Advertising
Advertising

Study Finds People Who Show Their True Selves At Work Are Happier And More Productive

Study Finds People Who Show Their True Selves At Work Are Happier And More Productive

A recent study has shown that the more people show their true selves at work, the happier and more productive they’ll be.

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou cans’t not be false to any man”. — William Shakespeare, Hamlet

In what is claimed to be the first causal evidence showing that workplace happiness does in fact matter, the study was undertaken by researchers over at the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Center for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy in a bid to understand the happy-productive worker.

The research included four different experiments and over 700 participants. The experiments involved showing random individuals either a 10-minute comedy clip or providing them with snacks and drinks. This was then followed up by a discussion to decide whether the “happiness shocks” (referred to in the report) had a positive impact on the participants.

Advertising

According to Fortune, other participants were asked to discuss recent events in their lives, such as family tragedies, so that researchers could determine whether the lower levels of happiness could be associated with low productivity.

The results showed that those that were treated to a funny video or treats had an average increase of around 12% in their productivity –  even going as far as reaching 20% in some. The study also found that there was a link between unhappiness and low productivity in those that discussed less-happier experiences – that could have a lasting effect of up to around 2 years.

Pair this up with the American Psychological Association’s 2008 “Authentic Personality” report that determined whether “authenticity is related to well-being”. The results clearly show that there IS a direct line between being yourself with being happy and productive.

With these studies in mind, you might be wondering what are some of the things that you can do to stay happy – and therefore productive – at work. Here are some great tips.

Advertising

Know your strengths, own your strengths

Once you know your own strengths in your profession, you can go ahead crafting them in an effort to own them. By knowing your capabilities, you will reduce the risk of self-doubt. Instead of thinking whether you’re able to do a designated task, you’ll be positively and assuredly able to know that you can do it.

E1Sskks
    Image via Paramount Studios

    According to Marcus Buckingham and LeanIn, there are four key signs to recognizing your strengths:

    • Success – This is the power of feeling in control and effective when doing the task at hand.
    • Instinct – This is the feeling of looking forward to doing the task because you’re aware and confident you can do it.
    • Growth – Knowing that the activity will help you to be focused and remain inquisitive.
    • Needs – Whether the task has knocked you out or not, you still feel fulfilled and have a sense of achievement.

    Don’t always aim to please

    By aiming to please, you’re instantly going against your natural instinct because you’re reaching out to be how someone else wants you to be. Whilst there are times when conforming for the greater good is more ideal in the situation, remember to make sure you’re not always aiming to please.

    It’s okay for people to disagree with your opinion from time to time – it’s your opinion, not theirs. Having an opinion means you have a voice. Even if people decide not to listen, you will ultimately feel proud that you at least spoke your mind and shared your feelings. Don’t be brash about it. Be sure to respect other people’s opinions and even company culture, but don’t be afraid to share your thoughts.

    Advertising

    flawless_zps34e99514
      Image via Beyonce/Columbia Records

      The folks over at Game-Changer believe that true innovators don’t have a culture that aims to please the boss, and that employee freedom and responsibility go together:

      “The main point is people need freedom, support and challenge to make innovation happen; not to think twice about expressing themselves freely because they fear getting punished. Put simply, if you are afraid to say what you really think in a meeting, you are not free. You are a corporate slave.”

      Reflect on your values and who you are as a person

      To know yourself, you need to find out and realize what it is you are and what you stand for. This is not something that comes easy to many people, and can take years for people to properly figure out. Think of it as a stepping stone. Take the time to jump from one stone to another, learning another value of yours one step at a time.

      An easy way to start figuring your values out is to follow Colin Hile’s 5-step exercise on identifying what your core values are by applying contemplation, choice, and commitment.

      Advertising

      If all else fails, just remember this, courtesy of RuPaul:

      b38b9649342c277efcfaf1a755b26ebe
        image via Logo TV

        Ultimately, if you’re not being yourself then you’re not going to be your most productive self. By figuring out what you stand for and taking steps on improving your situation, you will not only find happiness at work and life, but also boost your productivity.

        Featured photo credit: Rawpixel.com via shutterstock.com

        More by this author

        Food Storage: Save Money and the Environment Why Is Eating On-The-Move So Difficult? 5 of the Most Common Defibrillator Myths Busted Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables Calendar: What’s In Season Awesome Candy And Wine Match Maker For This Halloween

        Trending in Communication

        1 How to Find Motivation When You’re Totally Burnt Out 2 How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding) 3 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On 4 7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life 5 If You Don’t Know What to Do with Your Life, Read These 5 Strategies

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on October 16, 2018

        How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

        How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

        She could hear her beautiful baby crying but was frozen in the doorway unable to move. The crying got worse and she knew that unless she comforted the infant soon the baby would be inconsolable, and yet her feet wouldn’t move. She didn’t look at the cot but the floor in front, where the venomous hairy monster sat before her…. .okay it was a UK spider so not likely to kill her at all, and yet still her body was frozen as the tears fell down her face. “What a useless mother you are” she berated herself.

        That awful mother was me 14 years ago. My fear of spiders had not been controlled for years and I was at the stage where I wouldn’t open a newspaper until my husband had read it and removed the images of spiders. I hated houses that had wooden floors or skirting boards because every knot in the wood could be a spider about to crawl across me.

        At the height of my fear, I tried to get out of a moving car. Clearly this harmless 8-legged creature had massive levels of power over me but now that fear is gone, I’m never going to love spiders but I’m not going to leave the room because of one and I can read the word without freaking out and sobbing.

        If you think that fear is irrational, what about the fear of going to airports? Or the fear of not asking for help?

        Today I want to look at how our irrational fears impact on us, how they can destroy (and I don’t use that word lightly) our success. They can damage our health and even stop us from living our lives. And then I’ll share the benefits of fighting that fear and most importantly how you can fight your fears too.

        How irrational fears impact your life

        The thing about irrational fears is that we are not keen to look at them. It makes us feel inadequate, weak and daft because we can’t do things that it seems everyone else can. That gives the fear power.

        Fear loves negative emotions and saps up yours making your fear bigger and uglier and even more powerful. Not ideal to say the least. Fears can cause us to:

        • Avoid situations where that fear may have to be faced. Dodging parties, new jobs, new experiences where we aren’t sure we will be able to protect ourselves.
        • Stop us from sleeping for fear the thing we fear will “get us in the night.” For me this was massive, and I stopped sleeping which had massive implications when my job was to look after a toddler and a baby. I felt half dead most of the time!
        • Feel ill with the stress. Stress can be the cause of wrong decisions. Drinking alcohol when we shouldn’t, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better, the list of excuses is long that we hold on to so that we can avoid the cause of our stress.
        • Cause more distress as our minds overload us with negative thoughts of inadequacy. This can damage our confidence. Having coached thousands, I know that a lack of confidence is usually the underlining impactor on most people’s success across all areas of their lives.
        • Risk looking aloof or arrogant because we won’t participate like other people. Our fears can even isolate us in our personal and professional lives too.
        • Feel debilitated. Needless to say, these fears may look irrational and shouldn’t exist to the outside world but to the sufferer they are debilitating. Even impacting on their earning potential, love life, hobbies, travels and personal and professional success.

        Why bother to fight the fear

        Couldn’t you just ensure you live your life in way that you don’t have to deal with your fear?

        I had a client that was so scared of flying that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport, another who had avoided public speaking for over 20 years and yet now at the height of their profession they had no choice, what were they going to do? Quit? There was another who could never ask for help and another who feared people finding out who they really were.

        All these fears and many more can be fixed but only if we can appreciate the benefits of fighting the fear.

        Let’s look at the benefits of fighting your fears:

        If you’re going to change the way you do something, something that has impacted on your life, thoughts and actions for years, it can be hard to believe change is possible.

        Advertising

        The first thing you must do is give yourself a big enough reason why. Go back through your life and remember all the occasions that this fear was there.

        I can still see the spider trapped in my hair because it had obviously been on my hairdryer. I also remember that I probably looked ludicrous in the South of France in my underwear running down the lane screaming and flinging my hair everywhere. The poor spider had not only been flung a long way from my head but was probably destroyed in the flight.

        Remember the feelings, the actions, the negative feelings you felt afterwards, for me it meant that every time I picked up a hairdryer I could see a spider crawling towards my ear in my hair. Guess how helpful that was for reinforcing my reactions and irrational fear?

        Really experience the fear. Make it so painful that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders drawing up and your breath changing. That fear is causing physical change in your body, doesn’t feel good does it?

        When the irrational fear is challenged and destroyed, it can’t have power over you. So new opportunities can come your way and instead of fearing them and what people will think of you for your choices, you can be open to;

        • New hobbies
        • New travels
        • New opportunities
        • More success
        • Financially more secure
        • Happier
        • Healthier
        • Confident

        The list is long so what can you do to get rid of your fears?

        How to fight your irrational fears

        In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I cover 12 of the biggest fears that I see impact on success and happiness. Not all of these are obvious but they all have far reaching impacts on our lives.

        Here are some of those ideas to help you fight your fear and get more of what you want out of life:

        Why did this happen?

        For some people they really need to know why the fear started, for others all they want is to get rid of it. If you need to understand yours then don’t skip this tip. Learn how your fears are made and appreciate where yours came from. If you don’t care how it arrived, you can jump to top tip 2.

        I’ve seen some clients who are not prepared to look at how to get rid of the fear until they’ve understood how it got here in the first place. It’s not my place to tell them that is right or wrong, just to help them find the right steps to lead them to a happy path.

        When a fear first starts, we don’t acknowledge a fear has entered our lives. It is only after a few occasions that we begin to notice that there’s a strong negative emotion connected to this “thing”. That’s how fear is allowed to grow because as humans we have in-built responses that have kept us safe for our entire existence. This means we are meant to perceive fear and either run or fight, either way our bodies jump into action creating physical responses to the perceived threat.

        Look for when you first noticed the fast heart beat, the shallow breathing, the shaking hands, the redness. You have created an automatic way of dealing with this fear. It could be that it felt sensible to fear this because you had an unhappy outcome, although it is usually the case that your head has the facts and your heart is not prepared to hear them as it creates a version of the event that is far scarier than it actually was.

        Advertising

        Learning how to remove the emotions and feelings will help you to change your body’s response. The first time I fixed someone’s fear of public speaking, they told me that it physically closed their throat, I worried that was it possible with words to change our physicality? The answer was yes! With the tools and techniques I share below.

        The tool kit

        From the many people that have contacted me after reading Fight the Fear to my clients, I know for even myself creating a tool kit is a must. This is not a bag that you physically must haul everywhere. This is about learning tools that really resonate with you so that when you can feel the fear start to impact on you, you’ve got your kit ready to take it on.

        I don’t have the space in one article to share all of those tools so let’s visit a few:

        1. Why I’m awesome

        Creating a 2-page handwritten document of why you are awesome can help. This document will be packed with achievements, successes, overcoming adversity and all of those will be full of positive emotions, actions and feelings. It is not easy to write, and I get many messages telling me so however it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish.

        2. Draw out your emotions

        Earlier we looked at how irrational fears can damage every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow the negative spiral down you can follow the positive spiral up again.

        I draw these individually for clients and with each action, thought or feeling we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is an automatic thought process, then we can start to see that we need to think, do or feel something different. Top tip 3 will help with that.

        3. Acknowledge that you need to change

        It’s not easy to change, and that is a belief that many hold. Top tip 4 could assist further, however for this tip, remember that when you want to do, think or feel differently, you’ve already achieved the first step and that is recognizing something must change (you don’t need to know what). But if you aren’t sure yet if there’s really something different you want to do, this story about Nancy may help you to figure it out.

        Then it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting it but feeling that it is yours to take on and change.

        Then for 2 weeks, decide that you won’t allow the thought to be in your head. There are usually some negative thoughts allowed to fester in your head. At this stage, just say “No I’d like you to stop.” After 2 weeks choose a new thought that you would prefer to hear in your head, maybe “I can cope with situations that scare me” or “I am stronger than I know”.

        There will be times when you fail. Don’t berate yourself because that is another negative thought you are allowing your head to process. Just start again and at times like that have a read of your “Why I’m awesome list”.

        4. Choose your words carefully.

        I’ve heard many clients tell me that “It’s going to be hard to change” “I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t petrified” or “This is a lot to ask”. Any thought that gives power to your fear takes away power from you to fight it. Therefore, choose how you word your goal to overcome your fear carefully.

        Think thoughts like “I remember when I achieved xxxx and that reminds me I’m far tougher and more capable than I give myself credit for”. (Take the xxx from your why I’m awesome document.)

        Advertising

        5. Believe that you have the control power

        The only person that can control what we think and feel is us. I know it can feel like other people are impacting on us, however they can only do that if we give them permission to do so.

        If you really think about that for a moment, can you see that you have the right to think and feel anything you want right now? I’m certain you wouldn’t choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what would you choose to think about your fear?

        6. Put up physical reminders

        Working one to one, I can find the fear, work through it and create a tool kit of thoughts, feelings and actions that will help them fight that fear and get rid of it. For some, they don’t need physical things to help them; others do.

        For example, the CEO who was petrified of public speaking but could handle a conference call with 300 without a second thought, imagined the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the positive thoughts and ideas we’d created.

        Or the client that always worried that they were an imposter and “someone else can do this better” pinned on their office wall a tag cloud of all the words that made up their “Why I’m awesome document”.

        So they had a daily reminder. They were the right one for the job and they could do it. These daily reminders all come down to one key point — help you to Hack the Habit Loop.

        What would be your visual clues to remind you that you can overcome this?

        7. Physical supports

        Music, environment and even smells can impact on us. Know the music that makes you feel alive and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel positive and energised. Even choose your work environment or clothing to empower you.

        Changing these things is physical and giving yourself physical ideas to action can help power up your emotional state too.

        8. Don’t go it alone

        The fear to ask for help is very real (and has a whole chapter in my book) so I know people really struggle with this. The fact is we all need people. We are not insular by design and as such it can be tough to admit that you have a fear impacting on you.

        However, by sharing your fear with a trusted friend, colleague or loved one can mean that when you are feeling the fear. you can talk to someone. It could be that you share with them the contents of your tool kit and ask their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how to best support you.

        It’s not a sign of weakness to tell people about your fear. It takes massive levels of strength to say, “I have this fear, and I want to get rid of it.”

        Advertising

        9. Get physical

        One of the reasons that a fear can escalate is because we have come to accept that response. Our body reacted in a certain way, once repeated the behaviour and it became a formed habit that was accepted.

        Challenging a fear can be done using our body too when we appreciate that fear is actually a reaction inside our bodies. We don’t need to understand where in our brains or what chemicals are racing through us to use our physicality to help us challenge our fears.

        When I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose was proved and disproved by various researchers around the world 3 times. Whether it’s real or not, the fact is the way we stand, the way we breathe and even the speed at which we speak can impact on us as well as those around us.

        If you have a fear of public speaking or a fear of people thinking you are stupid or a fear of what people are thinking you can look at how you speak, stand and move. If you compare these with people you deem confident and happy in these situations, how do you look? What can you learn?

        The research around placebo’s reinforces us that if it feels like it is working, then keep doing it! What could you use to help reinforce your power and fearlessness?

        A little fear can be good

        As someone famous once says:

        “It is not fear, it is performance energy.”

        Despite having an absolute hatred of public speaking 10 years ago, I now love an audience and yet I have a healthy level of fear. That level of fear says “Are you well prepared?” “Do you know your audience?” “Have you rested your voice?” “You really want to deliver to this audience what they need” And those thoughts are sensible.

        And just remember, it’s never ever too late to face your fear and do what you desire most! It’s even possible to start over your life no matter what stage of life you’re at. Here’s the proof:

        How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

        So as you reduce your fear, be aware of a good level of fear.

        Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

        Read Next