Team Dynamics and Development: Dealing with Trust, Confrontation and Risks

Confronting and conquering team risks

Very similar to their changing work environments, there are many unknowns and risks involved in being on team projects. From my years in working and facilitating   team planning and project sessions I have compiled a few key lessons that I have observed over the years about how effective teams deal with risks and uncertainty when organizations are trying to implement change management initiatives. I hope  you can use some of these insights to support your team and organization reach its goals:

1. TEAMS ARE MORE EFFECTIVE WHEN EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THE PLAN and “significant over-riding goals (SOG) .
Almost without fail, teams begin their initial interactions and startup activities without reviewing their values, beliefs, assumptions and without having a shared plan. They tell me they did this because “time is money,” but employees who don’t understand the organization’s strategies, team initiatives and lack experience, training and confidence  in problem solving and decision-making are much more costly.

2. PEOPLE NEED SUPPORT AND TRUST TO TAKE REASONABLE RISKS or raise difficult issues for team discussion.
Encourage people to confront difficult and often unspoken issues.  When someone identifies a crisis or touchy subject, most team members look disappointed, ignore the comments as disruptive and some even walk away. How eager will someone be to try again after experiencing that reaction?  If you desire employees to be creative and take reasonable risks, reward their positive behavior NO MATTER WHAT THE RESULTS, reassure the person that he or she is still a valued member of the team. If you don’t reassure the person, their willingness to take risks will certainly diminish.

3. VIEW “FAILURES” AS VALUABLE LESSONS FOR EVERYONE.
When failure is feared, it is avoided at all costs and kept secret when it occurs – only serving to harm the organization. A reporter once questioned Thomas Edison, “Mr. Edison, I heard you failed nearly a thousand times before inventing a light bulb that worked.” Edison replied, “I did not fail 1000 times. I learned 999 ways a light bulb will not work!” How does your organization view “failure”?

4. CELEBRATE ALL SUCCESSES.
We must reward all successes, for they make it possible for someone to make it all the way to the end goal.  As a leader practice given the credit away because it builds strong team atmosphere and breaks down individual competitiveness. Who gets the recognition in your organization and how could it be improved?

Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: If I had my Life to Live Over by Nadine Stair

Nadine Stair
An amazing poem and reflection of an 85-year-old woman, from Louisville, Kentucky, who provided the words above after someone asked her how she would have lived her life differently if she had a chance. Great question for all of us no matter what our age.

If I had my life to live over,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I’d Have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I am one of those people who has lived sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments,
one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle,
a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If i had my life to live over,
I would start bare foot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daises.
Reflection:
We may not get the chance to live our lives over again, but we do have the power to start fresh each moment.

Self-Coaching Challenge: If you could change one thing in your life, right now, what would you change?

Power of Negative thoughts on attitude and performance

Daily Quote: ” Nothing can stop the [person] with the right mental attitude from achieving [their] goal; nothing on earth can help the [person] with the wrong mental attitude.”  Thomas Jefferson

Change the way you think and you can change your attitude about how you feel and act. Research has shown that every time you think of something, you choose the attitude and feelings that are associated with it. If you have a negative thought you are guaranteed to have a negative feeling associated with that thought. When negativity takes hold our attitude becomes negative and our performance tumbles. So the question is, “How do you feel when you think that thought?” This approach will help you sort out that things happening in the world (a situation or circumstance) are not causing your feelings. The truth is that the negative or positive thoughts you choose not circumstances cause your attitude, feelings and actions.Let’s look at a more concrete example of how to dealing with Pain and Suffering in our life.

Getting Started: Assumptions and principles of self-coaching:

  1. We cannot control the world. So only focus on the things you can control.
  2. Nothing outside of us has the power to make us feel good or bad. It is our choices that determine how we feel and behave.
  3. It is not the circumstances, but our thoughts about the circumstances that create our perceptions and experience.
  4. We are driven and motivated by what we choose to think about.
  5. Emotions are triggers that lead to action.
  6. We can’t permanently change our habits or results without changing
  7. The habit of thinking in negative ways about our self and our abilities sabotages are abilities and strengths to perform at high levels.
  8. We don’t have to learn anything more than changing negative thoughts to more positive “self-talk” to feel better and act more productively.
  9. Being aware and choosing our thoughts are the most important components to feeling better and performing like a champion.
  10. Learn from other people’s experience and points of view. For example check out Coach Bobby Knight’s book on the Power of Negative Thinking–WOW  http://www.bloomberg.com/video/bobby-knight-on-the-power-of-negative-thinking-9xZTNuP3Rw~iMRuOkngOxQ.html

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge– Discover what Successful and Fulfilled People have in Common

Daily Quote: “Imagine discovering what successful people have in common, distilling it into a set of simple practices, and using them to transform your life”. This is the opening of the highly acclaimed book Success Built to Last by Poras, Emery and Thompson (2007 Pearson Education, Inc.)

After reading the book and reviewing their one-on-one interviews and conversations with hundreds of people (famous and unknown) from around the world who achieved lasting impact without obvious power or extraordinary abilities. This book provides ideas and many different ways of how to find meaning in your life and work without providing an absolute magic formula or silver bullet. So I would like to “plus one” their concept of “success” to the next level. The point is whether there is a difference that makes a difference between success and fulfillment.  Remember all these people started out as ordinary and found ways to develop their abilities and learn to fight through failures and mistakes to follow their passions.

Reflection: My aha after reading this book was to figure out the difference between “success and fulfillment” . Then I found this comforting quote from world renown psychiatrist, Victor Frankl “ Success is developed and measured by an external focus and fulfillment comes from the inside and is displayed on the outside.”

Self-Coaching Challenge: The big opportunity and challenge for you is to read this book and discover how you can find true meaning and fulfillment in your life and work. This challenge will not be easy and yet the journey will be worth the effort. All you need to do is start.

What are You Grateful For? Learning to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation

Daily Quote: “It certainly does me no harm to say “thank you” and to feel grateful at every possible occasion.”  MWH

“May you know the fearlessness of an open heart. May you never meet anyone you consider a stranger, and know that no matter what, you are not alone. May you have compassion for others’ suffering and joy in their delights. May you be free to give and receive love.” Sharon Salzberg 

Now let’s spend some time activating a sense of gratitude or appreciation for what we have and achieved in life.  There’s so much that is amazing and joyful in life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Write down 5 things that you are grateful for today.  Reflect on how you feel and what you value after writing the list.  Your challenge is to continue for 30 days, everyday writing down just a few things you are grateful for.

Here’s my list:

  1. My wonderful and caring wife of 49 years whom I am lucky to share my life with.
  2. My 3 boys who were a joy to raise and share moments with.
  3. My body, for being healthy and hardy after 71 years.
  4. My tennis buddies who help me sustain an active life in retirement.4.
  5. The internet, for allowing me to connect with so many people each day through my blog. thewick@wordpress.com

Reflections: On Openness and Authenticity

Daily Quote:  “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ― Brené Brown

Reflection: The core dimension of openness is authenticity. Without it, communication can quickly become defensive and the potential for connection through openness is lost. For this reason we monitor our true feelings about a person or situation and hold back from providing candid and explicit feedback. This can lead us into a foolish game of creating private and public personas.  In part we’re not clear about how we want to “show up” when confronted with a “connection moment” and in part we’re afraid of the impact we imagine our honesty might have. To become more authentically direct, assertive and truthful we need to first clarify our intention and transform it into an honest commitment to share our thoughts and feelings even though it can be risky. We need to align our inner and public selves”—the parts of ourselves we share with the world—and our “private selves” where our truths, ideals and fears reside. To do that, it’s important to understand why “going public” with our private thoughts, wants, and ideas feels so risky.

Challenge: Take some time at the end of today to assess your ability and fears of being more authentic with others.

Daily Quote–Picasso and Growth Mindset a Self- Coaching Challenge

Daily Quote:

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

Reflection: Many neurologists and psychologist are just catching up to Picasso’s early understanding and keys to his learning.On of the key tenants of the “Growth Mindset” is that everyone can learn everything. It just takes effort, openness and understanding of how the brain works. I have become a real enthusiast of the Growth Mindset after reading after reading Dr. Carol Dweck’s book called the Growth Mindset.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Take the time to assess the last time you had a setback. My failure was __________________________________________________________________________________________

Then ask yourself some tough questions about that perceived failure:

What were the root causes for the failure?

How did I react to feedback about the failed project?

How could I have handled the situation better or differently?

What are some new strategies and tactics can I learn to rebound from failures, and emerge stronger to handle similar interactions or situations in the future?

I am I committed to become more resilient and learn from setbacks?

After reviewing you answers create a thirty-day action plan for becoming more resilient to failures and how to learn from them.a thirty day development action plan for

Want to start Your next Presentation or meeting with a bang? Use this proven method of Pair and Share

Daily Quote on what makes-up highly successful TEAMS

” Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”. Andrew Carnegie

” All winning teams are goal-oriented. Teams like these win consistently because everyone connected with them concentrates on specific objectives. They go about their business with blinders on; nothing will distract them from achieving their aims”. Lou Holtz

Reflection: 

Need a quick and reliable way to connect with your audience? Try to say something relevant to the topic for the get together and get them engaged and involved in the presentation. I discovered this method many years ago when doing a workshop on Performance reviews. If you ask a relevant question and provide a structure for the audience members participation it usually resulted in great start because this type of experiential exercise raises the energy in the room,helps people to connect with other participants, says to reluctant members and skeptics this workshop maybe fun after all and maybe I can learn a few things. Most importantly this opening leads the participants right into the content and subject matter of the workshop. Here is mu proven method for opening a meeting and triggering a lively discussion and interest from the audience of what is going to happen next.

  1. Divide the meeting participants into a pair by having them number off 1 or 2. Then ask the even numbers and odd numbers to pair up. You do this so that your participants get to know fellow attendees. People generally begin a meeting by sitting next to someone they already know, so this is a way to meet new people and stimulate discussion of different points of view. Tell the newly formed pair their assignment is to think for a minute and then to share with the other person three characteristics word that describes THE BEST TEAM THEY HAVE EVER BEEN ON.  In my first venture with this exercise, I was leading a session about HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS with 50 high tech software engineers .  So, my request of the new pair was that they think about their own experiences in working on a highly successful team discuss the characteristics and come to agreement the ONE most important characteristic to share with the audience when called upon.
  1. This exercise helps the group explore their thoughts on a common issue. This ice breaker is an effective lead in the topic of the meeting or training class. I am always surprised by the variety of the words chosen. As a result of this exercise you get to tap-in to the participants needs because it gives you a snapshot into their current thinking and perceptions of teamwork.
  2. This exercise sparked spontaneous conversation in every pair as the participants questioned each other about the reason they choose these characteristics and story behind it.They asked for examples and found that the combination of the participants’ chosen words did describe their experience with a very successful team.
  3. Upon completion of the initial spontaneous discussion, ask the participants to share their one word with the larger group. Ask for a volunteer to start and then, ask each participant to share their one word that described their team. (Even your most quiet participants were comfortable sharing their word.)

Debriefing

Next, after the participants have listened to the variety of words from the larger group, ask them to explore several questions in their pair. In this instance, asking each participant to select one word to describe their present experience in their company with teams.

Your opportunity for follow-up questions is endless depending on the time you have available. The rewards in using this exercise are wonderful because during the discussions people connect with others, gain insight to other people’s experiences and perspectives,m experience fun and positive interaction generated remarks, insights, ah-has, and examples.

Upon completion, move into the rest of the material you have prepared for the session.

Want to Stop Arguments? Clear the Air by Confronting in a Caring Way your Relationship Pinches

Remember, confrontation is about reconciliation and awareness, not judgement or anger.”
Dale Partridge

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”  John Lennon
Do you seem to keep having more and more conflicts over things that upon reflection don’t matter that much? What is behind this unproductive way to grow strong and effective partner relations? 

Self-Reflection: Your dad was right counting to ten or twenty is a good idea when an argument starts escalating. By getting rid of pinches – yes, this is really important. How do we do that? This is where time release conversations come in. Dr. John Gottman’s research on how the “Masters of Relationships” manage conflict, indicates that 70% of couples problems are perpetual, ongoing issues and unresolved over the years. These problems are related to differences in personalities, styles of interaction or preferred ways of doing things, learned habits, poor listening and problem solving skills, trigger words, inability to actively listen, low tolerance for differences and so on that set your mind off on the wrong path. The “masters of communication” seem to have developed a way to deal with these irritants in their relationship by having open and constructive conversations every once in a while about the same issues that inevitably show up again and again. They talk about how and why these issues are bothersome at this time; how they feel about the issues; what their concerns, feelings and hopes are about these sticky issues (usually about topics such as sex, money and family relationships) and what they want to have happen and what an effective resolution looks like. They learn to develop new mindsets and emotional filters on how they perceive the issues and how they can collaboratively solve these problems with their partner.

Self-Coaching Challenge: I believe that pinches in relationships of any sort are signs that we need to stop and re-kindle or establish more effective ways to communicate.  If your relationship has a lot of pinches, think of the pinches as a sign that you and your partner’s need to “clear the air” on this subject and something needs to be talked about and dealt with in a productive and caring way. Research shows that out of conflict and with caring, respectful conversations opportunities for greater closeness and understanding can be developed.  Understanding what the real causes of a relationship pinch provides time and means of going beyond the surface to discover  how the pinch impacts each other and what it  really means to each individual. Timely and caring conversations can provide an important path to preventing relationship erosion and go a long way for renewal and re-establishment greater openness and closeness.

This weekend take your own relationship audit and identify one issue or recurring problem you would like to work on and resolve with your partner. Then sit down and have a caring confrontation over a pinch that has been bothering and build a plan to move forward. Good Luck and remember no one cares what you have to say until you show them you care.

Attention Dad’s–Don’t Miss this Speech on The Positive Influence of Sports on Girls Development

Daily Quote: ” The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.” Anson Dorrance 

Reflection: I was doing research for my Growth Experts blog in regard to the impact of sports on the character development of children and ran across this wonderful speech by University of North Carolina Women’s  Soccer coach Anson Dorrance,  presents and introduces Mia Hamm at the
2007 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction.

It is a moving and very insightful speech on the importance of the development of character and leadership for women involved in sports.

Self-Coaching Challenge: What are you doing to encourage your daughter or son to participate in sports, so that they can benefit from  the many lessons sport’s can teach about perseverance, deliberate practice and teamwork?

Winning the Super Bowl–Moment of Truth Mental Toughness and Preparation

Mental toughness and Preparation the Difference in Winning the Super bowl for New England

ON MY GOD INTERCEPTION

What makes this Super Bowl one of the Greatest games ever played–drama, toughness, mistakes, bad decisions and panic, and unpredictable moments made a must watch TV moment. To me the elements of MT displayed were the highlights. Let’s start with Malcolm Butler ( who was not a super star until this game. He was working at Popeye’s chicken before the start of the season ) and his Super Bowl interception at the one yard line to win the game: he said after the game he just felt bad because he let Kearse make a super catch before his moment to shine and needed to make a play for his team) Here are the little things he did to be ready to make the play– Do your homework through preparation (listen and learn in practice), take risks and trust yourself and execute.

Lessons for Sea Hawks: never waste a [play] or an opportunity in stressful situations to do what you do best —run the ball with your great star Lynch… and playing too aggressive (Pete Carroll’s style) can backfire…we all are flawed and nothing is ever perfect so own your weaknesses… luck is a big uncertainty that can change the outcome of anything in life in a flash…take the timeout in life to put yourself in the position to win in chaotic situations.

The truth is that we don’t just need mental toughness in sports. We need it for crafting a meaningful and constructive LIFE by making a difference and changing the world.

Example: most people are working with more discretionary capacity to do more in moment to moment situations than they think they are capable of because they fool themselves into thinking they are doing good enough and some are using the moment to focus on failures or even thinking they are working too hard.

Many times during our daily life we are providing and protecting ourselves by making excuses for our lack of effort. We are generally working with less than 100% commitment to this moment in life. By that I mean we stay inside our comfort zone or take the path of least resistance or risk.

We only do tasks that will ensure we play to our present strengths and do not take the risks to stretch ourselves and thus do not take the risks that might help us reach our full potential.

We only talk to people we like or know which limits our knowledge and growth. Our present comfort becomes more important than learning something new. We want feedback that validates our present behavior and only listen to ideas that reinforce our beliefs. (Confirmation bias)

On the other hand, if we want to reach our goals and live a more fully engaged life, we need to practice and make the effort to embrace change by digging deep and stop playing the safe game of life of “not to lose”  verses learning how to embrace growth and learning by “playing to win”

And by that, I mean go to work today with a new mentality – one that pushes and stretches you to challenge your mental set of staying in your comfort zone by taking the risks to do more that in the end will help you go further in life.

Here’s an easy guideline: just learn one new thing everyday by challenging your comfort zone. Challenge and surprise yourself in being more aware—by taking the risks to grow and “be the best you can be” because this is where learning takes place.

Part II of Career Audit: Assessing your engagement and the “quality of worklife” in your workplace.

Quote:  “The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on empathy and listening not focusing on the bottom line results.” Mark W Hardwick, Ph.D.

Reflection: A recent Gallup poll estimates that a lack of employee engagement causes American businesses to lose $300 billion in productivity each year. That number is absolutely staggering! Poll findings like these also state that people feel worse about their jobs — and work environments — than ever before. There is a higher level of dis-engagement between the individuals, their bosses, jobs they do and the organizations they work for.

Dr. Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer, an independent researcher, authors of The Progress Principle studied 238 professionals in seven organizations.

They discovered that the most important factor in work place satisfaction and engagement at work was “making progress in producing meaningful work. Ironically, 95% of the managers, when asked what motivates their own employees, choose making progress last. This disconnect between what employees find meaningful and what managers think is meaningful for employees is a good indication of where we are continuing to go off-track in creating better “quality of life” at work. Is it possible that the “Peter Principle” (where companies continue to promote a person until they reach their level of in competence) is actually true? By not paying attention to the factors of engagement (including satisfaction, meaningful work and self-growth and worth of our employees, we are going to continue to not get the best out of our employees.

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for engaging employees. If there were, the above study would have a very different outcome. Instead, I would like to provide a few simple, inexpensive ideas that can help you and your staff increase satisfaction, meaning productivity, engagement and inevitably, raise your organizational emotional climate and profits:

  1. Communicate openingly and regularly– Being clear, direct and honest with your company direction, values and challenges will provide exceptional return on your time investment. Lack of trust in information being provided (or, lack thereof) is an early indicator of long-term engagement and retention issues.
  2. Be Intentional– Provide employees with clear goals, resources, rewards and feedback. Do the same for yourself. Empowerment and feedback are the critical elements for improving a culture of quality and satisfaction.
  3. Provide Opportunities to Connect– The sense of community and connectivity is a critical predictor of satisfaction and belonging for employees. Here is an excellent article from Chris Cook at Capiche that discusses the importance of connections to our happiness.
  4. Focus on the MMFI Rule for Managing  and Leading – Work on improving and developing your “people skills” by showing you really care about your team and their development as a group of professionals. For example, catch people doing the right things, announce and celebrate victories both professional and personal and overall start making employees feel important. Leaders need to “walk the talk” by modeling respectful and considerate behavior. Also by taking the time to truly listen, communicate and involve employees in workplace problems and opportunities. And above all else leaders must be willing to be accountable for poor judgment, mistakes and ill-treatment of employees and clients. This will go a long way to create and more human and satisfying work place environment.

These tips above may seem like common sense and conventional, but clearly many social science studies suggest that these type of activities are not occurring enough. Our potential star employees who are unmotivated, disengaged or even quit have a longing to belong and be inspired. They are looking for meaning and willing to give themselves fully when it comes from a sense of purpose. If one of the greatest keys to business profitability is the engagement of our workforce, what will you begin doing in 2015 to ensure that your workplace treats people better and makes them feel like partners?

Daily Quote and Self-Reflection: Embracing Change and Openness

Daily Quote: “Things do not Change: We change.”  Henry Thoreau

Self Reflection: When “IT” comes to change and upsetting the “status quo” I am a searcher. Searchers look for problems that can become opportunities. They are open-minded about how to solve problems and do not think they have all the answers. The main tools searchers use are a “growth mindset” seeing problems as challenges, experimentation and piloting potential solutions.  Their change mantra is:: “Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins.” Always be open to try new ways to find the right answers. I believe one must never lose time in vainly regretting failures nor in complaining about the changes which cause us discomfort, or making excuses because the essence of change is shaking things-up.

Self-Coaching: What are you facing in your daily life that needs changing and you have been procrastinating from doing it. Listen to Graham Hill, feature speaker at TED, talk about how to create more happiness in your life. Then reflect on the TED talk and pick one thing in your daily life that will make your happiness soar. Good Luck and have fun.

Self-Directed Coaching Framework: Grounding Principles and Truths

CORE PRINCIPLES AND TRUTHS:

Quote : “You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” – Galileo

1. It is not the circumstances, but our thoughts about the circumstances that create our experience.

2. We cannot control everything in the world. So decide if you control a situation and if you do and do not like what is happening chose to do something different to change the feeling or situation; if you can not control the situation or events choose to let go of the need for control and move on.

3. Nothing outside of us has the power to make us feel good or bad. It is our choices that determine how we feel and behave.

4. We are driven and motivated by what we choose to think about.

5. Emotions are triggers that lead to action.

6. We can’t permanently change our habits or results without changing our thinking

7. We don’t have to get anything in a material sense to feel better; we have the power to feel better right now.

8. Being conscious and choosing our thoughts is the most important component to feeling better.

Exploring and expanding on the Self-Directed Coaching (SDC) principles–Flushing-out  Principle #1

Change the way you think and you can change how you feel and act. So every time you think of something, you choose the feelings that are associated with it. If you have a negative thought you are guaranteed to have a negative feeling associated with that thought. So the question is, “How do you feel when you think that thought?” This approach will help you sort out that things happening in your world (a difficult situation  or a pressing problem or decision to be made) that they are supposedly causing your feelings. The truth is that the negative or positive thoughts you choose not circumstances or problems cause your attitude and feelings.

Celebrate the Day for Happiness–22 Principles Happy People do to be Happy

Yesterday, March 20, 2013, marks the first ever International Day of Happiness. This was decreed last year by the United Nations. If you missed it here is a great summary of what HAPPY people do to stay HAPPY. Acceptance is one of the key messages–If you control something and want to change make a plan and move forward. If there is something you can’t control accept that fact and move on. Here is the post quoted below if you want more check the blog Successify at this link–http://successify.net/2012/10/31/22-things-happy-people-do-differently/

” There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness does not come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

 

New Poem: It Is What It Is…

It is What it is…by MWHardwick 

It Is what it is…

But does that mean accept it or

Is IT  something else…

Do I need to read between the lines

Or make Assumptions…like IT means–

Rejection.

Shunning.

Dis-engagement.

Denial.

Retribution.

No communication.

Or realize these hurt because you are slipping away..

These  ITs don’t make me happy—

Just negative energy.

I need to forgive and forget.

Live in the “here and now”.

Realize choices are for everyone…

Be thankful for what I have.

Care about those who care about me…

Love those who want love

And accept IT unconditionally…….

Maybe IT will never be known…

Never be known…Never be known…Never be known…

Cause life can be unfair…