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Holiday Gifts for Working Stiffs

Holiday Gifts for Working Stiffs

Are you a boss? This post is intended to help you be the Santa Claus everyone who works for you is wishing and hoping, even praying that you will be this month.

What follows are my suggestions for your m.o. as the employer everyone would love to have right now. Take them and you’ll score big-time brownie points, you’ll enjoy the holidays a lot more yourself, and you’ll have the best night’s sleep you’ve had in months … at least until January, but what the heck; Share some aloha, live dangerously and let people love you.

These are my Makana Kalikimaka, the Top 5 Gifts every employer can give every employee wrapped in a big red bow (figuratively speaking):

Gift 1: Makana Ekahi

Cancel everything you can between now and the 3rd week of January. Postpone or reschedule if you must, but the big bonus points you get are for outright cancellation. Everything that is not mission-lifeline-critical should be fair game. No meetings i.e. team huddles or however you disguise the time everyone is called to talk business in the same place, no vendor appointments, no system and process audits, and absolutely no new projects initiated on anything.

Come now, you don’t really think everyone is getting all that much done right now anyway, do you?

Eliminate client meetings and bigwig entertainment. I said everything should be fair game, remember? Think about it; your invitation is probably a burden on them too. They don’t have to scheme on how to say no when you courteously, thoughtfully resist inviting them to begin with!

Gift 2: Makana Elua

How do you fill up that extra time everyone has now thanks to you?
a) Trim operating hours or hand out extra days off with pay.
b) If you can’t do that (24/7 operation and all…), and people still want to work (they need to bank it), trust them to use the time wisely to get ahead of things for when January comes in like a hurricane. If you can’t trust them to do that, well, you’ve got some hiring issues that are a totally different subject than this one at hand. See the coaching shingle I’ve hung on my own website, and call me in January.

A sidebar on this one: Don’t allow people to work overtime right now. Forbid (yes, I know it’s a strong word) salaried staff to work more than their 40 hours a week; have them set the pono (for health and balance) example. If you did the meeting, appointment etc. cancellations first, this shouldn’t be a problem; you’ll be amazed at the amount of nonsensical auto-pilot Gift 1 is going to expose for you—your staff will see it too.

Gift 3:Makana Ekolu

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Okay, take a deep breath for this one … ready?

If you normally restrict internet access on your company network, turn it on between now and Christmas.

“But then they’ll web surf all day on company time!” Maybe, but they’ll also be learning way more computer literacy than they normally have time to invest in, and that’s good for you. They won’t be stressing out on their lunch breaks trying to squeeze in the brick and mortar shopping, coming back to work grouchy the rest of the day.

After their initial web surfing they may even do some very valuable market research, networking or benchmarking for you — and anything else you’ve been silently hoping they’d figure out online at home (nope, their kids are online there.)

If you still are nervous about this, point them to my blog Talking Story; I give employees some pretty good advice. Like this one: How to talk to your manager.

Gift 4: Makana Eha

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Be the Scrooge that sets a low dollar limit on the Secret Santa deal in the office. Everyone is hoping someone will be the brave cheapie because everyone is strapped for cash right now.

You don’t want to look like a cheapie either? Believe me, if you are taking all my gift list suggestions here you won’t be. There’s also a fringe benefit in helping to stir up the sleeping creativity in people: Without the easy way out greenbacks furnish us with in currency they have to be more creative; they actually have to be more thought-full.

Gift 5: Makana Elima

If there’s a holiday party for your office you need to pay for it — for everything. No potlucks, no chipping in, and no party platters from Costco. FBC baby; Full Blown Catering (By the way, if you are in the food and beverage business, cater from somebody else and write it off to market research. Sorry to tell you, but your employees don’t want to eat your stuff at the holiday party, delicious as I’m sure it is).

If you are nervous about the alcohol, skip it altogether; the drink ticket or worse, the no-host bar deal is just too tacky. If you can’t afford to invite spouses and guests, don’t. It’s better to exclude them than charge for them.

That’s the Top 5. If you are the boss of all bosses, and you still would like to give a traditional, wrapped-in-a-box kind of gift, by all means feel free to do so. My suggestion would be the one thing you might think is tacky but no one else does: c a s h, the time-tested and revered Christmas bonus. There’s no room in their refrigerator for those turkeys you got a deal on after Thanksgiving, so donate them to your community Food Bank.

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Extra Credit: If you have free closet space you can secure and lock up tight, let everyone hide their family’s gifts from Santa at work until Christmas eve … boy do I remember stressing over that one.

And then — Extra, EXTRA Credit: You hire a delivery service with a jolly elf in a Santa suit to deliver the gifts to their homes on Christmas eve. Boy oh boy, will you be the boss from heaven!

Mele Kalikimaka, Merry Christmas!

Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. Rosa is founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: An Aloha Virtue List for December.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on September 15, 2020

7 Helpful Reminders When You Want to Make Big Life Changes

7 Helpful Reminders When You Want to Make Big Life Changes

Overcoming fear and making life changes is hard. It’s even harder when it’s a big change—breaking up with someone you love, leaving your old job, starting your own business, or hundreds of other difficult choices.

Even if it’s obvious that making a big change will be beneficial, it can be tough. Our mind wants to stay where it’s comfortable, which means doing the same things we’ve always done[1].

We worry: how do we know if we’re making the right decision? We wish we knew more. How do we make a decision without all of the necessary information?

We feel stuck. How do we get past fear and move forward with that thing we want to do?

Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are 7 things to remember when you want to move forward and make positive life changes.

1. You’ll Never Have All the Information

We often avoid making important decisions because we want more information before we make a tough call.

Yes, it’s certainly true that you need to do your research, but if you’re waiting for the crystal clear answer to come to you, then you’re going to be waiting a long time. As humans, we are curious creatures, and our need for information can be paralyzing.

Life is a series of guesses, mistakes, and revisions. Make the best decision you can at the time and continue to move forward. This also means learning to listen to and trust your intuition. Here’s how.

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2. Have the Courage to Trust Yourself

We make all sorts of excuses for not making important life changes, but the limiting belief that often underlies many of them is that we don’t trust ourselves to do the right thing.

We think that if we get into a new situation, we won’t know what to do or how to react. We’re worried that the uncharted territory of the future will be too much for us to handle.

Give yourself more credit than that.

You’ve dealt with unexpected changes before, right? And when your car got a flat tire on the way to work, how did that end up? Or when you were unexpectedly dumped?

In the end, you were fine.

Humans are amazingly adaptable, and your whole life has been helping you develop skills to face unexpected challenges.

Have enough courage to trust yourself. No matter what happens, you’ll figure out a way to make it work.

3. What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Like jealousy, most of your fears are created in your own head.

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When you actually sit down and think about the worst case scenario, you’ll realize that there are actually very few risks that you can’t recover from.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Once you realize the worst isn’t that bad, you’ll be ready to crush it.

When you’re preparing to make a big life change, write down all of the things you’re afraid of. Are you afraid of failing? Of looking silly? Of losing money? Of being unhappy?

Then, address each fear by writing down ways you can overcome them. For example, if you’re afraid of losing money, can you take a few months to save up a safety net?

4. It’s Just as Much About the Process as It Is About the Result

We’re so wrapped up in results when we think about major life changes. We worry that if we start out towards a big goal, then we might not make it to the finish line.

However, you’re allowed to change your mind. And failing will only help you learn what not to do next time.

Furthermore, just because you don’t reach the final goal doesn’t mean you failed. You chose the goal in the first place, but you’re allowed to alter it if you find that the goal isn’t working out the way you hoped. Failure is not a destination, and neither is success.

Enjoy the process of moving forward[2].

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5. Continue to Pursue Opportunity

If you’re on the fence about a big decision, then you might be worried about getting locked into a position that you can’t escape from.

Think about it a different way. New choices rarely limit your options.

In fact, new pursuits often open up even more opportunities. One of the best things about going after important goals with passion is that they open up chances and options that you never could have expected in the beginning.

If you pursue the interesting opportunities that arise along the path to your goal, then you can be sure that you’ll always have choices.

6. Effort Matters, So Use It

It sounds simple, but one of the big reasons we don’t make life changes is because we don’t try. And we don’t try because then it’s easy to make excuses for why we don’t get what we want.

Flunked that test? Are you stupid? “Of course I’m not stupid. I just didn’t study. I would have gotten an A if I actually studied.”

Stuck in a job you hate? Why haven’t you found a new job yet? “Well, I haven’t really tried to get a new job. I could totally ace that interview if I wanted.”

Why do we make excuses like these to ourselves? It’s because if we try and fail, then we just failed. But if we don’t try, we can chalk it up to laziness.

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Get over it. Failure happens to everyone.

And the funny thing is, if you actually try—because it’s pretty clear that most people aren’t trying—then you’ll win a lot more than you think.

7. Start With Something Manageable

You can’t climb Everest if you don’t try hiking beforehand.

Maybe applying for your dream job seems intimidating right now. What can you start with today?

Can you talk to someone who already has that position and see what they think makes them successful? Can you improve your skills so you meet one of the qualifications? Can you take a free online course to expand your resume?

Maybe you’re not quite ready for a long-term relationship, but you know you want to start dating. Could you try asking out a mutual friend? Can you go out more with friends to practice your communication skills and meet new people?

You don’t need to be a world changer today; you just need to make small life changes in your own world.

More Tips to Help You Make Life Changes

Featured photo credit: Victor Rodriguez via unsplash.com

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