Wellbeing : "Harmony and Happiness at Work are the Secrets of Longevity" by Joanne Reid Rodrigues

This month, I celebrate 34 years since I created my Slimming Together programme. I carved my own path in life, and I’m an example of one who can genuinely say I feel I haven’t “worked” a day since 1986. I’m still passionate about my work. Passion is simply loving what you do. When you love what you do, you look forward to your day’s work. Even after a holiday, I look forward to returning to my clients – the work we do together feeds me in more ways than monetary terms – it feeds my soul.

When we’re happy at work, our happiness engenders longevity. I’ve given keynote presentations and training sessions in companies where the appreciation and care of staff are entirely evident. The result is an atmosphere wherein people love and value their jobs. The good vibe benefits clients too. But when people are unhappy at work, over time, it can affect their health and productivity.

Stress at work is often rooted in people’s feelings of being unappreciated, disrespected, feeling more like a commodity than a valuable member of the team.

People flourish when they feel valued, recognised, and respected. These principles are easy to talk about; and they’re easy to write about – let’s face it – such principles look fabulous on posters and company mission statements. But words are meaningless without action backing them up. Most of those who are stressed at work aren’t complaining about their job or even their workload, but the attitudes, moods and behaviour of others, perhaps a manager or supervisor. There’s a saying, attributed to Marcus Buckingham, that I’ve often found to be true: *People don’t leave their job – they leave bad managers. *What classifies as ‘bad’ might be a pattern of abruptness, even rudeness, or lack of support or flexibility, relentless fault-finding, ineptitude, nepotism, or a combination of some or all of these.

For most, the stress doesn’t end when they leave work – it affects their home life and disturbs their sleep. Many managers also feel stressed, and their own workloads and responsibilities can cause them fatigue. Some secretly battle with imposter syndrome, feeling unworthy and undeserving of their position; they fear being exposed for lack of knowledge. Imposter syndrome is a symptom of low self-worth that often clouds judgement, resulting in perceiving others as a threat – our misperceptions can cause us inner turmoil. Fear can trigger curt behaviour.

When other people aren’t managing their stress and they allow their frustration to affect how they treat others, an unpleasant atmosphere can ensue. Consequently, the wellbeing of others can be affected.

So, what can we do about it? Cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment for imposter syndrome. An experienced therapist can identify and help shift maladaptive core beliefs and end exhausting self-condemning inner dialogue. And for those on the receiving end of another’s unpleasant manner, unless there are serious reasons to exit, I’d always recommend taking every step in shifting your response to the situation. If your goal is to succeed within an organisation, be mindful of whether your response to another’s abrupt criticism will advance you toward your goal or impede you aligning with your goal. You can’t control another’s behaviour, but you can choose to respond to it differently. When you realise their behaviour is a reflection of their own stress, and not a reflection of your value, you don’t have to feel hurt or diminished. Difficult people can give us opportunities to develop qualities such as patience, tolerance, courage, and compassion. With practice, we can develop the skill of remaining calm, or calmer, at least.

If advancing within a company is part of your life goal, make it your promise, as a key element of your self-care, to never allow anyone to diminish your vitality. No one can harm your self-worth or self-esteem without your co-operation. Give no one authority over your mood. We can’t stop the waves, but we can learn to surf! And by turning adversity into advantage, we develop resilience.

In my career, I’ve received both extreme praise and scathing criticism. I’ve never allowed either to affect me. I’ve remained true to my own goal of being in service, though always willing to listen, to adapt, to refresh and change where it would bring improvement to my service and for my valuable clients.

When people feel valued, they typically become loyal, and most would go the extra mile for a good leader. To me, taking care of people is like feeding the geese that lay the golden eggs. Effort, time, and money spent on creating harmony within the team, are wise investments that all companies can make.

Joanne Reid Rodrigues is the founder of Slimming Together and the creator of the Authentic Confidence training programme. Joanne is an author and therapist in nutrition and cognitive behavioural therapy and frequently appears on broadcast media. She is available for classes, intensives, and private coaching. Joanne can be contacted at www.JoanneRR.com

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