Last week, I experienced a career highlight: I call it 'al-fresco learning' (outdoors, fresh air learning). Check out the scene in the photos. It was absolutely a joy to be in the Sarasota, Florida breezy afternoon sun, temperatures in the upper 60s, surrounded by palm trees, lawns, the pool and the bay.
But wait, there's more!
As if the surroundings and atmosphere weren't perfect enough, I was lucky enough to be doing GREAT work. It was my role to coach a group of 11 smart, engaged, and successful managers on what it means to be at their Best Self, at work. This is a subject about which I am VERY passionate. I truly believe that each of us has special gifts and strengths, and we should strive to leverage, optimize, and maximize them at work -- daily! It was wonderful to be working for a client who also believes this and is willing to invest in helping their employees get this right.
I want to share with you the exercise we worked on.
How to Bring your Best Self to Work
Take out a notebook, journal, or your favorite word processor and complete the following sentence:
"When I'm at my Best Self, I am..."
Some examples may include
"...adding value by suggesting creative, outside-the-box ideas to solve problems or improve products, services, or processes."
"...collaborating with others to create synergistic solutions."
"...focused and calm."
"...thinking about serving others."
List some of the potential and actual barriers to being your best self at work. What might get in your way of being creative and thinking outside-the-box, for example? Perhaps barriers for you include self-sensoring and being too critical of yourself, or maybe it's not getting enough creativity-stimulating inputs from fresh and divergent sources. If being focused and calm is how you want to be, for example, then maybe your barriers include having a very noisy environment, or not having a clear plan for your day's work.
Devise three specific routines, or habits, that you will incorporate into your daily and weekly work to help ensure you are bring your best self out as much as possible. Be specific, and phrase them in the positive (i.e., say what you will do instead of what you will avoid or stop doing).
For example, you might say, "I will read three articles each week from other industries or other professional fields to diversify my perspective and generate new insights into existing problems." Or, "I will close my door for a 90-minute stretch each morning at 10:00 a.m. and dedicated uninterrupted energy and attention to a highly important focus project."
Create accountability structures. How will you stay true to what you have committed to and how will you track your progress? Consider enlisting an accountability buddy or a peer coach to help you keep yourself accountable and stick to your plan. Another method is to keep a journal of your progress and reflect on your accomplishments and challenges.
What do you think? Are you bringing your best self to work? Do you know what it takes? What are your challenges and successes? I'd love to hear about it!
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