Tag Archives: learning

Finding your ‘why’

IMG_0165

How sustainable is the ‘Do what you love’ mantra?

Miya Tokumitsu, author of ‘Do What You Love And Other Lies About Success and Happiness’, says, in an interview with The Altantic, she feels there’s a sort of dark hedonism in the pursuit of this ideal – like an addiction, where one is relentlessly seeking those “good feelings.”

Is this another way of saying that the ‘too much of a good thing’ principle can apply to a career based only on ‘love’?

Case in point – I worked in a café for 6 months surrounded by delicious food (my ‘happy place’) and ended up 10kgs heavier and very unfulfilled!

So, I think better advice is to find what ‘we care about’.

We are constantly telling organisations to find and commit to their ‘why’ and communicate this through a meaningful brand, but we don’t necessarily put the same pressures on ourselves.

I think a lot of the reason is that it’s easier said than done for most of us.

There’s mortgages to pay, bills to deal with, kids to raise, cars to fix – wistfully pursuing a noble vocation that usually translates to little $$ might be a bit pie-in-the-sky.

So how on earth do those of us stuck in a ‘what’ get some ‘why’ in our lives? How do we fish out the ‘vocation’ in our ‘profession’?

We might find some answers in the endless advice on ‘careers’ and ‘callings’ littered through
the internet.

Here’s two phrases I came across, for instance, that resonate with me…

‘Consider your epitaph, not your resume’

What do you really want to be remembered for? Read out your eulogy in your head – are you happy with what’s being said? What change can you make in your next career move that carves out more of your epitaph and less of your resume?

‘Find a problem to solve‘

How can I make my professional skill work to help fix a societal problem? Is there something I can do after hours, something I could suggest as an extra-curricular activity at work that makes a difference in a way I know will be fulfilling?

It’s not easy, but getting little bit of ‘why’ in our everyday work lives might go a long way.

Incidentally, I’ve now found my ‘why’ here at MamaTray where I now eat a lot less sandwiches and use my strategy smarts to help other organisations find their ‘why’. Ha!

These wise words come from the brain of Mandy Lawler.

Shut up and listen

Mandy_Deaf.jpg

So, a couple of weeks ago I spent two days learning how to listen…

This sounds like spending two days learning how to tie your shoe laces but at the end I was still only maxing out around a level 2 listener (depending whose theories you’re good with, you can make it all the way to a level 5!) – pretty pathetic!

That’s because listening – not just hearing, but engaged, empathetic attentiveness – is H-A-R-D!!! It’s hard, because the key to real listening is to resist (and in fact actively reject) advising.
My father in law often mumbles, “The world is full of people wishing to act in an advisory
capacity” – you can taste the disdain.

But, amen…

I can’t remember one conversation where I’ve resisted dropping two cents in – asked
for or otherwise. Maybe it’s because we attach a value to an answer (a dollar value often in fact). Its quantifiable, in a way that simply listening isn’t. There’s nothing, for instance that shines a light on your dispensability at work, than sitting through a meeting without saying anything…thumb twiddler have an opinion!!!

But what if listening was more productive than advising? What if we took the view that we all have our own answers locked away inside our own private neurosis and it just takes a listener to allow us to vocally untangle it all and let the neurones connect things correctly to each other.

Here’s a challenge.

In the next conversation you have with a mate where they’re describing a pickle they’re in, let them do the bulk of the talking, if not all of it. If you must talk, say only things like; “how does that make you feel” (yes it’s lame, but it’s not advice); “what are your options”; “how could you go forward”. Importantly, resist saying “I think”; “I feel”; “I would”; “I did”.

See where the conversation goes, see if your mate arrives at a solution, see ‘how they feel’ about talking to you at the end of it and see how you feel having not said a word or at the very least given no advice.

You might start a very useful habit.

(And yes, I’m very aware that this whole blog has been a form of advice. 🙄)

These wise words come from the brain of Mandy Lawler.

Humming to The Same Tune

I needed to quit my job.

I decided that it was an essential part of my personal and professional development. Even though I loved the people I worked with, I slowly started to become more and more aware of things that just weren’t working and NEEDED to change, to account for this new agile business era that we’ve moved into. Things, that those much loved people I worked with, just didn’t want to, or know how to, change. (Even with my persistence.) Unfortunately, resistance to change is the ultimate creativity and innovation killer.

So, I started searching for more, and I found MamaTray. Or maybe, MamaTray found me. Either way – the transition has been more eye-opening than I could have expected.
These are my (10) starters for 10 (a phrase I’ve learnt from working here) –

  • Choosing music is a collaborative process. Everyone has a say. And if they don’t, they should! This sets the atmosphere for the day’s work.
  • Colour, colour, colour!!! It helps stimulate creativity, boost your mood, and keep everyday, monotonous things interesting.
  • Don’t blame it on the stationery. You CAN have fun, sparkly, multi-coloured, jarring patterned stationery and still be professional. Remember Legally Blonde?.. Haters gonna hate.
  • Regular check-ins. Managers neeed to, I repeat, neeeeeed to check in with their employees As. Much. As. Possible. Without being micro managers and without holding up efficiency. Having regular chats mean that things stay on track, everyone feels heard and problems can be nipped in the bud.
  • Team hang-outs are a must. We work together more hours than not, so we should really be trying to bond. Create, for yourself, a work family.
  • Gift a puppy. (By puppy, I mean, an awesome project.) Let someone take care of it, nurture it, and see it to fruition. There’s no better compliment than that.
  • A little chin-wag never hurt no body. We’re all human here, and we love to tell stories. (Stay tuned…)
  • Be nice to yourself. Eat that cupcake if you need to. Take a breather if you need to. Play with Freddie if you need to. (MT’s super cute, Wirehaired German Pointer.) In the long term, it’ll make a huge difference.
  • Say hello to change! Yes, and welcome it with open arms. This is what will keep you and the business afloat.
  • Finally, show us how it’s done. This is probably the most important of all. Don’t give resentment any room to grow, and lead by example. Positivity breeds positivity, and the same can be said for hard work.

img_5167

Here at MamaTray, we know what great internal culture looks like. And, we want to share this with our clients and everyone we know. If all your employees can ‘hum along to the same tune’ (even if in different harmonies) – you’re doing it right. Your brand and your business will reap many rewards.

Happy humming!

These wise words come from the brain of Angie Caro, Junior Strategist at MamaTray.