When I’m around people I feel their energy. Do you? When I go into organizations I feel the collective energy. We’re all energy systems, each of us, our family, our work teams, our organizations, our communities, our country, our world.
The weather affects our energy and yesterday was a stunningly gorgeous day. I took advantage of the blue skies and sunshine and took my little granddaughters to Pleasurewood Hills here in Lowestoft, the UK’s most easterly point, and 2009 Enterprise Capital of the UK. I noticed something that surprised me, the boys working at Pleasurewood Hills had much higher energy, were much more communicative and connected with the children and families than the girls were. The boys seemed much happier in their work, smiled more, laughed more, went the extra mile. In contrast, 95% of the girls were utterly miserable, just going through the motions, whereas the boys were playful with the children, chatted to the adults, had a spring in their step. I wondered why that was.
I was also reminded me of the Walt Disney mantra ‘We don’t train people to be nice, we just hire nice people.’ Makes sense doesn’t it! All those unemployed young people out there, why choose ones with poor energy, who can’t even make the effort to smile or be pleasant at one of the region’s top tourist attractions?
And that’s the same for our clients. Why would they choose to work with us if we aren’t great to be around, if we don’t provide great service, or go the extra mile.
Meaning-Making at Work
For some people work is just work, just a job, just going through the motions, one after another in an utterly meaningless disconnected way. For others it is their passion, their mission, their creative play.
There’s an old story of a man noticing some men doing building work. He casually strolls up to one of them and says ‘I’m curious, what are you doing?’ The builder’s response was abrupt and sarcastic: ‘I’m laying bricks, what does it look like I’m doing!’ The man notices another man looking a little more cheery as he set about his work, so he asked him the same question. The builder replied ‘I’m building a wall.’ Still curious, the man noticed another builder looking happy, full of life and energy, and working at a much faster pace than the other two builders, and he asked him the same question. The builder, with a great beaming smile, gazed upwards and his eyes lit up as he said ‘I’m building a magnificent cathedral to the glory of God.’
When we lose sight of the bigger picture of what we’re doing, what we’re about, things lose their meaning. When we forget the role we’re playing, the pattern we’re weaving in the great tapestry of life, so we lose our lustre, our vibrance, our energy. When we neglect to connect with the ‘why’ we choose to do what we do, or forget the value we can add to people and to life, so there’s no passion, so spark, no life-force, no spirit moving through us.
A Passion for Service
And there’s more to all of this too. Do you notice how the energy of others impacts you? What’s the difference in being around say a doctor, nurse, or a teacher who loves their work, finds great meaning it, chooses to make a real difference doing what they are doing, and one who just goes through the motions, putting in their time until it’s time to collect their pension? You do feel the energy difference, don’t you! And think of children sitting in classrooms day in and day out with a miserable teacher, their young open energy systems being infected with that kind of energy.
Like yesterday at Pleasurewood Hills. The boys certainly spread a better infection in children and adults alike, and they made a real difference. The girls did too – just not in the right direction!
What The Research Shows
How do people’s miserable moods affect us? Schneider & Bowen’s 1995 research in intensive care units, revealed that patients on cardiac care units who had nurses who were depressed, actually had a death rate four times higher than on comparable units where non-depressed nurses were working. Their research also showed that the comforting presence of another person actually lowers the patient’s blood pressure and slows the secretion of fatty acids that block arteries.
Sometimes we forget who we are, how powerful we are, and what we came here to do. Everything matters, everything counts.
The State You Are In Is Your Gift To The World
We make a difference with others by who we are being as we are doing. It isn’t just about the doing. We are powerful, and we infect others with the state we’re in. What kind of infection do you spread, at work, at home, in the world?
I have a question for you – are you the kind of person who lights up a room as you enter � or as you leave! I’d like to think I’m one of the former, how about yourself! Can you light up your clients as you add value? Can you light up your staff so they too spread the right infection with clients?
The Spirit of Business
We influence others. And we can influence others, whether it is the clients we serve, or our colleagues, through the emotions. I’m CEO of The Happiness Foundation and The Lifelong Learning Company and as I’ve shared with you before, I recognize that needs to stand for Chief Enthusiasm Officer! If I’m not excited about my business, why should anyone else be?
Re-Ignite Your Passion: Today’s Exercise
As the seasons of 2010 change and we drift into a hopefully glorious autumn, maybe it’s time to refocus on the meaning of your work, your business, your life. Reconnect with your bigger mission. Re-enthuse yourself, re-envision, re-energise and revitalize you and your business and the service and products you offer.
Lulu got the Take That boys to relight her fire. Pity the girls at Pleasurewood Hills didn’t get the boys to do just that for them. But you can do it for yourself too.
1. Today, get a sense of your own energy and passion for what you do. On a 1 – 10 scale, with 10 being Yeeehaaaa, where are you? And why is that?
2. Reconnect with why you have chosen to do what you do. What does it do for you, get you, give you?
3. And why do you do it in the way you are choosing to do it? Is there a better, easier, gentler, more fun way to do it?
4. What’s the meaning of it all for you? How do you contribute real value to your client’s lives?
5. Does your business energise you, do you feel passionate about it, excited about it? If not, what’s missing? And what are you going to do about that?
6. Take a look at your website, does your energy and passion for what you do ooze through it? Take a look at your brochures and ask the same question. What about your letters? Are you shining through the words? If not, why not? Align those words with who you are, what you’re all about. Let people feel your energy, even through your words.
7. In your phone or face-to-face interactions with clients, let them feel your good energy. Be the change you wish to see.
Adding Value to The World
As women in business we shine brighter when we add real value to the lives of others and remember why we’re doing what it is we do. When our work is meaningful to us, it keeps us passionate and powerful, as well as committed to what we’re doing with our one wild and precious life.
And remember, even on a tough day, we have a choice whether or not we want to show up and shine and make a positive difference as we do, or whether we want to keep the rain-cloud over our heads, and spread the negativity infection into others.
Remember why you are here
Remember who you are. Remember why you are here. You aren’t here to play small, you’re here to play big, and to have as much fun as you can as you do. Bring the passion back in, bring the fun factor back in, bring back that spirit of business.