Fuel, Fire & that which you Desire!
When was the last time you were really fired up over an idea or meeting or project? When was the last time you gave yourself permission to have fun or take an hour off during the day? And what were your strategies recently to fire up everyone around you in order to feel the rush that comes when people are really in their zones making a difference?
“Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire,” lyrics from Metallica’s song “Fuel,” is a great reminder to ask ourselves what fuel do we need to be fired up and get our desires, whether those desires are to live with less stress, put more money in the bank, reach our business goals or just have more fun (or any fun) at work. If we want to stay energized and on track, we need to know exactly what matters to us that will give us the passion and determination (fuel) we need to make our dreams and goals realities.
When we’re in a state of flow (a concept described by positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to reference a state of mind where we’re so immersed in what we’re doing we forget about time and the outside world) we are jazzed about what we’re doing and more productive in a myriad of ways. For example, neuroscience professor Paul Greenberg, Ph.D., says that learning and memory require a great deal of repetition, revision, openness to change and curiosity in order to unleash creativity and attention. And when we “catch fire” so to speak then we are in the zone that will lead to greater questions, ideas and ultimately productivity.
So how do we ensure we wake up energized, ready to make the day spectacular regardless of the circumstances?
- Find something you love to do and dedicate a small amount of time to it each day. There is a great deal of new research devoted solely to the power of play in the workforce, offering data on the importance of really having fun while engaged in the serious job of earning a living. As an example the It Pays to Play study commissioned by BrightHR reported on how many days off employees took due to sickness or injury. Sixty two percent of employees who had not used any sick days in the last three months reported having fun at work while 58 percent of those who had not experienced fun had been off sick for 11 or more days in the same time period.
- Make it important. Find some aspect of what you like to do that matters or contributes to others. You may not be saving third world countries from hunger, but can your knowledge help someone else either do something better, or at the very least make them smile? Sometimes our passions seem to have nothing to do with making the world better, but that’s never the case. If we love something we can help others learn to do it well, or take that love and also offer it to a non-profit or write an article on it or share it in some way or just refuel ourselves so we’ll be more compassionate at our jobs. That makes it worthwhile and important!
- Keep on doing it. What might seem uncomfortable or awkward when we begin (like setting aside actual time during our busy days for mental refueling) can eventually be rewarding, and the brain loves to have things mixed up. Want your neurons to fire more efficiently, then scramble up the ordinary and look for new ways to solve a problem. Again give yourself permission to take care of you during each day and not once a weekend or twice a month. It makes you a better parent, manager, friend, leader and person, and there’s not much more to aspire to, is there?
- Make it memorable. When we align all our senses we are guaranteed to ignite our interests more quickly. As an example, focus on how you want to feel while doing whatever fuels your passions for at least 30 seconds. While you’re thinking about it make the picture of the experience bigger and brighter and in full color, like you’re watching it on the biggest flat screen TV imaginable. When seeing what you want hear the applause or words of praise, smell the coffee at the meeting or feel the pride in getting it done right. There’s an old adage that we remember 20% of what we read, 30% of what we hear, 40% of what we see, 50% of what we say and 60% when we do all of the above.
Until next time, have a magical day!
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