WASHINGTON, D.C., USA —
No one can definitively say how long social distancing and shelter in place restrictions will be in effect, or the ramifications of social unrest and curfew restrictions. But the impact is already being seen on both a micro and macro level. However, with these eight, easy-to-implement strategies shared by Michael Einbinder-Schatz, award-winning inspirational speaker, cybersecurity expert and President of Jobecca Technology Group, anyone can move forward with a sense of power and purpose.
It’s simple: if you hit snooze, you lose…so you might as well move. Whether it’s talking a walk around the block at a brisk pace, hitting the weights, or (my favorite), hopping on the Peloton, when you start your day with physical activity, you infuse yourself with energy and release endorphins. All of this can carry forward to help you be more positive and productive during your day.
I think of wins as turbo-charged gratitude. We can be grateful for things that just exist in our life like sunshine, birds singing, clean drinking water or the love and support of a life-partner. But a win is something that you experience or participated in that left you feeling great. It could be a work accomplishment, like finishing a difficult report or finalizing a big deal. It could be personal, like exercising on a day where you really didn’t feel like it. It could be big or small. The key is that the wins are out there to be had…all around us. It is our job to see the opportunities, grab them and document them. How important are wins? In my company, we have a daily huddle and everyone has to bring a win to the meeting. When I started this about three years ago, a couple of my employees struggled to find even the smallest win in their lives. However, as they heard everyone else’s wins, they started seeing the wins that already existed in their own lives and reporting them. When we walk away from our huddles, we have increased our energy because we know we will definitely experience wins in our day ahead and our only job is to look for them and take advantage when the opportunities are present.
There are so many benefits to laughter, including: lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, improving cardiac health, releasing endorphins and many others. At work and home, I am known as one who looks for the humor in many situations. As such, laughter is a big part of my life. But what if you are wired differently? No matter, you can watch a favorite sitcom, watch a comedy special, or even go to YouTube and watch videos of cats beating up dogs. If you end up laughing, you will feel more energy. So tap into this simple tool whenever you can to improve your mood and outlook.
When the pandemic hit, we were fortunate that all of our clients remained open, but shifted to a work from home model. We did too at my company. What I noticed in talking to clients and my employees was that some people were having a time drawing a line between work and downtime. Of course, some lag in productivity, but more often it was the opposite…people driving themselves too hard and then face-planting at the end of the day, exhausted and out of balance. When I sensed this, I mandated that everyone at my company be mindful of their energy and take breaks whenever needed. If you’re struggling with the balance, take a break, go outside, take a nap…whatever helps you recharge. You’ll be amazed at the difference in your overall outlook.
Spirituality can mean different things to different people. Whether it be religion, meditation, or anything else that puts you in touch with a greater purpose, it is really important to make time to ground yourself and allow spirituality to enter your life and mix with your physical energy. Doing so on a regular basis will definitely improve mood and deliver insights that might otherwise remain dormant. And insights are a key ingredient necessary for moving forward with purpose.
In these times, some folks are responding to their fears and isolating. My suggestion to all is connect, connect, CONNECT. If you’re non-technical, pick up the phone. There’s people who will be glad to hear from you and the connection will lift your spirits. For those more technically inclined, this shift to a “new normal” is coming at a time where technology offers incredible tools to facilitate connection. Whether it’s watching a streamed movie that’s synchronized between people houses or continents away (Netflix Party), virtual card tournaments (card application combined with video conferencing) or the simple happy hour or shared virtual dinner on a service like Zoom, connecting with friends offers incredible benefits that remain, even when the event is over. I participate in a regular Hearts tournament with close friends and have organized a bi-weekly virtual Happy Hour with friends from my little high school. Seeing friends connect for the first time in decades (and act like they saw each other yesterday, falling into old teenage habits) is so invigorating, I’ve actually taken the fuel and gotten more work done after these calls.
I challenge anyone to sing a song they love and not feel energized and passionate afterward. You may not know it, but singing has a host of health benefits, including strengthening the immune system, improving sleep quality, lowering stress and serving as a natural anti-depressant. I started a group for quarantined folks who like to sing and it’s been so much fun to participate. But guess what? If you don’t like your voice, you can sing in the shower, where everyone sounds good and, most importantly, you can tap into the benefits above and have a positive impact on your mindset.
Finally, to improve productivity, consider getting yourself an accountability partner or hiring a coach. With a partner you each keep each other accountable for stated outcomes, whereas a coach helps keep you accountable. I’ve had both and they are great tools. My current coach works with me on the 3-5 items I want to accomplish each day to move forward on personal and professional initiatives. Each weekday evening, we talk for 3-4 minutes with a simple “Yes/No” format on the initiatives. I can recommit for missed initiatives, or choose to refocus if things have changed. The benefit is that I can see myself accomplishing things even on days where challenges erupted. Even the smallest tasks that work toward a stated initiative, when completed, can release dopamine that keeps you coming back for more positive reinforcement. This is further enhanced as you look at the impact these steps have over time in reaching even the biggest initiatives. These become Wins that can then be documented and celebrated.
Trying these easy-to-follow strategies can be the difference between going forward with passion and purpose and giving up. So take a breath and try them today!