I have a friend who focuses quite a bit on his income. To him it's a great challenge seeing how much he can increase his income from month to month and year to year. I was unaware, however, that he actually struggled financially and that for all of his apparent success, he still hadn't reached the carrot he was after. This weekend he shared an interesting insight with me regarding his pursuits. He said that he's been doing this for so long, that he'd lost track of himself, so he spent some time asking himself a few really hard questions like, Have I actually been working against myself? I asked what he meant by this and he noted that he's always fallen short of is financial goals and despite his efforts he's been typically financially strapped. Then it occurred to him that by making money his only focus, he'd set up a situation where his sense of purpose revolved around him needing to struggle. This need for financial struggle defined him...and the first sentence of this blog post testifies to that because that is how I've begun to define him. He also realized that he has let self-doubt keep him from being challenged in other ways professionally. Money seemed to be the one thing he could pursue without worrying he wasn't good enough.
The more I have worked with individuals striving for personal and professional success, the more I have realized that we all need to start with a very fundamental question: WHO ARE YOU? As children we adopt the mindset of the adults around us. This is brings both positives and negatives into our lives. For many of us, it means that in addition to getting a grasp of the world, it also means inheriting our parents doubts and fears.
How you feel about yourself plays a huge role in how you communicate. When you don't like yourself or see the world as an unfriendly place, you perceive and respond differently to others. A recent research study that was exploring whether shy people tend to be victims of bullying found a surprising result: shy people often become bullies! What the researchers found was that people who feel uncomfortable with others become disconnected and some of them become angry as a result. This anger turns into bullying in the workplace. Workplace bullies impact the whole environment and greatly disrupt the flow of communication. The funny thing is that most workplace bullies aren't even aware that THEY are the workplace bully. Many think that they are just doing what they need to do in order to get through the day. They are hurt and disconnected from others and they don't realize what they're doing.
So the solution? Always start inside of your own head first. How do you feel about yourself? Have you taken positive steps to feel good about yourself and connect with your workplace? After you've looked at yourself, start reaching out those who are a negative force in your workplace. You'd be surprised at how much you can change with just a few small steps.