What I Love about work

44 Things to Love About Work

What does your job do for you?  Have you shared what you appreciate with your boss or colleagues?

With Valentine’s Day coming up, love is in the air.  What if you shared what you enjoy about work?!

Expressing Gratitude Makes You Happier

Dr. John Gottman, a relationship researcher since 1969 and founder of The Gottman Institute, coined the phrase “sentiment override.”  It means that our feelings act as a filter when we receive information.

A positive sentiment override implies viewing the situation with potential.  At work this could translate as giving the benefit of the doubt and not taking it personally when you overhear a team member moan, “What a rotten deal!”  With a positive predisposition, this protest invites curiosity.  Is this employee discouraged?  Could something be amiss with a project or with the distribution of the workload?

Conversely, someone with a negative sentiment override distorts information to find the critique.

  • That employee always complains. This comment just proves the point.
  • Is this person expecting preferential treatment? Is he trying to squirm out of responsibility?
  • What a toxin to our team!

How can we build up our positive sentiment override?  Through gratitude.  Thankfulness protects folk from falling into the negative sentiment override.

Positive and negative perspective

44 Things to Appreciate about Work

How often do you express gratitude about your work?  To your colleagues or boss?

Even if you hate dislike your manager or team members, and your situation is less than tolerable ideal, there is surely one aspect of work for which you can express genuine appreciation.

Authenticity is key.  (Brown-nosing smells bad.)

Express sincerity by referring to a specific element of your work.  Share the impact it has on your life.   Some of these items we might take for granted.  Imagine professional life without them.  We have family members working for the US government.  They used to expect a regular paycheck.  After the first shutdown, getting paid on time is something for which they are thankful!

I was inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (survival, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization) to come up with this gratitude list.

  1. Getting paid
  2. Predictability of income
  3. A cafeteria which provides decent food at a reasonable price
  4. Office space with a comfortable chair and a coffee machine
  5. Cleaning crew that keeps the toilets (and the office) welcoming
  6. A schedule – you know where to be when
  7. Vacation time
  8. Weekends without work
  9. Evenings free to enjoy personal relationships and pursue hobbies
  10. Benefits package, possibly including health insurance
  11. Safe workplace
    (Bye, bye asbestos and lead paint)
  12. Harassment-free workplace
  13. Colleagues
    (Loneliness is a factor in the gig economy)
  14. Smiling (!!) and likable colleagues
    (Small gestures matter)
  15. Diverse colleagues
    (They stretch your learning and bring out your creativity)
  16. A sense of belonging to a team
  17. Having your ideas heard
  18. People with whom to have lunch
  19. Mentors to guide the way
  20. Completing a job well
  21. Clearly defined tasks
  22. Responsibility for a specified task or mission
  23. Recognition for your work
  24. Respect from others
  25. Tools (computer, phone…) to do your work
  26. Helpful feedback about what you do well
  27. Helpful feedback about ways to improve
  28. Training in technical skills & personal development
  29. Promotion track
  30. Stretch jobs because your boss believes in your capabilities
  31. Confidence from your boss and team mates
  32. Invitation to lunch from your boss
  33. Request for insight from a team mate
  34. A raise or bonus
  35. Congratulations as employee of the month
  36. Participating in creating something from scratch
  37. Having goals
  38. Measurable progress in reaching your goals
  39. Ability to help team members grow
  40. A boss who has your back
  41. Trust in your boss and team mates
  42. A management that embodies the corporate values
  43. Purpose-filled work
  44. Contribution to the well-being of others or society

SAY “Thank You”

Thinking thanks is a first step.  Expressing appreciate anchors the gratitude in your mind and creates connection with another person.

To whom will you share thanks about work?  Spread the love you would like to receive.

Bond as a Team

Print the 44 Things to Love about Work worksheet and invite team members to pick theirs.  Share appreciations at the next team meeting.  It might even lead to a discussion of ways to further boost engagement at work.

Love Languages at Work

Have you ever tried to make someone feel appreciated at work and it backfired? You offered chocolates (because you like to receive gifts) and the recipient gave you a wierd look. You publicly complimented a colleague who then informed you they don’t need your help defending them.

Ouch.

This is a common misunderstanding asserts Gary Chapman, author the the 5 Love Languages series. Each person is internally wired to receive love in a preferred way AND expects the rest of the world to receive and express appreciation in the same way. Chapman applies these Love Languages to personal relationships and uses the term “love.”

Aren’t we also people at work?

Engaged Employees are People who Care and Feel Appreciated

According to a Deloitte study, employee engagement banks on trust in leadership, a humanistic entourage, an inclusive environment, and high learning (a.k.a. the opportunity to make mistakes and still be appreciated).

Factors of employee engagement

With a slight paradigm tweak, Love Language insights apply to any trusting relationship seeking open communication and mutual appreciation.

The MULTIPLE Love Languages

According to Chapman (who sold 11 million copies of his books translated in to 50 languages), love and appreciation are communicated in multiple and distinct ways. Everyone has a preferred Love Language.  Appreciation expressed in this favored language encourages connectivity and cooperation. Conversely, disproval communicated in this preferred language further distances the parties; greater effort is required to “retrieve” the one who received critique to regain their attention and to motivate them.

People often assume that every other person shares his same method of expressing appreciation. That mistaken belief creates a source of frustration. An Anglophone may not understand a colleague who converses in French, and the same disconnect can occur among people “speaking” different Love Languages.

According to Chapman, there are five ways communicate that they care

  • Words of affirmation
  • Acts of service
  • Receiving gifts
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch

Implications of Love Languages at Work

How could these varying modes of connection impact your and my life at work?

1. Awareness and understanding

As an Anglophone living in Paris, I come across very young French children who hear me speak English.  They turn to their parents and ask, “Why does she speak so funny? Is something wrong with her?”

That’s when these tykes discover the notion of foreign languages.

Before we gain the ability to decipher these Love Languages, it helps to know that they exist.

2. Self-awareness and expressing preferences

Maybe you feel unappreciated at work. As you discover the various Love Languages, you also uncover your preferences. Your newfound awareness allows you to encourage team members to recognize your contributions in a way that is most meaningful to you.

When come in with a smile and a box of chocolates, I feel that you recognize my contribution to our team. It means a lot to me.” (Love Language = Receiving Gifts. Read below for more details)

3. Creativity in communication styles

In an ideal world we might identify the Love Language of our team members (and family members) and communicate accordingly.

We live in a real world…and a global one at that.

To ensure comprehension among internationals, it is helpful to communicate the same thought in multiple ways. “What’s your goal?” followed by “Describe your ideal solution.”  Who knows, they might not understand your accent!

In the same way, expand your Love Language vocabulary; try using Words of Affirmation AND Acts of Service with the same person.  It won’t hurt them AND you will grow.

4. Personalized engagement

One employee (or boss) particularly challenges you? Spend some time observing them to discover their Love Language.  In the process, you will grow in empathy and understanding AND communicate more effectively.

Impact of Love Languages at Work

Let’s take a peak at each of these communication styles and identify how to apply them appropriately in the workplace. Some ideas you will find familiar; you’re doing them already.  Do you do so with every colleague or selectively?

What new approach would you like to adapt today?

Words of Affirmation

Everyone makes mistakes AND everyone does at least one thing right.  This language focuses on identifying and naming those strengths.

With a spouse it can sound like, “Honey, great job organizing this family outing. It’s so much fun.”

With a child, one could say, “You are reliable with your schoolwork. I really appreciate not having to check up on your homework all the time. You should be proud of yourself.”

And at work:

“Thanks to your timeliness in preparing the presentation we practiced well. It helped us speak fluidly in front of the customer and present our ASK with confidence.”

“You bring good humor to our meetings which stimulates creativity for everyone. You’re an asset to the team.”

Affirmation helps identify the conditions which favor success…which we can then replicate for continued growth.

Affirmation can also reduce the risk of a new challenge by helping the individual recognize a transferable skill.

“You are rigorous in ____ (type of work), I’m confident you can apply that rigor to move us forward in this new domain.”

Affirmation is more than non-committal phrases like “Good job.” “Great team.”  These provide candy to the ego yet lack the consistency to generate a vibrant sense of belonging and feeling of contribution.

Acts of Service

These big and small gestures demonstrate an intentional kindness for the benefit of another person.

At home it might mean taking on an extra chore when your partner comes home exhausted.

How about these for the office:

To help someone with a software or a technology issue

To connect people and smooth the way with an introductory email

To help to set up the conference room

To bring the morning coffee just the way you like it (with the two dashes of cinnamon and the squirt of honey)

To ask, “How can I help?”

Receiving Gifts

It’s the thought that counts, like showing that you thought of them when they were out of sight. The size of the gift matters less than the having a present to offer.

It could be a photo of the professional event you worked so hard to organize together. A print of the two of you together or an image sent specifically to them, especially if they cannot be there with you.

Does the person enjoy a delicacy with her/his coffee?

Stick a post-it message of encouragement on their screen as you pass by.

Quality Time

The key concept is TOGETHER.

Going for a coffee break together. Inviting a colleague to grab lunch just the two of you. Playing of the company soccer team.

What about an after-work outing? Be considerate. If your colleague has a family or other personal commitment, your offer may be taking quality time away from his loved ones!

Physical Touch

According to Chapman, most men express and receiving caring (and rejection) through physical touch.

Think of the hearty handshake, even a double-handed one.  Notice those paternalistic pats on the shoulder.

In a workplace, one can create a sense of physical connection without touching.

Sit on the same side of the desk

Secure eye contact

 

So….what’s YOUR Love Language? 

P.S. And when you get home, remember those Love Languages too!

 

Boy with mom in kitchen

Say, “I Love YOU”

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

3 fruit-based skin care products especially created for kids
from TooFruit  

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Children’s Skin

When our babies were born, we all rushed to the “baby care” aisles for the creams and lotions specifically designed for the fragile skin of our newborns.

Years pass…and we are still applying baby lotion to our children when they enter the teen years and changes in their complexion clearly reveal the need for an adapted skin care routine.

Zut (“darn” in French)!

Zits (“pimples” in English)!

But what about those years in between?

Katell Perrot, mother of 3 children, and biochemist Stéphane Lafond researched children’s skin and discovered that between the ages of 6 and 12 years, our kids’ skin lacks the ability to self-protect.  Children are not able to create a hydrolipidic film to naturally protect their skin.

That’s why they founded TooFruit, to provide children with the care their skin requires: more nutrition than baby products, and more protection than lotions for adults.

 

TooFruit products

A Touch of Fruit

Besides, children delight in the delicious scents of TooFruit’s fresh fruit, organic skin treats.

It’s a way to say, “I love you,” to provide the skin care that’s best for our kids.

The Touch of Love

Gary Chapman, in his Five Love Languages series, shares that individuals express AND RECEIVE love in a unique way.  We each have a preferred love language.

As an American living in Paris, I fully relate to the notion of a preferred language.  Although I converse fluently in French, my deepest thoughts are more easily expressed in English.

Similarly, people receive love through a variety of preferred means and Chapman presents these five:

  • Loving Touch
    We know we are loved through a caress, a hug, a kiss.

  • Gifts
    We know we are loved when people remember us with a present, even a small one like a note, or buying our favorite fruit.
  • Services Rendered
    We know we are loved when people do things for us like help to fold the laundry or fill up the gas tank.
  • Shared Experience
    We know we are loved when folk enjoy spending time with us as in watching a movie together.
  • Words of Affirmation
    We know we are loved through the ways people notice our strengths and encourage us.

The Loving Touch

Chapman remarks that a majority of men and boys respond best to the loving touch.

A hug a day can keep the doctor away!

Sian Beilock, Ph.D., psychology professor at The University of Chicago and an expert on the brain science behind performance failure under pressure, further asserts that a daily dose of loving touch helps ward off sickness.

A daily dose of hugs and loving touch helps ward off sickness. Click to Tweet

Yet as our kids grow older it can feel more awkward to coddle them.  A ten year old already pleas mom and dad to stay out of sight when we take them to school!

15 Fun Ways to Share a Loving Touch with your Child

Enjoy our list of ways to love your child with an age-appropriate Loving Touch.

  1. Massage their limbs after exercise.
    Try it with TooFruit 🙂 Smells yummy.
  2. Give a good morning smooch.
    Try 3 kisses: one for each word, “I love you!” He’ll ask you what that was about, and you’ve been given the invitation to tell him.
  3. Draw a love message on their body…like on their knees.
    Klutz body crayons makes it easy and hilarious!
  4. Teach your child to cook and show him with your arms around him.
    Transform a chore into an opportunity for intimacy.  You’ll be feeding your emotions as well as your tummies.Mother son licking beaters
  5. Play bump-into-you. 
    “Excuse me; there is just no room here!” Dad pretends to squirm through a crowd when it’s just the two of you…and it turns into a hug.
  6. Give a rub-a-tub-tub.
    It’s a towel massage when princess steps out of the bath. “Wrap” her up and bounce her on her bed.
  7. Roll him up in his comforter.
    Place junior in the middle of the bed with the comforter on top. Roll him towards you and tuck in the far cover. Roll him over the other way and tuck in the side close to you. Settle him on his back (with comforter edges secured under him), lift feet and tuck in the bottom edge. Snuggly!
  8. Give her a face massage when you say good-night.
    Loving bedtime routines assure her of your caring presence.  A gentle face massage relaxe stress from the facial muscles. That makes sleep come easier!  Try TooFruit‘s face creams.
  9. Cuddle together on the sofa.
    Ideal when watching a movie or reading out loud.
  10. Put your arm around his shoulders when you ask how school went.
    Even pre-teen and teenage kids do accept a brief and casual embrace.
  11. Twirl together and be joyful.
    A loving touch all around. It’s no wonder they’re expressions like “dance with joy.”
  12. Go swimming as a family.
    Pool games like “climb on me” or “throw me higher” offer lots of healthy skin-to-skin contact…and photo opportunities.
  13. Hold hands while you pray or envelop them in your arms.
    Double whammy the love. Yours and God’s combined.
  14. Tumble together.
    Wrestle. Give them a bear hug. Don’t let go!
  15. Let them give you a “farty” kiss.
    The smooch that makes a “Pffft” kind of noise. My son tried to give me one tonight and laughed so hard he couldn’t finish the kiss.  We all roared…and felt loved.

Creative ways to spell L.O.V.E.

My husband and I celebrate 25 years of marriage this year!

What has enabled our union and our boys to thrive?  The glue is called love, in its many spellings 🙂
Love as L.A.U.G.H.
Love as L.I.S.T.E.N.
Love as L.E.A.R.N.

Love as L.A.U.G.H.

My husband has an amazing sense of humor.  When tension rises, he brings humor into the situation which enables us to communicate respectfully and productively once again.

Laughter gives us just those nanoseconds needed to let steam diffuse before we explode.  Phew.  It’s nice to be nice.  I hate myself when I act and look like a raven pecking at my kids (or something worse)

Learn to laugh at yourself:

What situation gets you M.A.D.?  Imagine you just landed from Mars and saw someone in that exact situation, what would they see, hear, and smell?  Could there be something funny about that?love love love and listen

Love as L.I.S.T.E.N.

Soooo much easier said than done.  Through my parent coaching I have become more aware of my own TOTALLY FLAWED behavior.

My most common blooper is to “listen” with my mouth open.  The children call it “giving lectures.”  Yet as tots become teens, connecting with our kids means giving them space to grow.  When I speak less, they share more.

[bctt tweet=”When I (parent) speak less, the children share more. Love is spelled L.I.S.T.E.N.”]

Learn to listen:

Write down some of the words you tell your partner and children.  Hand the list to them and ask them to read these words out loud to you.  Stand 2 meters (2 yards) away from them.  Step forward if those sayings motivate you to closeness.  Step back if those words aggravate you.  Compare your ending position to where you started out.

Invite your loved ones to add to the list and try this again.

ONCE you have shown your loved ones how you listen, invite them to “hear with their feet” too.
love love love and learn

Love as L.E.A.R.N.

Together time gets a boost during vacations.  Our family thrives on physical exercise and some kind of discovery.  It’s one of our values to embrace diversity, to move beyond our comfort zone, to choose being wonder-filled.

We ask our children all the time to stretch their knowledge (learn at school), to stretch their effort (one more bite of dinner, please), to stretch their patience (just one minute longer….)

Discovery as a family enables me to model the attitude we hope to grow in our kids.  As I struggle through my own learning, I also gain in empathy with my kids.

Learn to encourage:

It is also encouraging to cheer someone on while at their side.

Haven’t you done or been in the situation where well-meaning people act like this:  they advance faster than you and turn back to encourage.  With the distance between you, they have to scream at the top of their lungs, “KEEP IT UP.”  Their words shouted in the distance sound fumbled.  Their body language looks angry (we shout better with feet apart and a certain facial grimace!)

When we are learning we are vulnerable.  Encouragement through proximity truly passes on the message, “We’re together in this.”

Which L.O.V.E. will you apply today?

THAT is THE question!!!!

 

Cover photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

 

Improve Communication Skills by Speaking Your Message in Multiple Ways

“What did he say?” inquired the American.

“Qu’est ce qu’il a dit?” asked the French. (It means, “What did he say?”)

We roared with laughter all the more at their mutual translations AND growing frustrations.

“What did he say?” “Qu’est ce qu’il a dit?” “WHAT did he say?” “Qu’est ce qu’il a DIT?”

They did not change words, just the volume.  Even so, we could barely hear them we were laughing so loudly.

Here is the moral about communication skills:  If the message isn’t getting across, say it differently.  

[bctt tweet=”If the message isn’t getting across, say it differently.”]

Skateboard championships at base of Eiffel Tower
International skateboarders compete looking out onto the Eiffel Tower
French communication skills: a show
Behind Notre Dame
Teenager commemorating Napoleon
Showing off Napoleonic attire.
World map made of flowers
A globe made from flowers, covered in glass. Alive and fragile.
New York City skyline taken from Empire State
From the top of the Empire State Building
Times Square in New York City
Times Square in New York City
Teenager at Wall in DC
At the Vietman Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

Improve Communication Skills by Re-Phrasing Your Message

Do your kids respond, “WHAT?” to “I love you.”  Try, “Daaaaahling, you are so precious to me.”

Repeating the message with different words is a fundamental communication skill taught in multi-cultural contexts.

Are you feeling the generation gap too? Our children are from another culture!  When you don’t understand your kids, ask them to rephrase for you.  Teach them effective communication skills.  “Whatever, Dad” does not cut it.

Hone Communication Skills Using Varying Love Languages

Chores need to be done and calling out her name is not generating the desired response.

  • Is she sensitive to touch? Go to her, give her a 30 second shoulder massage, and tell her it’s time for the chores.
  • She responds better to gifts? Write her a note and fold it up into a paper airplane to remind her dishes are waiting and need to be done quick as air mail.
  • She loves shared moments. “Honey, while you put the dishes in the dishwasher, I’ll ____ (choose from your looooooong list) in the kitchen with you.”

You come up with the ideas for affirmation and acts of service or learn more about love languages, these highly effective communication skills.  They are fascinating.  And they make a difference.

Communicate by Captivating Additional Senses

Have you noticed how at work we “sell ideas” by engaging multiple senses.  PowerPoint is this communication tool par excellence.  Receivers SEE and HEAR simultaneously.

Yet at home we speak instructions (sell ideas?!)  When that does not work, we use more voice.  (Reinvest in our losing strategy?!)  And, if you are like many parents, we scream!

Ooooops.  How does that rank in modeling positive communication skills?!!

Try these Power Pointers show-and-tell guides for your children. Some folk need to see to believe.  The kids may have heard parents repeat it 1000 times, when they see the photo of children brushing teeth, they respond, “Oh, yes.  I do have to brush my teeth.” 

Maybe your child needs to touch it to understand it. One mother walked into her child’s room, tied a string to his bed, and walked out unrolling the string. He got up and followed her! (Pied Piper or Wacky Mother. Either way, it’s worth discovering.)

Improve Your Communication Skills

Hummmm.  This might be embarassing.

Do you sound like a broken down record?  Try to express the same message in a multitude of ways:

  • You probably already tried asking nicely (a.k.a. The Command)
  • As a question
  • With simpler vocabulary
  • As a game (“Time to brush teeth.  Race you to the bathroom!”)
  • Without words (a kiss, taking her hand, and walking to the bathroom together.  When (!!) she resists, pause, smile, get eye contact, and start up again.)
  • With humor (“Dear Wall, Do YOU hear better than my kids?  If I had a magic wand….”)
  • With love.  “Thank you, sweetheart.”