We spend such a huge amount of time in work, how we feel about it can either make or break us! Our stress levels are up, they are up so much that stress is one of the biggest causes of sickness absence, and our mental wellbeing is now at the peak of concern.

So how do we strike the balance and get it right? How do we thrive in the workplace and not just survive? And more to the point – how can we take control of it for ourselves and get it right?

Ask yourself these questions:
•Am I truly happy and loving what I do?
•Am I personally developing and learning new things?
•Am I treated with respect and highly regarded by my manager and colleagues?
•Am I adding value and feeling full of purpose?
•Do I jump out of bed in the morning looking forward to the day?

If you have answered No! to some or even all of them (eek!) then now is the time to do something about it!

The right culture?
We can only be truly happy in work if the culture that we find ourselves in fits with our personal values. If we have a value of respect for example and end up working in an organisation where rudeness and bullying are accepted, we are not going to be happy. Even if that rudeness and bullying isn’t directed at us, it will not be an environment in which we flourish. Working in an environment that goes against our personal values will cause internal conflict and ultimately stress.

So how do you know if the culture fits with your values? First you need to start with understanding what your values are. Make a list of your top six and prioritise them. It isn’t something that we think about often but it is worth taking the time to do so.

Personal values are the standards that we set ourselves and provide the basis of our responses and behaviours – they are the key to our interactions on a daily basis. A match with an organiation’s culture and values is the key for your happiness in the environment you are in. A match and you have the potential to flourish – a mis-match and you have the potential to spiral downwards. And that is not a good place to be!

Dealing with change?
If you answered No to the questions above and your personal values match that of the organisation, then maybe something is changing in your environment?

Change impacts us all in many different ways and in all areas of our lives. We all go through a cycle of emotions when change hits us – the speed, timing and how we deal with it, varies from person to person.

If the changes fit with how we view ourselves – how we want life to be – then we are more likely to be positive about it. If we haven’t chosen the change and it is something that doesn’t match what we thought our future would be – we are more likely to resist it!

This type of situation can generate feelings of anxiousness or fear – which in turn can trigger the “fight or flight” response – where emotions are raised in a strong enough way to get us up to “fight” for what we want or to “flee” to a place of safety. There is also a third response where we “freeze” and are completely unable to do anything. Decision-making goes out of the window.

So with all change it is important to get clarity. To help you get clarity, it is important to write down and understand:
•what is happening
•what the circumstances are
•what the impact is on you, and
•what options you have.

Try keeping a journal; this will enable you to make notes on how you are feeling and the changes that you are noticing. Make a note of the day and date with each entry so it is easier for you to reflect back. Keeping a journal is also a great way of letting out how you feel in a safe way. We can express things on paper without anyone getting hurt in the way we express it. It is your private space. As well as capturing how you are generally, make notes on things such as the following:
-Your mood and feelings
-Your energy level
-The positives that you notice from the day
-Any achievements and further things to concentrate on
-Capture any points of learning, any changes – however big or small, your experiences and any realisations that you may have.

Weigh up your options – look at the pros and cons of each one and decide the best course of action to take. Then set yourself some goals.

We alone are in control of how we deal with things – take responsibility for yourself in terms of physical, nutritional and mental health.

Remember it is not what happens to us but how we deal with things and how we respond that defines us.

Change is a way of growing beyond the person you thought you were into the deeper, stronger person you will become. Susan Squellati Florence

Successful people have goals!
Here is the most effective way of ensuring you achieve yours:
•Write them down – be specific
•Break bigger tasks down into manageable chunks
•Set yourself timescales for achieving things
•Be realistic – climbing Mount Everest when you don’t have the right shoes just won’t lead to success. It is important to stretch yourself though.
•Keep the vision of what you want in clear focus
•Tell someone! When other people know about it, it can spur you on and add to your motivation

Are you successful?
As well as having clarity on your goals, being successful in the workplace requires a great attitude and positive self-esteem.

Ask yourself the following questions – if you get a negative answer to any of them then set yourself some goals and make some changes that you are in control of:

•What attitude do you have? Helpful and willing to take things on or you can’t be seen for dust if there is work to be done?
•How positive are you? No one likes to be around people all day if they behave like the sky has just fallen in – if that is you then do something about it!
•How do you dress? Are you smart and well groomed? Scruffy people don’t inspire confidence and whether we like it or not, most people still judge a book by its cover. You are representing your company’s brand and if you want to get on – look the part!
•How do you communicate – are you clear and articulate? If you mumble and don’t connect with people you will soon be isolated.
•How much energy do you have to put into everything? Do you have a spring in your step or are you frozen to the spot?
•Do you meet the expected levels in your company’s competency framework? Do you need to develop in any areas?
•Do you exude confidence and capability? If not, what do you need to learn?
•Are you calm in a crisis? Running around like a headless chicken doesn’t resolve anything. Staying calm allows you to think clearly and resolve difficulties.
•Do you have the right balance for work and home life? Work on it so it is the right one for you.
•Are you passionate about what you do? If not maybe you are in the wrong job?

Work hard, over deliver and if you don’t know something – ask! That is how we learn and grow.

Are you everything you want to be? If not get your plan together and be everything you are meant to be.

And lastly – smile! – It is impossible to feel miserable if you have a smile on your face and people might even wonder what you are up to!

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Janice Haddon has over 25 years' experience in strategic and operational Human Resources and management consultancy. Working across a range of sectors and with start-ups to top 20 companies, Janice is a qualified coach and has a passion for integrating ... (Read More)

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