Finally my website has been launched, and with it my first official In-Coaching blogpost . What better way to introduce myself than to provide some insight into the meaning of my slogan ''Thriving at the Top".
Survive or Thrive
From the very beginning of my work as an executive coach and cross-cultural trainer I have been interested in the notion of ''thriving'' in the workplace. The phrase ''survive or thrive'' is a handy expression of the contrast between an automatic pilot attitude of ''I'll get through this" on the one hand, and a present, energized and flexible approach to daily challenges on the other. The eager and open-minded conviction that "I love what I'm doing, I'm good at it and I accept that I can make mistakes and learn from them " is the hallmark of a thriving mindset.
A call to ''thrive at the top" is both a reinforcement of our right to pleasure and satisfaction on the job, and an invitation to keep realizing own unique potential.
We are not only capable of more than we think we are; we are able to venture out of our comfort zone, strive to achieve new goals AND retain a sense of well-being in the process. It's about being at the ''top of your game'' and in a way that sustains your energy instead of depleting it.
I'm not talking idealism, I'm talking strategy.
Thriving 101: The Basics
How can you thrive at the top? To thrive means to flourish, to be ''doing well ". The basics of thriving are easy to observe in nature when seeds release thier green shoots upwards through the soil. Like flowering plants , we are thriving when we are:
Growing - Do you have the opportunity to keep developing your professional skills? Is there enough variety in your package of daily tasks. Do you get ''stretch'' assignments? To what extent are you able to align your personal ambitions with your role and responsibilities at work?
Healthy - Do you get enough sleep ? Do you have time to eat breakfast and lunch at a relaxed pace, away from your desk ? Do you keep physically fit? Do you take a break, even a short one, to leave your desk and go outside for some fresh air, once or twice daily?
Attractive - Do your colleagues enjoy being with you and working with you? Are you easily approachable? Do people feel appreciated by you? Do you take care of your appearance?
Have enough space - Just as plants choke and wither when they are too close together, we humans also need space in order to thrive. This could be physical space: the ergonomics of your desk and chair, your proximity to other colleagues, even the sense of space created by the amount of light and fresh air circulation in the room. And let's not forget mental space: the ability to work without constant interruptions, having a manageable workload and enough time for planning, creative problem-solving and developing new ideas.
Using these four cornerstones of thriving, you can already make an inventory about your own situation. To what degree are you already thriving ? Which areas need more attention from you? Which of these have you not even considered unti now ?
To be realistic, you are part of a bigger interdependent system, and you will often find yourself subjected to less than optimal conditions for thriving. This could be sitting in a stuffy airless meeting room, chairs crammed too close together around a table, being beseiged by a steady stream of interruptions at the office or at home, skipping visits to the gym because of project deadlines, etc. What's important is not maintaining a perfect thriving regimen, but knowing what you need in order to thrive, so at the first opportunity, you can do something about it.
Awareness of the basics is only part of the to thriving at the top. Because growth, health, attractiveness and a spatial comfort in the workplace cannot be cultivated without a fundamental sense of '' personal empowerment''.
Empowerment is simply the freedom to make choices.
It is your capacity to strike a positive balance between your own needs and the needs of your environment. It's absence, known as ''depowerment'' is most often what is lurking behind job dissatisfaction, low morale, undermining behavior and ultimately burn-out.
In my next blogpost I will go into more depth about the relationship between personal empowerment and ''Thriving at the Top."
Until then, I invite you to think about this:
What is one thing you can do today to promote your own ''thriving at the top"?
Lisa Ross-Marcus, founder of In-Coaching, is an executive life coach and a intercultural trainer.