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Peak Mind Pro: Mindfulness at Work

If there was a magic pill that made you sharper, more effective, more creative, and more socially skilled while simultaneously improving the quality of your decisions and reducing the number of mistakes you made – with side effects of lower stress and more happiness – would you take it?

Absolutely! 

And you’d probably give it to everyone on your team or in your organization as well.

While this magic pill doesn’t exist yet, mindfulness does all of those things. 

Mindfulness is your competitive edge

Many people these days have heard of mindfulness and how beneficial it can be, but they’ve dismissed it due, in large part, to misunderstanding what it actually is.

Set aside any preconceived notions of sitting cross-legged on a pillow with your eyes closed and mind going blank. Instead, think of mindfulness as heightened focus and awareness. This combo is your competitive edge. 

In action, mindfulness at work means being fully aware of what is happening, both inside of you and around you, and being able to direct and sustain your focused attention where you need it.

 

Awareness

How much time do you spend on autopilot or lost in your head? If you’re anything like the average person, it’s at least 47% of the time. That means that you are not fully present and focused on what you are doing roughly half of the time. That also means that you’re likely missing out on lots of vital information. Imagine how much more effective you could be if you raised that number even a little bit.

Focus

Being able to direct and control your attention – focusing on what is important while filtering out distractions – allows you to perform at a higher level while exerting less energy. Multitasking is a myth. When we divide our attention, we are actually shifting back and forth from one task to the other, albeit sometimes very quickly. That shifting eats up our limited resource of attention and actually requires more energy and effort resulting in more mental fatigue and stress and less quality work. 

The Solution

Mindfulness – being aware and focused – is a core element of psychological strength. As with all core elements, it is a skill that can be developed if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to do so. 

Tips to Try

While setting aside time most days for a formal mindful meditation practice (e.g., with an app like 10% Happier, Calm, or Headspace) can be tremendously beneficial, this just isn’t feasible for many people for a number of reasons. At Peak Mind, we are fans of finding effective ways to build mindfulness into the cracks of a busy, modern lifestyle. Try these tips out for a couple of weeks and see what a difference it can make.

1. Help you and your team have more effective meetings by starting with a little mindfulness. Ask everyone to set aside their phone, tablet, or laptop and spend the first 2 minutes of the meeting in silence thinking about the goals for the meeting. This will allow everyone to show up both physically and mentally, to become aware and focused on the task at hand. You will likely notice that meetings become more efficient.

2. Encourage employees (and model this behavior by doing it yourself) to carve out dedicated work times in which they focus solely on one important task or project. This means making these time blocks as distraction-free as possible by turning off notifications.

3. Build in mini-mindfulness breaks. Set a timer to go off hourly (or at least periodically). When the timer goes off, notice what you are doing and where your mind is. Were you focused on what you’re doing? Try to follow one full breath. This means resting your attention on your breath and trying to stay with it from the start of the inhale, to the pause at the top, and all the way through the exhale. Then, ask yourself, what do I want to focus on right now? 

If you are interested in learning more ways to help you and your team develop this vital skill, email us at info@peakmindpsychology.com

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn
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Podcasts

The Trouble With Passion

“Follow your passion!” How many times have you heard that? How many people have you spoken to lately who are either quitting their jobs or thinking about quitting because they lack passion? Many would argue that this is one of the biggest drivers behind “The Great Resignation” that we’re all hearing so much about these days.

But, what if there’s a problem with following your passion?

This week’s guest, Erin Cech is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. Her research investigates how seemingly benign and taken-for-granted cultural beliefs reproduce workforce inequalities.

In her recent book “The Trouble with Passion: How Searching for Fulfillment at Work Fosters Inequality,” Erin teases apart some of the hidden issues with searching for passion and fulfillment solely from your job. She talks about how:

  1. Searching for passion can perpetuate societal cycles that promote inequality
  2. Our sense of identity can become wrapped up in our job and can suffer when we are laid off or experience a big shift in our careers
  3. Our passion is something that can be cultivated and fulfilled in MANY ways in our lives, and by focusing solely on our jobs, we limit ourselves.

We have a great discussion at the end about the micro- (individual) and macro- (societal) shifts that could occur to help all of us experience more passion and balance in our work. You won’t want to miss it!

Additional Resources:

  1. Finding Flow at Work (Peak Mind blog post): https://www.peakmindpsychology.com/blog/finding-flow-at-work
  2. Designing Your Work Life (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3rV4a0T
  3. Episode 0318 Psych Strength & Flexible Work Arrangements: https://www.peakmindpsychology.com/blog/0318
  4. Buy Erin’s Book (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3lV2yjQ
  5. Follow Erin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CechErin

Pursuing your passion can be a challenge when we live in our comfort zone. But how to find your passion in life and your career path could lead to your dream job and living a life more fulfilled with friends and family. A career coach might advise you on how to discover your passion even in a job you don’t love. If you spend time following a strategy step by step to surface your true passion, it will be hard to describe the feeling of excitement living and working within your passion over the long term.

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Blogs

Peak Mind Pro: Finding Flow at Work

By now, you’ve probably heard abysmal statistics about employee engagement (only 1/3 of employees are fully engaged in work) and presenteeism (physically present at work but mentally checked out), which brings with it staggering costs in real dollars. Fortunately, we can turn to psychology for solutions. A robust body of research on something called flow is particularly relevant for helping employees find engagement and satisfaction at work, in turn, boosting productivity and bottom lines. 

Flow is a state of mind in optimal experience, a perfect melding of being your best and doing your best. Some people refer to it as “being in the zone” while others might call it peak performance or flow theory. Research shows that being able to frequently and intentionally put yourself into a state of flow is important for wellbeing and life satisfaction, and the workplace, despite grumbles about not wanting to be there, provides ample flow opportunities. 

What is flow? 

Flow is a mental state characterized by intense concentration and enjoyment. When we’re in a state of flow, or in the zone, we lose our sense of time and self. Time simultaneously speeds up and slows down, and we lose track of it. 

We are so fully immersed in the activity at hand that we stop being self-conscious and stop being distracted by worries, doubts, and that pesky mental to-do list. Interestingly, when we’re in a state of flow, our productivity goes way up. 

Positive changes occur in our brain, and we’re just generally better off all around. In fact, we gain more confidence in our abilities and ourselves after being in flow. 

Flow activities share a few common characteristics.

  • They are intrinsically rewarding. 
  • They have clear and meaningful goals.
  • Feedback is immediate. We know right away whether we’re on track or not.
  • We feel a sense of control.
  • We have intense concentration and no distractions.
  • We are completely present. 
  • The activity is challenging, and we believe we have the skill to meet the challenge. 

This last piece is especially important when it comes to identifying activities likely to achieve a state of flow. When the challenge exceeds our skills, we may feel anxious. In contrast, if our skills exceed the challenge, we feel bored. The goal is to meet in the middle, where the level of skill matches the challenge, thus creating a flow experience and increasing intrinsic motivation. 

Tips to Try

Finding ways to increase flow at work is important for employee wellbeing as well as for the health of your organization. Focusing on their skill set and your needs positively impacts you both. Just as chess players know their move three steps ahead, we as leaders must gauge this as well. This month, we’re offering tips for both individual workers as well as for leaders.

For Individual Employees

1. Minimize distractions. Flow requires your entire focus, so limit anything that pulls your attention away.

2. Similarly, get off autopilot. We spend a lot of time on autopilot, barely paying attention to what we’re doing, particularly with tasks we do repeatedly. Instead, make an intentional effort to fully concentrate on what you’re doing.

3. Connect with your why. Regardless of the task at hand, even the monotonous ones you do daily, can you set a goal that challenges yourself? Can you find a way to make the task meaningful and important?

For Leaders

Curate an environment that encourages flow states.

1. Offer opportunities for agency and control. Allow team members to make decisions about how, when, and/or where they do their work. Find ways to give your employees choice and control whenever possible. 

2. Set clear goals tied to meaningful causes. When employees understand not only what is expected of them but why it is important, they are more likely to engage. 

3. Provide clear and immediate feedback. Offer praise and recognition.

4. Challenge your employees but provide adequate support. Remember, flow requires a balance of challenge and skill. 

5. Promote competence by providing opportunities for growth. Are there ways team members can mentor others? Develop their skills further? 

Additional Resources

Our quarterly workshop series is designed to provide powerful and interesting information and skills to help you and your team(s) build psychological strength. Delivered virtually, live, or on-demand, these workshops are an excellent way to help support your team’s wellbeing and resilience. If you’re interested in learning more, we would love to talk with you about how partnering with Peak Mind can help. Email us at info@peakmindpsychology.com or contact us here.


Peak Mind is partnering with Heart Mind Institute to host the 2022 Best Year of Your Life online summit. This 10-day virtual event is jam-packed with sessions from some of the most influential psychologists, teachers, and visionaries, and it’s FREE!

Join a world-class lineup and get a jump start on your year. 

“It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that will determine whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur or to something resembling a work of art.”
-Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
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Podcasts

Cultivating Psychological Safety

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Have you ever been in the position of being the only man / woman / non-binary / person of color / non-native speaker / etc in the room? How did that feel? How comfortable did you feel? How free did you feel to be your true, authentic self? How psychologically safe did you feel?

Today, we’re speaking with Stephanie Roldan about the topics of psychological safety and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

Stephanie Roldan is the Director of Lean Culture at Rosendin Electric. She leads Rosendin’s Respect for People and Continuous Improvement culture, simplified as “Lean Culture.” This responsibility includes developing, setting, and leading the strategy on creating an inclusive environment and sense of belonging for employees. She serves as the Chairperson for Rosendin’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and sits on the Board of Directors for the AZ Foundation for Women.

As a woman in the construction industry, Stephanie knows first-hand what it feels like to be “the only” one in the room. She also knows the importance of cultivating a psychologically safe culture and the impact it can have on bringing people together. The impact it can have on helping us all to feel like we can fully express ourselves. And the impact it can have on creating a more equitable workplace.

During our conversation, Stephanie and I have a deep conversation about the experience of being “the only” one in the room. We talk about the importance of psychological safety and how norms around our social groups influence the way we show up and the way others react to us. We talk about the importance of being curious, cultivating connected relationships, being open, and sharing our own stories as a way to create increased connection and empathy. We talk about this and so much more. You won’t want to miss this important conversation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Episode 0016: Develop the Mind of a Superhero
  2. SHRM DE&I Resources
  3. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn

This topic not only deals with psychological safety in the workplace, but also to create a culture where your team is safe and feels comfortable in the work environment. Members of a team should feel they won’t be punished for seeking change and problem solving or making a push for adjusting organizational behavior. Learning innovation and growth techniques to increase psychological safety can be difficult, but it’s imperative to build a workplace safe for interpersonal risk especially as more workers transition to a work from home.

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Blogs

Peak Mind Pro: Design Your Work Experience

Many people spend 40 – 50 hours per week at work. That’s 80 – 100 THOUSAND hours over a career. If you’re not engaged or functioning at your peak, or if you’re on the brink of exhaustion and burn out, you’re having a suboptimal life experience. 

The answer isn’t necessarily to make a drastic change like quitting your job. It may just be as simple as designing your work experience.

Contrary to New Year’s resolution conventions, broad, sweeping changes aren’t actually effective for most humans. That’s because big changes shock our system, which is stressful. And we tend to revert to the mean, or fall back on old habits, pretty quickly when we’re under stress. Fortunately, there’s a more effective, albeit often counterintuitive, way to make meaningful lasting changes: experimentation.

Through the lens of life design, which is a special blend of psychology and design thinking applied to your life, experimentation means identifying a friction point (a challenging situation, habit, or interpersonal pattern) and designing small changes to test out. As you implement each small experiment, you gain valuable data in the form of experience, and you use that information to iterate – to revise, revamp, and move forward with the next small step. 

You are the architect of your life experience. You are either living by design or by default. You have more control over your daily experience than you might think, regardless of who you report to or your job responsibilities. While you realistically may not be able to change or impact some of your friction points, there are almost certainly some things you can experiment with. Design your workspace with your needs in mind.

Tips to Try 

Your day-to-day experience is significantly impacted by your physical space and the rhythms and habits of your day. Are yours working for you or against you? Your work area should feel as good as home. So much time is spent in work environments that your office design should feel as familiar and comfortable as your living room. 

Choose some of these strategies to test out for a few weeks. Be sure to gather some data over time to see what kind of impact your experiments have.

Design your workspace

*This is especially important if you work from home.

  • Have a designated spot for work. Eat or take breaks in a different place. 
  • Get natural light if possible.
  • Remove distractions. Don’t rely on willpower. Put distractions away. Out of sight is out of mind. 

Create boundaries in your day

*This is especially important to avoid work bleeding into home/family/leisure time.

  • Set a firm beginning and end time for work.
  • Set an auto-responder outside of those times and don’t check email. You’ll have more success if you can’t see notifications on your phone; they’re hard to ignore.
  • Perform a ‘transition activity’ (something that takes the place of a commute & tells your mind you’re done for the day). If you have a commute, use it as a time to transition by singing along with your favorite music or listening to a podcast, not ruminating about work.
  • Keep a good planner like The Self Journal.

Combat Zoom fatigue 

  • Hide your own face from the meeting (here’s how). Doing so will cut down on distraction and self-criticism.
  • Set expectations with your team about when they can turn video off.
  • No matter at the office or at home, design your workspace to work in accordance to your schedule.
  • Change meetings to 45 minutes to leave time to get up and move in between.

Make time for self-care

*The quality of your work and your relationships will improve if you’re taking care of yourself. Think of it like this, high performance cars need regular servicing and maintenance to run optimally. So do you!

  • Schedule your basic needs (lunch, movement, rest) and breaks into your calendar and treat them like appointments.
  • Block time in your calendar for active work so that you can have uninterrupted time to focus on important tasks. This will keep others from scheduling your time away from you.
  • Have a big bottle of water near you. You’ll drink more if you don’t have to exert effort to get a glass of water, and your brain will work better if you’re well-hydrated.
  • Build brief movement breaks into your day. Even 5 minutes of yoga (example), dancing to 1 song, or pacing while you’re on phone calls can help.
“How you spend your days is how you spend your life. You’re never stuck.”
– Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

Design Your Work Life

Why design your workspace without designing your work life? The strategies above are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to designing your work experience. On January 18, 2022 during our live Quarterly Psych Strength Building workshop, we’ll be diving deeper into both psychology and life design to help you find more fulfillment at and outside of work without having to change your actual job responsibilities.

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Are you feeling stuck at work?

There have been a couple times over the course of my career when I’ve found myself feeling stuck and miserable. After all these years, I don’t remember exactly what it was about that first job that wasn’t quite working for me. I remember that it sounded perfect on paper, that I was beyond excited to land the position, that the organization underwent MAJOR leadership restructuring shortly after I started, and that I was bitter and negative by the end.

A couple colleagues and I would often sneak away for “naughty lunches” (what we called ditching our brought-from-home meals in favor of going off site to a restaurant), and I complained. A lot. Which isn’t really like me. On top of feeling stuck, I felt frustrated and stifled, unsupported by leadership. I had a hard time finding things in my day to look forward to. I didn’t realize until after I was out of that situation just what a toll it was taking on my mindset. I did what people do when people they feel stuck. 

Fortunately, I was untethered at that time in my life and had another opportunity. All I needed to do was get the courage to make a leap…to a new position in a new city. And I’m grateful I did.

While I had a lot of psychology knowledge back then (I had just finished earning my PhD), I really didn’t know jack. I didn’t really understand thriving. I’d never heard of life design. I just knew my situation wasn’t working, and completely overhauling my life seemed like the only option. I certainly don’t regret it now, but I also know that leaving everything isn’t always a viable solution.  

Don’t Burn It Down

If you found yourself saying “SAME!” as I described my stuck experience, keep reading. If your job (inside or outside of the home) feels like it’s weighing you down, filling you with dread, and curtailing your growth rather than fostering it, you have options.

Think of your job as your house. If it’s not working for you anymore, or if you truly hate your house, it might be tempting to burn it down, but don’t. That’ll create a bigger mess for everyone involved. Instead, you always have the option to leave. Of course, there are a ton of legitimate reasons why that may not actually be an option for you, which is what can make you feel especially stuck. You’re not, though. You can lean on psychology and life design to help you out. Instead of burning it down or leaving it all behind, try reframing and remodeling instead.

Reframing

The stories our minds tell us are powerful. They color our view of the world, often without us even realizing it. And they become self-sustaining, self-fueling (ever heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy?). If your mind’s story about your job is that “It’s too much” or “I’m under appreciated” or “Leadership doesn’t care about me” or “My clients/customers/patients/coworkers are _______ (fill in the blank with something negative),” what must it be like to live that every day?

But what if that isn’t reality?

Or, more aptly, what if that is just one version of reality but others exist? Here’s what I mean that. What letter is this?

Did you say M or W? It depends on which way you tilt your head, which angle you look at it from. 

What if there isn’t a definitive right? I can’t tell you that it’s absolutely an M or a W. It just depends.

Our stories about work are an awful lot like that. Pay attention to what your mind has to say about your work, especially the stories that seem to pull you down. Is there a way to tilt your perspective and see it from a fresh angle? One that might not hinder you quite as much.

“It’s too much” might become “There’s a lot, but it’s worth it because…”

“I’m under appreciated” might become “My boss isn’t great about handing out praise, so I’ll focus on the end user – my students/clients/customers/etc. I know they value my work.”

“Leadership doesn’t care about me” might become “Leadership sucks, but my coworkers are so supportive.

Notice with all of these, the reframe tries to up the “worth it” factor. When you feel stuck, finding a new why, a new reason for doing what you do, for engaging in what you’re doing rather than dialing it in, can help you.

Remodeling

Remodeling is another strategy for changing your work experience. This means looking at your day-to-day, your role responsibilities, the friction points that are a struggle, and the bright spots that seem to go smoothly. You could make some cosmetic changes by trying to do more of the things you like or experimenting with ways to adjust tasks to make them more enjoyable (e.g., finding ways to increase interaction if that fills your tank or finding ways to block off uninterrupted time to dedicate to important projects while protecting your focus and mental energy).

Sometimes a fresh coat of paint isn’t enough, so you may need to remodel in a deeper way by making structural changes (think knocking down a wall). This translates to talking with your boss about how you might redesign your current role and responsibilities. There may be ways for you to delegate tasks that bog you down, utilize your strengths in a new way, take on new responsibilities, or learn new skills. How might you rewrite your job description in a way that works for both you and your company so you can avoid feeling stuck? Don’t be afraid to suggest a limited trial run. Testing out changes on a short-term basis may be more palatable to everyone.

What’s next?

Given that an average person will spend 80 – 100 THOUSAND hours working over their lifetime, it seems beyond important to me to take steps to ensure that those hours are engaging and meaningful. These strategies are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to curating your work experience. If you want to learn even more about why work can feel draining and what you can do to create a better experience WITHOUT changing anything about your actual job, join us Tuesday for our next live Quarterly Psych Strength workshop. We’ll be talking about completely different things, like role engulfment and the hedonic treadmill (aren’t you intrigued?), and designing ways to ensure your work needs are being met. It’ll be an impactful session! Don’t worry, though, if you can’t make it to the live workshop. Your ticket gets you 30 day access to the Peak Mind Platform where you’ll find the replay, the digital workbook, and some other bonus resources.

“How you spend your days is how you spend your life. You’re never stuck.”
– Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
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Blogs

Peak Mind Pro: Combat Burnout at Work

A recent report by Medscape shows the staggering statistics of physician burnout in the United States. While it’s easy to point to the pandemic as the root cause, 79% of the physicians surveyed in this study report that their burnout began before the pandemic.

Research from Deloitte shows that burnout isn’t just a problem for our frontline healthcare workers. 91% of the respondents to a recent report say they have “unmanageable amounts of stress” that negatively impacts their work. 

The bottom line is that burnout is something that impacts us all. The cure for it is not to work harder and take on more. Read on to learn how building psychological strength can help combat burnout and promote work life balance to improve your mental health

 

Psychological Strength Can Help

Psychological strength consists of teachable skills in 6 different areas. 

Elements of Psychological Strength

When we think about burnout, a few key areas are important to consider:

  • Emotions
  • Thoughts
  • Habits & Behavior

Leading Indicators of Burnout

Burnout is a state of exhaustion – mental, emotional, and physical – caused by prolonged, unchecked stress. The sooner you recognize the early warning symptoms of burnout, the better chance you’ll have of combatting it. Emotions and thoughts are powerful leading indicators.

  • Emotions – Burnout is characterized by a number of difficult emotions such as overwhelm, dread, and anxiety. One of the foundational steps to combat burnout is to recognize your own emotional profile. The more you become aware of your own emotions and work hard to label them (not just “good” or “bad,” but to name them very specifically), the sooner you can recognize the indicators of burnout and make changes to support yourself. 
  • Thoughts – Your thought patterns can also be a key indicator of burnout. Thoughts like, “I’ll never get all of this done,” or “This is impossible!” indicate overwhelm, which can easily balloon into burnout if left unchecked.

Combating Burnout

Once you’ve recognized signs of burnout, or recognize that you’re experiencing burnout, you can take steps to combat it. Your Habits & Behaviors as well as a related field called Life Design can help you do that.

  • Habits & Behavior – There is a strong connection between the way we treat our bodies and how our minds operate. During times of stress, overwhelm, or burnout, it becomes exponentially more important to do the basics: eat well, sleep, move, drink water, and relax. These basic health habits form the foundation of a stronger YOU who is equipped to lower stress hormones and in turn help your mental health. 
  • Life Design – Life design can help you identify the root cause of your overwhelm and burnout and generate sets of solutions to test out. Check out this month’s actionable tip to learn more!

Tool to Try

This month, we challenge you to use key questions from Life Design to help address an aspect of burnout. Grab a pen and paper and get ready to do some problem-solving!

1. Laddering

Think about the factors contributing to stress or burnout for you. Identity a problem area or a change that you would like to make. Then, ask yourself a series of questions.

Start with “What will that change do for me?” Be sure to write your responses down.

Then, ask yourself “Why is that important?”

Continue to ask “Why is that important?” until you get to your root desire. You’ll know you’ve gotten there when you can’t go any deeper or you find your answers circling back to ones you’ve already written down. 

2. How might I…

Now that you know what you’re really trying to target, it’s time to come up with some creative solutions. You’ll notice that your root desire can likely be fulfilled in multiple different ways – even in ways that didn’t occur to you before you did the laddering exercise.

Ask yourself, “How might I achieve my root desire?”

This powerful little question packs a big punch! “How” cues your brain to start problem-solving. It’s a clever way to bypass unhelpful thoughts like “I can’t do that,” which shuts down active problem-solving.

“Might” is a permission slip to think creatively. You’re not saying that you will or have to test out any of the possible solutions you come up with, just that you might.

By asking yourself “How might I…?” you are upping your brainstorming potential, and you’re more likely to stumble on a viable solution. 

Set a timer for 5 minutes and write down as many potential solutions or ways to get to your root desire as you can come up with. Don’t evaluate any of them! Go for volume.

Then, select the most doable option, and move forward with it to test it out. See if this is a long term fix for your burnout. Just taking an easy 5 minutes a day can help reduce your levels of stress, and combat burnout. 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes….including you.”
– Anne Lamott
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Blogs

Peak Mind Pro: Increasing Employee Engagement

You’ve probably seen the statistics. In August, 2021 alone, 4.3 million people quit their jobs. There are a lot of driving factors behind these numbers, but one big factor is disengagement and dissatisfaction.

The pandemic caused people to reevaluate all areas of their lives, but in particular, we hear the desire to experience greater impact and meaning.

As we dive into these important topics, we’ll start where we typically like to begin…with an analogy.

Your Support System

Think about the people who make up your personal support system. Who are those people, and what role do they play? For example, here’s mine:

  • My husband – great at problem solving.  Not great at empathetically holding space when I just need to talk.
  • My best friend – very empathetic & great at holding space.
  • My brother – so good at helping me sort through complex thoughts & feelings.

Now answer this question: how satisfied would you be with your relationship with any one of those people if you expected them to fulfill ALL of your needs?

Think about it. How satisfied would I be with my husband if I expected him to help me solve problems, provide empathy, listen and hold space, and sort through my thoughts and feelings? I probably wouldn’t be very satisfied! No one person can fulfill ALL of our needs. It’s impossible.

Your Professional Needs

The Stanford Life Design Lab points to 3 different needs that must be fulfilled for people to feel whole and engaged:

  1. Financial security – am I making enough money to fund my lifestyle?
  2. Impact – am I making a broader impact in a way that matters to me?
  3. Expression – do I have the flexibility and freedom to be creative?

Here’s the problem: While it’s necessary to have all of these needs fulfilled, it is not necessary for them all to be fulfilled by one activity. 

We run into problems when we solely focus on our jobs to be the one and only activity to fill all 3 of these cups. Psychologists call this role engulfment.

Have a LIFE, not Just a JOB

For this reason, it’s increasingly important for your employees to have a LIFE, not just a JOB. It’s important as leaders to encourage your employees and team members to engage in their entire lives, rather than basing their entire identity around their job. Engaging employees is a difficult yet important task.  

Intentionally focusing on a variety of activities in our lives as ways to fulfill our needs of financial security, impact, and expression can raise our level of satisfaction and engagement across all aspects of our lives, including our jobs and careers.

Monthly Tip

This month, we encourage you and your team to think like Life Designers. To take an intentional look at your life through the lens of the 3 needs we’ve been discussing.

Imagine you have 3 cups, one cup for each of the 3 needs. Answer the following questions in an honest and authentic way for you (everyone’s responses will be different):

  • How large would each cup be? Which needs are more or less important to you?
  • How much does your job fill each cup?
  • What other activities in your life fill up each cup?

Now consider designing. Ask yourself: How might I incorporate other activities to ensure all 3 cups are full?

Additional Resources

Our next quarterly workshop will dive deep into the topic of designing your work life. This fast-paced, engaging, and hands-on virtual experience will help you and your team(s) learn Life Design skills and build psychological strength to create meaningful shifts at work and in life.

Interested in signing your team up for the Quarterly Workshop Series? Fill out this quick form or email us at info@peakmindpsychology.com, and we’ll be in touch with the details.

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Podcasts

Create Your Own Micro-Culture


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As we contemplate the potential of returning to the office in the coming months and all of the uncertainty and complexity surrounding it, one question that’s on many people’s minds is what it will feel like to be back in the office with everyone? One important element of that question is the age-old topic of corporate culture.

In today’s episode, I highlight a couple of research articles pointing to the impact that a single employee’s behavior can create a culture influencing others around them. I pose this question: How might you create your own micro-culture around you that supports the values you want to see in your company?

So many times we point to broader forces that are out of our control as the cause of our own experience. Those forces definitely do play a role. However, many times, we neglect to consider the role each of us can play in our own immediate environment. So, take some time to think about the culture you want to work in. Sit down and craft a description with your team. Then, think about the behaviors you can commit to in order to support the culture you want to create. Be the change.

Research cited in this episode: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091225 and https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1009581330960

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 Saying ‘No’ to ‘Hustle Culture’

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Being ‘busy’ has become a badge of honor in our society – signaling to other people, and to ourselves, that we’re valuable, in demand, and hard-working. But, at what cost?  

Younger generations have abandoned the concept of working 40 hours a week, encouraged to “hustle harder”, “rise and grind” and encouraged by success stories from multi-company CEOs like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk. It’s changing company cultures too with flexible work hours, and more and more working from home. However, the effects of a poor work/life balance can have adverse outcomes on mental health as they find themselves working long hours and struggling to distinguish the split between professional and personal lives.

Today on the podcast, we’re diving deep into ‘hustle culture.’ We’re talking about the surprising roots of where it came from, the impact it has on our behavior and whether we’re behaving in alignment with the type of person we want to be, and some practical tips to say ‘no’ to hustle culture. 

As we find ourselves becoming more and more squeezed by our schedules and responsibilities, it has never been more important to find ways to create space, ease, and balance in our lives. Listen to this episode to learn how.