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November 24, 2009

How grateful are you?

Will you struggle with being grateful this Thanksgiving? In a year of high unemployment, an uncertain economy, ongoing war and other problems, can you find things and people to be thankful for?

Consider these ideas to increase gratefulness
Think of a person important in your past. This is a person who made a difference in your life but you have not told how much you appreciated the help or guidance. Write a page about that and call, or better yet, visit that person and express your gratitude.

Keep a gratitude journal for a week. Each evening, write down three things you’re grateful for that day. Maybe it’s potable water, a bed to sleep in and shelter. Many in the world don’t have those basic necessities.

Take the gratitude survey to measure your appreciation about the past. It’s on the Authentic Happiness site from the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center. You’ll need to register and then you can use the resources, take the tests.

Gratitude is about being content
Gratitude can be cultivated. You can decrease your desire for consumer goods, be less envious of other’s positions or wealth if you look beyond your immediate surroundings.

Instead of being competitive and concerned about being self-reliant, think about how many have helped you and continue to help. Do you believe you have enough and should share? What can you give to others… physical things or emotional support?

Happy Thanksgiving. May you have a grateful heart. It improves your well-being.

A longer article from the Utah State University Extension, Cultivating Gratitude

I thank Ellen, Lee and Kristin who presented these ideas Sunday.

November 12, 2009

“Not fond of social media, but it looks like I have to do it”

That’s a paraphrased quote from an evaluation. There’s an attitude in that quote.

The good news is the person has recognized change. Sometimes we don’t surface from the day to day work to see changes in tools and culture.

It helps me to think of it this way: Would I want to be on unemployment compensation forever? Would I want my children to always be ages one, three and five? Would I want a yard full of leaves all the time? All those things have happened; only the leaves are current.

How we respond
How have the tools in your job changed? The clients, the economy? Have you changed with them? Those who are stuck as if always at one age or season make work difficult for others. If I insisted on writing for the Web the same way I learned to write for newspapers, I would not be helping my employer or learning anything new. And more important, I would not be writing the way today’s public scans text on the Web.

If I didn’t listen to the people who embrace social media, would I be helping my organization stay viable? The questions should not be ‘what am I comfortable doing?’ or ‘what do I personally know and like?’

What will delight the client?
What do people want to know and how do they want the information? Those are the right questions.

That’s civility—thinking of others rather than being oblivious to or resisting change.

November 10, 2009

Americans happier with lives than with jobs

56% are happy or totally happy with their lives in general.
35% are happy or totally happy with their jobs.
--American Pulse Survey by BIGresearch in Sept. 2009 (6,976 people interviewed)

It’s Pursuit of Happiness Week, the second week in November
A company’s biggest asset walks out the doors each evening or at the end of each shift. How much do employees contribute if they are neutral about how happy they are with their jobs (36%) or unhappy (13%) or totally unhappy (17%)?

Employee happiness benefits the company
Workers who are happy with their jobs increase production, pass along happiness to customers, are absent from work less, communicate honestly and effectively and are more committed to their company because they feel they are an integral component.

Managers, directors and CEOs should take notice
If more than 60% of the American workforce is not very enthused about going to work each day, shouldn’t someone take notice?

Most people have annual performance reviews. What if employers added an annual performance review by the workers of their work unit and their company? It could be as simple as an online survey with a text box or two to write in comments.

Employee satisfaction surveys would improve communication. They should provide some ideas on how to improve the workplace. Civility in the workplace includes good communication and respecting all people. If a company’s largest asset isn’t happy in the workplace, that’s an opportunity to make changes to benefit both the company and the workers. It could be downright enlightening to hear what the workers think and suggestions they would make.

Related post
The seven key needs of employees

November 05, 2009

Pack less or pay the airline luggage fee

Try to find a place for a computer you’ve carried on the plane as your one piece of luggage.

People are in the aisles trying to smash full-size suitcases in overhead bins. They’re blocking the aisle. Stewards and stewardesses are relegated to acting like playground supervisors, asking people to step aside so other passengers can board and find their seats.

The passengers with over-sized luggage didn’t pay the fee, $20 or so, to check their bag. Do you ever wonder why we have rules?

The passengers with too many and oversize bags are uncivil. They’re disruptive to the passengers who paid to check their luggage. Their luggage may be a safety hazard. They are an impediment to a plane departing on schedule.

U.S. airlines don’t have rules or do little to enforce rules about number of carry-on pieces, weight or size. That needs to change unless people can police themselves.

Until that happens, I encourage you to take the path of civility. Pack less or check your luggage. Civility or money—which is more important?

USA Today, For air travelers, a 'fight for the overheads'
Bag fees, crowded jets mean bins are packed

November 03, 2009

No excuses today – go vote if you’ve not already

We have excuses. Too busy to thank someone who helped. It’s not convenient to go that route. We don’t have time to help others.

You have to start somewhere in doing the important things in life. Being a citizen who votes should be at the top of any American’s list. Read up on the candidates and where to vote. Do it. It’s an act of civility for your community and its future.