Retail Observer

September 2019

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM SEPTEMBER 2019 44 T he title of my 2015 book, What Will You Do With Your 90,000 Hours? The Boardroom Poet's Thoughts on Work, comes from a series of talks I give about the 90,000 hours you'll spend at work during your lifetime. In my talks I repeat "90,000 hours" several times with a dramatic pause. Ninety. Thousand. Hours. How did I arrive at that figure? I calculated the number of hours we spend at work in a typical lifetime, and I came up with 90,000. In my talks I make a grand, sweeping gesture to the crowded room and I say, "Here are the people you'll spend 90,000 hours with!" And, of course, it makes all the difference how you're going to spend those hours, and the kind of person you'll become because of your relationships with those people doing that work. I call it "Wholeheartedness at Work." You see, I'm a "poet pragmatist.".I recognize that when it comes to talking to people about their work and careers I need to address both aspects, the head and the heart. It's why, if I'm talking to your group, I'm going to quote a poem or two to capture your attention, before I start talking about the practical side. Wholeheartedness at work isn't something you can simply tack on after reading a book or attending a workshop. It's about showing up every day and taking time for reflection, robust discussion and connection to the things that are important to you. In our work lives, the pressure is always on for more, faster, better, which is all well and good, but not when the cost to ourselves, our teams and our communities is out of all proportion. As leaders, we need to instill a right relationship to our livelihood – we need to take time to cultivate harmony and joy at work, and a sense of satisfaction and celebration, and to experience real relationships that will help us have a powerful impact. Ninety-thousand hours is a lot of time, and how we're spending it deserves thoughtful consideration and action. As always, the change begins with you. Here are some simple practices I've discovered for cultivating Wholeheartedness at Work. • Practice 1: Reflecting and Self-Assessment — Taking time to reflect, look back, and assess is a key element of Wholeheartedness at Work. When we're able to connect what's happening with how we feel, what we intend and what we've learned, we develop the energy and motivation to make changes. But if we're just plowing through our day, obsessed with the usual activities, projects, and interactions, we may be overlooking valuable opportunities to learn. Falling into a rut risks making the same mistakes over and over and losing touch with who we are and where we're going. • Practice 2: Letting Go — I've spent a lot of time writing and thinking about the need to let go of what's no longer serving us, and escape the toxic zone of stuck-ness and victimhood. We must learn to let go of what isn't working – it's the first step toward growing as leaders and evolving our teams. Sure, letting go may involve sadness, and let's not deny those feelings. But it usually comes with a sense of great relief and freedom, and let's celebrate those feelings, too! Holding onto the same old stories, practices, and feelings that have kept you stuck is a first- class way to lose your wholeheartedness. • Practice 3: Noticing — Paying attention is a key part of your poet's practice at work. You cannot know or communicate what you haven't noticed, recorded and translated. Noticing is an essential skill for leaders, even though it may seem to be in conflict with the need for speed. You can practice noticing anywhere, even on the way to work. When you see somebody who's providing great service, are you noticing the genuine smiles? In meetings, are you noticing the little secret fidgets and glances, or the rapt attention that are signaling how the meeting is going? When you're interacting with your customers, what can you notice that will open doors to offer deep, committed service and create customers for life? • Practice 4: Creating Spaciousness — It's hard to feel whole-hearted and connected with our work when our schedule is unmanageable. Even if you're the type of person who loves to be in a hurry and get things done and check stuff off your list, your jam-packed day may be robbing you of the space to think, assess, dream, recover and innovate. We. Don't. Have. Time. The trick is to set aside sacred time to grow. Sure, you might not be "getting things done," but you just might discover the changes that will make you so motivated and efficient that you'll be twice as effective. Start by identifying the ideal schedule that will allow you to be present for the things that really need doing, and then factor in some time to take care of your inner needs. What's the ideal and what's the reality? Notice the gap, and ask yourself: What's the one thing I can do today to create more space for Wholeheartedness at Work? Next month looks at four more Wholeheartedness Practices. Contact to learn more about the 90,000 Hours programs and books. ELEMENTS FOR WHOLEHEARTEDNESS AT WORK: 4 PRACTICES Libby Wagner Culture Coach RO Libby Wagner, author of The Influencing Option: The Art of Building a Profit Culture in Business, works with clients to help them create and sustain Profit Cultures.

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