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How You Can Benefit from All Your Stress

 

You are stressed — by your deadlines, your responsibilities, your ever-increasing workload, and your life in general. If you are like me, you even stress about how much stress you’re feeling — worrying that it is interfering with your performance and possibly taking years off of your life.

This might sound a little crazy, but what if it’s the very fact that we assume stress is bad that’s actually making it so bad for us? And what if there were another way to think about stress — a way that might actually make it a force for good in our lives? Well there is, according to new research from Yale’s Alia Crum and Peter Salovey, and Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage.

Let’s take a step back, and begin with a different question: What is stress?

Generally speaking, it’s the experience — or anticipation — of difficulty or adversity. We humans, along with other animals, have an instinctive physical response to stressors. It includes activation of the sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight”), inhibition of the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”), and the release of adrenaline and cortisol. But what does all of that do? In short, it primes the pump — we become more aroused and more focused, more ready to respond physically and mentally to whatever is coming our way.

Kind of sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it?

But wait, you say, can’t chronic stress make us sick? Can’t it take a toll on our immune functioning?

Yes…but there is plenty of evidence that stress can also enhance immunity.

Well then, you point out, can’t it leave us feeling depressed and lethargic?

Yes… but studies show that it can also create mental toughness, increase clarity, result in greater appreciation for one’s circumstances, and contribute to a sense of confidence built on a history of overcoming of obstacles (which is the best, most long-lasting kind of confidence you can have). So stress is bad, and somehow also good. How can we make sense of the paradoxical nature of stress?

I’ll bet right now you are saying to yourself, it’s the amount of stress that matters. Low levels may be good, but high levels are still definitely bad. (i.e., What doesn’t kill you might make you stronger….but too much stress is probably going kill you.)

The problem with this theory — which was once the dominant theory among psychologists, too — is that by and large, it doesn’t appear to be true. The amount of stress you encounter is a surprisingly poor predictor of whether it will leave you worse (or better) off.

As it turns out, your mindset about stress may be the most important predictor of how it affects you. As Crum, Salovey, and Achor discovered, people have different beliefs about stress. Some people — arguably most people — believe that stress is a bad thing. They agreed with statements like “The effects of stress are negative and should be avoided,” and the researchers called this the stress-is-debilitating mindset. Those who instead agreed that “Experiencing stress facilitates my learning and growth” had what they called a stress-is-enhancing mindset.

In their studies, Crum and colleagues began by identifying stress mindsets among a group of nearly 400 employees of an international financial institution. They found that those employees who had stress-is-enhancing mindsets (compared to stress-is-debilitating) reported having better health, greater life satisfaction, and superior work performance.

That’s already rather amazing, but here’s the best part — your mindset can also change! If you have been living with a stress-is-debilitating mindset (like most of us), you don’t have to be stuck with it. A subset of the 400 employees in the aforementioned study were shown a series of three-minute videos over the course of the following week, illustrating either the enhancing or debilitating effects of stress on health, performance, and personal growth. Those in the stress-is-enhancing group (i.e., the lucky ones) reported significant increases in both well-being and work performance.

Yet another study showed that stress-is-enhancing believers were more likely to use productive strategies, like seeking out feedback on a stress-inducing task. They were also more likely to show “optimal” levels of cortisol activity. (It turns out that both too much and too little cortisol release in response to a stressor can have negative physiological consequences. But with the stress-is-enhancing mindset, cortisol release is — like Baby Bear’s porridge — just right.)

Taken together, all this research paints a very clear picture: stress is killing you because you believe that it is. Of course, that doesn’t mean you aren’t juggling too many projects at once — each of us has limited time and energy, and people can and do get overworked.

But if you can come to see the difficulties and challenges you face as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as your “daily grind,” then you really can be happier, healthier, and more effective. Maybe you don’t need less stress — you just need to think about your stress a little differently

Heidi Grant

March 14, 2013

Digital nomads leverage wireless digital technologies to perform their work duties while travelling the world.
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Digital Nomads & The Rise of Remote Work

“Choice empowers people and makes for a more content workforce. One day, offices will be a thing of the past.”

– Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin

We at Davitt Corporate Partners are fascinated by the changing landscape of the working world and as such, the rising phenomenon of digital nomadism and remote working is something that has captured our attention.

The past few years has seen significant growth in the number of people working remotely from all over the world. As a result of technological innovations, it is now more possible than ever for team members to easily and cheaply collaborate across cities, countries and continents.

This has led to the emergence of the “digital nomad” figure. Armed with just a laptop and a passport, this new vanguard of freelancers represents the office-less workplace of the future. For these ‘citizens of the world’, a workplace could be anything from a hut in the Gobi Desert to a café by the Seine.

Many digital nomads state that the greater flexibility and freedom of remote working means that they feel not only more productive but also happier than if they were working in a traditional office environment.

Remote working is equally beneficial to employers. The introduction of remote working means that employers can enjoy reduced overheads, smaller staff turnover and increased productivity. What’s more, flexible working policies have been shown to have a direct positive impact on revenue!

Is Digital Nomadism Here to Stay?

One in four business leaders anticipate that more than 75% of their workforce will not be working in traditional offices by the year 2020. A revolution in remote working will empower workers with the freedom to see the world without sacrificing their professional careers, meaning a greater work-life balance for all!

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The $112 Billion CEO Succession Problem

A great CEO can be the makings of a company but what happens when they need to be replaced? This infographic looks at how difficult it is to replace CEOs and the incredible cost to companies. It’s vital that the current CEO has an able successor to take his place, as if they don’t, the company will suffer. Read more now.

The $112 Billion CEO Succession Problem - Infographic

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PRODUCTIVITY FOR WORK APPS – Infographic

There’s an app for everything these days and it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. We often download apps and never use them or find them useless. That is why we’ve compiled an infographic looking at apps that are actually good in the area of productivity. For example, Google Drive really is a no-brainer as you can use it on the go and it even has offline functionality. It stores everything on the drive for you, so you no longer need to be concerned about losing word files on your computer. Check out the full infographic now.

PRODUCTIVITY FOR WORK APPS - Infographic

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Merry Christmas

Davitt Corporate Partners would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Please note that our offices will be closed from 1.00pm on Friday the 22nd of December 2017, reopening on Tuesday the 2nd of January 2018. We will have very limited access to email during this period.

Should you need to contact us urgently, you can reach Adrienne Davitt on 087 242 9120 or David Keane on 086 836 1036.

This year we supported ReachOut.com, Dogs for the Blind, World Vision, Girl Rising, Avaaz, and Anthony Nolan Trust.

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Leadership – A Readily Transferable Skill or is Technical Expertise Required?

It is often assumed that the most important leadership skills are high level, broad skills, such as critical thinking ability, problem solving skills, communication skills, the ability to delegate and to motivate – and that these skills can be readily transferred from one industry to another. However, without technical expertise in the area the leader is working in, how do they get to the very essence of a problem, when trying to solve it? How do they communicate effectively, using the correct terminology with those who are actually performing the work? Research has found that often industry specific knowledge yields significant advantages – hospitals run by doctors for example, perform better than those run by leaders with a non-medical background.

The counter argument is, that those without industry specific knowledge can hire and surround themselves with those who do have this information, and be advised by these people. However, without having the technical knowledge themselves, how do those leaders know if the advice they are being given, is in fact correct? Looking critically, it appears that industry specific knowledge is intrinsically linked to many of the leadership skills aforementioned, including the ability to communicate and solve problems effectively and efficiently.

The issue with this is that employees are increasingly likely to change domains and with this movement, industry specific knowledge is lost. Therefore, leaders need to think carefully about employee retention and succession plans. By identifying future leaders within an industry or business, they can then focus on developing and training them, in order to equip them with the leadership skills they will need to progress in that industry.

 

From Harvard Business Review – November 2017.

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6 Ways To Refresh Goals For A Millennial Workforce

Setting ambitious but realistic goals for your team always requires care. But managing millennials — born in the 1980s and 1990s — might require a fresh approach. To devise goals that might hold particular appeal to younger employees:

  • Establish a Two-way Process

Traditional bosses declare a goal and then expect staffers to work hard to attain it. That approach might not be as effective with millennials. “You want to be a transformational leader, not a transactional one,” said Jesse Calloway, a leadership consultant. That means turning young employees into participants who help shape their own performance goals, as opposed to setting a high bar and threatening to punish them if they fail to meet your standard.

  • Stay Involved

It may not be enough to explain a goal and then walk away. Millennials are perceived by some as craving coaching and interaction. Calloway suggests that you set up checkpoints to meet with millennials to gauge their progress as they march toward a goal. “It’s important to follow up so they know you want to coach them along the way,” he said. “So say, ‘We’ll get together next week to check in.’ And when you do check in, celebrate the small, successful steps” that the individual has achieved.

  • Think Sooner, Not Later

Regardless of the age of your team members, set goals that motivate them to excel. But be aware that millennials might be more inclined to push themselves harder if they face a tight time frame.”They grew up in an instant-gratification culture,” said Rachel Ernst, director of employee success at Reflektive, a San Francisco-based firm that makes performance-management software. “They tend to have less patience and want goals that they can attain over the short term, say eight to 12 weeks instead of one year.”

  • Emphasize Professional Development

Goals might resonate more forcefully with millennials if they are tied to advancement opportunities. Young staffers may want reassurance that if they meet or exceed the objectives you’ve set, they will reap career rewards.”After six to nine months in a role, they want to know what’s new,” said Ernst, who manages many millennials. “So I’ll say to them, ‘Here’s how these goals will help you enter a new role or function.’ ”

  • Focus on Outcome, Not Process

Even if you encourage millennials to craft their own goals, you might still need to refine how they think about their contribution to the organisation’s success. Left on their own, they might confuse process with outcome. Say a young go-getter proposes making 100 sales calls a week. Rather than just nod approvingly, translate those calls into broader, more impactful goals. “When I let millennials take a first shot at drafting their goals, they often start with process goals,” Ernst said. “Their mindset is more task-oriented: I have to make these calls, do these things, etc. Then I ask questions so they think more deeply about outcome goals” that strengthen the company. For example, Ernst might redirect a millennial from narrowly concentrating on certain tasks by asking, “If you think about your role more broadly, what can you do to build community and impact our organisation as a whole?”

  • Embrace Transparency

Because they likely were raised in a sea of social media, millennials are probably accustomed to open, unfiltered online sharing. They may respond well to collaborative leaders who combine goal-setting with personal disclosure and information-sharing. For instance, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson shares her own performance reviews with 2,400 employees — many of whom are millennials. Why? She wants her team to see how she’s working to improve.

 

source: http://www.investors.com/news/management/leaders-and-success/6-ways-to-refresh-goals-for-a-millennial-workforce/

 

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6 Mindset Shifts That Will Improve Your Life

Click below to see

6 Mindset Shifts That Will Improve Your Life

Courtesy of www.success.com

 

 

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Why the Process Matters – Joel Brockner, faculty director of the High Impact Leadership program at Columbia Business School