While trends in the past few years have advocated bringing your whole self to work, the prevailing culture in many industries still expects employees to leave their personal stuff at the door and stick to business when on the job. It seems the move toward openness has been brushed off the side of the desk in favor of leaner operations with the current economy. This kind of ‘fluff’ just doesn’t impact the bottom line that much. Or does it?
How much productivity is impeded by workplace conflict and resistance to change? Adapting to changes in the marketplace requires innovation and creativity. Typically the mantra of go to work, keep your head down, get the job done and go home does not inspire much innovation or creativity.
Taking Respopnisbility is Key I started on the personal development track over twenty years ago when I realized the future I had envisioned wasn’t being offered to me. Rather than blaming my upbringing or being victim to economic factors, I needed to take responsibility for improving my life. Beyond upgrading my education it was evident my self-concepts were not serving me well. Extremely afraid of being judged, when someone in authority asked to speak with me the fear of being in trouble froze me on the spot. In developing self awareness I began to see how past conditioning affected everything I heard, felt and saw. Imagine my relief when the boss was simply asking if I could contribute to a project proposal. I found I could be much more enthusiastic and spontaneously creative when I wasn't afraid of saying or doing something wrong.
Applying Self Awareness With self-awareness, I became aware when others were stuck in their own stuff. Consequently, if someone I was working with was being demanding it didn’t serve me to get defensive or resistant. Instead I would be curious about what was driving their behavior, empathize and offer solutions where appropriate. Whatever they were dealing with wasn’t about me at all.
Working with business owners for 10 years I have noticed that those who choose self employment to avoid conflicts with authority in traditional work settings often made a big mistake. Rather than freeing themselves from conflict by starting their own business, they were setting themselves up for failure. When you run your own business it is imperative to be aware of yourself so you can have impeccable respectful relationships with everyone: your customers, your employees and most importantly new prospects.
Presence serves Relationship Building Being present to what others are dealing with personally, develops rapport, strengthens relationships and makes it easier to collaborate when the need arises. There have been countless times when listening to my colleague’s personal challenges has strengthened the bonds of trust between us. They are infinitely more willing to respond to a request from me because they know I genuinely care about them.
In retrospect it is apparent that Personal Development: self awareness, taking 100% responsibility for how I respond, and being able to respond to situations with the best of my ability has served my career path very well. I leveraged a two year diploma program in media resources and 10 years of production coordination experience into a Program Coordinator position in a well respected educational institution without any further academic education. My personal/spiritual development and coach training gave me the skills to serve as a business coach. My commitment to personal development has allowed me to experience a great deal of joy and happiness in my work and a rewarding path for my business.
So who needs personal development in business? We all do: for advancement, to improve productivity and to adapt to changing times. Whether you take it upon yourself to get it as I did or engage in programs through your business it is a worthwhile investment.
Imagine what our businesses and workplaces would be like if everyone was self aware, 100% responsible, and responding to the needs of the moment with the best of their ability; I’d want to do business with them, wouldn’t you?
Quote: "To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted." George Kneller