Chapter 15 Happiness and Positive Experience in Your
Bottom Line; at work, in business
by Rob Kall
Business and Burnout.
Bill's boss was an unfeeling, perfectionist, a mean guy who used people to get ahead and to make himself look good in the eyes of his superiors. For Bill, going to work each day had become a miserable experience. He was depressed and irritable. and that was hurting his job performance too. He felt stuck.
He consulted psychologist Barry Belt, a corporate stress management expert, who prescribed some ``heart medicine'' for Bill. He suggested that Bill bring family photographs into his office and place them where they'd be visible to him as he dealt with his boss. Bill was able so see the love in his family's eyes while his boss glared at him. This made it easier to stay cool and respond to the boss in a professional manner, saving Bill from emotional agitation in the face of the angry outbursts.
It worked. Bill learned to overlook the tirades and tune in only on the useful content of his boss's statements. Bills found a quiet, useful assertive equanimity that was based on self confidence and an understanding that the boss was the one who had the problem, not him. Bill had learned how to be a survivor.
Be Yourself, Not Your Job
Some people have one personality on the job and another outside the workplace. It's important to be yourself all the time because it makes life much simpler. Some people feel better at work than any place else. At least that's one part of their life where they are in control. Maybe they feel powerful on the job--making big sales, having a special and valuable skill, supervising other people, controlling large amounts of money, or dealing with important clients. The person becomes the job and the job becomes the person. What happens to life outside the job? Where does the playful child, the excited fisherman, the romantic dancer, the nurturing parent or spouse come in?
If you are consumed by your job, use the self awareness and self talk techniques to control stress, alexithymia, and stay connected to your feelings. Get in touch with playful, happy feelings and bend your efforts to make a wide variety of positive experiences happen. (Chapters 4, 10, 11 and 13) Keep your perspective balanced as a defense against feelings of burnout. If you suffer from burnout now, systematically review your work experience to identify the positive experiences you've had on the job. Start a job positive experience bank. Use the techniques for positive self talk and positive feeling activation. (Chapters 3,4,9,10,11)
Cultivate the Joy of Working
Do you value your work or do you work only as much as necessary to get through each day? If you have to work anyway, you'll be much happier if you cultivate a positive attitude toward the role your job plays in your life. Search out the many opportunities for positive experiences at work. Use covert imagery (Chapter 9) to build a positive connection between your work and your personal satisfaction.
Make a point of identifying your work reinforcers--the things that motivate you and make you feel good about your job. Money's certainly one but, definitely not the only one. Do whatever you can to enjoy your work and take satisfaction in it. Being in a flow state--feeling at your peak of attentiveness, performance, creativity, energy, and using your powers the most effectively--is a great feeling, a spur to do even more. Think of those times when you came up with a great idea, you wrote the perfect memo, typed a flawless report, negotiated a good deal, or saw new connections that would help create a better product. Job--and business--related positive experiences can make your career zoom, raise your income, and make you feel great about your work. It's important to keep the positive experience memories related to your job and significant life experience memories easily accessible for immediate recall when your work life flickers toward the down side and you are most susceptible to burnout.
The Happiness Response In Groups and Organizations
Most of the techniques designed to help individuals will also work for couples, groups and organizations. You can cultivate and collect positive experiences related to or shared by any organization. Work at developing smile activation patterns (Chapters 3,4)--particular times when smiling is especially appropriate or encouraged; habits of smiling when you are in contact with people-- in person or by phone; shared exercises for progressive smile activation and laughter times. Use cognitive reframing (Chapter 9) to deal with negativity. Replace cognitive distortions with positive statements that build unity, hope. team spirit. and a sense of group mission. Collect, share and analyze your group's positive experiences. Plan for new ones and ways to expand, intensify, increase the complexity of and make the most of current ones.
Happiness, Heart-warming and the Bottom Line
Many of the concepts incorporated in the Happiness Response are producing billions in profits for businesses. AT&T's reach out and touch someone program, Hallmark's warm feeling greeting card ads and McDonald's promotion showing families sharing intimate, playful fun at their restaurants are examples of this. Publishers like Reader's Digest and Harlequin sell happiness and heartwarming packaged as books or magazines.
Good salesmen connect from heart to heart with their customers. You don't sell products or services by just listing their features. You sell by connecting with the customer in other spheres of life with different parts of the brain than just the parts that use or evaluate products-- by talking about shared positive experience interests, and by humanity and warmth. Companies use business lunches and trips to sporting events as ways to cultivate shared positive experiences that have nothing to do with the .
Of course, innovative, useful, quality products are essential for commercial success, but strong business relationships are cemented at the heart level. Customers will tolerate delays and forgive occasional mistakes if they feel they are sincerely cared for and valued. People will often pay higher prices when they are given higher quality services, if they feel good about the company due to a personal contact.
Good sales people, whether counter clerks, national ad campaign creative ad agency personnel, top models or mega-buck closers, all smile genuinely, really feeling the warmth they exude. Macro activation techniques (Chapter 12) can help you turn on your genuine good feelings toward the people you do business with. Theorists agree that emotional expression evolved as a communication ``tool'' to enhance man's ability to manipulate his social surroundings.
A potential negative effect of turning on good feelings
There's a danger to using emotional expression without disconnecting or dysregulating your feelings, particularly for customer service personnel, suggests Arlie Hochschild, author of The Managed Heart; The Commercialization of human feeling. The healthy way to do it is to maintain your integrity, to act honorably and lovingly towards all the people you deal with, and to forgive those who have poor control over their feelings or who use poor judgement in dealing with you.
Be assertive, yet calm, with those who show neither integrity nor other virtues. This posture requires support from the company and a clear-headed sense of how this attitude affects customer relations policies. Businesses do need to stand up for their employees by insisting that their representatives be treated with the courtesy and honesty due to any individual. While we all accept reasonable human frailties, there are limits to what an employee is required to tolerate.
Use the Happiness Response as an Administrative Tool to Beat Burnouy, Turn around Morale and Enhance Job Satisfaction
All the strategies for PE cultivation and collection can be applied to the work place. The most succesful corporations already use many of the strategies intuitively to keep their employees-- and keep them happy, performing at their peak.
Pulling out the stressors and maximizing pleasure and appreciation of benefits can boost morale and dramatically decrease problems with burnout. Scheduling fun and PE events regularly into the weekly or daily schedule gives people something to look forward to.
The Happiness Response as a Company Asset
PE memories are just as important and valuable for corporate self esteem as individual ones are for persons. They need to be nurtured, shared and carefully saved, to be passed on to new employees.
The bottom line is doing business with the spirit of heart and happiness can make for greater success. It's another way of remembering to keep aiming for happiness even while on the road at work.
You can also access other related materials from the Positivity Central Page
Contact me with comments, suggestions, etc at Rob Kall email@example.com