Being Positive Boosts Creativity!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Taking a positive approach increases creativity & problem solving by 20%.

Michelle Gielan, in her bestselling book, Broadcasting Happiness, refers to research that shows how being positive about others can make big changes to performance at work.  In one study she found that “pairing problems with solutions increased research participants’ creative problem solving abilities on subsequent unrelated tasks by 20 percent.”  And apparently it also improved their mood!

We’ve quoted before the research by Warwick University that happy employees are 12% more productive and unhappy ones 10% less productive. The research team have said (in a Fast Company article);  “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity.  Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has found that the brain works much better when a person is feeling positive. At those times, individuals tend to be more creative and better at solving problems.  When workers are happy they’re more effective collaborators working toward common goals.

We’d all love to work for a company that is full of happy and productive workers wouldn’t we?  How many of us work for that company now?

We all have the ability to make this happen where we work – we are all creating our company culture all of the time.

Michelle Gielan, in her research says  ‘…we are actually changing people all the time–shaping how others process the world through our words and body language’.  In a Forbes article she cites a study by the University of California where;  strangers were sat in a room together for just two minutes, without talking.  When their emotions were tested afterwards it was found that  ‘’the most expressive person in the room ended up influencing the other two people.  If one person was frowning and crossing their arms, the other two felt less happy or more agitated. If the most expressive person was smiling or relaxed, it made the others feel more positive.  All that in just two silent minutes!’’

We all have that power to enable creativity and productivity in our workplaces…by being ourselves at work, bringing all of us to work, not holding back but fully engaging.

If we let go of anything in our heads telling us what we should or shouldn’t be like, the stuff that can hold us back;  ‘I should be professional’,  ‘to contribute I need to have a good idea’,  ‘I’m not creative enough’, we wouldn’t hold back.  We’d let go of self-consciousness and be our natural selves.  We’d step into flow and be naturally impressive – our natural best selves!

Do you have the courage to get stuck in, be involved and express your views?

Here are three powerful tips that promote a positive workplace and increase creativity.
Practice.  Play!

  1. Decide to stop conforming. Let go of your learnt behaviours and workplace persona of professionalism.   Let go of controlling your impact.  Trust that you’ll get it right. Be yourself.
  2. Decide to never be the mood hoover.  Take your brightness and natural excitement and focus it on making others happy – vs yourself.
  3. Stay conscious of always being open to the new.  Imagine.  Play.  Visualise.  Set a reminder to have a bite-sized 1-minute of dreaming.  Even if there is no creative agenda at the moment.  The practice will slowly reprogramme you to always connect with wider future possibilities.


Want a 31% Productivity Boost in Your Workplace?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

”A manager who put his team’s attention on all the things they were doing right, increased the whole team’s productivity by 31 percent in three weeks.   Changing the way managers talk to employees in this optimistic fashion is a game-changer for boosting performance and your bottom line.’’

Seeing a ‘Caution Slow Driver’ sign in a car window made me think about how people generally think of and treat other people when going about normal daily life.  The driver of this car obviously feels the need to advertise how they drive – because, I wonder, they regularly experience impatience or irritation from other drivers on the road?   We do the same with green L plates in the UK to warn of an inexperienced driver so I guess it’s a good idea for road safety isn’t it? However, what is it saying about the normal reactions of others?

Do we need to wear labels or badges to let people know more about us and how we are feeling that day e.g. ‘worried about my child’s exams’,  ‘had a bad night’s sleep’,  ‘hungover’,  ‘I’m nervous about speaking to you’ or how about ‘can’t pay my latest bills’ and ‘recently bereaved’.  Would we treat people differently if we all wore badges such as these – with more sensitivity & understanding?  Do we need these things spelt out to be empathetic and more aware of our impact on others?

We humans tend to make everything about us.

  • an abrupt email from a colleague means they don’t like us,
  • traffic delays on the way to work means the world’s against us and therefore we’ll have a bad day,
  • busyness at work means that we are so much more stressed than others.
We expect the world to give us what we want and then blame the world if that doesn’t happen, or blame others if they don’t behave exactly as we would like.
Be honest, how positive are you in general about other people and their behaviour, and do you think it matters?

Well it does.
Research by Wake Forest University in the US reported in ScienceDaily, asked participants to rate positive and negative characteristics of just three people, and by what they said, the researchers were able to find out important information about the rater’s well-being, mental health, social attitudes and how they were judged by others.  ”The researchers found strong associations between positively judging others and how enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable and capable the person describes oneself and is described by others.”
The study also found that how positively you see other people shows how satisfied you are with your own life, and how much you are liked by others.  In contrast, negative perceptions of others are linked to higher levels of narcissism and antisocial behaviour.  “The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders.”  So we can be happier and more positive by being more positive about others.  Plus, this makes a difference to them too.  We all know the saying about people being ‘drains’, their negative energy having a detrimental impact on others – the opposite is just as true – positive influence is just as powerful.
Being positive and empathetic about others not only improves their mood, it improves your mood and boosts productivity! Here are some tips on how to promote seeing the positive in others:

  • See the mistakes and help others to learn from them without dampening their confidence.
  • If performance is really a problem then tackle it productively.  Make a plan with your team member and inject encouragement and measurement.
  • Genuinely see the good in others in all situations – think kindness.
  • Remember that mistakes are human – but set the bar high to avoid them.  Be clearer.
  • Keep your power – others can’t make you feel cross or fed up – only you can with the response you choose, so choose to be optimistic and hopeful instead.
  • Don’t make everything about you, how you feel, the impact on you, and your reality of the situation, take a step back, pause and think: what’s really happening?
  • Swap negative language for positive – problem to challenge, loss to learning, and inconsistency to flexibility.
  • Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of you.  Your iAM values.
 Being positive about others and caring how you impact on them shows that you like them, driving acceptance, motivation and engagement – and ultimately not only a happier workplace but also a more productive one.

Wound up by Colleagues to the Point of Poisoning!

Discovery Centre From Courageous Success Inspiration

A recent US news story (reported in HRGrapevine) reports on an office dispute that went too far, and brownies designed as a leaving present were baked with laxatives!

Research from Brother UK has revealed an interesting list of the main causes of office arguments and disruption;

  • Gossiping colleagues rates at number one, with 34% of workers citing it.
  • Followed by loud-mouthed colleagues ranked at 31%.
  • Messy workers – 27%.
  • Theft – 26% (!)
  • And tardiness – 26%.

Wow!  How do you feel about your co-workers?  And how annoying are you!?
There are lots of reasons why office disputes or unpleasantness can happen, including stress, deadlines, focus, frustration and lack of conscious awareness.  We are all different and we often like to work differently, one person’s annoyingly messy desk can be viewed by another as a productive and creative space, with everything to hand.
The vast majority of us – whether we are conscious of it or not – are judgmental.  Malcom Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’, talks about how we ‘thin slice’ and make judgements and decisions on small amounts of data and experience. We filter the world based on our point of view, frequently stopping us from being truly open and tolerant of others, let alone welcoming our differences.
A lack of real connection at work often stops us bringing our true selves to work, and prevents realness and trust.

So, is it just luck as to whether we like and get on with our co-workers or not?
Is it all about them – or also about you?  Would you like to work with you?
We know that all of us can actively do something to create good working relationships that fuel a real and trusting work environment. 
Research from Relate shares that having good connections is important for our well-being as well as our health.  Thinking positively about others and building relationships and trust is important, it makes us feel connected and ourselves. Research shows that there is also a clear link between building positive relationships with trust and business performance.Paul J Zak has spent years researching this link and has found, (as reported in HBR): ’’Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives and 40% less burnout.’’His research has also found that when we start to trust someone, oxytocin is released in the brain. A so called ‘sociable’ chemical, it increases empathy, a rather useful trait when trying to work with others! Impacting motivation, energy and positive culture.
From our work with iAM, bringing realness to individuals and teams, we see an average impact of 85% on improving relationships. And this week I’d like to share some of the power of our trust building approach!
Some top tips for creating more trust in your relationships, team and business culture;

  1. Decide to actively lift your openness and notice when you are holding back.  How much of a relationship do you have with your inner self and how you are seen by others?  What’s your self-awareness like?  Do you have a filter?  Notice!  You matter!
  2. Decide to be less defensive about your own ideas and opinions; ask others how to make them even better, and welcome opinion and commentary.
  3. Share information about yourself. A google study found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.  Great, but openness often starts with you.  It’s ok to let people in.
  4. Embrace difference.  Notice difference.  Instead of deciding people are wrong, better or worse than you, see them as different to you.  Remember that we are all unique and others are not like you, so stop expecting them to be!
  5. Make friends at work. Remembering that our colleagues are funny and real people, rather than just roles, humanises the workplace.  Do you decide to see the real and engage with the best in others?
  6. Be curious, what can I learn from this situation or other’s ideas?  Stop needing to prove yourself or your rightness and absorb instead.
  7. Manage your emotional response and take accountability for your mood – don’t give your power away.  Realise that others may see you as a challenge.  Don’t stop challenging but decide to stop being the challenge!
8/9/10. Be yourself at work.

Watching Pain Dry or Real Inclusion?!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

17% of employees would rather watch paint dry than attend a team meeting! (

How do you feel about your meetings, work and colleagues and how does this affect your interaction with your team?  A recent study by Accenture reports on the reasons for our “unhappiness” at work;

  • 31% of people don’t like their boss.
  • 31% feel a lack of empowerment.
  • 35% site internal politics.
  • 43% feel a lack of recognition (oh gosh don’t get me started on this one!)

One of the most popular workshops for Courageous Success is High Performing Team.  It yields an average reported 85% impact on improved relationships.  One of the reasons for its power and popularity is that the clear majority of “Team” approaches leave one thing out and ours doesn’t…..YOU!
If you are feeling anywhere near any of the four points above, your team could be in trouble.  Why?  Your approaches, energy, enthusiasm, reactions and persona could negatively impact the group.  You will be affecting inclusion.
Again and again we see a group of individuals seeing their team as something outside of themselves.  They don’t tend to see that they are an active part of it.  The same with a business.  Every person in a company is the company culture.  It is not an entity separate from ourselves.

We all have a role to play in managing our reactions and supporting our team members to succeed.



This week is a great example of this for me.  We had an experience afternoon in London this week.  Back to back and with jetlag from working with our Sydney team last week, I am naturally tired and there’s no time to stop.  Its full on!  19 hours before the event’s kick off the Hotel declares that there’s a problem and we can’t use the room.  We have 30 minutes to find a new one, email all the guests, pay and get it sorted.  As you can imagine, the stress that this creates in the moment is enormous.  Panic, fury, self-blame all flood into the consciousness.  All three of which have the power to destroy the event through mashing our internal world, let alone damage relationships as we react with each other.
We did it.  New hotel.  Free screen (now there’s a blessing).  Emails out.  Guests lovely and very understanding.
How did we do it without damage?  By managing our reactions with ourselves and each other.  By supporting each other to not make it about us.  And by choosing, in the moment, to not even think of the drama and fear, but instead pragmatically get on with it.
We know that everyone has the power to control their minds and reactions.  We can all manage our self-confidence and not blame others.  And when we do, we step into realness and evaporate politics.   We feel empowered to achieve.  We know that we are good enough and don’t need external recognition to validate ourselves.  Hopefully we’ll also like the boss, because they’ve supported us, not blamed us and seen challenge, not as a failure, but as a part of being human.
The thought of watching paint dry seems like such a waste of time to me.  Much more exciting is working with people like you!

How Sticky Are You?!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Legend has it that Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before finally getting financing for his dream of creating Walt Disney World. It’s also been said that KFC founder Colonel Sanders was rejected 1009 times before finding a taker for his chicken recipe.

Could you persist 302 or 1009 times? 

I am in Sydney this week.  Meaning?  Severe jetlag, with a global to do list that’s full on, and a need to be flexible with an ever-moving diary. Fitting in 21 plus conversations into 5 days, with team catch ups, calls with the UK & US and the usual challenges of running a business!  Combine this with the absolute fact that every time I do this trip to work with our Aus team, I get here and day one, everything changes!  People move their meets, postpone or suddenly want to book in.  A roller coaster with 4-6 hours’ sleep.  Two very clear strengths are always required.  Resilience and Courageousness!

Those of you who know Courageous Success know that what we do is ground breaking and changing the face of work and everything that we experience there.  But, as I go on a global mission to transform the way the world develops people, I encounter my fair share of resistance;

  • “Is it like MBTI?”
  • “I get calls that say we are different all the time so what makes you and iAM so special?”
  • “Sell it to me”.

I walk the pavements with hope and a mission and a huge heap of courageousness.  People literally say to me every day, “how do you do it?  How are you so courageous?  How come you keep going?  How can you work so many hours? “  (the hotel that I always stay in share that I am their most hard-working customer lol).

Linda Apsley, Director at Microsoft, once shared, when asked about critical success factors that, resilience is first, in other words, what she sees is “the ability to roll with the many experiences you will encounter in your life. Be willing to stay focused on your goals regardless of voices that might discourage you.”

Yes!  I don’t believe that you have to be on a mission like we are at Courageous Success to galvanise persistence.  But I know (from personal experience!) as well as working with you all, that when we choose, yes choose, to stay focused, and put aside our fears, that magic happens.  The magic?  We let go and, in our vulnerability, we are ourselves.  Freedom.  We are brave and go for it.

So, no matter what your career, purpose (it’s ok to have the purpose of wanting to pay the mortgage and drink cocktails at leisure – sounds good!)  If we give up, we have lost.  Persistence is the energy that makes everyone’s dreams come true.

Imagine if at work we all visualised success and stuck to it…

  • If you think about achieving your goal, does it fill you with excitement, energy and hope? If not – what would?
  • Ask yourself how much you want the goal, score it out of 10, if the score is low, you could be focusing on the wrong thing – what would be a better goal?
  • Look at what you are trying to achieve – have a clear goal or objective to focus on.
  • Create a compelling vision of your goal, how can it be an expression of you?  How can you uniquely create or contribute to it? How will you feel when you have achieved it?
  • Be honest with yourself.  Out of 10 how much are you being persistent?
  • Make the choice – decide not to give up. Flexing and adapting is fine if it makes the outcome better, but the simple act of making a pact with yourself, a promise, is simply a choice – but a powerful one.
  • Be conscious of your well-being, keep your batteries charged.
  • Create a plan and talk about it.
Once you verbalise and personalise a goal, persistence becomes the fuel of success.

Happiness = Productivity

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Courageous Success clients report an average impact of 88% on their positivity and happiness.
Sounds fluffy for the workplace?

Not if it’s a major contributor to an 84% impact on improved performance!
A study of nearly 2,500 people in the US by Temkin Group, has found an enormous link between happiness and productivity at work.  Their research demonstrated that people are more likely to do the following at work based upon high happiness levels vs. those with low happiness levels;
✓ Do something good for the company, even if it’s not expected of you +50%
✓ Try your best to do a good job for the company +28%
✓ Stay late at work if something needs to be done after your normal workday ends +27%
✓ Make a recommendation about an improvement that can be made to the company +60%
✓ Help someone you work with even if they don’t ask for help + 23%
✓ Look for a new job outside the company during the next six months -30%

So, if you believe that your energy and happiness state doesn’t affect your productivity or those around you, think again!
I repeatedly see people including senior leaders at all levels sabotage their own happiness, with no thought of the impact.  How?  They let their mood be affected by others and don’t control their emotional response.  They believe that they can’t be themselves and conform to “workplace norms” so feel monotone and deflated.  They compare themselves to others and knock their own confidence.  They hold back rather than be courageous and say it as it is.  They reserve the real them and their clear thoughts, visions and opinions for life outside of work or just for their own team.
Is this you? 

Our tips to create habits and routines to boost happiness and productivity:

  • Be the same person at work as you are at home – bring all of you to work.
  • Accept that others might be different to you, and will do things differently – embrace the richness of diversity.
  • Take the positivity challenge; for ten days choose to see the positive in all situations and in all interactions with others. Avoid negative influences e.g. the media or negative people.
  • Apply gratitude to your working life – notice the good in others and hold positive expectation.
  • Make the choice to always have a positive impact on those you interact with – wherever you are and whoever it is.
  • Be generous – share your ideas and yourself.  Let the people around you know that you like them, be consciously empathetic and look for every opportunity to give.
  • Be conscious of your inner dialogue: does it need to change to be more positive and optimistic?
  • Take responsibility for your own happiness, don’t wait for something or someone to make you happy.
  • Visualise what you would like to happen, where you would like to be in the future.
  • Watch your language: use positive language consistently, both internally and externally.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader? Am I making enough effort to make a difference?
It is your choice:  make the most of everyday, whatever you are doing, and make a positive difference for you and those around you. 
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Self -Awareness, A Rare Quality?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Bad company culture costs UK economy £23.6 billion,
according to research by BreatheHR reported in HR Magazine.

The report also revealed the benefits of positive workplace cultures, including improved morale and relationships (cited by 44%), better customer service and satisfaction (43%), and reduced employee turnover (35%).
What is it that stops company cultures being positive? What is it that makes the culture of a company – driven by the top or a combination of all employees’ behaviour? Do we all take responsibility for it or expect it to be ‘made’ for us by senior managers? Could the reason people complain of bad culture be the unintended consequences of lots of people either not caring about or lacking awareness of their impact on others?
The organisational psychologist Tasha Eurich, has done lots of research into self-awareness and writing in HBR (What Self-Awareness Really Is, and How to Cultivate It) says, ”research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative.  We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. ….We are better workers who get more promotions. And we’re more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies.’’

However Eurich’s research has revealed that  ”…even though most people believe they are self-aware, self-awareness is a truly rare quality. We estimate that only 10%–15% of the people we studied actually fit the criteria.’’



How aware are you of your impact on others, aware or mostly unconscious of it? We know how we feel when we experience rude or bad behaviour from others, the car that cuts you up, someone pushing into a queue ahead of you. And yet we also all know how positive we feel when we experience the opposite from others, the unexpected coffee made, the door held open for you, a seat on the train offered up, or as one member of the Courageous Success team will always remember, the stranger on a London Underground escalator that rescued them from falling.
Think about your day to day life and  routines, how you interact with fellow commuters, how you talk to family, friends and co-workers, do you consider whether you are making a positive or negative impression, improving their day and lives or having the opposite affect?
Do you care?
Erin Urban writing in Forbes, ”We do things without considering the repercussions or even realizing that our actions and words matter. We dish out our opinions on social media in thoughtless disregard to the ripples that they cause. …We have become so convinced of our own powerlessness that we don’t stop to think that what we do shapes the very world around us every single day.’’
We do have a choice, we can choose to have a negative or positive impact on those around us.
Self-awareness is about knowing ourselves, what motivates and drives us, along with what irritates us or wobbles our confidence. Knowing your iAM values gives you that internal awareness. Once we have this we can self-regulate and manage our reactions, moods and emotions. And it is also about having external awareness (Eurich’s definition: how well we understand how others see us), being conscious of the impact we have on those around us, and aiming to make it a positive one.
If we all become more conscious of our impact on others and decide to always make it positive, imagine how you could transform your company culture?Our top tips for contributing to a positive culture:
  • Be conscious of your personal impact on others?  Ask yourself, what am I radiating to others?  Choose to always make it positive.
  • Create a personal mantra for your way of being, and then express it to make others feel special.
  • Choose to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.
  • Commit to becoming self-aware, be courageous and ask for feedback from your team or work colleagues,  Eurich recommends having a ‘Loving critic’, someone you trust, who you know wants you to be successful and will also be completely honest and direct with you.
  • Practice giving people your full attention and remain focused in their conversation and not yours.
  • As a leader or manager, connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
Smile, enjoy what you are doing and your connection with others, behave in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart!


Authenticity – what if the real me is a Jerk?!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

”What if your real self is a jerk?”  

Writing in the Huffington Post, Bill George the author of Authentic leadership in 2003, paraphrases another author.  He was observing that the term ‘Authentic Leadership’ has more recently been re-interpreted and used as an excuse for bad behaviour; ”being locked into a rigid view of one’s leadership, being rude and insensitive, refusing to change, or not adapting one’s style to the situation.’’ 
We know, as George states, that ”People are not born as jerks, nor does this behaviour reflect their authentic selves…. by understanding themselves and reframing their experiences, they can find the pearl inside that represents their authentic selves…that’s why exploring who they are and getting honest feedback from their colleagues are essential elements of becoming authentic leaders.’’ 
This week Isaac Getz, (professor of Leadership and Innovation at ESCP Europe Business School), speaking to HR Magazine about his forthcoming book Leadership Without Ego, said “If you’re not Trump you wouldn’t be president!”  He was talking about the fact that many Leaders and CEOs get to where they are by having an ego, ie: self-belief and pushiness, however his new book highlights that ” Leaders must abandon their egos and be truly authentic to be most effective …. if a CEO wants to transform their organisation around trust they need to start with themselves.” Getz acknowledges that ”….this takes high levels of confidence for leaders to achieve…abandoning your ego is directly connected with vulnerability. You’re responsible but you give people the keys.’’

Courageous Success clients, as a result of iAM personal values, truly understand themselves at heart, and report the positive impact on their leadership as 85%.

It is as simple as knowing who we are at heart- our iAM Values – the real us – and then being that person wherever we are.  Bringing who we are outside of work, into work.
Bill George states five qualities for authentic leadership:  understanding their purpose, practicing solid values, leading with heart, establishing connected relationships and demonstrating self-discipline.   
And we would add: being self-aware, knowing your triggers and how to manage them, parking your ego and being collaborative, showing vulnerability.  
The benefits of authenticity at work, reported by HBR, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress.   So it works.  We gravitate to, and tend to like people who are authentic.  We all want to work for and be with people we like.   
Karen Blackett, Chair of Mediacom, named by the FT as a champion of women in business and voted by her peers as the Ad industries most admired leader, recently told Director magazine;  ”The leaders that are inspirational to me are who they are. They aren’t pretending to have all the answers. They show vulnerability as well as courage.’’

Here are some tips for bringing the real you into work:

  • Be the same person at work as at home, you’ll feel and come across as more real and natural. Be true to your values.
  • Don’t make it all about you – really connect with and engage with others – listen.
  • Don’t conform, we often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal.
  • Don’t expect yourself or try and present yourself as perfect – no-one is, showing vulnerability and admitting mistakes shows we are human and normal.
  • Be encouraging and build self-belief in others – always see the best.
  • Be open, consistent and approachable in your communication – even in difficult situations this approach builds trust.

Park your ego for good and be the real you!

Did Your Saturday Job Teach a Good Work Ethic?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

55% of business decision makers and 60% of corporate recruiters in the US, say they wish grads had developed more soft skills in college (soft skills refer to work philosophy, work style, attitude, and other traits).   Research by Bentley University quoted in Forbes.

What is it that makes fitting into the world of work so challenging?  Is work ethic declining or actually is it all about just being yourself?  Is it about having to work with the likes of you?!
We don’t know a single person with an iAM Values set who wouldn’t have a great work ethic if they were themselves, and then by being themselves: stopped trying to impress by dominating or holding themselves back and adjusting due to a lack of self-confidence.
Also from the Bentley University research, 62% of respondents say that millennials’ lack of preparedness for the workforce is “a real problem.” Among business decision makers and corporate recruiters, 64% say this is a problem for their own company, and 74% say this impairs the larger U.S. economy.’’
But is it all about “learning” a work ethic or do we actually hold the answers within? 
There has been much made recently about the snowflake generation or Millennials not adapting to work as previous generations – having a more ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude.   This research found a discrepancy between what graduates and business stakeholders feel is important;
”…23% of business decision makers and 18% of corporate recruiters identified work ethic as crucial. But only 7% of high school students and 9% of college students did so’’.
Last week the front page story of the UK Telegraph caught my eye. UK Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, shared the fact that teens being employed in part time work has declined, possibly by as much as 60%, resulting in a lack of understanding and preparedness for the world of work.  ”Young people do not have the “soft skills” required for work, she stated, explaining young people were turning up for jobs late or constantly checking their phones, leading employers to look elsewhere.’’

But is it all about being prepared – or about confidence, being engaged and following our own inner compass?

We find that the vast majority of people have an iAM value about achievement, making a difference and/or having a positive impact – we like to get things done – so what is it that gets in the way?
Are we born with a work ethic, or is it something that we can develop?  People often don’t think that they can do things – when they can.  We often don’t control our negative thoughts that stop us achieving or going for things, and it is these negative thoughts that keep us thinking all about ourselves.  We make up excuses for ourselves and act as if these excuses are normal. If we weren’t so self-absorbed, would we be nailing it more naturally?
In our experience work ethic is about attitude and being attuned to others rather than ourselves, serving others or creating a purpose to be useful and helpful.  Moving away from ‘what’s in it for me?’ to asking ‘how can I be most useful?’Here are our tips to make it about others and be more purposeful at work and in life;
  • Ask yourself: “am I winding people up and blaming them or am I taking accountability for the impact that I have?”
  • Practice giving people your full attention and remain focused in their conversation and not yours.
  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way – all wanting to do their best – they are not there to service just you and your needs.
  • Choose not to coast but be purposeful every day, and ideally in every moment – Courageous Success – the verb!
  • As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team and show your human side.  Admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
  • Choose to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.
  • Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart. If you are not enjoying it – find a way to and take accountability for your mood.
  • Consider: what is my personal impact on others? What am I radiating to others?
  • Create a personal mantra for your way of being, and then express it to make others feel special, supported, connected, helped.
Harness your inner work ethic, and enjoy it! 

How Much of a Contradiction Are You?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

”It’s easier to love humanity than it is to love your neighbour.’’

This was an audience member contributing to a recent public debate, hosted by the BBC and the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, about citizenship and global identity. And it really made me think.
The contributor went on to explain that loving humanity is easy as it’s so big and an unknown – a wonderful ideal, whereas it’s hard to love your neighbour as you know them.  You know the good and bad and some of those bad bits might really annoy you! 
This got me thinking about other ways that we fallible humans say and think the right thing, but often miss the opportunity to do the right thing – either because it’s too hard, we just miss the connection completely or think it’s someone else’s job.  Our actions not matching our thoughts and or words.
In the same week, HR Magazine reported on Matthew Taylor chief executive of the RSA, speaking at the Engage for Success Conference in London about the importance of engaging workforces about how ”the idea that all employees should experience good work, is having a moment right now”.
 “The most innovative organisations in the world are innovative because they have creative communities”.  For leaders, he said, this means creating a community where “people feel in it together” and “a culture where employees are encouraged to take risks rather than a leadership based on bureaucracy”.  
How many of us already know this, understand this, want to change but then for whatever reason get buried in the detail, the task, and normal habits and carry on as we always have? Is this taking the easiest route?  Staying within our comfort zone or in the ‘protection’ of our role or position?


Allowing ourselves to become stuck and creating a contradiction in our thoughts and actions at work.


From our research we know that, 70% of people use words and phrases like ‘doubting’, ‘worrier’, ‘overthinking’, ‘lacking confidence’, when describing themselves.  How often do we blame these feelings on our surroundings and what happens to us?  How many of us put conditions, (those pesky things outside of us again) to the thought of situations changing or taking any action ourselves;  we could do that but…, I could be nicer to my neighbour but….. , I’ll do that when……
How many of us are stuck in these ways of being, doing and thinking that don’t help us to get the best out of our situation and lives?    
Thinking and doing the same, means that you will always get the same – becoming unconsciously complacent and stagnating – stuck in the hamster wheel.  In the workplace it might mean staying with an old-fashioned style of command and control or master/servant leadership or living with bureaucracy, systems or processes that can stifle engagement and creativity.

We know that we can all look internally to shift our perspective on any situation we find ourselves in.  Concentrating on the good things about our neighbour rather than focusing on the small annoyances, leading changes at work that could create greater engagement.

81% of Courageous Success clients say ‘I now feel I have the power to change my workplace.’
We know it is possible.

Challenge the inconsistencies in your thoughts and actions, be conscious of them and then go further;  what steps can you take to put your best thoughts into actions and make a positive difference?

  • Genuinely see the good in others in all situations – think kindness.
  • Keep your power – others can’t make you feel cross or fed up – only you can with the response you choose, so choose to be optimistic and hopeful instead.
  • Don’t make everything about you, how you feel, the impact on you, and your reality of the situation, take a step back, pause and think: what’s really happening?
  • Swap negative language for positive – problem to challenge, loss to learning, and inconsistency to flexibility.
Commit to make at least one positive change now, in what you say or do at work. to create a better culture.