Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blog article link: Six Positive Professional Development Strategies for the Toxic Workplace

The first two strategies from the article (based on strategies in a Psychology Today article):

1. Keep the Focus on You

As the Psychology Today article points out, it helps to start by keeping the focus on you and your responses to various situations. You can't control what other people do or say, but you can control how you respond. Recognizing this can be empowering and broaden the range of options for dealing with the situation that open themselves up to you. 
I also find that when you keep the focus on you, it's easier to treat your current situation as a learning experience. You can ask yourself on a regular basis, "How can I get the most out of this situation so that I can continue to build myself for the next opportunity I decide to pursue?" 
2. Reframe Your Experience
One of the most helpful things I've found in dealing with toxic situations is finding a way to reframe my experience. For me, Positive Professional Development is about finding ways to learn from what's happening to us, asking positive questions that can lead us to a different way of processing our lives. So if you're in a toxic work environment or are encountering a particular challenge, asking the right kinds of questions can help you re-frame things. Some possible questions to ask include:
  • What is good about this situation? What can I appreciate and focus on?
  • What am I focusing on in this situation and how can I focus on getting MORE of what I want, rather than less?
  • What do I believe is realistically possible in this situation? How can I broaden my beliefs to expand the possiblities? 
  • What learning is available to me in this situation? How can I be open to that learning and focusing on what I can learn rather than on the negatives? 
  • What small thing can I do to make the situation just a little easier or better?
This isn't to suggest that you should tolerate a bad situation forever, but sometimes asking these kinds of positive questions can help you begin to shift into a more positive frame of mind and, therefore, into more possibilities for dealing with the situation. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

'Chris in the Morning' ~ Howl the eternal yes!

One of the first things I ever heard the Chris Stevens character say, on the 90's show "Northern Exposure":

There's a dark side to each and every human soul. We wish we were Obi-Wan Kenobi, and for the most part we are, but there's a little Darth Vader in all of us. Thing is, this ain't no either-or proposition. We're talking about dialectics, the good and the bad merging into us. You can run but you can't hide. My experience? Face the darkness. Stare it down. Own it. As brother Nietzsche said, being human is a complicated gig. So give that ol' dark night of the soul a hug. Howl the eternal yes!