Category: <span>Productivity</span>

The Importance of Celebrating Your Progress: An Overlooked, Yet Powerful Motivator

Celebrating your wins, how to get motivated at work
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Do you ever take the time to celebrate your progress? For most, it’s barely a thought, only focusing on the outcome, but is this hurting your potential?

Suppose we continue to push this mentality of working hard and hustle culture without space for acknowledging just how far we’ve come? In that case, you leave room for the disappointment of perfectionism and actually increase the likelihood of poor follow-through.

Join me as I dive into this blog on celebrating your wins, valuing your worth, and leveraging that to motivate you or your team. 

WHY YOU MIGHT STRUGGLE TO CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS:

Do you ever take time to celebrate your success or accomplishments? Or even acknowledge the small wins in those around you?

I can picture you saying, “hmm….I don’t know” or “haven’t thought about that.” Well, think about what the message to yourself is or your organization when you don’t do that.

We are often so caught up on the daily to-dos and the pressure of unrealistic demands that we actually forget to notice what we’ve accomplished, or acknowledge the accomplishments of our peers sharing office air or zoom rooms around us. Well, I don’t think we forget, I think we are conditioned to discount the small wins as “not good enough” because we haven’t reached that destination, completed the project, achieved the goal, or received praise for it. 

However, something powerful happens if you take the time to think about what it takes to get to your end goal and the tasks you’ve managed to pull off along the way.

When I trained for the NYC Marathon a few years back, 26.2 miles was the outcome. Still, there were many important milestones along the way- like actually deciding I could run that far (absolutely not a distance runner), hitting key milage like 13.2, 15 miles, 18 miles, and positioning myself for 26.2. What was more important at race day wasn’t the race itself but what it took to get there. Each time I hit a milestone, it reinforced that this was possible, and I also saw the shifts in friends and family around me and their excitement that this was actually happening. All of the above was motivation to complete one of the most challenging events in my life, next to birthing babies. 

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THE POWER OF PROGRESS IS FUNDAMENTAL TO HUMAN NATURE

Whether you are trying to bring in a big sale, develop a high-quality product or service, forge a new path in life, or get a handle on your anxiety, acknowledging everyday progress can make all the difference in how you feel and perform. That same concept of having and acknowledging the small milestones is not just a great way to motivate yourself, but also your team. If you can help them see the value of the steps, they have accomplished and find ways to acknowledge that as their leader, you are building their intrinsic ability to perform (and maybe even like what they are doing).

self reliance, building motivation, progress over perfection

The power of progress is fundamental to human nature. Think about the excitement of parents encouraging a child to take a few steps as they learn to walk and the level of trust that child feels in themselves and the external motivator to take that step. Then the joy of the accomplishment. That celebration is an inspiration for that impressionable tiny human to keep walking until it turns into a full-out run. That concept of internal self-reliance is one we have to foster through our personal self-development. However, externally, a powerful and underutilized motivator by managers and leaders is praise.

We never stop being that little kid that responds to external praise, guidance, and support. 

REMIND YOURSELF OF THE GOAL

I collaborate with clients to set goals and meaningful milestones because it’s the GPS for our work. It’s a sign of progress that we are going toward their goals, and for my clients, it becomes a focal point for the work. It’s easy to get distracted by the expectations of others or the disappointment we feel if we aren’t working fast “enough” or we aren’t where we should be. Those steps become a blueprint for reframing our focus and keeping us motivated.

BUILD A STRONGER SUPPORT SYSTEM BY SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN YOU.

As I’ve hinted so far, part of your success is dependent on your ability to slow down and acknowledged your progress, or to embrace even the small wins. I encourage my high-achieving and driven women in business to enjoy the journey regularly as we look at developing a flexible growth mindset. Their drive can easily distract from the small but significant gains. 

Another critical factor is who is on your team to provide external support? Does your team even know what you’re working on, and are they equipped to recognize those steps and high-five you along that process? You want a team that can nourish your progress and see it as essential to the larger objective. If you want to achieve bigger goals, build a support system of people with whom you can share your goals and who can also believe in your journey and recognize your progress.

Progress is a complex formula of how we view our support systems (organizations, management, workers, family, or friends) and how confident and equipped we feel in our abilities and ourselves. These join forces to either push us to higher levels of achievement or stunt our growth, contributing to resistance like overthinking, procrastination, stress, and inaction.  

Stop minimizing your wins. It’s part of your progress and worth celebrating.

You are worth celebrating. 

DO THE WORK: AN EXERCISE TO BUILD MOTIVATION

Let’s switch gears and do some heavy lifting to practice the ideas we’ve discussed so far.

An exercise to build your motivation in ten minutes

Take a moment to reflect on this question I recently shared with several of the leaders doing a recent mindset workshop: 

  1. What beliefs about yourself do you have that may not be a fact?
  2. When you think of your goals, what are some of the thoughts that come up around them that create obstacles to action?
  3. How does the expectations of you based on your identity (such as gender or race) influence those thoughts?

Remember the work starts with your understanding of yourself and how your life experiences or expectations cause you to respond both internally and externally. Have you considered what parts of those thoughts or processes are getting in the way of your progress?

Let’s take a look at your progress: Take 10 minutes to brainstorm your wins for this week. Go ahead, set a timer, start writing, then come back to this piece.

How many wins were you able to come up with? Celebrate that.

Notice how it feels to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Permit yourself to feel the pride, joy, or even the discomfort that comes up with acknowledging yourself. Sit with that feeling for 15-30 seconds as you remind yourself you are worth celebrating, you are doing a great job, and you are fully capable of navigating the next step towards your goal. 

You can easily do this for the team as well. What wins did your staff or business hit in the past week? Who had a role in that? Celebrate them.

As you get into a regular practice of reassessing and acknowledging yourself, it gets easier to motivate yourself and build and support those around you. 

Well done.

Related Reads:

Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety

End Self Criticism and Learn To Like Yourself

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on celebrating the small wins and your progress as a source of motivation. Or share your experience with the exercise above.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Psychotherapist, Coach for Women

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R. Licensed Psychotherapist & Mindset Coach. Mental Health Consultant & Speaker

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man wearing black polo shirt and gray pants sitting on white chair

3 Simple Ways Leaders Can Promote Mental Health

When Your People Feel Unloved At Work 

Person Writing on White Paper

Mental health at work is a huge issue and it is not getting any better, statistics show that one in two employees are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Here are some tips for leaders on how to promote mental health at work.

They Don’t Care

As a manager and employee, I have uttered those words and heard them multiple times (usually laced with explicatives) within well-established organizations. Leaders are tasked to ensure workers align with the mission and associated bottom line, not necessarily the human energy behind that and your people notice. 

When your focus is only on the capacity to produce, and the rate that can happen, with little concern for the mechanics of production (aka the humans that do the work), you will ultimately have employee’s that don’t feel supported and who ultimately conclude “they don’t care about us.” Have you ever been in a relationship where you no longer felt cared for? How did that work out? 

65% of people are looking for new jobs because they are unhappy

cnbc.com

The truth is people were unhappy, stressed, overworked, and disconnected from the mission pre-pandemic. According to the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, more days of work were lost related to stress and emotional health issues than many other chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and arthritis.  Couple that with a year fueled with uncertainty, with plenty of time to reflect on personal needs and aspirations, with a dash of new demands and mandates, and it’s like folks have found their come to Jesus moment around their priorities when it comes to their wellbeing. 

Why Should Leaders Care?  

Ignoring Employee Wellbeing Affects the Company’s Bottom Line.  Executives are reporting seeing a higher turnover than usual, and they are bracing for worse. What does that look like when it comes to your pockets? According to Employee Benefit News, employers spend an average of 33% of a worker’s annual salary replacing just one employee. Let’s put that into perspective: It will cost $12,000 to replace an entry-level employee making $36,000 a year. It will cost $20,000 to replace a manager making $60,000 a year.

Just as costly is the employee who can’t jump ship but have left you emotionally. Some of the “invisible” costs to a company include absenteeism, or those who miss work because of emotional or physical health reasons (both are strongly tied together), or presenteeism- those who come to work and do everything but that because they are mentally and emotionally absent from work.   

We tend to talk about those half-life worker bees as “stealing time”; however, what if some of this is your team communicating to you that they are overwhelmed, underused, tired, and in need of attention?

How Can Leaders Respond to The Crisis of Mental Health at Work?

Work on cultivating a culture of caring that includes normalizing the conversation of mental health, assessing the needs of your employees, and implementing onsite and ongoing support. There is a false sense of comfort in tasking wellness to only Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to address workplace mental health concerns or health insurance because the reality is, it isn’t enough. Most EAP’s only cover approx six sessions, and finding a mental health provider with availability that takes your insurance is like performing a magic trick these days. So while those ideas are well and good, it shouldn’t be the only strategy to support your team.

3 Simple Ways Leaders Can Promote Mental Health

Value and Encourage Employee Input (aka Listen to your people)

I was in a meeting once being welcomed by executive leadership and everything was great- They sounded glad to have me on board and painted an open door policy and then I accidently asked, “so if I have an issue can I come to you directly?” to which the lights dimmed, her eyes glared, a wisp of cool air entered the room, and a professional no fell out her mouth.

I understand that there is a hierarchy to how we do things. However, if leadership is drawing a line between genuinely knowing what is happening in the lower ranks and positing themselves to respond, it is already creating an atmosphere for chaos. I walked out of that meeting thinking they don’t give a shit what happens, and they lived up to that with poor dissemination of information, limited support, and ineffective leadership. Guess who left that job?

As a leader, you need a strong voice and boundaries, but you also need to know when it’s time to listen. Employees who provide direct service are the lifeline of your organization. When you make decisions without them, and they can’t see themselves in your larger vision, it can easily lead to a more significant situation.  

This pandemic has called for the acknowledgment of listening as a critical skill in the health of an organization. Active and empathic listening will allow managers and leaders to ask questions that get to real concerns before it becomes costly issues. Creating space for engagement and dialogue fosters a sense of belonging and respect. It also gives you a chance to grasp innovative ideas of your best assets that will eventually contribute to your bottom line. Employees who are engaged and included are more likely to navigate stress and overwhelm and less likely to find a new job. 

Create Opportunities for Advancement

Humans crave progress. Your people need to feel like they are on a path that leads somewhere and are a part of a culture that reflects the changing times. 

Do you know the areas your team members need the most support or want to develop? Is it communication, navigating emotions, resolving conflict, or improving professional skills? Do you create space for them to spend time on that within their workday? 

Have you created space not just for continuing education, but critical conversations that serve to dismantle any race-based bias limiting upward mobility within your organization? We exist in one of the most diverse times in history and are at the intersection of our own beliefs, personal experiences, community trauma, and change. We can’t pretend that also doesn’t walk into your workplace every day and impact your staff’s emotional safety and productivity.

Respect Your Limits and Bring in Support

While there is a considerable shift in recognizing the role of mental health at work, leaders themselves often don’t know where to start and are uncomfortable with critical next steps. In this instance, it is worth bringing in external expertise that isn’t wrapped up in the company dynamics to effectively lend perspective, skills, and support. 

Investing in external support can seem costly; however, when weighed against the cost of losing staff expertise, intellectual property, onboarding, and what you are hemorrhaging from presenteeism, it’s a minor drop in the retention bucket. Investing in a mentally healthy workforce is good for business, fosters a safe workplace, and improves the health of employees and your organization.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R, and Katiuscia Gray, LCSW-R, are Licensed Psychotherapists and Mental Health Consultants. They work in partnership with organizations and institutions like schools and universities to assess an organization’s emotional health designing customized mental health and wellness solutions.

10 Tips to Encourage the Tired Entrepreneur

I just wanted to remind you that you are amazing. 

I don’t think we get to hear that as much as we need it, and sometimes we are just too tired to give it to ourselves, so I’m sharing that compassion with you.

We don’t always know how to tell people how we feel about them; it’s like this great big mystery to find out how people think about us. 

Looking at it from a cultural lens, Caribbean families, for example, you’ll often overhear your parents telling your auntie or their friend how proud they are of you that you excelled in school, won the trophy, involved in sports, working on your business, yet, they may not directly tell you how proud they are of you.  Sometimes, we even forget to tell ourselves, but at this moment, I am showing up to let you know that you are doing a wonderful job, and I am so proud of your thoughtfulness and efforts.

Find That Positive Encouragement

We have to find supportive spaces to pour into us, especially when you are in a service position, or typically engage in a love language of giving.  Get around a community working just as hard as you are, especially as entrepreneurs and women with amazing goals. We aren’t always around people that get the drive or the sacrifice that comes with this role. Or even how empty, or worn out you are on the inside, despite how aesthetically pleasing you may show up on the outside. Find a tribe that gets that, and that’s willing to pour into you as well. You are welcome to join my tribe, especially if you are a woman of color, we sometimes need a unique space to relax, feel safe and allow ourselves to be poured into. 

Find the community that is going to push you

That said, just because someone doesn’t see or acknowledge your brilliance doesn’t mean that you aren’t exactly that. It’s ok to pour into yourself instead of waiting for external validation and approval. I want you to think of two ways to remind yourself that you are amazing, that you are brilliant, creative, [insert strength].

Think about that right now, write it down, and take the next step of figuring out how to remind yourself of even that reminder. For example, I could send myself a text message, so let me find that app that will do that for me. I can schedule a few emails for the future, etc. By engaging in that extra bit of action right now, this shifts from interesting thoughts to a sustainable system of action that regularly infuses positive encouragement into your life. 

Words of encouragement for the tired entrepreneur

What’s the key to pushing through? You have to stay mentally and emotionally encouraged. One way to do this is to reinforce statements that uplift your spirit on a daily basis.

  • I am happy with my growth at this moment.
  • I am in love with my life and my business. I own my worth. 
  • I deserve the best in all areas of my life 
  • I embrace the greatness within me
  • I am unstoppable
  • I am a fierce and powerful woman 
  • I am energized and ready to slay the day 
  • I welcome positive vibes and opportunity into my life
  • It is ok to rest
  • I make self-care a priority because it’s essential for self-love

And this final gem from Congress woman Maxine Waters, “I am a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated.” 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Psychotherapist, Coach and Consultant pushing the personal development of women. She loves to run, nap and spend time with her family.  Amanda talks tips and all things mental health at www.amandafludd.com. Make sure to also follow her on Instagram @amanda.fludd.

write your goal

What Is Your Goal Langugage?

goal setting tipsJust as we all learn very differently, practical goal setting can look very different as well. What works for someone else may not work for you – and that is just fine. Stay with me as I give you a few creative tips for setting your goals in a way that works for you.

Defining The Goal

When you say “goal,” the term can mean just about anything. You could have a goal to make more money, save up for a larger home, expand your business, etc. These are not wrong goals, but they are not necessarily effective goals. The idea is too broad, with no clear measurement for success, making them that much harder to attain.

An effective method for setting goals is to create SMART goals. SMART is an acronym system for developing actionable, achievable goals. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Assignable, and Realistic.

Once you have decided what you want your goal to be, you can begin to break it down into smaller digestible or smart pieces. Essentially, specify what you would like to achieve, assign a time frame you would like to achieve it in, understand who is responsible for the success of the goal, and assure that the goal can realistically be achieved.

BOOM – that’s it.

Once you have a clear goal, you can shift to the work required to get there. To help you with this, try our free vision board planner from a recent workshop we did helping other women entrepreneurs get clear on their goals. It’s an excellent way to collect your thoughts and get them out into action steps.

Goal Setting Strategies
Visual Goals Are Powerful For The Mind

Tips for Making Goals Work 

If you have taken the time to create your SMART goal, you must also spend some time with it. Schedule a consistent time to look at what you want to achieve and work on the action steps to get there. By consistently showing up to work on your goals, you are developing new success systems and habits. Habits, once formed, are automatic. They rewire our brains with the discipline needed for success. 

If your goal were a plant, the time you spend with it would be the food it needs to grow. With consistency, it will thrive in its proper season. 

The Language of Goals  

First, figure out your goal language. Are you a visual person? Do you need to think things through? Do you thrive in peace and quiet?

Whatever your goal language, roll with it!

If you are a visual person, spend some extra time creating a vision board for your goal. Having a visual map of your plan will allow you to visualize success better. When you envision what you want to achieve, you consciously decide to look for information about the situation that will improve your performance outcomes. Goal setting strategiesHigh-performing athletes do it all the time- I should know, I was one of them. Before a race, as I settled my nerves, I would see myself running the event. My muscles would fire at the gun, and I would rise out the blocks into formation and turn gears across the 400-meter track- gliding over hurdles along the way. This process helped me create a clear picture of what my body needed to do to get me to where I needed to go.

If you are more of a process and analytical person, try to journal out your goals. Getting your thoughts onto paper will allow you to work through them, see the holes, and may even inspire new inspiration. In fact, you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Writing also helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and overwhelm- factors that work against goal attainment. 

If quiet reflection is your goal language, find some quiet time and give yourself the space to dream and create. Try a practice from Stop, Breathe, Think, or Calm.com, and dedicate time to starting your process there daily with meditation, then writing. This daily or even weekly practice can help you stay motivated and keep your head clear. 

We all want to achieve better results. Writing down your goals is a good starting point. It’s an easy technique that helps you become more efficient and reduce your stress simultaneously. Let us know your goal language in the comments below and what you are working on. 

 

Goal setting strategiesAmanda Fludd, LCSW-R gets a whole lot of practice writing wellness goals for corporations and helping individuals navigate goals to improve their emotional and business wellbeing. Jump on her calander if you need to connect!

prioritze your self care and wellbeing

HOW TO SET GOALS THAT STICK

Almost the end of the year, time to reflect on what you have done. Did you achieve your dynamic goals? Did you accomplish anything at all?

No shade sis, but we are about to wrap another year, and I’m just curious if all those ideas are still in your head or typed up nicely on that google doc somewhere on a cloud. Reflection is good for the soul.

Before we get into what we haven’t done, take a few moments to map out your achievements for the year so far. Sometimes we are moving too fast to embrace our efforts, accomplishments, failures (and the lessons gained), and our success.

Back to Goals

Truthfully, goal-setting is easy. It’s the accountability side of things people struggle with.

Mapping out your achievements is a great way to reflect on what you have achieved and keeping it in front of you.  Your brain loves visuals!  Having a vision board is a great way to help you focus on what you want to achieve or need to keep building on. Typically, when you think about goals for your business, you probably think of pages of text, boring stats, and numbers. You know, the kind of thing you’d nervously push across the desk to a bank officer in hopes of securing a loan.

write out the vision

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything I like less than to have to piece together that kind of stiff, formal business plan. I’m not saying don’t know your numbers and projections, but let’s infuse some creativity into your growth process.

Instead of thinking about the words and the numbers, think about the pictures. It’s much easier to see the future when you can see it.

The Business Plan That Isn’t

What if you could plan your business with fun, colorful photos, and inspirational quotes and phrases instead? What would that do for your daily motivation?

Well, that’s exactly what a vision board will do for you. By collecting images representing your dreams and aspirations, you’ll have a constant reminder of where you’re going and even why you started your business in the first place. Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids as they’re growing up or have enough money to finally take that vacation to the Maldives. What about that house in Panama City Beach or upgrading to that house that’s calling your name? You haven’t invested all this time and energy into your success to flop now.

None of these things will find a place in a traditional business plan or the occasional google doc or note app you never visit on your phone, but they’re perfect for your vision board. More importantly, they’re critical to your long-term success. Without your dreams, it’s nearly impossible to remain focused and on track when it comes to growth, but with visual reminders, it’s easy!

Why Vision Boards Work

Does all this feel pretty airy-fairy to you? You’re not alone. Many of us were raised to believe that business had to be all about numbers and stats and that there was no room for fun when making money.

I completely disagree!

In fact, some of the most successful people in the world routinely use vision boards to help clarify their dreams and keep their goals front of mind. And that’s precisely why vision boards work so well. By keeping visual reminders within sight, you’re constantly aware of your “why,” and that’s a powerful motivator, no matter what you’re working on.

As we [almost] wrap this year, it’s time to get very specific about those big audacious goals and not lose that desire to finish.  Don’t be afraid to set goals that scare you, but also set goals that reflect and represent you. It’s easy to get caught up thinking that our goals need to be monumental or based on what success looks like for another person.  Sometimes that leads to focusing too much on the numbers, whether it’s a paycheck, followers on Instagram failed launches and profits.

What do you really want?

What makes the most sense for you at this point in your life?

The Homework (my favorite thing to give my clients)

Instead of thinking about Q4 as a cue for what you haven’t done, let’s get a handle on what you need to do to finish strong. Let’s take this last chunk of the year (90 days) and break it down into bite-sized pieces. Try to visualize it as 3 separate chapters (October, November, December).

Where do you want to be at the end of, say, October? And what do you need to achieve to get there? Take those goals and break them down into visible milestones that will become your vision and virtual motivator for the year’s balance.

The more you can help yourself see the next step in front of you, the more likely you will remain consistent and connected to the process. That said, keep it simple. Focus on fewer, more meaningful goals so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and kick up any anxiety or your favorite friend, procrastination.

Don’t overthink this process. Give yourself the freedom to dream, to break out the glue stick and get messy and create.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is passionate about supporting the dream of ambitious women and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less, and focus on your success.

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