Human beings go through different stages in the functional areas of their lives: professional, recreational, social, psychological, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. Achieving balance in these areas can make us feel fully developed.
The Crystal Chains book series will discuss and analyze some of the obstacles that prevent us from achieving this balance.
In this first book, Crystal Chains: In the Workplace, we can see how mental chains (negative actions, gossip, etc.) may make us shine bright as a crystal, giving the illusion of apparent success and recognition in the workplace. As time goes by, they bind and inhibit us and act as barriers that limit and prevent growth in many areas of our lives.
In the same way, we will show you ways to break these chains, if that is your choice, so that the brightness that is projected in your work life persists through time.
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Read an Excerpt
Getting To Know Ourselves
It should be clear to everyone that companies are run by people; that each of us plays a different role within them; and, depending on how we play, we win or lose.
We also know that all companies seek to be leaders in their sectors, which are influenced by markets so competitive that they must change quickly over time if they want to succeed.
These changes are dependent on each and every one of us participating in our companies' success to the extent that we join efforts in pursuit of the same objectives.
If these changes do not happen and if we, as leaders in our organizations, do not change, companies simply need to close their doors.
Identifying Us at Work
Knowing ourselves can easily help us identify what we really want to do for work.
Knowing our qualities, limitations, abilities to adapt, and professional levels determines how we relate to others. If we are truly contributing our knowledge and ideas, opportunities will arise within our companies to learn and develop on many other levels.
Some questions that we can ask are: What do I really want to do? What is my knowledge level? What are the opportunities I have at work?
It is valuable to stop and look at what we are doing with our lives, to learn more about ourselves and reinforce our relationship with ourselves.
Many times, we analyze our lives, critique ourselves, doubt our abilities, and become discouraged, and our behavior is not in accordance with what we want to achieve. Other times, we give more importance to the opinions of others, letting those opinions have more value than our own.
This doesn't mean that it's not good to listen and evaluate what is right for us. We must be clear, however, about who we are and where we are going, because the images we project may be different from who we really are, and the people around us may not see our true selves. They create their own images of us, possibly wrong, and this is an influential factor in our interpersonal relationships.
Only on a few occasions do we make a positive self-critique, but when we do, we usually change our perspectives, look at ourselves, and become aware of what we want to change and how far we want to reach in all aspects of our lives. This self-knowledge analysis is of vital importance for our work development.
Satisfaction = Productivity
We assume commitments when we freely decide to work for a company that compensates us for the work we perform.
Each of us has developed different qualities — some more than others — such as listening and communication skills, creativity, patience, and organization. We are responsible for and must manage our assigned tasks by applying the above and other leadership qualities that we innately have but sometimes don't recognize.
The satisfaction we feel in our work can only be experienced by us. Many times, another person doing the same work may feel better about it or may seem bored or uninterested. It is healthy to evaluate and know if we are satisfied with the role we play.
If we clearly identify ourselves in our roles and feel happy about what we do, it will be reflected in every aspect of our lives.
For the majority, we ourselves are the ones who make the decision to accept a job.
We begin to work at a company with great expectations in the position that they have offered us and with a desire to progress. Over time, we may see that the position, conditions, way of working, responsibilities, and/or the work is not what we imagined or is not meeting our expectations. Therefore, it is time to make a decision.
If you decide to continue with this work, then make the best of it — you already know that you can manage your position. If your decision is to look for a new opportunity, then do it; don't let crystal chains form around you that, over time, are difficult to break.
Leave this work with the same gratitude as the day you accepted the position. You'll be giving the option to another person with expectations different from your own. He or she will occupy that position and possibly get better. This will benefit the person and the company.
Let's remember that we create our world. Every moment in our lives is valuable, and regardless of the work we are performing, it must give us one of the most precious gifts in life: our tranquility (peace of mind).
We have heard and spoken during our lives the word love; we use it to show others all kinds of affection and feelings that we have inside. Over time, you have probably seen that these feelings we call love are magical and lead us to do what we may have believed to be impossible. This magic can be the foundation for all areas of our lives.
A Step Toward Success
The lives of thousands of people focus on their workplaces. Also, we can't ignore the fact that many of us have daily tasks in addition to work. These might include caring for the family, shopping, cooking, and cleaning, to name a few.
If we look at how a normal day develops, we can conclude the following: everything starts from the moment we prepare for work. We organize the clothes that we are going to wear (some do it the night before); set the alarm; rise in the morning and get cleaned up; eat breakfast; get dressed; prepare snacks, if we desire, to eat during breaks at work; and finally, drive to or go out and wait for our rides to work. We conduct our work at the company and, when we finish, return home and repeat something similar to the above day after day.
If we add up all the time we invest in the ritual of going to and coming from our work, plus the time we spend at work, we can clearly see that it is the area where we spend most of our time.
I ask myself, Do I do all this as an obligation? Is it a routine? Is this what I really want? Is this something I must do, or is it done with love?
We all want to be successful and have tranquility in what we undertake, even in our work. When we start a new job, we do it with the desire to be successful. I don't think any of us want mediocre results. Accepting mediocrity would give us feelings of rejection or loss, and this would not bring fulfillment to our lives.
For all of us, it is important to do our jobs well. When we do them with love, we feel peace, harmony, and joy, and work is more pleasant. When we live in the present moment, we handle situations more easily. When we don't live in the present moment, we rob ourselves of the patience needed to accomplish things with a high level of motivation. This motivation is innate, and with it, we can achieve any goals that we undertake.
On the other hand, the results may be very different if we perform that same job angrily, grumpily, reluctantly, lazily, or with stress.
Let's analyze what happens when we attempt to solve a situation using a feeling different from serenity, tranquility, or love, such as anger. A bad mood makes analyzing a problem more complicated, and the solution may come more slowly and may not be what we expected. We make more mistakes. We sometimes even mistreat other people with our words or actions. We can't resolve the situation because we lose objectivity when performing the analysis.
However, if the situation is seen from the perspective of love, all of the possible solutions may be revealed more clearly.
A Matter Of Attitude
In some cases, a self-image and a certain attitude toward others causes them to believe that we are in the lead or in command, and we believe that we must be at all times serious, stressed, and moody. We might give inaccurate answers, making others believe that we are actually producing more than 100 percent for the company.
Sometimes we give more importance to what others say, putting aside our own criteria.
For example, a prominent physician was invited to observe their favorite sports announcer broadcast live on the radio. He was filled with excitement as the time approached. While waiting for the program to begin, he was able to observe the sports announcer and his interactions with the radio station personnel. Between live sports casting moments he appeared very hostile and condescending toward the staff. However, during live broadcasts he was a completely different person projecting warmth and support for everyone. Needless to say, the physician's impression of him was forever changed.
Somewhere along the way during this sports announcer's career, he came to believe that the key to success is through power, intimidation and the like. Instead, a more positive way of thinking might be that "you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar."
It is up to us to choose the alternative. We can choose to handle our emotions and attitudes toward situations that arise, regardless of the roles we play within our companies.
It is we who have the control over attitudes. We can make them generate positive results, or we can allow them to manage us negatively, forming chains that in time become like rock crystal. It is difficult to break these mental chains, and they can drive us to the point of losing our objectivity.
Remember, we are reproducers of the attitudes that we assume.
In conclusion, if we decide to apply our words with love in all areas, the words will help us change our thinking, the way we communicate, and what we project. Therefore, it will be reflected in our actions, generating new opportunities with each one of the people, circumstances, and places where and with whom we find ourselves.
A Job That Makes Me Happy
Journey or Destination
Have you ever heard someone say, "I want a job that makes me happy"? Generally, when you start working at your first assignment or opportunity, your enthusiasm is great. You have a high level of motivation, and joy and a desire to do everything right. You feel comfortable in your role within the company and give your best effort in everything you attempt.
If someone asks, "How do you feel about your new job?" you might answer, "Perfect. It is a wonderful company." And, of course, you would describe it in detail to the last corner of the building, including your work area. You might continue to talk about the people with whom you have interacted, beginning with, "My boss and my coworkers are incredible," and finish with the words, "I feel happy."
As time passes, often only a few months, some people start with the process of discontent. They begin by criticizing different aspects of the job, such as, the little work that others do in comparison to what they do, the schedule, the supervisor, the boss, the owner, the salary, the physical environment, the cafeteria, and more, finally finishing with the words, "I do not feel happy in this job."
Some people continue in the same company with the same criticism for a long time, years in some cases. They perform their work generally well but create a negative environment, one of nonconformity. They even manage to integrate other people into this negative environment and to infect them with their attitude of discontent.
Other times, people look for another job opportunity, they find it, and then after a period of happiness, they begin the same circle of criticism until they reach the same conclusion: "I do not feel happy in this work."
In the first place, let us remember that eventually the satisfaction we feel with any job changes. The things we possess, the circumstances, the events, and even for what was today a great achievement, change. We change, and life and everything around us changes.
If we identify and attach our happiness to things, people, events, or achievements, when do we believe we are going to achieve happiness? The choice to seek and find happiness is in the place where it truly resides: within ourselves.
Justifying Your Reasoning
The second thing I ask myself is, at the moment of choosing our work, do we do it thinking: What do we really want to do? What are our aspirations for this new job? If the tasks are to our liking, what do we expect from the company? What opportunity do we have to be promoted? At the moment, when we are presented with the option to work, do we accept it by necessity, for attractive economic remuneration, or because we have not worked for a long time?
A student who was working their way through college had a job in a restaurant. He worked his way up into a management position where the money was lucrative. He didn't really care for this type of work but because of the good salary, he let his studies fall behind. He even cut his course load in half. Then one day the restaurant owners announced that they were closing and all were terminated. This was a shock for him as he realized the mistake that was made by neglecting his studies and losing his focus for money. After a little while, the new owners called and offered him a management position with a greater salary than before and he leaped at the opportunity. Again, as time passed, his studies were neglected.
Sometimes we don't learn from our mistakes. Instead, we allow events to repeat.
So if we analyze this situation, in many cases it is not the companies where we work, our positions, salaries, coworkers, bosses, supervisors, or work locations that are the culprits leading to dissatisfaction. Instead it may be our choices when we are looking for work, a lifestyle or that which is within ourselves that makes us continue with the same pattern for years and years.
- What if, instead of criticizing in a destructive way, we looked for a way to help constructively?
- How many times can we blame situations, people, or things for what we lack?
- Imagine what would happen if we looked inside ourselves, analyzed what kind of crystal chains we have (e.g., anger, jealousy, judgmental, gossip, etc.), and looked first at making a personal change instead of expecting the people around us to change?
If for some reason you do not feel happy in your work, analyze what is happening. If it is your job that needs to change, help to get this done, but do the work with enthusiasm, giving the best of yourself professionally and personally.
You chose to work in that company; be grateful for it, for your position, for the salary you receive, and for each part of the organization. Do not expect anyone to tell you that you are doing the right thing.
It is your responsibility to do your job well every time. You do not need supervision or anyone else complimenting your work at every turn.
Furthermore, if you are the one who wants to change and decide to look for another job opportunity because your professional expectations, salary, and/ or environment are different from what you hoped for, you are most likely going to find it elsewhere. Leaving the company where you are currently working gives an opportunity to another person to occupy the position you have been performing.
And if you are looking for work or want to become independent, do not allow yourself to develop crystal chains (negative thoughts and attitudes). You are better off looking for those options where you see yourself fully, doing what you want, what you like, and what contributes to your peace and tranquility.
Happiness is inside of you. You have it, and it is your treasure!
Two Ears and One Mouth
It is very common to hear that we have one mouth and two ears, which implies that we should listen more and talk less, as stated by Zeno of Citium. It is rare that in our daily lives, in any scenario and even more in the workplace, that we follow this premise, a premise that would lead us to have very good interpersonal relationships.
Listening attentively shows an interest in what others express. We understand what they say to us, and we can ask questions if something is not clear. We can even give the correct answer, if necessary, on the subject.
Matters of the Ego
When another person does not listen, does not want to listen, or only listens to certain individuals, we generally imply that our conversations are falling on deaf ears. This generates disagreements and can become controversial between those who wish to give their opinions and those who are not heard.
To stop listening and believe that we are the only ones who are right in everything can become habitual, and it discounts the ideas of others. These ideas might be the ones that provide solutions to challenging situations. In addition, without realizing it, we may be discounting people in front of their colleagues, thus making them feel that their ideas are ridiculous or unimportant.
In these scenarios, it is the ego that is in command, and it is the ego that causes us to make these errors in judgment.
Farewell to Opportunities
With this attitude, you can miss out on great opportunities. For example, if someone has an idea that would have financial benefits, but knows from past experiences what happens when others give suggestions, he or she might remain silent. Or, because of rumors, if someone believes his or her suggestions will be rejected, he or she might remain silent. They will simply cast their ideas aside and continue with what they do in their daily lives, lest they become subject to embarrassment or ridicule in front of others.
Excerpted from "Crystal Chains"
Copyright © 2017 Angela Cook & Cristina Monroy.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
I. Getting To Know Ourselves, 1,
II. With Love, 7,
III. A Job That Makes Me Happy, 13,
IV. Deaf Ears, 19,
V. Power Hungry, 25,
VI. Manipulating Puppets, 31,
VII. On Time, 37,
VIII. Respecting, 45,
IX. The Magnificence of Forgiveness, 53,
X. Customer Service with Every Breath, 57,
XI. Questions of Attitude, 69,
XII. Making the Change, 75,
XIII. Gratitude, 79,
XIV. The Decision, 85,