To Be Fully Human, Strive For Meaning Over Happiness

If you look around at today’s culture, you get a pretty strong message about happiness. Mainly, that everyone should have it or be striving for it. And while happiness is an important factor in our overall well-being, research is revealing another key player: meaning.

Lessons From The Holocaust

This research isn’t new. It began with the eminent psychologist and holocaust survivor Victor Frankl in 1945. Business Insider reprinted an article from The Atlantic that offered Frankl’s insights into the value of meaning in life.

In 1946, Frankl published his book Man’s Search For Meaning in which he shared his experiences as therapist in the concentration camp. Frankl concluded that the difference between those who survived and those who didn’t came down to finding a meaning for living—even is those horrendous circumstances.

Frankl himself believed that counseling other inmates created meaning in his life and that this is what allowed him to survive until he was liberated. He wasn’t happy, but he had a reason to live each day.

Understanding the Differences

A recent article in Scientific American discussed the differences that many of today’s studies are showing between happiness and meaningfulness.

“It seems that happiness has more to do with having your needs satisfied, getting what you want, and feeling good, whereas meaning is more related to uniquely human activities such as developing a personal identity, expressing the self, and consciously integrating one’s past, present, and future experiences,” says the article.

Writing in Psychology Today, social psychologist Bella DePaulo shares specific life circumstances that test subjects said made for a meaningful but not happy life and vice versa. For example, feeling that life is easy made for a happy but less meaningful life; stress, challenges, and sacrificing for others created meaning but not necessarily happiness.

What It Means For Our Own Lives

The thing to remember, say psychologists, is that both happiness and meaningfulness are important to our overall quality of life. However, striving for meaning is what makes us truly human.

As Victor Frankl states, “Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.”

If you believe you have everything you want but somehow don’t feel fully happy, it may be time to start a quest for meaning.

Looking for a fresh dose of motivation to inspire and challenge you every week? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. Best of all, it’s completely free!

 

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious women leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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Increase Your Visibility and Influence At Work

For many women, getting noticed for their abilities and becoming an influencer at work can be an uphill battle. Sometimes it’s unclear when to hold back, when to push hard, and when to ask for help—particularly from male co-workers and managers. There are, however, effective ways to increase your visibility and influence.

Ways To Start

The following are some ways that successful business women say they get noticed. These are taken from the website of the National Center For Women And Information Technology, but they apply for women in all areas of business.

  • “Work on projects with direct business impact – Choose roles that are strategically important to the business, and be clear about how your work fits in with company goals. If you are not clear, ask mentors who can help you understand the big picture.”
  • “Develop a strong network and continually look for ways to diversify it – Ask yourself what kinds of skills, knowledge, or opportunities are missing from your existing networks. Participate in cross-functional, cross-organizational projects to diversify these networks in ways that close skill and knowledge gaps and accelerate your future opportunities.”
  • “Serve as an internal advocate and mentor for others — both women and men – Junior women and men benefit from having male and female mentors. Mentoring also can be a rewarding way to grow professionally and to expand your leadership skills. Make mentoring a part of your performance goals so that you are recognized in performance evaluations for this contribution.”

Other Options

You can do things outside your company to get noticed within it, particularly if your business or role offer few (or no) opportunities to increase your visibility. These tips can help you in your current job—or one you might be considering for the future.

  • Create And Run A Mastermind Group – This is an excellent way to build and demonstrate your leadership skills as well as to build connections in various industries. Participants can include people who are in similar work situations or career paths as you, those who want to explore new skills, or folks who want to share tips they’ve learned for staying visible. Check out this article for tips on getting started.
  • Be Active On Social Networks – This one takes a little more work, as you must stay active by posting and commenting regularly. It’s easier to do if you choose one or two networks that fit your job or industry. And if you can find sites your fellow employees and managers are on, you’ll have multiple opportunities to get noticed and show what you know.

 

Looking for a fresh dose of motivation to inspire and challenge you every week? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. Best of all, it’s completely free!

 

If you find yourself struggling to increase your visibility and influence at work, Progressive Women’s Leadership is holding an upcoming webinar on this subject titled Gain a Seat at the Table: How Women Increase Their Influence & Visibility. It will run Thursday, December 8, 2016 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, and I’m very proud to be the guest speaker for this program. Get more details or register today!

 

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious women leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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Two Ways To Learn From Difficult Situations

When it comes to dealing with difficult situations in life, most people would rather pass. (I know I would.) The bad news is that there’s no avoiding those painful situations; the good news is that they can teach us something—every time—if we’re open to it.

Make A Conscious Choice

You’ve probably heard experts say how we can always choose how to learn from situations. However, sometimes our “chosen” reactions are simply the automatic responses we’ve made all our lives—not realizing that there are alternatives which can lead to growth. Growth becomes possible when we step back and actually make a conscious choice about our reactions.

In an article on her Center For Inner Wellness website, Becky Waters describes what she calls our default operating mode. Most of us automatically respond by getting stressed, says Waters, because, “that’s typically our default programming, thanks to a well-working Reptilian brain. Anytime this instinctive coping part of our brain perceives danger, it automatically goes into fight, flight or freeze. However, we can learn to take a breath and allow the ‘message’ time to reach our more evolved decision-making brain.”

Psychologist Susan David also discusses this in her book “Emotional Agility.” During a recent podcast interview with Wharton University, Dr. David emphasized the power of conscious choice.

“Where we are today is a culmination of the decisions and choices we’ve made up to this point. Where we are tomorrow will depend on the choices we make today. If we don’t like what life seems to be giving us, we can decide to make a different choice – in our behavior or in our thinking.”

Learn To Overcome Fear

Perhaps one of the best ways to de-stress and ultimately evolve after any kind of tough situation is by overcoming the fear it creates. That starts by understanding that fear doesn’t come from without but rather from within us.

“While something could have happened to you that created the fear, such as a traumatic event, you must still move beyond it,” states a recent blog on the site Collective Evolution. “It may be difficult, but when you justify your fear, in whatever terms, you remain a prisoner to it.  You give yourself a reason to hold onto the fear because you’re telling yourself that this fear is coming from the outside instead of its true source, the inside. Once you become aware of something, you have the choice and power to change it.”

Starting with these two essential tools—conscious choice and moving beyond fear—we can become a better, more fulfilled version of ourselves in every aspect of life.

Looking for a fresh dose of motivation to inspire and challenge you every week? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. Best of all, it’s completely free!

 

And…if you find yourself struggling to increase your visibility and influence at work, Progressive Women’s Leadership is holding an upcoming webinar on this subject titled Gain a Seat at the Table: How Women Increase Their Influence & Visibility. It will run Thursday, December 8, 2016 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, and I’m very proud to be the guest speaker for this program. Get more details or register today!

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious women leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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inspiration and motivation for leaders

Inspiration Versus Motivation In Effective Leader

“Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.” – Dr Wayne Dyer

Whether you’re an executive, a school teacher, or a parent raising a family, you’re a leader. You’re trying to get the best out of those in your charge and help them grow. Inspiration and motivation are both effective tools. The question is which one will generate the best results.

Basic Definitions

We often use these words interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different from each other. Google defines them as follows:

  • Motivation is “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way” or “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.” It can also be defined as motive, incentive, ambition, and determination.
  • Inspiration is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Similar words include creativity, inventiveness, innovation, imagination, and originality.

Once you understand the differences, the challenge lies in putting them into action to achieve your goals.

The Leadership Connection

The website Your Brilliance Unlimited offers five important differences between inspiration and motivation that every leader should understand.

  1. Motivation is about feelings. Inspiration looks “for the next thing that makes sense to the bigger picture,” regardless of feelings.
  2. Motivation wants quick wins, short-term gains. Inspiration means staying the course by keeping the overall achievement in sight.
  3. “Motivation will always first ask how or what. Inspiration will always come back to questions that first ask who or why.”
  4. Motivation tends to push people to do what you want, while inspiration shows you how to pull them toward your vision of the goal or achievement that will reward both individuals and teams.
  5. “Personal leadership recognizes the difference between rigid control and fluid growth in our lives. Motivation is about control: controlling your feelings, actions, steps. When control is lost, we can lose our motivation or will power. Worse yet, we can even pass judgment on ourselves for what we didn’t accomplish. Inspiration is about knowing when to guard what’s important and when to lean in to life for the bigger picture of what you value and want to create.”

Parts Of A Whole

Good leaders know that success requires much more than just inspiration and motivation. Leaders know how to bond with their teams to understand what drives them. They employ empathetic listening, personal connections, and basic people-centered methods, all of which encompass the balanced approach of a heart-centered leadership style.

Inspiration and motivation are just two important parts of this very effective whole—and leaders must know which of them works best in any given situation.

 

Looking for a fresh dose of motivation to inspire and challenge you every week? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. Best of all, it’s completely free!

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious women leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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nueroscience and mindfullness

Neuroscience Proves The Value of Mindfulness

Although it’s been helping people for centuries, mindfulness—focusing on the present moment in a non-judgmental way—has finally found its place as a source of healthy living in the 21st Century. The benefits of mindfulness have been touted in various places, including a recent Time Magazine special report and discussions in many other print and video news sources.

The reason for all this attention is because mindfulness is more than a fad or what some would call “wishful thinking.” It’s scientific fact.

The Science Of Mindfulness

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, began studying mindfulness back in 1979. According to a recent Time Magazine article by Kate Pickert, The Mindful Revolution, Zinn had a revelation while on a meditation retreat.

Pickert writes that as a Ph.D. studying muscle development and anatomy Kabat-Zinn wondered, “What if he could use Buddhism-based meditation to help patients cope with conditions like chronic pain?”

And the neuro-scientific study of mindfulness began in earnest.

“In the years since,” says Pickert, “scientists have been able to prove that meditation and rigorous mindfulness training can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, increase immune response and possibly even affect gene expression. Scientific study is also showing that meditation can have an impact on the structure of the brain itself.”

In 2012, there were 477 papers on mindfulness published in respected scientific journals, and the National Institute of Health “NIH has funded some 50 clinical trials in the past five years examining the effects of mindfulness on health,” states Pickert.

The Practical Applications

A quick internet search will reveal the many ways that mindfulness keeps us healthier by keeping us from over-stressing and even helping us to lose weight.

Pickert’s Time article describes many examples of how mindfulness reduces stress and improves focus in any type of work, and time for mindfulness and meditation is now being built into many corporate work environments.

Writing on BeliefNet.com, mindfulness-based psychologist Dr. Arnie Kozak discussed the benefits of mindfulness for those who work in healthcare, particularly the nursing profession where stress is constant due to the challenges, demands, and emotional issues of the work.

Regardless of who you are or what you do, practicing mindfulness can help you stay healthier and function more effectively in in our fast-moving, multi-tasking, digitally-focused world.

 

Looking for a fresh dose of motivation to inspire and challenge you every week? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. Best of all, it’s completely free!

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious women leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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