When Your Thoughts
Are In Turmoil
When your mind is whirling, twisting and knotted up with worry, fear, anger, doubt, shock or sorrow, the most difficult thing to do–but the thing that will help the most–is to be calm. Not the concept of be calm and carry on, only be calm.
Peace, Calm and Tranquility
In the past I’ve written several articles about seeking peace of mind and holding onto it when you find it. A recent post, on the anniversary of the events of September 11th , was a reminder to think of peace in every sense, work toward peace and let peace be our focus in life and work.
I heard from many people about habits they were trying to stop or start, after the post on Control, Alt, Delete. I also received a lot of emails about the post on lessening the negative influence of the Itchy Socks in our lives. On a more postive note, many people liked the post on faith and holding on, in spite of adversity.
But the post that received the most remarks by phone, email and online, was the one about dedicating time. A special one was from a woman who emailed me to report that around the time she read that article she had reached what she thought was the worst time of her life–a darkly threatening wall that she couldn’t get over or around. She decided to dedicate a day to her son in the military, to see if it helped her get through a work day. She found it so helpful that she started dedicating days to many in her circle of friends and later telling them what she accomplished in their names!
She told me, “I started every day with a moment of prayer to ask for guidance and peace. Then, I dedicated the day to someone. After that, there just didn’t seem to be room for the worry and sadness that used to go round and round in my head all the time.” That was in 2009 and she is still moving forward and being effective and positive.
Get Calm and Stay Calm
There are many ways to gain peace and calm: Through spiritual faith and prayer, while exercising or regaining health and fitness, through quiet time and meditation, by cleaning house or decluttering, through walks, music, reading or a hobby, by becoming closer to a loved one or by eliminating a harmful element in your life. One thing is for sure–trying any or all of those things won’t hurt!
The idea is to stop mental clamor, agitation and disturbance and allow your mind and spirit to level out and be calm. Then, appreciate how good it feels. You can do something worthwhile soon, but for a little while let yourself feel the calm. Do that with purpose every day and you’ll learn to recreate the calm no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
When you hear about, read about and think about things that have the potential to bring grief, anxiety, sorrow or the other negative emotions that gather and grow, stop. Picture yourself turning those off and flooding your mind and heart with peace and calm so you are better prepared to do the things that must be done. That process can add years to your life, joy to your work and other activties and happiness to your relationships.
Give yourself that gift during this Holiday Season, 2011.
I sometimes see teachers write TGIF! on the blackboard on Friday. A workplace I know has TGIF celebrations every Friday at noon. (And they wonder why no work gets done the rest of the day!)
I often hear people who work non-traditional schedules say, with elation, ”Today is my Friday!” Or, with despair, “Today is my Monday.” I sometimes wonder if their days off are such unalloyed pleasure and their work is so unpleasant as to make the time away such a marvelous experience!
Of course, there are reasons to like time away from work: Sleeping later, being able to have an unstructured day, spending more time with family and friends, going out on a date, staying in on a date, sports and recreation, and just getting a break from unpleasant interactions with coworkers, bosses and customers.
However, it often seems that Monday morning is filled with conversations about the work and hassles of the weekend, not the joys. If a favorite team lost, even Sunday afternoon sports on TV doesn’t stir up fun conversation.
I’ve written before about the names my daughter, Shannon, and I had for the days of the week when she was young. With the holidays approaching and people getting restless at work–and kids getting restless at school–it might be good to remember them, Pollyanna though they might sound.
- Marvelous Monday!! Shannon and I now and then had a special breakfast on Monday to celebrate getting to see friends and talk with them about the fun things we did over the weekend.
- Terrific Tuesday!! With Monday out of the way we could really get busy at school and work. An amazing concept, huh?
- Wonderful Wednesday!! The weekend was coming up, but we could spend two more days turning in good work–and in Shannon’s case, wearing cute clothes!
- Tremendous Thursday!! This was a big day, because we knew everyone else was getting worn down, so we could be the most energized of anyone. Yaaaaay!!!!!!!
- Fabulous Friday!! We made a point of getting up early (for us, anyway) on Friday, so we could go to school, and to work, feeling ready to do well and end the week on a high note.
- Super Saturday and Sacred Sunday: We seemed to always have a good time on weekends, but on Sunday evening we talked about how much fun it would be to get back to school the next day. We were ready for Marvelous Monday!!
There are millions of people who are unemployed (or jobless, as the new euphemism puts it). Most of those people don’t just wish they had a job, they desperately need a job. There are likely millions of people who just as desperately wish they had fulfilling jobs where they are treated decently. Many hundreds of thousands of people are disabled to the point that they will never be able to work at all or to work again as they would like. Many more people are retired and live each day wishing they could be active and useful back at their former jobs.
If you are employed and find fulfillment in that employment in some way; if you have friends at work and a workplace that is tolerable; if you are making enough money that with good money management you can pay your bills and have at least a bit left over, be very, very grateful. Make each workday a day of thanks for your good fortune.
Shannon and I were thrilled to be able to come home, relax and have fun on the weekends, even though often my “weekend” was not a Saturday and Sunday. However, we made a purposeful decision and commitment to not live for only two days a week, while dreading the other five. Every day is a good day. Have a good day at work and school this week!
If the next person who calls your work phone or who comes to the counter or sends you an email asking for assistance turns out to be a close friend, you’d be anxious to help. If you could make things easier for them, you would. If you couldn’t help in the way they wanted, you’d try to find an option.
That concept is the idea behind the Shane Company’s slogan, “Now you have a friend in the diamond business.” It proved to be so catchy that many other businesses have adapted it. It also would be a great way for us to advertise ourselves and to keep as our approach when we communicate with internal and external customers and clients.
That slogan popped into my head last week when I was talking to a receptionist I have dealt with many times and who has always been unsmiling and flatly monotone to the point of sounding unwelcoming. On my last visit to that office she was looking up my information on her computer and had not smiled, responded to my smile or acted approachable to me or any other client. Suddenly she looked up and gave me blinding smile that transformed her face and I thought, “Wow, that’s more like it!”
That’s when I realized one of her coworkers had walked up behind me. The smile was for her friend, not for me as a client. As I walked away while she was talking in an animated and warm way to her friend, I thought of how different she sounded and how much better she would represent her organization if she showed just half that caring to customers and clients. Even more importantly, I thought about how nice it would be to feel that instead of being greeted by an automaton I was greeted at the front desk by a friend.
Try taking that approach at work and see how differently you treat people and how differently they respond. Notice how much you want to put them at ease and assure them that they will be helped; how anxious you are to do their projects correctly; how you give them the benefit of the doubt if they are a bit difficult to deal with; how you make everything as easy for them as possible. Projecting the spirit of a friend who wants to help has a tremendous impact on others and gets much more positive results.
Treat customers or clients as if they have a friend in your business–you!