03 May Try a little harder for happiness…it requires a bit of work
Do you make an effort to put on your best face at work, but make minimal effort at home? Do you make sure you have fun and play on weekends and social occasions but act too seriously at work? Do you put on a smiley face for your colleagues but not for your kids? Do you find happiness easier in some situations than others?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then, well…you_ã_re just like the rest of us! We all do this, to a greater or lesser extent and the reason is what we psychologists sometimes refer to as _ã–situationally specific behaviour_ã. That is, we all behave differently in some situations when compared to how we behave in others.
Now this is perfectly appropriate; it_ã_s not, for example, necessarily advisable to behave at work in the same was as you behave out at the footy, or with your mates at the pub, or even when you_ã_re at home playing with your children. But it might be worth reflecting on where and when you_ã_re at your best and considering whether or not there might be ways you can take some good from one situation and apply it in another.
For example, many of the (Executive Coaching) clients with whom I work go to great lengths to appear competent and in control when performing their managerial tasks; yet they get home and behave rudely and/or with little tolerance when around their partners and children. Alternatively, many of them are kind and considerate and collaborative when at home or with friends, but become despotic narcissists when in the office! This is partly why some of them come to see me; because they don_ã_t like one aspect of their behaviour. But the good news, I tell them, is that if they_ã_re able to behave in a certain way in one situation then they_ã_re also able to behave in a positive and helpful way in other situations.
How? Well, try the following suggestions and then let us know how you go…
- Work out exactly what you_ã_re doing when you_ã_re at your best and then determine exactly what you want to do when you_ã_re not at your best
- Find ways to remind yourself, especially in the more difficult situations, of what you want to do and how you want to behave (and try to be as specific as possible)
- Identify and use your strengths (your top qualities and attributes) to achieve these changes
- Stick at it and persevere; changes is rarely easy but it will come if you practice and practice and practice
- Change the context or setting to break old habits; set up, for example, a buffer in between work and home or in between your desk and meetings
- Elicit the support of others (e.g. your partner or a colleague); tell them what you want to achieve and ask them for feedback and reinforcement
So there it is – a working guide to happiness. I hope this helps. As noted above, we_ã_d love to hear how you fare with this and encourage you to remember that if you_ã_re making an effort at work (or at home) then maybe all you need to do is make the same effort at home (or at work)!