There are three interesting trends in the world of work according to Randstand’s 2008 World of Work research.

1. Job security is currently more important than job happiness.

A Gallup poll reports that 71% of Americans say now is a bad time to find a quality job. People are afraid of the downward economy and are seemingly more content to stay put with their current job,though they may not be happy.

The 15 top factors of job happiness according to employees in order are:

  • Feeling valued
  • Recognition and appreciation
  • Supportive work environment
  • Leadership I can relate to
  • Being a part of a team
  • Capable workforce
  • Lack of job stress
  • Shared vision, values, and pride
  • Opportunities for personal growth
  • Empowerment
  • Collective commitment to objectives
  • Sharp individual accountabilities
  • Fitting into the culture
  • Platforms for collaboration
  • Rigorous performance management

In 2008, every one of these job happiness factors were scored less important to employees. In other words, economic well being was focused on more than emotional/job happiness well being. Unfortunately, people are staying in jobs they hate, just to have a job. This is a reality that gives control to employers to take advantage of employees. This trend is a trap for employees and employers because if workers are not truly happy emotionally then personal problems increase, more health benefits are utilized, and burnout increases. This makes an unhealthy workplace for employer, employee, and customer.

2. Dealing with stress in the workplace is on the rise.

The anxiety of change is a constant stressor in the workplace according to employees. The fear of being laid off and benefits being cut are pesky mosquitos that buzz in the minds of workers. Employers have the challenge to provide stress management programs and managers are in dire need of stress relief themselves. Stress is likely a major reason that work productivity is down over the last year.

Employees and employers are encouraged to utilize lunchtimes and learn from seminars, employee assistance programs, leadership academies, electronic newsletters, and life coaching. If your workplace needs these services email [email protected] for an initial consultation.

3. Hiring, motivating, and retaining employees

A new number one challenge and trend for business owners, Human Resource Departments, and CEO’s is hiring the right people with the right skills for the right job. This process is well discussed in the book, Now Discover Your Strengths, authored by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

Playful balance is important, too!  Here are 10 great ideas for having fun:

  1. Invite a neighbor over for popcorn and a movie.
  2. Pick one local site or tourist destination that you’ve never experienced and do it–this week!
  3. Invite a friend over and wash and wax each others’ vehicle.
  4. Check out the performers in your area and go enjoy with friends or family.
  5. Complete the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper.
  6. Watch one show on the Food Network and cook what you learn.
  7. Invite and take a friend to try a hew hobby or activity.
  8. Get photos and songs and make a family video.
  9. Organize a game night with your family or friends.
  10. Read funny cards at a store and buy one for someone who needs a laugh.

Which one is your favorite?

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the first 4 stages of balanceability–the word I coined defining your ability to balance your life.  The father of balance research, Erik Erikson, devised 8 stages of psychosocial balance with each stage representing a crisis with positive and negative turning points.  According to Erikson, we need to discover the balance between the positive and negative turning points to lead a healthy life.

Stage 5 is identity versus identity confusion. This stage is most prominent between the ages of twelve to twenty years old, but you can visit a stage many times throughout your life.

Who am I? Where am I going? Where do I want to go?

Our understanding of self grows like rings inside a tree trunk. As we experience the seasons of life, our sense of self branches out into many directions.

How does our identity develop?

The known part of self is experienced through your physical, social, emotional, and intellectual attributes. This leads to your concept of self, which is your belief and understanding about yourself. Your concept of self can be divided between the ideal self (who you want to be), your perceived self (what you think others think of you) and real self (the true you).

The knowing part of self functions through doing. This is accomplished through perceiving, performing, thinking, and remembering. Thus, your self esteem is created and rooted in positive and negative feelings toward one’s self.

A person with a well developed sense of identity is aware of the roots of their concept of self and their feelings of self esteem. They are aware of the different parts of themselves.

The implicit attitude of identity is, “I’m this kind of person. I’m not perfect, but I’m still OK. I can accept your shortcomings because I can accept my own.”

How does identity confusion happen?

Unfortunately, many people grow up in an emotionally deprived environment. Self concept and self esteem is 50% how you were nurtured. Your genetic personality  predisposition is the other 50%.

The implicit attitude of identity confusion is, “I’m not sure who I am as a person. I should be much better or more than I am. I have trouble accepting your shortcomings just as I have trouble accepting my own.”

Top 10 questions to ask yourself

  1. Do I have a stable sense of self that does not easily change, or do I have an unstable self that has many ups and downs?
  2. Can I combine short-term goals with long range plans or do I have trouble turning short term goals into long range plans?
  3. Do I handle the whims of peer pressure or do I give in to the whims of peer pressure influence?
  4. Can I give myself a high level of self acceptance or do I have low levels of self acceptance?
  5. Do I make decisions without undue wavering and indecision or am I ambivalent, fearing that my decisions will be wrong?
  6. Am I optimistic about myself, others, and life, or am I pessimistic and cynical toward myself, others, and life?
  7. Do I tend to believe that I am in charge for what happens to me–good or bad–or do I blame and give control to others when good or bad happens?
  8. Am I able to seek self acceptance by being my own person or do I seek self acceptance indirectly by being what I think others want me to be?
  9. Can I be physically and emotionally close to another person without fearing a loss of self or do I have trouble getting physically and emotionally close to others because I fear co-dependence or being overly separated?
  10. Am I mentally flexible and able to keep my sense of self without having to be right or am I mentally inflexible and keep my sense of self by having to be right?

There is a balance between “slow and steady wins the race” and “getting more done in less time.” Yes, there is a time to slow down, simplify, and enjoy the journey. The opposite is also true. In his book, The Age of Speed, Olympic speed skater Vince Poscente shares how to embrace speed, achieve greater efficiency, and get more done in less time. He also writes about 4 personality and organizational profiles.

Are you a zeppelin, a balloon, a bottle rocket, or a jet?

A zeppelin is the outdated blimp. The most famous is the Hindenberg, which exploded in 1937, killing 36 people. The blimp resists speed, is lumbering, and slothlike in pace. Zeppelins resist learning new technology and new ways of working smarter. They can’t fly fast enough or soar high enough in the age of crackberries.

Balloons float along, gradually getting closer to their destination like a hot air balloon. Poscente says balloons focus on ease, comfort, and give up some of their potential and opportunities. Most work environments require speed and therefore, balloons will likely fail.

Bottle rockets embrace speed. They are explosive and powerful. However they are short lived and have trouble staying focused over a long period of time. People and organizations like bottle rockets are fast moving, keeping up with the technology but never achieve anything of substance.

Jets embrace speed, are aerodynamic, and use speed as an ally to get quickly and efficiently to it’s destination. Even when there are storms in the way a jet can fly higher, lower, or wider to overcome the obstacle.

Here are 8 tips to increase efficiency from Laura Stack at Productivity Pro.

1. Use voice mail to increase efficiency.

If you need uninterrupted time to finish an important project, voice mail allows you to identify who’s calling and temporarily screen out less urgent calls.  If you’re in a hurry, leaving a voice mail message will let you avoid lengthy conversations punctuated by the usual social niceties.

2. Don’t wait on hold.

Purge a file while you’re at it.  While exercising on your treadmill, get through a current magazine or trade journal.  While waiting for reports to print out, book your next dentist appointment.  While commuting to work, listen to current business books on tape or just relax and enjoy the music.  Make use of your available downtime!

3. If someone is capable of performing a task 80% as well as you can, delegate it to them.

We often have the misperception that only we can do a task perfectly.  Delegate tasks that others could do efficiently at a lower cost to the company.  Give clear instructions, issue a deadline, and follow up.

4. Look at airplane trips and doctors visits as opportunities, rather than ordeals.

Rip out magazine articles and keep them in a “to be read” folder.  During visits and long trips, pull them out.  Or write articles, read the “heavy” books, or plan out your monthly goals.

5. Women, buy two of each of your favorite cosmetics (three if you travel frequently).

Keep one in your bathroom for your morning routine, one set stashed in your office for touchups (or in case you don’t have time to apply it at home), and one in your suitcase, always ready to go.  This will eliminate the time and hassle to transport makeup back and forward between these locations.

6. To avoid getting into a long, drawn-out conversation with Mr. Difficult or Ms. Chatty, call them during lunch.

Chances are, they will be out, and you can leave a short voice mail message.  Or call at the end of the day, when you know people are trying to get home and will be less likely to talk incessantly.

7. When you’re asked to attend a meeting, find out if your presence is really necessary.

Perhaps you could give your input in advance, in writing, or orally to a designated representative.  Or send someone in your place.  You’ll quickly eliminate unnecessary meetings and gain more control over your time.

8.  Log your time.

If you suspect you’re not using your time as efficiently as possible, use a time log to keep track of HOW you spend your day.  (Let me know if you need a sample form.)  Write down what you’re doing throughout the day and how long it takes—you may find that you’re wasting time in surprising ways.

Know a great way to shake off stiffness and add spice to your work?  Believe it or not, you can meditate your way to a fun, energizing workplace.

  • Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet on the ground and your shoes off.  Hands resting palms down onto your thighs. Close your eyes, take 2-3 deep breaths through your nose, filling your lungs, holding for a few seconds then exhaling slowly through your mouth. With each breath say to yourself, “Relax.”  Go deeper into relaxation with each breath.
  • Now start with your toes and feet go all the way to the top of your head using progressive muscle relaxation. Tighten a group of muscles for several seconds and then relax. Continue smooth and deep breathing from your diaphragm.
  • Visualize your relaxing, happy place. It may be a beach, a forest, a mountain, your pool, etc. Notice in your mind’s eye all the details of this relaxing happy place. The sounds of waves. The smell of leaves. The view on top of the mountain. The cool touch of water in your pool.
  • Allow yourself to soak up the relaxing experience. Slowly see and feel energy flowing from the bottom of your feet progressively to the top of your head. Open your eyes slowly making eye contact around the room and feeling refreshed, energized, and grounded.

The other night, my wife and I were watching a fun sitcom called “The King of Queens.” The couple was arguing, feeling distant, and wondering if they still had anything in common. Then they had an idea–both would write a list of 20 things they liked to do and compare the lists.

My wife and I decided to make lists, too. At first we giggled because it was harder than we thought to think of 20 fun activities. Finally we completed our lists and shared them with each other. The sharing was half the fun. Wow, we had 11 fun activities (that’s 55%) out of 20 in common. Those activities were: reading, travel, going out to dinner, going out with friends, tasting new wines, hosting parties, going to church, watching a movie together, going out to a nice dinner, cooking/grilling together, swimming/laying out in the sun, and exercising.

In “The King of Queens,” the couple only came up with only one fun activity in common. Though disappointed, they made a commitment to be on the lookout for fun activities they could share.

Why don’t you come up with your top 20 fun activities with your spouse, partner, children, family, or friends?  Let me know how it goes!

Is there a balance between success and failure?

The topic is balanceability and we’ve been exploring it for the last few days.  Balanceability is the ability to balance your life.  The fourth stage of psychosocial balance, as devised by Erik Erikson, is industry versus inferiority.  This stage is most prominent between the ages of six to twelve years old.  Of course, we have learned that we can go in and out of a stage several times throughout our life.

Are you a person of diligence, productivity, and industry?

A person with high industry has character that is diligent, productive, and industrious. That sounds like a recipe for success! Kids learn industry at home through helping in the kitchen, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, taking care of the pet, and pulling weeds the dreaded weeds out of the flower bed. Industry can also be developed in other places also such as school, church, and sports.

Do you give your children and grandchildren opportunities to learn industry? If you don’t, they will grow up with an entitled attitude and inferiority complex. That smells like ingredients for failure!

Are you a person of deficiency, procrastination, and inferiority?

The truth is, we all are deficient in some things. We have all procrastinated on some projects. We all feel inferior in some areas. We all have experienced failure at some point in our life. A little (not too much) failure is good for the soul. It creates humility. It sparks motivation. It is the sunlight for success. We need a balance of success and failure.

The implicit attitude of industry is,” I’m curious and a good learner. Being a producer excites me. I’ll work hard to succeed.”

The implicit attitude of inferiority is, “I’m closed and not a good learner. Being a producer frightens me. I’ll only work to avoid failing.”

3 ideas to increase success and decrease superiority

1.  Learn more about one area of life you feel is inferior.

A group of my Toastmaster friends were intimidated by stand up comedy. They took a 6 week class on comedy improv and did a performance on the last night.  If you are intimidated by computers, cooking, dancing, dating, investing, singing, speaking, marketing, writing, etc. why not take the leap and learn a little?

2. Improve your work ethic.

Working harder and smarter produces results and a richer life style!  The protestant work ethic is the basic belief that we all have a work calling. Work is worship to God and duty to country. Our diligence at work helps make a difference and creates a better world. Work is healthy for our mind, body, and spirit.

Many people in Generation X and the Millennial generation have a low view of work. They tend to have low diligence and industry. These generations see their parents having material possessions, but not understanding the work ethic behind their wealth. They expect to achieve wealth without work.

If you’ve been loafing lately, it’s time to get motivated and realize you can’t win without work. A garden doesn’t produce without gardening. You can’t build a rich and wealthy life without a work ethic. Go and get to work!

3. Finish one project you need to do and one project you would love to do.

Crossing the finish line is a great feeling! Just ask someone who has run a marathon. We have finish lines in everyday life.  One coaching shared with me how her husband never graduated high school. He is 63 years old and just laid off from his company after 20+ years. Now he is finishing the work for his GED in order to increase his chances of being hired again. How will he feel about himself when he finishes his GED? Do you have a project you’re dreading but need to finish?

What project have you been dreaming and would thrill you to do?

For my good friend Sheila it was traveling with her children. Her oldest child was about to fly the nest and head to college. She wanted to create more positive memories with each of her three children. Her dream was travel adventures. She took the oldest to California, the middle one to the Galveston beaches, and the youngest to Disney World in Orlando. Bravo! She followed through with a dream. Stay tuned, I think there will likely be more travel adventures on the way.

Are you overwhelmed with guilt to the point that you have no initiative?

27906t302g3xqui1Two monks were meditating as they walked along a muddy road. They came across a beautiful young woman trying to cross the road without soiling her shoes. Without saying a word, the first monk picked up the woman, carried her across the road, and set her down.

Then the monks resumed walking without talking. That evening when they reached their destination, the second monk said, “Why did you pick up that woman this morning? You know women are dangerous.” The first monk replied, “I left her on the side of the road. Are you still carrying her?”

Over the last few days, I’ve been writing a lot about balanceability–the ability to balance your life.  The third stage of balanceability is initiative versus guilt.

Erik Erikson, the father of balance research, taught that this crisis stage happens primarily between three to six years old.  But remember,  people can go in and out of stages many times throughout their lives.

Childhood is a foundation for adulthood. When we develop a balance of trust and autonomy, we lay the foundation for initiative.  If we do not lay a healthy foundation for trust and autonomy, we develop more guilt.

Guilt is a common feeling indicating we have violated our values. It is a warning sign telling us we are hurting others or ourselves. A little guilt is good. It helps us hurt, back up, and learn from our mistakes. Too much guilt turns into shame. And shame turns into a dungeon of darkness isolating us from ourselves and the people around us.  This zaps us from motivation and initiative to reach for our dreams.

The basic attitude of initiative is…

  1. I will start now.
  2. I enjoy new challenges.
  3. This is what needs to be done, and I will do it.

The basic attitude of guilt is…

  1. I will start tomorrow.
  2. I prefer sticking with what I know.
  3. This is what needs to be done, but who will do it?

People with iniative like accepting new challenges. They tend to be self-starters and make effective leaders. People with iniative have energy to set goals, feel adequate, and enjoy making things happen. They have a balanced sense of right and wrong without being overly moralistic.

People who are overwhelmed with guilt tend to procrastinate. They resist new challenges, are slow self-starters, and tend to be followers rather than leaders. People with guilt tend to feel inadequate, have low energy, and prefer sitting in the background. They are hyper moralistic and are focused on the things in life that are “wrong.”

Is guilt blinding you from the good in your life?

What goals and dreams are you putting off because of lack of iniative?

Would you like to…

  • Be like the first monk or the second monk?
  • Balance out your guilt?
  • Build initiative to achieve your dreams?

If the answer is Yes, then develop a coaching relationship with Brent!

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to and

A few weeks back, I wrote about balanceability–the ability to balance your life–and I introduced you to Erik Erikson, the father of balance research. Erikson devised the 8 stages of psychosocial balance.  The first stage is trust versus mistrust.  The second stage is autonomy versus shame and doubt.

Erikson taught that this crisis stage happens primarily between 18 months old to 3 years, but people can go in and out of stages many times throughout life.

An infant and child are dependent on their caregivers. As they grow older, they begin to separate, gradually seeking more and more independence and autonomy. As parents, we want to encourage growth in autonomy with a balance of self doubt.

Don Hamachek says the implicit attitude of a person with autonomy is…

  • I think I can do it.
  • This is what needs to be done.
  • I have something of value to offer.

The implicit attitude of a person with shame and doubt/self doubt is…

  • I don’t think I can do it.
  • Tell me what needs to be done.
  • I have little of value to offer.

Here are 7 questions to help you sort out your balance between autonomy and self doubt:

  1. What have you been procrastinating or putting off because of your self doubt?
  2. Is there any area of your life in which you are not taking enough responsibility or too much responsibility?
  3. What are your top 3 strengths that add value to others?
  4. Do you prefer making your own decisions or would you rather be told what to do?
  5. Can you say no without feeling guilty?
  6. Are you more dependent, independent, or interdependent in relationships?
  7. Do you acknowledge self doubt and take action to get support?

Would you like to…

  • Build stronger self-confidence?
  • Increase motivation and energy?
  • Enjoy loving relationships?

If the answer is Yes, then discuss your answers and develop a coaching relationship with Brent!