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How do we help our staff to get their heads in the game? To be present in the moment and creatively overcome challenges and solve problems?

0rangesORANGES is a program that re-engages, inspires and motivates staff to be better, achieve more and work effectively together. For an overview of the ORANGES program click here.

Over the coming months we are going to break down the ORANGES program into ‘segments’ to understand their value and some of the tools they can offer staff. This month we will be looking at the impact our attitude has on outcomes and those around us and how to become more present from moment to moment.

A stands for Attitude – Attitude is a choice and it profoundly influences our approach to work, our job and the people we work with. Managers attitudes in particular set the tone for their whole team.

We’ve all come across colleagues who are grumpy, negative and whiney. Much of this behavior stems from their attitude. The more aware we are of our attitude and its impact both on ourselves and those around us, the better. There are many tools that we can use to help us adopt a more positive attitude – here are a couple of them

Sonja Lyubomirsky came up with the concept of the happiness pie and shows that we can influence our level of happiness, and therefore our attitude, up to 40% by the little things we do every day – our intentional activity. It is not buying a new car or getting a promotion that builds long term happiness – those events account for only 10% of our happiness and are usually short lived. Instead, the little things we do that make us feel good like volunteering to take the minutes when nobody else wants to, helping out a colleague, giving yourself a pat of the back for a job well done. It is these things that can help us feel positive, improve our sense of well being and power our attitude. I personally get a kick out of catering to my cats every whim!Happiness-Pie-Chart-1

What little things could you do more of, or be more aware of, that would increase your happiness pie?

Professor Carol Dweck has conducted extensive research into mind-set. We often make choices based on a fixed mindset i.e.. a focus on what we can’t do but if we opt for a growth mindset more often we rise to challenges, learn more and persevere for longer. Dweck cites the example of students in school having their assignments graded as ‘not yet’ rather than ‘fail’. As a result performance improved dramatically because the students had been given permission to improve rather than a judgment that they weren’t good enough.

How often do we feel like we’re caught in a washing machine on spin cycle with all the changes and re-structure that is so frequent? If we can adopt an attitude that change and challenge are inevitable and positive, that they help us grow and develop, we will be open to it and look for opportunities as opposed to problems.

Thinking traps can adversely impact our attitude. My sister in law constantly magnifies/catastrophises and therefore she is often overwhelmed, negative and stressed about things. If we can catch ourselves in thinking traps such as:

  • Over processing
  • Mind reading
  • Overgeneralization
  • Magnification
  • Self blame

we are more likely to remain positive.

N stands for Now – Being conscious, engaged and focused has a positive impact on the quality and efficiency of the work we do. Our concentration span increases, we are less likely to be distracted, we make fewer mistakes and achieve more goals.

We live in a society of over stimulation – our attention is constantly being attracted by sounds, technology, events, people and issues. In order to be more effective we actually need to focus on one thing at a time rather than trying to multi task and achieving average results as a consequence. Many of us live in a state of constant partial attention and our minds wander 47% of the time so we could benefit from being more present.

Practicing mindfulness has shown many health benefits including an improved immune system, calming of the limbic system leading to lower stress levels and reduced impulsivity. My cousin started practicing mindfulness after suffering with anxiety and depression and finds that 10 minutes a day makes a massive difference and if he stops, the anxiety returns.

mindfulnessThere are many free apps and exercise you can do to improve mindfulness

Being present when interacting with others dramatically improves the quality of relationships and outcomes. There are fewer misunderstandings, better results and often, shared accountability.

In the final ORANGES installment, we will look at Gratitude, Energy and Strengths.