See Abundance, Reduce Stress

Shifting project dates, unpaid invoices, unreturned calls, and emails that seem to disappear into cyberspace. Sometimes it feels as though we spend our lives chasing things down, trying to catch up, never quite getting to that mythical place where everything’s under control. But last night, as I walked home in the quiet of a moonlit, snowy evening, I noticed the warmly lit homes, Christmas trees glowing in the windows, and even music emanating from one of my neighbours’ houses. I’ve often thought of how we often focus on scarcity when focusing on abundance brings us so much greater satisfaction, but this evening walk, and thinking of my family waiting for me at home, really made me remember the value of abundance.

When times get busy and we’re stretched to our limit, it’s only natural that our vision narrows to those things in front of us that cause us the most distress and feel the most urgent. We notice that team members are not performing to our expectations (and let them know). We see that our to-do lists never end. We rush through the day, barely stopping to grab a coffee, and don’t have time to connect to the people around us. But the impact of giving only negative feedback, of not looking after ourselves and of neglecting the important relationships around us, is predictable: demoralized employees, lower performance and productivity for ourselves and our teams, and the risk of burnout.

But we have a choice. In the busiest times, we can choose to see abundance:

• See the effort and good will of our team members, not just the mistakes. Tell them what they’ve done right.
• Smile and say good morning to people as we come in to work. One small gesture can have a powerful ripple effect throughout the day.
• Remember that we feel better – and perform better – if we pause long enough to look after ourselves.

Seeing abundance is about appreciating what we have. Expressing our appreciation, including to ourselves, is a sure-fire way to improve our outlook, and along with it, performance (assuming the right skills are in place … but that is another discussion).

So as the holiday season brings with it the usual flurry of activity, I will commit to appreciating those moments of abundance, wherever I may find them. Will you join me?