It has been inspiring to see so much talk this week about the International Day of Happiness. Have you ever noticed though, how quickly negativity can spiral out of control to make a person (and those around them) truly miserable at work?
That little voice inside starts off small but quickly morphs. It blames anyone (or everyone) for something that isn’t going their way. The trouble is that negativity is like a cyclone – once it sucks you in, it’s very hard to break the loop.
That little voice is Ego. Ego is not your friend – it tells you distorted stories about how much you deserve and that someone else is to blame when you don’t get it. At work it might be a rival colleague, your boss, or the entire management team.
Then that inner voice becomes audible and starts to vent. It’s the response to your venting that determines whether you’ll get sucked into a downward spiral of self-reinforcing negativity.
If it’s one of sympathy, “ah yes, poor you, it’s not fair. You should find another role where they appreciate you,” then the downward spiral commences.
But if the response is one of empathy – it can reverse ego’s inner story by forcing self-reflection. “Ah yes, I can see why that would be disappointing. What do you need to be doing to give others the confidence they need to make you their preferred choice next time?”
Self-reflection, enables you to analyse and improve your performance. It makes you personally accountable, for your actions and behaviours. Accountability is the unlock to improving your impact.
So next time you hear yourself or a colleague venting, take a moment to think about your reaction. For these seven words have the power to transform not only your happiness but that of your co-workers:
1) Ego (2) vent (3) sympathy (4) empathy (5) self-reflection (6) accountability and (7) impact.
With thanks to Joel Berry for providing the inspiration for this piece. Anyone who has a few minutes to spare should listen to the first few minutes (especially if you have kids serious about sports). Joel is speaking to the crowd following his final UNC Men’s basketball game at Chapel Hill last month. In a few short minutes he shares how he transformed his career and happiness – Enjoy here.
Alex established not A Duff word in March 2017. She helps businesses, brands and boards to wordsmith words that work, master their messages to matter and sculpt standout stories. Her blog ‘early words’ is published Thursday mornings at 07:00.