional. You can recount other stories of mergers (or fill in the blank with the thing you are worrying about) that went awry. It doesn’t matter. This merger hasn’t happened yet. Nothing bad has happened. So, stop telling yourself – and others – fake news about things that MIGHT happen in the future. Be patient, be present and wait and see. You’ll feel much better TODAY.

Fake News about the Past

Right about now you might be thinking, how can news about the past be fake? It’s already happened so of course my story about it will be true. WRONG J

Sometimes our perception of what happened is different than what actually happened.

I witnessed a car accident and shared my contact information with the person whose car was hit (it was the other driver’s fault). The police called me the next day and I told them what I saw at the intersection. I was very confident about the facts. The at-fault drive ran an red light and hit the other car. Over the next few weeks, both insurance companies called me. I realized that my memory was starting to blur. Not about the big things – like the light being red, but about details about the intersection, etc. I had other things on my mind – the “facts” started to be a little slippery. I told both companies to refer to the police report because I knew it was important to get this right.

Have you ever made a mistake, had a disagreement or thought you offended someone at work? Maybe you are feeling bad because you didn’t handle it as well as you could have. You start beating yourself up.  You tell yourself fake news. “I’m so dumb, I can’t believe I did that.” “What a rookie move – I should have known better.”

I’ve done it and it’s a big waste of time and energy. The facts of what happened can’t be changed after they have occurred so instead of dwelling on what occurred, try a different approach.

Here’s what works better if you want to be satisfied, energized & productive. When something in the past is bothering you and you look in the rear-view mirror of your memory…

  1. Learn from the mistake
  2. Let it go

Want to be less stressed at work?

Stop broadcasting fake news to yourself and others. As a leader, help your team recognize the downside of spreading fake news to each other. Dispel those rumors, talk about past mistakes and get back to the business at hand – doing great work to serve others.

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Improve Job Satisfaction with Employee Engagement Triggers

Most employees don’t care about employee engagement but they do want to have a good day at work. Would you agree?

Having a good day at work is the best reward for putting in the effort of showing up and doing your best. The great news is that “good day” is defined differently for everyone.

When I wrote SHIFT to Professional Paradise, I asked over 1000 people “What makes you happy at work?

Here are the top 4 responses:

  1. Compelling a project
  2. Positive connections
  3. Appreciation
  4. Teamwork

Here’s more great news. You are in control of all of each of these!

Imagine showing up for work with a mindset that says “I can’t wait to get work done. I’m excited about who I get to work with and our team. I’m going to appreciate those around me.” What if everyone showed up with that mindset. That would be Professional Paradise!

Unfortunately, old habits get in the way and old, unproductive, mindsets rear their ugly head. Sometimes we forget to intentionally have a good day at work and get sucked into the tide of others’ negativity. So here is where the Triggers come in.

I speak and write about creating Gratitude Triggers on a regular basis. A Gratitude Trigger is using something that routinely happens as a reminder to be grateful. Many people use meal time as that trigger and say “thank you” for the food they are about to eat. Let’s apply the same idea to engagement at work.

My definition of engagement is when you are satisfied, energized and productive. What’s already going on in your day that you could use as a trigger to connect with that? Some ideas that might work are:

  • When the computer is starting up in the morning
  • While on hold on the phone
  • When pulling up to the office before getting out of the car
  • While on the way to have lunch

During all these times, your mind is free to think about something good that’s happened recently. You can smile about something you’ve accomplished or someone you enjoyed talking with or appreciation you have given or received. Start small with one engagement trigger and add more as you get comfortable with consciously focusing on your good day at work.

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What if the Bully is You?

This month we have a guest post written by Dr. Renee Thompson. She is a well-recognized, expert on bullying and incivility in the workplace. Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, the topic seemed fitting.

What if the Bully is You? (by Dr. Renee Thompson)

A few years ago I was doing a workshop for nurse leaders on the topic of bullying and incivility. About halfway through, a woman in the back of the room stood up and proclaimed, “I’m the bully.” Her assistant managers, who were sitting on both sides of her, quickly jumped to her defense. “No you’re not. You’re just a bit direct.” This leader again proclaimed, “I’m telling you. I’m the bully. That’s me up there (referring to the list of bullying behaviors on the screen).” But again, her colleagues defended her innocence until finally, they both said, “Okay. You are the bully but we’ve been too afraid to tell you!”

As I travel the country doing my part to eradicate bullying and incivility in healthcare, I’ve learned that the bullies can’t be everyone else. We all have to look in the mirror and determine if WE might be the bullies or at least, in some way, contribute to bullying.

Numerous studies show that anywhere from 73% to 93% of all nurses have either experienced or witnessed bullying in the workplace. Who are these “bullies”?”

Read the full post

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Job Satisfaction: What are things that positively influence your ability to be satisfied, energized & productive?

Happiness at work is a hot topic.

You probably hear people talking about it in the hallways and break rooms.

Whose job is it to make folks happy at work?

You won’t be surprised that I’m going to say that the primary responsibility lies with the individual (that’s you) to create his or her own Professional Paradise. In thoughtful moments, that’s the only logical response; however, there are times when senior leaders, managers, coworkers and customers/patients all impact the equation. As with most things at work, It’s a shared responsibility. Now that we have the responsibly piece cleared up, let’s get more specific.

What are things that positively influence your ability to be satisfied, energized & productive?

Take a quick break. Stop what you’re working on and jot down your answers.

To prompt your  brainstorming, here are two things that I frequently hear that positively influence someone’s ability to be satisfied, energized & productive:

  1. Having the resources to do my job
  2. Teamwork

Give yourself a few minutes to think. There’s no rush. Include at least 6 answers on your list. Go beyond the top of mind responses and dig a little deeper. The answers are different for everyone and there are no incorrect responses.

Now that you’ve made your list, the next step is to “code” the list according to who is responsible for each influencer.

M = Myself

L = My Leader

O = Organization/Senior Leaders

I recently asked this question at a workshop for healthcare leaders and frontline staff. You can see their responses in the pictures. We focused on the “M” and “L” categories because those are within the span of control of the participants. It’s fine to list things that are influenced by the Organization/Senior Leaders…you just have to be willing to follow up with those folks to prompt change in those areas.

Here’s the great news. The items that you listed with an “M” can be influenced TODAY and tomorrow and the next day. You’ve got the power to create your own Professional Paradise no matter what is happening around you and your coworkers do too.

Take it to the Team

Imagine the power of this discussion with the whole team. Those Chain Gang Members (disengaged employees) will not like the responses that include an “M” because it’s always easier to point fingers and blame others for creating our own happiness at work. When you do that, you can remain a passenger who waits for others to fix everything.

If you are reading this, I’m hoping you are a Chief Paradise Officer who wants to be in the driver’s seat. I’m hoping you are a leader who wants to support those on your team as they create their own Professional Paradise.

As we wrap up, the last step is to write down one or two things you could do today to be more satisfied, energized & productive. This can’t be something you need someone else’s help with. It’s all about you. Because at the end of the day, that’s the only person you can totally influence so why not start there.

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Boost Your Job Satisfaction

Have you heard of any these lately?

“It’s not fair!”
“My boss is never around – how can she understand?”
“You’ve got to be kidding, they want us to do what?”
“Wah, Wah, Wah”

I’m running into a lot of overworked people these days. People everywhere are reporting higher productivity goals, longer working hours and less satisfying work. It’s a big bummer!

I get it. I have bad days at work too. Yes, even though I talk about being the Chief Paradise Officer (CPO) of my job, I still get bogged down in the “work” part of work every now and again. It’s no fun.

Sometimes I forget I can be in the driver’s seat and steer my work experience in any direction I want. Sound familiar?

Guess what? It doesn’t matter that crummy things happen at work. Unfortunately, unless you’re in charge of everything (and even sometimes when you are), you probably can’t do anything to put a stop to all the frustrations that pop up.

Of course, you should spend time using process improvement efforts to minimize challenges that are within your control…who wouldn’t want to do that? But, the Blame Game has never been one of my favorites and as the subject of this email says…let’s talk about boosting your own job satisfaction by getting the driver’s seat.

I have a morning meditation practice. Recently, the guided meditation was about promoting inner happiness. I love that. I love connecting to someplace WITHIN ME – not having to count on anyone else – to find my own joy and well-being. Don’t you? If you aren’t sure how to meditate, check out Insight Timer – a free app for meditating that is super easy to use and has meditations from 1 minute to many.

Here are several easy to implement, high impact ideas for taking back control of your own job satisfaction and engagement. Pick a few that seem realistic to incorporate into your life RIGHT NOW so that you too, can officially claim the title of Chief Paradise Officer.

1)  Take Good Care of Yourself
◦    Meditate (see the link above)
◦    Stretch (your body and mind)
◦    Do fun things (whatever that means to you)
◦    Read (inspirational books)
◦    Sing (songs that make you Happy)
◦    Run around (playing sports, chasing kids, by yourself)
◦    Relax (without electronics)
◦    Sleep (make it a priority and create positive routines)
◦    Create Gratitude Triggers™ (every morning or night write down 5 things you are grateful for)
◦    Believe (in whatever makes you feel grateful and joyful)

2)  Decide to be the CPO of your Life
◦    Believe (that it’s possible to enjoy work)
◦    Smile (fake it until you make it)
◦    Be nice to others (they are struggling too)
◦    Stop complaining (no one wants to hear about it)
◦    Breathe (over and over, deeply)
◦    Quit taking things personally (unless you’ve been really mean, it’s not personal)
◦    Take a break (you deserve it and you’ll do better work if you take one)
◦    Give yourself permission to be happy (put that skip back in your step)

Let me know how you improve your job satisfaction. I’m interesting in hearing from you.

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No time or money for employee engagement? Think again!

If you’re a leader, you’re spending time and money on employee engagement whether you mean to or not. You are either doing it reactively or proactively.

In the reactive mode, you end up spending time with “Chain Gang Members” (my term for disengaged employees) listening to complaints or coaching for improvement again and again. When things continue to go downhill, you end up managing turnover and all of it’s associated costs and headaches.

Think this isn’t costing you money? Think again! (click HERE to keep reading on LinkedIn)

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