‘I Really Need Your Help’

Accountability Collaboration Courage

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Key Point: How do you feel when someone asks you for help? (I didn’t say, ‘ask you for money’). I usually feel darn good that someone has the trust and confidence in me that they would ask. And I do not recall ever turning anyone down when they do. 

It was very hot in the church we went to this Sunday. Half way through the service, an elderly parishioner slumped down in the pew a few rows in front of us… Fainting spell? Heart attack? Stroke? Of course, no one was sure but at least six very knowledgeable people jumped in to help. Legs up, cold compresses, pulse check, ambulance called. And of course, the woman didn’t have a choice to ask for help. But, when she slipped into unconsciousness, help was there, and she needed it. I guarantee you everyone felt better as the event concluded. (The patient was ultimately ok).

It made me realize that often people at work (and life) really need help but are reluctant to ask for it. We think we can go it alone. I’ve lived and repeated this mistake in work and life. There have been times when the best thing I could have done is to realize I needed the support of others and wish I’d had the strength to request it. Frankly, my resistance went beyond hard headed perseverance.  I was just too proud, and as the wise saying aptly goes, “pride precedes the fall.” 

Margie Warrell is a keynote speaker and bestselling author of Brave, and she noted the following in a March Forbes article:

“When you don’t ask for help when you need it, you personally assume all of a burden that might easily (and gladly) be shared by others. And you also deprive those who’d love to assist you of the opportunity to do so. Everyone is worse off… Not only can it help us when times are tough and we’re struggling, but it also gives others the opportunity to make a difference while helping them feel more comfortable to ask for help themselves. When we support other people to be more successful, we discover opportunities for collaboration that ultimately enable us to be more successful ourselves. Everyone is better off.” 

Character Moves:

  1. Know when to ask for help and have the courage to do so. Don’t let your ego deprive others from contributing. It is important that you are genuine and honest when describing what you need help with. This includes identifying that you are struggling without knowing exactly what you require. When you go down for the count, asking for help can often be too little too late. 
  1. If someone asks for help, be a great listener BEFORE you offer solutions. Cross the bridge to stand as close as you can to the person requesting help. Stand in their shoes as best as you can. Be present, notice, and inquire. Clarity on how to best help follows empathetic listening. Do not blindly try to “fix it” for the other person. 
  1. Also have the courage to let someone know that they may require help. Often times, people are so stuck in mud, they can’t “back the car out far enough to look at what a mess they’re in.” They honestly don’t understand how much they need the support of others. Describe what behavior you see and what indicates they may need help. Offer it. Do it. 

Help in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: A fraternity buddy and I created a show for our university’s TV network, and during one of the segments, we invited a local psychic as a guest. He read my palm, and immediately told me I was “very independent.” That’s probably the only thing he had right, but, needless to say, even (probably fake) psychics can tell that asking for “help” with pretty much anything is not my strong suit. Ironically, I love helping others, but, still, I’m generally too darn stubborn to ask for it myself. That, however, doesn’t mean I’m always smart enough to mask it, or in a place where I don’t need it. The courage to ask for more help is something I’ll probably have to work on forever, but, in the meantime, I hope to help as many others as I can so at least it would justify any assistance that comes my way.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Are You MEAN Business?

Communication Kindness Respect

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Key Point: How hard is it to be civil? Kind? Really?? What the heck has happened to us? Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times Sunday Review entitled No Time to Be Nice at Work. I guess we have enough time to behave stupidly at work but not enough to treat each other with respect. The quotes below are from that NYT article, which has caused a stir amongst readers. 

What prompted me to write this happened minutes before I sat down to blog. A clerk at a book store (Audrey’s in Edmonton , Alberta) was unfortunately the inspiration. There was literally no one in this downtown location on a Saturday afternoon. My wife (one of the politest people on Earth) wanted to buy a book called The Mosquito Brothers for our 8-year-old grandson. She asked if the store carried it. The reaction of the employee was shocking… “Yes, they had it,” and then she dismissively went about her “business.” Out we went… No book for us, and no sale for her (I guess the retail book business is just too good to bother treating customers well?) Rude people treat employees poorly AND that rolls down to customers. Back to professor Porath’s article:

“People who treat others with disrespect have succeeded despite their incivility, not because of it. Studies by Morgan W. McCall Jr., a professor of management and organization at the University of Southern California, including those with Michael Lombardo, while they were with the Center for Creative Leadership, have shown that the No. 1 characteristic associated with an executive’s failure is an insensitive, abrasive or bullying style… More… Although in surveys people say they are afraid they will not rise in an organization if they are really friendly and helpful, the civil do succeed. My recent studies published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, show that behavior involving politeness and regard for others in the workplace pays off. In a study in a biotechnology company, those seen as civil were twice as likely to be viewed as leaders…” And, Robert M. Sapolsky, a Stanford professor and the author of ‘Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,’ argues that when people experience intermittent stressors like incivility for too long or too often, their immune systems pay the price. We also may experience major health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and ulcers.”

Porath goes on to point out, “Bosses produce demoralized employees through a string of actions: Walking away from a conversation because they lose interest; answering calls in the middle of meetings without leaving the room; openly mocking people by pointing out their flaws or personality quirks in front of others; reminding their subordinates of their ‘role’ in the organization and ‘title’; taking credit for wins, but pointing the finger at others when problems arise. Employees who are harmed by this behavior, instead of sharing ideas or asking for help, hold back.”

Character Moves: 

  1. It’s so simple and yet obviously hard because respectful behavior requires both self/external awareness and INTENTION!! Small actions we can all take include listening, smiling, sharing and thanking others more. In one unpublished experiment Porath conducted, a smile and simple thanks (as compared with not doing this) resulted in people being viewed as 27 percent warmer, 13 percent more competent and 22 percent more civil.
  1. The second element of the Character Triangle is RESPECT. It’s not so much about treating others as we want to be treated, but treating others as THEY want to be treated. It may be hard to believe that it’s necessary, but in our organization we are intentionally reacquainting EVERY team member with the skill of how to make a personal emotional connection with others. Don’t assume you or others you work with know and have the skill to do so. Research says many of us have lost our way. It’s NOT time that’s missing, it’s awareness and thoughtful intention that’s been overwhelmed by all the distracting “noise” in our heads. Be RESPECTFUL and really know that you are. 

Civility in The Triangle 

Lorne 

One Millennial View: Not only is it so much EASIER to be nice versus being mean (read: drama avoidance/bridges in tact), it’s most beneficial for you too. Let’s play devil’s advocate and pretend there’s an argument otherwise. If you truly have a tough time justifying being kind, that’s too bad, but let’s pretend you feel challenged to stand your ground and don’t want to seem weak (we have an old blog refuting that btw). Here’s a trick: By being nice, being considerate, being the “bigger person” when you’d otherwise want to be rude, it also makes you come across as the “cool and collected” one, the one “above it” with the confidence and desire to progress further. So you choose, do you want to seem level headed and moving forward? Or is it better to just be known as the “mean person?” I know which one I’d rather work for.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Sadness as a Superhero!

Authenticity Respect Well-being

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Key Point: Emotional Intelligence includes each of us becoming acutely aware of our own emotions and the feelings of others. Mental wellness at work/life (how could we possibly separate these?) is finally getting the attention it deserves. That’s one reason I love Pixar’s new “kids” movie, Inside Out. Drawing on real neuroscience and the latest psychological research, the movie goes where no animated film has gone before; into the inner workings of a young (11-year-old) girl’s mind. Early in the movie’s production, its brilliant director Pete Docter, invited well known psychologist Paul Ekman to brief the crew on the nature of emotions. According to Ekman, there are seven emotions with universal facial signals—the five that ended up in the movie, plus contempt and surprise. 

Spoiler Alert – If you want Inside Out to be a complete surprise….don’t read until after seeing it.

The movie focuses on Riley, a happy, hockey-loving girl from Minnesota who is abruptly confronted with a family move across the country. Most of the action, though, takes place inside her head, where her staff of personified emotions — Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear and Disgust — are in charge of operations. As Joy (Amy Poehler) vies for control, she and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) get lost deep in the recesses of Riley’s mind, leaving Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) at the helm. Riley is left angry and sullen to the outside world until Joy and Sadness make peace and return to their positions inside central control, “headquarters.”

As one might expect, Joy is always positive and full of bounce. And Sadness just wants to lie down and kind of feel her feelings. Yet Joy and Sadness come to appreciate their need for each other. There is a touching moment in the film where Sadness sits down next to a character that is upset about something. Joy’s first instinct is to distract the character, try to cheer him up and talk over him. However, Sadness quietly sits down next to him and says, “I’m very sorry that you lost something that you love. That must make you very sad.” Of course that empathy is what the character needs to cheer up and move forward. 

As Poehler reveals during an interview about the movie: “We tell ourselves that the constant pursuit of happiness is what we need to do, and if you’re not doing it, you’re doing something wrong. Instead, this big concept of feeling your feelings and trying to stay true to who you are and what you want, that’s the journey…” 

Character Moves:

  1. Get closer to your emotions and be honest about them. I have come around to appreciate the goodness that can come from pursuing happiness (as long as it stops well in advance of narcissism). I have learned that chasing happiness is empty without paying advance attention to meaning, vocation and humility. However, what’s perhaps most important is appreciating without judgment, that a rich life has a place for all the emotions. Knowing what we are honestly feeling is most important regarding connecting with our authentic self. When we ignore or suppress joy and sadness all we are left with is anger, fear, and disgust.
    Perhaps, thankfully what’s most different from a mind of an 11-year-old is our ability to have more command over the emotion “control panel.” As adults, we have the additional capability to acknowledge our feelings and make choices before we act on them. 
  1. Sadness is real, raw, genuine and a gateway to having the necessary empathy and compassion for yourself and others. In that regard, sadness and joy are full life partners. At the end of the movie, the core emotions were richer because they were infused with more than one emotion – they became multi-colored balls rather than the simplistic one colored balls they began with. We must know and appreciate our emotions and how they interact and enrich our lives. Frankly, at work we will all benefit from being more “feeling,” present with others and ourselves. What do we notice? How do we feel? What are others around us feeling? Some days sadness is and deserves to be a superhero… It’s the bridge to reconnecting with joy. 
  1. I’d recommend you see the movie. You can see the trailer here

Sadness as a superhero in The Triangle,

Lorne  

One Millennial View: As a generally, sometimes perpetually “good mood” person, I haven’t always understood or validated “sadness.” Sadness, to me, is reserved for life’s (fortunately) occasional dark moments. I’d think, “you’re sad? Ok, do something to cheer yourself up.” Well… To many, that isn’t fair. In fact, it’s freaking annoying. I had to learn that people are “allowed” to be sad, and you can’t “tell people how to feel.” No matter how “trivial” the situation may seem, that’s not my judgment to make. Now, I’m far from perfect at this, but it’s a work in progress. Sure, Inside Out might be animated, but it sounds like it’s about as real as it gets.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

That One Small Gesture

Accountability Gratitude Kindness

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Key Point: Sometimes one little gesture can lead to something much bigger for someone else. It is so easy to pass, because the little act is just that… Little. I just received this email, and I’ve removed some details to protect the privacy of the people involved. Hopefully you’ll get the point:

“Hi Mr. Rubis,

You may not remember me, but I’m the girl that [redacted] you with [redacted].

You spoke with my branch manager, and asked him to bypass the holding period on my checks.

I just wanted you to know how much you helped me that day. My branch manager went out of his way to help me, even waived my banking fees for a year, as well as sat down and gave me good advice regarding my very messed up financial affairs. (My story is a long and convoluted one, and I’ve had a terrible time recovering financially from it, among other things). Since I last saw you, with immediate access to my money, I haven’t been to Cash Money to take out payday loans, and I’m slowly coming back to financial stability.

I thought it might interest you to know, as of today, I’ve opened my first business account at ATB. [Redacted] and I are going into business together to fulfill our dreams.

It may sound overly ambitious, but we have several ideas for businesses that we are going to try to implement over the coming months and years, and I plan to use ATB for all our business ventures’ financial needs. I can never thank you enough for your kindness!! Bless you!

Many thanks.”

I am no hero. I simply listened to her story, knew we could assist, and immediately took the action to put her in contact with people I knew who would help. They did the hard work. The lesson is about being present, listening and being self-accountable. And if there’s one distinguishing factor about self-accountability that I’ve learned over many years thinking, researching and writing about it, it’s that one must have a “do it NOW” mindset or best intentions will be overcome by inertia.

Character Moves:

  1. Look for and respect the little gesture of help. We never know when that one act will result in a much bigger ripple effect. It may be a brief and warm greeting, a small note, a held open door, connecting someone to another… And after, the world moves forward just a little bit. 
  1. A “do it now” mindset is not meant to imply being rash or impulsive. However, you and I know we run into opportunities every day where “now” action is the right thing to do, but we procrastinate and often miss the opportunity. Do it now!

Little gestures in the Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I remember recently I was at the gas station across from my home in Santa Monica. I’m in line and I heard some very distinct East Coast accents. You’ll hear many tourist accents around here, but you could tell these guys were traveling through on a road trip. One guy yelled at his friend in line behind me, to “put $20 bucks on pump three.” (Add your thickest Jersey accent, and probably an expletive for safe measure). So I got a sudden idea. I bought what I needed and then asked the attendant to “add that $20 on pump three for me.” The Jersey dude’s shocked reaction, and gratitude, was worth the price. It really was. At first he refused to accept, but it’s well known that California folk don’t get the best rep on the East Coast, so I just said, “guys, have a great time here, and tell people back home that all Los Angeles people aren’t what they probably think.” Ultimately, that move was selfish on my part, because that $20 was better spent there than it would have been anywhere else. It was fun, memorable, and felt great. And those little gestures certainly don’t have to cost money, but they always buy us happiness.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Grace to Play

Accountability Courage Resilience

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Key Point: We are all given the grace to PLAY. Why sit on the sidelines? Today, I had the privilege of interviewing Hayley Wickenheiser, one of Canada’s greatest athletes. For our American, European and Asian readers, Hayley is Canada’s female version of Michael Jordan, Lionel Messi, you get the idea. Awarded the Order of Canada, she is a five time Olympic medal winner, including four golds. The QMI Agency named Hayley among the top 10 “Greatest Female Athletes in the History of Sports.” She is Sports Illustrated number 20 of 25 Toughest Athletes in the World, a two-time finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation Team Athlete of the Year, twice named among the Globe and Mail’s “Power 50” influencers. 

During the interview I asked Hayley to talk about her affection for Grace Bowen, a child she met and described in her blog as, “The greatest player I ever knew.” Hayley knew Grace as a fiery 9-year-old who enjoyed nothing more than playing Hockey. One unique thing about Grace was that she had no lower right leg. Doctors had amputated it in order to take a tumor out. The form of Cancer is called Osteosarcoma. As Hayley notes in her blog, “The thing with Grace is that she had a choice of how she wanted doctors to remove her leg. She chose a rotationplasty, a procedure that would allow doctors to take her foot and turn it backwards and use it as a knee joint. She did this so that she could PLAY HOCKEY again someday. It moved me like nothing else to see her with this new leg.” 

Sadly, the story about Grace ends far too early. The cancer consumed Grace and she left this world without the chance to play again. Eventually, Grace’s parents had to tell her that she was going to die. Her response was, “Please give me more chemo… Anything, daddy… I just want to play.”

Character Moves: 

  1. Are you in the game today? Are you playing hard? Are you bringing it? If there is a grain of any decency to come from the painful passing of Grace Bowen, it’s the reminder to JUST PLAY. And as Hayley reflected during our conversation, “These days I care most about the way I play… That I give it my all, and do my very best. That’s more important than the final score.” There is no score if we don’t play!
  1. Ideally each of us will experience the joyous battle between second place and us. However, we can’t even be in that zone unless we play first. Then it’s about digging in, and pushing past our comfort zone.
  1. All of us will be “Grace.” One day we won’t be able to PLAY even if we want to. Hopefully we will say, “I played. I brought it and left it ALL on the field.” All in! 

GRACE in the Triangle, 

Lorne 

One Millennial View: It’s amazing how we have to remind ourselves to “just play,” but there certainly don’t seem to be enough Hayley or Grace mentalities around anymore. It’s simply overlooked, but there’s a hard truth to the “you can’t win if you don’t play” phrase. Too often, we’re comfortable sitting on the sidelines (read: or our couches) as long as we’re just “on the roster.” People that don’t update their resume don’t get new jobs, people that don’t scratch lotto tickets never hit the jackpot, and people that Netflix every night never meet anyone new. Life is about getting in the game, and we all should keep that in mind more often.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis