What Energizes a Workplace and a Workforce, Anyway? The Softer Side of Leadership

July 29, 2014 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

I began studying what energizes individuals about 30 years ago and it morphed into researching what energizes organizations in the 1990’s. It was fascinating to me how some people had so much energy to burn and others seemed drained much of the time. The same with organizations. Some seemed to have an engaged and excited workforce powered on their own “esteem engines” and others needed the command control to keep them producing out of fear and threat of paycheck revocation.

When I read about the enormous undertaking of one of Gallup’s largest and longest undertakings studying employee engagement; it proved what I had been seeing first-hand in consulting with companies around the world. A mere 30 % of employees in America feel actively engaged at work. And now their 21013 version of the study found that around the world it falls to just 13%. Their study goes on to report that 55% are disengaged and 20% are actively disengaged and doing things to sabotage the effort. So instead of work being an enthusiastic expression of our gifts and talents; it would seem that it is anything but for most employees.

Last fall, interested in what makes employees satisfied, energized and productive; the Harvard Business Review conducted a survey of more than 12,000 mostly white-collar employees across a broad range of companies and industries and results were remarkably similar across all populations.

Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, when 4of their core needs are met:

  1. Physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work
  2. Emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions
  3. Mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done
  4. Spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work

The more effectively leaders and organizations support employees in meeting these 4 core needs, the more likely they experience engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and positive energy at work, and the lower their perceived levels of stress. When employees have one need met, compared with none, all of their performance variables improve. The more needs that are met, the more positive the impact.

Employee engagement that includes involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy has been found to improve performance. Something we know in our gut and something Gallup once again proved to be true. Gallup found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees, compared with the bottom quartile, had 22 % higher profitability and 10% higher customer ratings. The way we feel at work is critical to how we perform.

The following is an excerpt from a report of that study:

Renewal: Employees who take a break every 90 minutes report a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who take 0-1 during the day. They also report a nearly 50 percent greater capacity to think creatively and a 46% higher level of health and well-being. The more hours people work beyond 40 — and the more continuously they work — the worse they feel, and the less engaged they become. By contrast, feeling encouraged by one’s supervisor to take breaks increases by nearly 100 % people’s likelihood to stay with any given company, and also doubles their sense of health and well-being.

Value: Feeling cared for by one’s supervisor has a more significant impact on people’s sense of trust and safety than any other behavior by a leader. Employees who say they have more supportive supervisors are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organization and are 67% more engaged.

Focus: Only 20% of respondents said they were able to focus on one task at a time at work, but those who could were 50% more engaged. Similarly, only one-third of respondents said they were able to effectively prioritize their tasks, but those who did were 1.6 times better able to focus on one thing at a time.

Purpose: Employees who derive meaning and significance from their work were more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations — the highest single impact of any variable in our survey. These employees also reported 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and they were 1.4 times more engaged at work.

Leaders must embrace the softer side of business and know that how employees feel is as important as what they know and what they can do. If they don’t feel like doing it, they won’t. If they don’t feel valued, they walk. If they don’t feel respected, they leave or call in sick. If they don’t feel inspired and energized and feel like they matter; they won’t produce. Leaders much pay attention to what was previously thought of as soft skills and ensure they ask employees what would make them feel more energized, more cared for and what would improve their quality of life at work.

Other things I’ve seen client companies do is to create fitness facilities and nap rooms, and to provide healthy, high-quality food for free, or at subsidized prices, offer dry cleaning pick-up or car detailing in the workplace. Others offer Fed-ex and UPS delivery and drop off for employees and promise not to make meetings more than 90 minutes tops. Still others have bowls of M&M’s next to the coffee pots in the break rooms. What can you do as a leader to embrace the softer side of the workplace and energize your employees? It starts with a simple question of asking them what they want out of the relationship with their job and what do they need to feel better about working there. Baked goods is always a good start.

The energy of leaders is contagious. When leaders explicitly encourage employees to work in more sustainable ways and model that behavior; their employees are substantially more engaged, more focused, and more likely to stay at the company, according to the Harvard Business Review. Start inquiring now before you lose more employees to someplace that cares more about them, shows them they are concerned with how they feel and shows how they value them on many levels.

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On the Art of Living & Leading Hartfully

August 25, 2013 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

I’ve been a student of the art of living simply and beautifully  for a couple decades now. Ever since finding Alexandra Stoddard’s first books on the subject of leading a beautiful life and incorporating it into every single delicious aspect of my life. Why not surround yourself with beautiful things that have meaning and bring your joy? Why not surround yourself with beautiful thoughts, intentions, music, art, love, abundance and design? The philosophy oozes its way into they types of soap, lotions, potions and vessels that find their way into your home, the clothes that find their way into your closet, the work that finds its way into your life, and the friends that find their way into your heart.

I’ve been ruminating about the transition of of message that the world needs to hear and transitioning my work to mesh with what I’ve learned over the years, who I”ve becoming and am still becoming and what entrepeneurs and employers need to know as well as those that are in charge of their lives if not an entire company. The transition has moved from changing my own personal name with much thought and consideration of a grand representation of my life’s purpose but to my company name and what it/I stand for. Afterall, they are one in the same. My work is the outward expression of my essense and purpose: to be a successful artist and messenger in the community spotlight. So bringing the message of living and leading Hartfully has been years in the making.

Recently I hosted a “Gaia’s Girls Weekend” which truly expressed the art of living and leading Hartfully. Gathering some of my favorite women on Earth from “the Southern Contingent”; we enjoyed food, frolic, frivolity, friendship and a stretch limousine to take us to a grand estate for a peek into the truly elengant ways of Living Artfully. Indeed, our lives are works of art that we paint with every choice we make. This particular weekend was delightfully rendered with little scheduling to allow the energy to flow and to just BE with each other and connect peppered with some highlights of living lusciously and treating outselves beautifully. Why not treat ourselves to luxe indulgences to feel special now and again or at least more often than we have in the past. Why not experience the feelings of lushness and grace. What is holding you back from getting a limo now and again to whisk you and your friends off to an amazing day or evening celebration and joy? It doesn’t need to be for anything in particular. Give the gift of a great experience and see how it makes everybody feel…pretty darn good.

What a treat and a blessing to be able to bring my gal pals together and practive the Art of Living and Leading Hartfully. If we can’t live Hartfully, how are we expected to lead Hartfully? If we are not in touch with our purpose and message and the big why’s of ourselves and our hearts; how can we expect to show up and lead in any decent way? I’ve consulted with many leaders who have not found that balance of leading and living fully in their hearts and it’s not a pretty sight. What can you do for yourself to living and lead more Hartfully? More fully in your heart?

What small changes can you make to your home and office to be living more beautifully in what fully represents you? Might I suggest clearing out anything that doesn’t make sense any more. This could be items, thoughts, people, busy work, tasks, clothing, shoes, knick knacks and habits. What can you infuse into your life to help you live more Hartfully? What new habits, new friends, new work projects, new things in your surroundings could help you live more beautifully?

What can you do in the service of others to help you live more Hartfully? What can you do in the service of yourself to express your life more Hartfully? What can you do to bring in more beauty? It was such a treat to treat my freinds to a glorious day of living Hartfully – a cherished memory for all of us. Looking forward to practicing more Hartful habits.

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Your Time is Your Life: Learners are Leaders

May 16, 2013 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

If we are wasting time, we are wasting our lives. We trade out our energy for time and our life is made up of time. So when we waste our energy, we waste our time, and we waste our lives. What are you doing with your time? What are you doing with your life?

What I’ve found in my years of consulting, working with leaders of organizations, entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs and from self-study is that leaders are learners and those that learn more, earn more. What I believe to be true from my experience is that when you’re done learning. . . . you’re done. I view life-long learning as something to look forward to in the quest for continuous improvement.

Some studies suggest the average American watches 6 hours of TV per day, making the average 60 year old an avid TV viewer of 15 years of his life, a quarter of a lifetime vegging on the couch! So what if we all eliminated 1 hour of TV per day = 365 hours per year, which equals 2 months of additional time. That equates to 9 average 40-hour work-weeks to do what is more important in your life than click away in front of a screen.  And many of us wish we had more time to do the things we like to do. May I suggest re-organizing your time?

My experience has also shown that leaders are readers. If we read just 1 substantive book per week, that’s 520 books in 10 years and if those books are in an area of interest where you make your livelihood, that would make you an expert in your field, and experts are in demand. If you’re reading the gossip publications all week. . . that’s another story altogether.

What about the time spent in your car commuting? The average American commutes 30 minutes each way from work which equals 1250 hours in your car in 5 years. That’s enough time spent in your car for a college education. Are you listening to schlock or are you learning a language or something useful to society or your family or yourself? How are you choosing to spend your time and spend your life?

What about delegating the tasks that can be done better by somebody else, somebody you will gladly pay to take the work off your hands. I have chosen in the past to do some home improvements on my own. It somehow always looks better in my mind than in real life; hence the electricians and carpenters parading through my home at the moment. I know my limits and I know what don’t want to do and what I need to be doing. . . . what I do best . . . which is not installing crown molding, or cleaning windows, or doing my taxes. I pay others to have those little pieces of my life back and save a few gray hairs in the process.

What are you trading your life for? What could you outsource that fits somebody else’s genius to save you the stress? How could you better use your time? What are you reading/watching/listening to? Are you moving yourself forward with your choices or are you treading water in your comfort zone and checking out? Learning new things gives us energy, passion, zest and zeal. Teaching does the same. Once you’ve learned something new, why not pass it along to others?

Here’s your challenge: don’t just delegate, eliminate. Create a stop-doing list along with your to-do list. Name your list a “policy” because most of us follow policies and we respond to policies vs. mere suggestions because a policy is a boundary. What is on your stop-doing list?

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A Little Means a Lot: Small Holiday & ThanksGIVING Ideas with BIG Impact

November 23, 2011 | Posted in Living Hartfully | By

I’m a card-carrying member of the “non-commercialized holiday traditions” club. For most of my adult years I’ve not been a believer in the usual nostalgic American tradition of shop ’till you drop, unfettered consumerism type of holiday madness. I call it practicing safe stress over the holidays and quite frankly, every day. That’s why I loved living in Europe for 10 years with all those wonderful outdoor markets and much less commercialism at that time.  Of course as a kid, I reveled in my parent’s consumerism as I opened present after present for Christmas. As the wise poet, Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better”.  Now it’s just embarassing to imagine how much value I put on that stuff as a kid. Ah yes, adulthood does have its advantages.

If you’re a fan of Oprah, you may have seen the following info in her magazine and if you didn’t catch it; I’m bringing it to you right here. Yes, I’m copying the info from her magazine word for word on page190 written by Lauren Murrow and Rachel Mount. I commend them on their research into what a few bills can do in somebody’s life.  So, in honor of all Americans who may not have as much to give this season as well as those of you, like me, who take a vow to avoid all malls and shopping venues from mid-November until mid-January; I give you 17 ways under $20 to give this ThanksGIVING, your particular holiday or any day you feel like it. Starting at a buck, you can make a contribution to make changes in the world without adding to the pile of stuff for somebody.

  1. $1 for 2 books shipped to a classroom in Africa. In many African school rooms, 20 students share 1 textbook: www.booksforafrica.org
  2. $2 for a set of drumsticks for a low-income public school student learning to play the drums: www.littlekidsrock.org
  3. $3 for a field trip to a museum, concert or theatre production for a high-risk youth: www.createnow.org
  4. $4 for 2 hours of prepaid phone time for a soldier stationed overseas – calling cards for our troops: www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com
  5. $5 for a one-burner kerosene stove for a family that would typically rely on an open fire: www.foodforthepoor.org
  6. $6 for measles vaccinations for 15 children in a developing country: www.doctorswithoutborders.org
  7. $7 for a week’s worth of food for an abandoned dog or cat at a shelter run by the American Soiciety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: www.aspca.org
  8. $8 for a medical teaching doll to be used in educating a child about his or her cancer treatment: www.stjude.org
  9. $10 for a box of nails uded to adapt a disabled veteran’s house from Homes for Our Troops: www.homesforourtroops.org
  10. $10 for a day’s worth of fresh fruites and veggies for feed 2 chimps, most of which have been orphaned by poachers at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehab Center in the Republic of Congo: www.janegoodall.org/oprah
  11. $10 for 2 specialized bottles for babies born with a cleft palate, who otherwise might suffer from malnutrition before receiving corrective surgery: www.operationsmile.org
  12. $10 for cloth and tools so an Afghan woman can become self-sufficient by taking a 6-month tailoring course through Creating Hope International and the Afghan institute for Learning: www.globalgiving.org
  13. $11 for 11 trees to be planted in Alabama communities devastated by the April tornadoes: www.arborday.org
  14. $12 for 20 pounds of multipurpose soap to help keep families germ-free around the world through Oxfam: www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com
  15. $14 for 2 nutitious meals delivered by volunteers from Meals on Wheels to a housebound senior citizen: www.mowaa.org
  16. $15 for a backpack and school supplies for one homeless or low-income urban child: www.cradlestocrayons.org
  17. This item was not in the Oprah mag, but I wanted to offer it to you and your friends as a way to connect with loved ones over the holidays and every day. For $9.80 you can send 10 custom greeting cards or postcards to anywhere in the world with your own photos and personal message at www.BizBuilderCards.com and select the Pay-as-You-Go option to send some cards. You can send a couple more on me – my treat as an added bonus. The video will walk you through sending a card and the company prints it, stuffs the envelope, stamps it and mails it for you. If you have questions – send me an email Gail@GailHahn.com.

On a final note – for a little more money, you can donate to your local food bank or give some small business owners some work by giving the gift of their services to loved ones such as: house cleaning services, yard services, home improvement services, a massage, a mani/pedi or spa treatments, a home chef,  or any number of personal services that include experiences rather than stuff to help support the small business community.

I hope this list is helpful. Big thanks once again to Oprah and her team for brining us enlightened ideas.  (BTW – have you seen her Life Class show – awesome!)  If you have more ideas of making a BIG impact on a small budget, let me know and I’ll share ideas. Cheers!

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The Happiness Factor at Work

October 17, 2011 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

There’s a lot of talk these days about happiness. Are you happy, are your kids or partner happy? Do you work in a happy environment, even the folks who are employed at the happiest place on Earth are not immune to the question of “Am I happy here?” And “here” can mean here in your life, here in your job, here in your business, here in your marriage, here in a geographic location or here in any specific situation.

Lots and lots of studies, books and blogs about happiness have cropped up over the years. It’s a sign that we’ve moved up the food chain on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Once a need is met, it’s no longer a need and we go out seeking something else. Our motivations come from needs, so once a need is met, we no longer have tha motivation. So I’m guessing that most of us have our food, clothing and shelter taken care of and now we’re in search of the self actualization and happiness penthouse level.

One of the aspects of happiness is to find something you love to do, make it your life’s work and focus your energy and attention towards it. It gives you meaning, gives you joy and gives you something you do well to serve the world and create a better place. Having that type of purposeful project fans the flames of your inner potential. When our work is a natural express of who we are and what we do well, that intersection of our talents and the world’s needs is ripe for success. Ultimately, our work on Earth is to shine our light joyfully and give our greatest strengths to the world and if we combine that with our vocation, it’s brilliantly blissful. Need help figuring out your gifts, talents and purpose? We can point you in the right direction at YourRealPurpose.com.

Happiness is a decision of the mind. Deciding you are going to take action to make changes towards what makes you happy is the first step. Of course EVERYTHING starts with the mindset, deciding, then doing. Our thoughts, ideas and desires are what drives us forward and helps our soul to evolve and happiness is a pleasant side affect. So many of us seem to be in the busy-ness of being too busy to do X, Y or Z. I’d say being too busy to slow down and figure out what makes you happy is like being too busy driving to stap for gas. Slowing down to figure out what feeds your soul in how your serve and how you move through the world is refilling your tank. Once you know what feeds you, then you can put it on your t0-do list and fit it into your busy schedule.

Research shows that life’s most gratifying experiences and happy moments  come from really living and being present at what you’re doing, who you’re being and where you are and NOT in all the trappings of the usual suspects of success. Studies show that the little things add up to a happier life such as walking to the store from home instead of driving, great neighbors, friendship, sharing conversation, socializing, notice daily joys, music, smells, dogs/cats, tending your garden, fresh flowers, home-baked treats, spending time with family disconnected from technology.

So many of us are experiencing a life deficit disorder in our rush to the bus/metro/carpool, the rush through lunch, the rush home and rushing to get everything done. Your challenge this week is to slow down, make time to make your list of your happiness factors that affect you personally. What’s on your list? Once you make your happiness factor list, do a gap analysis to discover where you can close the gaps and just how far out of whack you may be, or celebrate how on track you are and rejoice in your alignment with life/work/happiness. Make it a priority to create happiness at home, in your workplace, in your life. Once you have your list, challenge yourself to put more of those things from your list into your daily life and into the workplace.

Here are some ideas to get you started for  a happy workplace:

  1. SAS corporation supplies M&M’s and coffee in the break areas, they have on-site childcare so employees can visit their kids at lunch, dry cleaner drop-off service, on-site doctors, lovely landscaped grounds.
  2. Northwestern Mutual offers boxed dinners from the cafeteria so dinner is easy to fix after a long day, music groups/bands so employees can enjoy their hobby with others and give concerts to colleagues.
  3. Car detailing or seated massages while at work, bosses serve breakfast to workers, Office Olympics or friendly competition – chili cookoff or bake-off.
  4. Colors affect our mood – paint the walls what makes you happy, fresh flowers, music, flextime, ability to express how you work through your work, listening, respect, caring for others.
  5. Disney entertains you while you wait in looooong lines, Vail and Copper Mountain ski resorts through out candy to skiers in lift lines and ask trivia questions to make the time in lines go faster.
  6. My dentist recently replaced their waiting room furnishings with very comfy, luxurious yet whimsical furnishings, a new plasma TV, fireplace and fountain and a fresh supply of current magazines.

What is your workplace doing or what can you contribute to your business/workplace to up the ante for happiness for yourself, your colleagues and your customers? It will go a long way in improving the happiness factor in your life since you spend about a third of your life at work.

 

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Is Your Organization Open to Innovation?

May 11, 2011 | Posted in Leading Hartfully | By

I’m taking a new look at my workplace and living space these days. I’m moving my business and my life to a different place. I’ve noticed how I want to lighten my load, throw off the dead weight, innovate ways to do more with less.

I’ve gone through this drill with each move and notice that I’m drilling down more and more to ge to the heart of what works for me in my business and my home life. Taking a fresh perspective on the things that you have usually done or used to serve you helps bring out new innovative ways to doing things and using things. I though I’d been ruthless the last few moves with removing items that no longer served me or the business well. I find it needs to be done in layers.

What if you did the same to your organization and pretended you were moving offices, moving to a different level of service, moving closer to your customer’s needs. What would you jettison? What would you keep? Who would stay or go? What do you really need in your office or what is serving it’s purpose, but not very well?

Have you looked at your processes with a keen eye, or from the eyes of your customers or your colleagues to see where you can streamline? Take a cue from Domino’s Pizza and their new menu items. They have a survey printed on the box asking how you like it.  Have you interviewed your clients to ask “how we doin’?”  Have you interviewed your team members to ask the same when you’re in a performance review session.

How about a brainstorming session with other departments to ask where the bottlenecks are and how to creatively improve them? It starts with letting go of your old perspective on how things should be done or how they should look or be. Be open about the outcomes, re-purpose some things or ways of thinking. Embrace some changes or create some yourself to shake things up. It could start with cleaning out the junk drawer or just looking at what’s working or not working so well and being open to propose a better plan.

Sometimes you have to introduce the innovation or the change in increments and layers. If we’re forced to change too much in too short of time, we experience future shock and we dig in our heals. Making incremental changes and letting it settle in, then tweaking some more, ditching a little here and tossing a little there doesn’t meet with so much resistance. Ask around and see what your team can tweak or hold a contest to see who can come up with the most innovative solution to a recent challenge.

Some find it hard to accept new ways of working because they may think they’ve failed in some way. Being open to innovation means not holding on so tight to what you thought was the best way of doing things yesterday. Things change, you did the best you could with what you knew and what you had at that point in time. Let go of some old ways and things to make room for new ways and things. An open mind is a good mind. Create space for new things to come in.

Now excuse me while I  clear away the old printer to make room for the new, innovative wireless one (double the output, double-sided printing, eprinting and half the cost of ink)…

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Are You in Your Right Livlihood?

March 29, 2011 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully, Wealthy Woman | By

Networking with business owners and professionals over the past couple months raised some questions about who is working in their right livlihood and who is not. Being a customer in any retail establishment or restaurant,you can almost sense who is in alignment with their right livlihood as sales people or servers. You know how they greet you and their demeanor if they like being there or if they’re just passing the time until they can clock out.

Think of Susan Boyle, the singer who was afraid to show her talent and kept her light hidden until she had the courage to sing in a competition and is now one of the top sellign artists of all time and performing for royalty. Who wudda thunk? What if she never had the courage to listen to her heart? What about you? Do you have the courage to find out your true path? Learn more on a personal consult with me and my business partner or ask for a recording of our telecourse Cracking the Code to Your Calling.

There are so many workers out there who are just passing the time, letting their lives pass by without investigating what it is they really want to do. Or what their soul purpose is in this lifetime. It’s a very easy thing to decode once you know the formula for unscrambling the GPS you hold in your own hands. Your personal GPS, your Greater Purpose System is encoded into your fingerprints before you were born. There is a scientific method of decoding your prints, which are unique to you, and figure out your life purpose, your life lesson and what ‘school’ you’re in for this lifetime. You’re given everything you need to know for following your right path and living your right livlihood. You just need to decode the message. Listen to a free 30-minute teleclass on the 4 different schools of life purpose by sending an email to Gaia@GaiaHart.com and ask for the link.

If you’ve been floundering, wandering about, not knowing if you have a purpose, feeling dull, without passion or fulfillment in your work; then we need to connect. My team and I will be your guides to crack the code to your life purpose, the life lesson that keeps holding you back and showing up and the life school whose curriculum you’re here to learn. Once you know your school, your lesson and your purpose, the rest is easy to figure out. All kinds of variations in your school and purpose can be explored. You’re given the right path to your right livlihood and the experts to help you figure out how you want to travel on your path.

After a 45-minute life purpose analysis of your fingerprints, you’re given your life school, life purpose and life lesson. Afterwhich you’re given a decoder document explaining it all. Then you get another 45-minute session with a personal life purpose coach to help you strategize implementation. All this for under $300 as our gift to you with a savings of $200 off the usual investment.

What is knowing your life purpose worth to you? How much of your life are you willing to spend out of connection with your divine purpose? How many unfulfilled days are you willing to give to somebody else in exchange for a paycheck? If you’re fed up and not going to take it any more, or if you’re just curious if you’re already on the right track to the right livlihood, then send me and email  at Gaia@GaiaHart.com to set up a free pre-coaching call to see if it’s the right fit for you. What have you got to lose, but your the rest of your life?

Looking forward to hearing from you and helping you find your light and your right livlihood to enrich the world and yourself.

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At What Level are You Operating?

February 18, 2011 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully, Wealthy Woman | By

I’ve had umpteen discussions recently with entrepreneurs, execs and employees in transition or in frustration. Most are disgruuntled and seeking higher levels of challenge, free expression, satisfaction and success. The Gallup organization cites that 55% of employees are disengaged and 20% are actively disengaged with a majority of workers actively seeking other opportunities.

When you’re feeling the itch to change something in your career and you don’t know exactly what’s wrong, but you know you’re not happy; then it’s time to uplevel your life and your work. You’re working at a lower level than your capacity. When there’s no more personal or professional growth left in your work, then it’s time to move on to another challenge. If you’re feeling flustered, frustrated or ready to pull your hair out or somebody else’s hair, then you’re on the edge and need to jump up another level to function more in your place of purpose and brilliance and less at your level of competence or routine.

There are several levels at which we operate: inability, ability, talent and brilliance. The level of inability are the areas in which you don’t do well or where you don’t necessarily have an aptitude or competency. You don’t necessarily have any interest in doing these types of things. For me this area is plumbing, taxes and car repair. These areas are better off out-sourced to give somebody else a job who commands that ability.

Your level of ability are areas you can do, but they don’t give you joy and it seems like lackluster busy work. It smacks of mediocrity and you’d be better off out-sourcing these things as well. Housekeeping, cooking or landscaping may be one of your areas.  Or you may revel in gourmet cooking and that is your place of brilliance – it’s all very individual. If you’re working at this level, it seems beneath your talents and you’d get bored or frustrated easily. You may find yourself saying “this is stupid” one too many times.

Your level of talent is where you likely excel, earn income, get praise for what you’re doing and are admired by colleagues, family and friends for what you do. They likely want you to stay at this level because it feels safe and comfortable for them and they like you there. It’s a secure feeling because you know what you’re doing and you’re good at it. Although you may be getting itchy to do something else. You start to feel confined and the chafing of the golden handcuffs or maybe trapped in the lifestyle, but not feeling the joy any more for what you do or who you’re doing it for. You don’t want to lose what you’ve already accomplished in your career, but you’re not happy.

Many stand at the edge of this terror trigger and lose their courage to jump up to the next level of brilliance due to the unknown. Others may not want you to jump because they’re afraid for you. Our subconscious is built on security, survival and safety. Many back down off the ledge and live in their level of talent, a little discontent, a little dull ache for more, feeling “it’s not great, but it’s not that bad – I don’t hate it and I’m better off than most – I should be happy.”

We can start out in a business or a job that fits our place of brilliance at first, but as we learn and grow, it offers less challenge, personal and professional growth and it shrinks down to our levels of talent or ability. Think about Oprah when she decided to start her magazine in addition to her wildly successful talk show and then decided to shut down her show to start her own network. You can bet her first TV show was in her place of brilliance for her capacity at that time and then she expanded her capacity and the show just wasn’t big enough to contain her dream and her brilliance and her purpose. By all accounts, her level of ability far surpasses most mere mortal’s dreams of brilliance. It’s all very personal.

Your purposeful place of brilliance is where you truly shine. It’s exhilarating, joyful, happy and it feels right. It’s where you dreams are made. You are usually richly rewarded for it. It’s where purpose, passion and profits reside. My purpose is to help you find yours. My mission is to help you identify and clarify your mission. Let me know how I can help you uplevel your work and your life to your place of purpose and brilliance – Gail@GailHahn.com.

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