Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Is it really?  I heard a woman severely curse off a Walmart Customer Service representative, while the woman’s 2 year-old child was in tow listening to every word.  I have had quite a few people tell me this is the worst time of year.  I have seen more than the usual amount of birds being flipped out of car windows on the highway.  And I have observed a toddler lose their mind on the streets of NYC because his mother wouldn’t buy him the toy he needed.  Ah, the holidays.

And when I walk through the halls of companies, I see employees devoid of emotion going through the task-management of the holiday season with no connection to one another or to the joy of the season.  I see managers with scowls, associates with the faintest hint of a fake smile and HR people stressed out of their minds due to W2’s, ACA 1095’s, compliance reporting, labor law updates, minimum wage changes and the list goes on.

Know what I say?  Enjoy the time.  Embrace the thrill of the season.  Go to a department store or mall and watch the little kids excitedly get on Santa’s lap.  Find those who have not yet been jaded by life and have learned to hate this time.  Change the vantage point you’re working from.

True followers of behavioral modification will tell you that change happens now.  Just make the change, that’s the easy part.  Stop with the frown and get on with the smile.  And yet, the trick in behavioral modification is sustainability.  What can be done to keep behavior changed?  How does the decision I’ve made today last longer than just today?

For all people, it comes down to the same decision being made every day.  Today may be the first day, but there are more days to consider and decide on.  I know for me that today has enough troubles of its own, so I don’t need to travel too far down the road of what might be in days to come.  Focus on today first.  What am I doing and why?

For those with real pain that seems to pierce the veil during the holiday season, I hear you.  Take courage because there are many in the same boat.  Find each other and decide to be a reason for joy for him/her.  Look for ways to serve others and watch how much the burden lifts from you.  It’s not idealistic; it’s psychological. 

My friend +Steve Browne often speaks of being positive in HR.  One of the best ways to do it is to foster deliberate and simple steps to think differently.  We don’t have to have our Master’s degrees or 300 letters after our names to be able to affect change in thought and dynamic.  We have to inspire others to make healthy decisions for themselves and, in turn, for the organization.  Our culture is impacted greatly by such an attitude in staff.

When I watch “Elf” each season, I am always struck by the forced conformity placed upon Buddy by his father and the world around him.  His overly enthusiastic self is asked to be buttoned down into a suit and tie.  He rebels, puts back on the elf suit and reconnects with Santa.  The rebellion is based upon a decision.  He decides to return to the positivity of what he knows.  We, too, have the choice to return to the positivity of what we know.  You're always going to have a new law to adhere to; we always do so don't stress.  Get the elf suit on and enjoy this time of year!