The Power of Abundance Philosophy: Cultivating Possibilities in the Workplace

By Dr. Michelle A. Mitcham, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, CFM

Why is a business or personal philosophy so important? Are you living your philosophy and walking the talk? Well, as you know, the way we think—our philosophy of life and the world—guides our actions, motivations, beliefs, business plans, workplace productivity, interpersonal relationships, service and even our hearts. How can an individual or a business increase the bottom line? The current organizational leadership research commonly focuses on the triple bottom line, the more comprehensive, abundance-philosophy term, to include people, profit and the planet. There are a plethora of resources available once the mind-set or paradigm shift is focused on abundance. Conversely, scarcity philosophy focuses on what is missing, what we don’t have or what the business is lacking— comparing ourselves and businesses to others, focusing on deficits and limitations. The philosophy of scarcity will paralyze a business, an individual or a relationship. Expanding our thinking and removing limits, barriers and unreasonable expectations are great first steps to embracing the philosophy of the abundance thinker and taking things to the next positive level.

An abundance thinker focuses on possibilities, faith and optimism, while the scarcity thinker focuses on limitations and pessimism. The following quote captures the focus of the philosophy of abundance and the message of this article: “Plant the seeds of abundance and water the garden of your mind.” –Tavia Rahki Smith, BS, MS, MS, RYT

Strategies for Cultivating Abundance Thinking and Possibilities:

A – Adapt to change and be open to possibilities. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, a regimented or strict way of doing things. Not being adaptable contributes to limiting the possibilities in our lives and businesses. Talk to a friend, colleague or personal coach to develop strategies for trying new ways of doing things.

B – Be a visionary and dream beyond limits. See the possibilities and know that dreaming doesn’t cost a penny and that you should never be afraid to dream. Sometimes we surround ourselves with scarcity-mind-set people who cannot see our dreams; be careful of this.

U – Unconditional positive regard for others—employees, colleagues, family and business partners. Exemplifying unconditional positive regard for our team members and associates communicates care and respect. This professional disposition and attitude contribute to an atmosphere conducive to possibility and embracing new ideas.

N – Never be overly attached to one idea. Use the creative brainstorming strategy of SCAMPER to think outside of the box for abundant possibilities. To SCAMPER an idea means to Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate or Reverse the idea. This tool opens up possibility thinking.

D – Develop yourself and others. Investing in yourself is critical to your success, retooling, both personally and professionally. Professional and personal development renews our thinking, ideas, self-awareness, goals, motivation, talent, skill sets, relationships and communication skills. Investing in your talent development, as well as others, increases the possibilities for success.

A – Assert yourself and your ideas. Always use your voice. It takes effective communication and courageous conversations. Develop a philosophy of abundance. The difficult dialogue will occur when you decide to change your way of doing or being in any situation. Others may be uncomfortable, but your display of assertiveness in a positive way may very well lead and pave the way for others to walk the talk and be more assertive.

N – Negotiate. Do you look at what’s in the best interest of the team, the business, the family or the relationship? Practicing interest-based negotiation empowers all to focus on win-win outcomes for everyone. Looking at all perspectives opens and expands the possibilities. True interest-based negotiation does not allow for anyone to be stuck in their position.

C – Collaborate and communicate. Working with others and recognizing their talents and contributions are key to any successful personal or professional relationship. Authentic communication and collaboration contribute to innovative ideas and a new vision.

E – Expand your thinking, circle of influence, activities, mindfulness, vision and operational definitions regarding expectations and possibilities. Expand your heart and mind to welcome all the blessings of the philosophy of abundance.

Tips for Handling a Toxic Coworker

By Janecia Britt

At least once in their career, everyone experiences  working with a toxic person. There are many types of uncomfortable work relationships, but there are a few types of behavior that can send up immediate red flags. Beware of the colleague who talks badly about other people or the person who complains nonstop. The person who needs to be given credit
for every little thing—or shuts you out of meetings—can also be a negative sign. You may catch yourself constantly complaining to your friends or spouse about that person. If thinking or talking about a hostile work relationship bleeds into your post-work life for a long period, it’s time to start taking steps to solve the problem.

The best first step is acknowledging that this is going on and that it is negatively affecting both your work and personal life. Then, maybe run it by a friend that you admire. Just say, “I just want to talk this through with you out loud, to make sure it’s them and not me.” In this process, self-awareness will be important: you don’t know what the person is going through. Recognizing that other people are fighting their own battles in life and it’s not always about you is one great step toward achieving peace of mind about a situation.

However, don’t forget to check yourself as well. We don’t often think that we may be contributing to our own toxic work environments. Heidi Grant Halvorson, a senior scientist at the Neuroleadership Institute, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that this is because there is “remarkably little overlap between how other people see us and how we think we’re coming across.” If you’re sensing conflict, try to put yourself in a colleague’s shoes. Think about how you’re coming across. Clear communication is important when it comes to relating to others too. “Remember that people don’t have access to your secret thoughts and feelings,” Dr. Halvorson wrote. “You have to make them apparent. So make that effort to show you are on their side.”

If the conflict is longlasting, there are several ways to cope. You can try calmly confronting your colleague by addressing the issue and asking him or her how to work together to fix it. If this doesn’t work, distancing yourself is not a bad idea. If it’s a legitimate human resources issue, like harassment or abuse, document and keep a history of the problems and then file a complaint. Don’t allow it to become personal. A complaint about inappropriate behavior in the workplace should not become a laundry list of every nasty thing the person has ever done to you. Keep it succinct and professional—be clear about which workplace rules he or she is breaking and how it affects the workplace as a whole.

Another powerful tactic is to take the high road when you’re confronted with negativity. You might even compliment the colleague who tries to undermine you. We can turn it around when somebody seems to be envying us or putting us down. Somehow, highlighting another person’s accomplishments can alleviate a problem. Look inward as well. Take note when you’re thinking and telling yourself negative things, which just might echo the things a toxic person has told you before. Reframe and challenge these negative thoughts with positive viewpoints.

Ultimately, one of the most powerful ways to counter a toxic coworker is to surround yourself with positive people who lift you up and give you healthy energy instead. Make a conscious decision to spend more time with the fun, happy, constructive people in your workplace. Uplifting people are a great counterbalance to toxicity.

Beauty in the Boardroom: We Need More Women In Leadership Roles 

By Janecia Britt

America hit a milestone in 2016: The most female CEOs ever. According to CNN Money, there are now 27 women at the helm of America’s largest publicly traded companies. It’s a new record for women in business, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. It’s also 22% more than last year, but women still have a long way to go.

Females make up half the national workforce, earn more college and graduate degrees than men, and by some estimates represent the largest single economic force in the world. But we still need to look at the big picture. It’s not all coming up roses. If females will be the majority in the workforce, we could argue that they should also be the majority among leadership ranks. The reality? According to Catalyst, a research group that tracks executive women, Female CEOs in the Fortune 500 represent a measly 4.8 percent. For underrepresented women such as minorities or those who are mentally or physically disabled, the numbers are either bleak or non-existent.

Women are more than just beauties with brains. But for the few women that are making it up the ladder, many glass cliffs have emerged. The glass cliff describes women in leadership roles being likelier than men to be put in positions during periods of crisis or downturn when the chance of failure is highest. As a result, rather than breaking stereotypes about women being poor leaders, they may end up reinforcing them.

The gender gap in science also persists, particularly in computer science and engineering. It’s not that women aren’t wanted. But many cultural forces continue to stand in the way—ranging from gender bias and sexual harassment in the workplace to the potentially career-stalling effects on women from having children.

It may be hard to not sit and wonder what can be done. How can we get more females at the head of the table?

It starts with women helping other women. If we want to see the numbers of female CEOs rise, investing in young girls is vital. But we can’t sit and wait for that investment to bear fruit – nor can we rely on education alone. We need to boost women’s leadership right now by putting a spotlight on those who are smashing through glass ceilings and dodging cliffs. We have to inspire the next wave of female entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground and back them with the funding, and technology support required to get started.

Support and encourage young women you know to attend programs that will prepare them for difficult sectors like film (Reel Grrls), technology, (Girls Who Code) science, engineering and math (The Smith Summer Science and Engineering Program) and even politics (Running Start’s Young Women’s Political Leadership Program). It’s also crucial that we support and recognize that women’s colleges continue to champion future STEM leaders via undergraduate programs. They produce graduating women knowledgeable in their field of study as well as in skills associated with a liberal arts education.

Furthermore, you can work in your own office to improve the conditions for women and break down the stigma associated with females in upper-level positions. If you are in a position of power, try to help diversify your team and mentor a young woman through a local program like Women for Florida State or Girls 2 Divas Mentoring Program Tallahassee. Women helping, encouraging, and uplifting other women to strive for success and break down barriers is beautiful. That’s the kind of beauty we need in the boardroom.

Leaving a Character Legacy in Business

By Judy Micale
Today’s workforce is searching for a deeper meaning or purpose. Gone are the days of going to work and putting in hours to get a paycheck. People today want to know that what they are doing is making an impact, changing lives in some way. Creating an atmosphere of caring, giving back to others is not just a feel-good way to run a business today—it is a critical piece of the puzzle.
Take a moment and reflect back over your life: Who was the biggest influence in
your life? Who guided you, showed you how unique and special you are? These are the people who h
ave left you their character legacy. When you think back over your lifetime and fondly remember these people, chances are they were not mega millionaires; they were ordinary people like you and me. They were our heroes and sheroes. They took the time to listen to us, to guide us, to mentor us. They may have been family,teachers or a supervisor who saw your potential.
A company in today’s world makes an impact by tapping into the workforce’s desire to have a purpose
or meaning not only in their home but in what they are doing within the company and community. They
initiate programs within the agency to offer growth. They embrace the change of today’s workforce.
They never say the words- that is just the way we do things. They understand they may be grooming
their workforce to leave for another job, but they are going to have an advocate for life.
By offering opportunities for employees to give back, not necessarily in a financial manner but sweat equity, they are encouraging individuals to explore and invest in the community they live in. This creates an atmosphere of meaning. This is not a one-time everybody has to work on this project, this is a here are some ideas what would you like to do? This is asking your workforce to think outside the box and make a contribution in a way that has meaning for them. After all, this is not a one size fits all society.
As a leader, you are demonstrating that you understand those who work for you are all unique and not everyone has the same cause as you. You are allowing your staff to embrace the fact that you value community service in many different forms. You are also demonstrating that there are many character values: compassion, work ethic, empowering others to lead in the future and so much more.
Take a moment to think about this: If we embrace the concept of a legacy of character then we understand that we are creating an environment of growth and change. Gone are the days of working for a paycheck. Today we want to work for companies and individuals who understand there is more to life than a paycheck. We want to be able to embrace and grow both professionally and personally. We want to know that we are making a difference.Please remember making a difference starts with one person making an impact in another’s life. Again, reflect back over your own life. Who made the biggest difference to you and why? Take that memory and pay it forward.

Linley + Lauren’s Top 10 Simple Social Strategies for Business

Show of hands… Who feels like you’re spending too much time on your social media without getting any results? And by results, we mean money, honey! If you’re waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care, we have good news for you. Social media for business CAN be SIMPLE. Here are 10 takeaways from our Simple Social System™ that you can use to start making money through social media instead of just making friends:

1. Change your mind.

It’s time to change the way you think about using social media for your business. (Hint: It’s not just for posting.) Here are the three ways you SHOULD be using it for your biz:

  1. Your Mini-Website // Consumers use social media pages and profiles to check out businesses before they buy, and 80% are more likely to spend with a company if it has a credible Facebook Page. Plus, Facebook is one of the most visited websites in the world, so you better believe if someone searches for your business, your Facebook Page will be a top result.
  2. A Communication Tool // Wouldn’t you like to have a happy hour with your customers every day? The average social media user spends 51 minutes on Facebook and Instagram daily. Consistent posting can keep you in front of your current and potential customers every single day.
  3. A Targeted Advertising Platform // Social media ads are the fastest way to turn online traffic into foot traffic for your business. Read tip #9 for more.

2. Goal for it.

Most business owners are on social media because they “have” to be, but they don’t have clear goals for its use. Social media is a vehicle to help you achieve your overall business goals. Create strategic goals for your business first then align your social media content and ads to achieve them.

3. Be social stylin’ and profilin’.

Customers have to be exposed to your brand at least seven times before they’re ready to buy from you, follow you or work with you. Your touchpoints need to be consistent enough that you start to stand out from the crowd. The easiest way to ensure consistent visual communication – you know, the kind that gets followers to notice you and become your customers – is through the use of a brand style guide. Similar to the proverbial thinking cap, your style guide should become a pair of eyeglasses through which you view all of your brand’s touchpoints.

4. Plan the work.

Unfortunately, most businesses dedicate the majority of their social media time to their content, which results in less sales than ads. We work with biz owners to plan an entire month’s social media content in an hour or less. That’s right! You CAN create killer content that doesn’t kill you.

5. Work the plan.

Did you know it takes the average person almost 25 minutes to get focused on a task? Rather than tackling each social media post one at a time, you can save hours each week by creating images and captions in batches. Once your creative is complete, grab a cup of coffee, a Diet Coke or a glass of rosé (our pick!) and schedule your next week’s posts in one sitting using Facebook and Schedugram, our favorite scheduling tool for Instagram.

6. Don’t leave ’em hanging.

If you’ve planned and scheduled your content ahead of time, the only thing left to do each day is respond to social media comments and messages. Make a habit of checking for them at least twice a day. Responsive companies are proven to have better engagement, which helps get their posts placed higher on their followers’ newsfeeds.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

While comments and likes can help your content appear in your followers’ feeds, don’t stress out about the number of likes each post receives — particularly on Facebook. The average unpaid post reaches less than 2% of your followers, which is why we rely on social media ads to deliver sales. If you’re anything like us, you’d rather have two likes on a post and $2,000 in your bank account than 2,000 likes and $2 in the bank!

8. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

When it comes to your content, don’t reinvent the wheel. Push your highest performing Instagram content to Facebook rather than creating two unique sets of posts. Your social media content should keep your “mini-website” clear of cobwebs so that when your customers come across your page (see tip #1), it’s clear you are open for business. Your ads will ultimately be your money maker, though.

9. Outsmart the algorithm with ads.

When used to its fullest potential, Facebook and Instagram’s powerful ad platform allow you to laser target your audience down to their hobbies and how they spend their money. That means you can count on reaching the right people with your message, then get ready to start counting all the money you’re going to make!

10. Give, give, get. 

Studies show that sales campaigns run after brand awareness campaigns are more successful than standalone campaigns. Boost your social media results by using this strategy in your advertising. Brainstorm non-sales related content that relates to your business. Do you sell apparel? Create a video showing how to create and style several looks from a few pieces available in your store. Are you a skincare or makeup consultant? Film a beauty tutorial. What’s important is that you give your audience something helpful that relates to what you will eventually sell them. (This strategy is great for your unpaid content too!)