Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Having a ‘meh’ day in the workplace? Turn on your positivity!

employee motivationBy Kelly Allder, VP of HR Programs, Ceridian

Some days, work can be awesome: you get to do something you’re really good at, and help people achieve their goals.  It’s a tremendous feeling when you show off your expertise and make a difference.

Some days, work can be ‘meh’.  Dealing with a challenge, a difficult personality, or just routine might make us feel less-than-fully engaged.  But when we have those days, it’s important not to let them take over your whole vibe and impact your contributions, your body or your relationships. 

On those days, I find that it helps to turn on positivity.  I don’t mean that we need to “put on a happy face” and be overly gregarious or hilarious.  I’m talking about actively assessing your thoughts, and actively reframing those thoughts.

We are blessed with First World Problems.  While those problems may not be life threatening, they are still challenges none-the-less. Challenges that impact our mind and our body.  And our responses to those challenges impact our relationships with others.

Feeling anxious about dropping your toddler off at daycare?  That anxiety can rapidly turn to negative thoughts (“what if something goes wrong?”) and you end up with a furrow between your eyebrows and a lump in your throat.  And when your toddler takes his shoes and socks off in the car, and you have to spend 5 minutes wrestling them back on again, you talk in an exasperated (read: harsher than usual) voice to him, and he bursts into tears.  Getting sucked in to bad vibes and negativity can really mess with your day!

While our problems and challenges are real, we have the opportunity to address them and not drag ourselves down in the process.

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill

Actively assessing your thoughts and words means being present in the moment and listening to yourself.

  • A simple question from a colleague: “How ya doing?” Your response: “Not bad.”  or “OK.”  or “Crazy busy.” Your tone of voice is neutral (at best).
  • At a team meeting, someone asks: “Where do we go from here?” Your response: “Well, I guess we should reach out to Samir again to find out what caused the problem.”

Hear the tone of voice.  Listen to the words.  Feel the weight of the ‘meh’ day.

Then take charge:  Sit up straighter.  Actively think of a positive thing in your life.  The sun IS shining today.  The rain is washing my car – for free!  My house is intact.  My children are healthy.  I have good friends.

  • A simple question from a colleague: “How ya doing?” Your response: “Good.  Thank you for asking.”
  • At a team meeting, someone asks: “Where do we go from here?” Your response: “I will reach out to Samir to find out what caused the problem.  Sometimes these things take time, but I’m determined to sort it out.”

Studies show those who are resilient and positive are better equipped to meet the challenges of life. For example, a study from Mequilibrium found that high resilient workers have 46 percent less perceived stress than low resilience workers. Our thoughts can be a powerful tool – turning on positivity helps us to meet the ‘meh’ head on and feel great physically, emotionally, mentally and spirituality.

Yes, we can feel anxious about dropping off our kids, a presentation for the Executive team, or an overwhelming amount of work.  Those things are real and sometimes unpleasant.  But we can choose our response – reframe the thoughts so that these challenges are put into perspective and become more manageable.

Kelly AllderKelly Allder is an experienced human resources consultant and dynamic facilitator.  As Vice President of HR Programs, Kelly is responsible for HR technology and HR programs that help enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and collaboration of employees and managers.

Kelly is also Executive Director of Ceridian Cares, Ceridian’s very own charity, where she oversees the daily operations and national committees that give grants to people in need.

Kelly holds an MBA from Schulich School of Business at York University, and she drives a MINI Cooper.  Kelly has four children, all of whom can fit into her car, plus 1 hockey bag. Follow Kelly on Twitter @kallder04!

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