Believe it or not, stress isn’t all bad; in fact, it’s an important part of the natural world. Stress helps us survive as a species – because of that we want the ability to be stressed. That said, being able to manage stress with greater success is the difference between surviving and THRIVING. Success with Stress explores five simple ideas to spark your personal power to change the level, duration, and frequency of the stress in your life. With workplace stress being linked to quality of life, health, and workplace morale, this is a must-read for any team looking to improve morale and individuals looking to improve their quality of life.
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The Most Needed and Least Taught Skill: Awareness
By Jae Ellard, Author of Success with Stress and Founder of Simple Intentions
There are many ways to define the concept of awareness. Generally, they all boil down to a person’s ability to see the world and how they show up in it. As a concept, awareness is much easier discussed and promoted than practiced and implemented. Most of us are not taught that awareness is a skill, let alone a workplace skill.
Why is awareness an important job skill? When people — whether individual contributors, managers or leaders – practice awareness they are better able to see the impact of their behavior on others and the results related to that behavior.
For example, if managers yell at their employees, those employees might leave, the result being high attrition. The accountability is then to correlate the behavior of yelling at employees to high attrition. Without the skill of awareness a manager might be stuck wondering, “Why do people keep leaving my team?” The answer seems obvious, but often when you’re living it and it’s your team, it’s much harder see the behavior and connect the impact and result.
When people use the skill of awareness at work and see the impact of their behavior — both positive and negative — they can then begin to practice making intentional choices about what behaviors support or sabotage desired outcomes.
Awareness can be developed at both individual and team levels. In groups, there may be shared behaviors that are norms for how the team or company accomplishes tasks. With the skill of awareness teams can more clearly see what behaviors support desired outcomes. They can also work together to create new habits for how to do things. People might still make choices that negatively impact others, but with awareness, the impact is realized and behavior can be amend as needed.
Awareness is not a “learn it once and have it forever” skill like learning to button a button. Rather, it’s more like math, a skill that builds on itself with many progressive layers and varying applications. It’s a skill that needs to be discussed and practiced and before it can become a natural, integrated skill.
The skill of awareness is not rocket science, yet it requires commitment and time to develop. There is no shortcut; it involves risk, trial and error, which seem like luxuries in today’s over-booked, “busy”, data-driven world. For teams and organizations, it requires the desire and investment from leadership to build a culture that cares about not only work outcomes, but also the process for how outcomes are achieved.
If you want to enrich your career, then practice awareness. If you want a more accountable team or company, then practice awareness. Whether you are aware or not, your behavior has impact. Why not choose to see it?
[This article originally appeared in Huffington Post]
Jae Ellard is an author, speaker, and expert on developing the skill of awareness in the workplace. After years in senior communication roles crafting content for executives, Jae collapsed from stress-related adrenal fatigue. This life-altering experience propelled her to research human behavior, neuroscience, mindfulness, and organizational relationship systems. In 2008, Jae founded Simple Intentions and developed the Mindful Life™ Program to generate intentional conversations to disrupt patterns and create awareness, accountability and action at team and individual levels. Jae has taught the skill of awareness in more than 50 countries to thousands of employees at multinational corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia.
Jae is a columnist on workplace awareness for Mindful Magazine, as well as the author of 7 books on the topic. She contributes to the Healthy Living section on Huffington Post as well as the Simple Intentions blog. In 2013, she founded Seattle Wisdom, a community organization working to create and support conscious conversations in professional spaces in the Pacific Northwest. Jae has a master’s degree in Communication Management from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She holds certificates in co-active coaching and organizational relationship systems coaching.
Prizes: Win a print copy of Success With Stress with a companion notebook (open to USA & Canada – 10 winners total)
Ends May 12