How To Grow Your Flame At Work
I use the expression "grow your flame" in columns and podcasts all the time. What does it mean? When you grow your flame, your true personality shines. You feel like yourself. Some people grow their flame playing the guitar or dancing. Some people grow their flame speaking in front of groups.
When you accomplish a goal and you feel successful, your flame grows. You remember why you were born. "Oh yes!" you say. "That's right. This is why I put up with a lot of headaches and aggravations - to experience this feeling!"
When your flame grows, you feel more confident. You speak with your own voice, even if there might be people around you who don't want to hear your opinion.
You don't tolerate unacceptable things so readily any more as your flame grows. When your flame gets high enough, you'll say "Dang! Why did I put up with that bad situation? Oh well -- good thing I saw the light!"
You can grow your flame at work in a million ways. Here a few ideas to get you started. You may have a job description or maybe just a rough understanding with your workmates about what you do on the job. Whatever kind of job description or understanding of your role you have now, it's just an outline.
You can put your own stamp on the job. You won't do your job exactly the way anyone else does, even if you sit in a massive cube farm with dozens of people doing the same job you do.
You'll answer the phone with your own special jazz. You'll put your stamp on your email messages. It's easy to fall into a rut and forget that you are more than your job description. You have so much more to offer than just what your job description requires!
Here are fifteen ways to grow your flame at work. Which of these ideas speak to you?
Pick a partner and cross-train that person on your job responsibilities, and vice versa. You can create a quick and easy training manual or cheat sheet together. Teaching and coaching other people are fantastic flame-growing activities!
Process Improvements "R" Us!
You can simplify a process that is way too complicated right now. Create a flow chart for your new process design, and share it with your manager or the person who heads up the process you're improving. Practice your selling skills -- explain why your simplified process will save time and aggravation for everyone!
Write a new employee welcome message for newcomers to your department. Explain what your department does and how you all work together. Have fun writing!
Draw pictures or use images to make your welcome message more inviting. Shake up the tired, old notion that business communication has to be boring and ugly. It doesn't, and it shouldn't!
Say It In Pictures!
Draw cartoons that illustrate common problems you and your workmates run into on the job, and their solutions. Blow them up to poster size on your photocopier and hang them in your work area. People learn better when the learning is fun. If you don't consider yourself an artist, draw stick figures. Stick figures rule!
Grow Your Flame at Lunch!
Design a brown bag lunch presentation about something that is important to you (a work topic or a life topic -- for instance, how to braid in your hair in fancy ways or how to make a screen capture video) and invite your colleagues to come and learn with you. Teach them about something you know. Invite them to do the same thing -- make it a series of lunch & learn sessions!
I'll Show You The Ropes
Offer to mentor the next new employee who gets hired into your department. As you mentor, create a list of newbie questions and answers that will help newcomers step on board for a long time to come!
Build Your Own Human Workplace!
Start a Human Workplace study group in your workplace to talk about ways to make your work more human and more fun. Get your HR team involved and let your leaders know that they are welcome, too!
Start Your MOJO File!
Start a Mojo File in which you'll keep everything you create on the job and are proud of -- email messages, reports, testimonials and thank-you letters from clients, presentations and you name it! You'll pull out your Mojo File and review it when your performance review is coming up, but your Mojo File will be a mojo-booster for you anytime you get depleted!
Get Into A Book!
Start a book club at work. Pick a method for choosing books to read and agree that you'll all read the same book at the same time. You can get together to talk about what you're experiencing as you read each book together. Stretching your mind grows your flame a lot!
Do Good Together
Pick a not-for-profit organization near your workplace and band together to help them out. Maybe it's a soup kitchen or a pantry for folks in need. Organize your workmates to pitch in and make a real difference for people in your community.
Talk with your manager about hosting an Open House in your department for your workmates in other departments.
It could be after work or at lunchtime. Invite your work homies to stop by and hear about what you're doing in your group. They can reciprocate and do the same thing next month!
Put a Human Voice in Your Recruiting Materials
Offer to help your HR team humanize its recruiting materials and messages, most of which are typically pretty gnarly until somebody has the time to humanize them.
Think about what you'd want to know about your organization if you didn't already work there, and create a Frequently Asked Questions list with answers. You'll be doing a big service to your HR friends, your future fellow employees and your shareholders, too!
Give Blood Together!
Organize a blood drive in your workplace. This is a great way for employees to get to know one another. Your team can save lives while you're socializing and building Team Mojo together -- not to mention your individual flames!
Practice your public speaking by organizing a Toastmasters club at your workplace. Then, take your show on the road and speak to a local group. When you speak in public, your flame grows high!
Meet A New Mentor
Pick an executive you admire in your organization. Read his or her bio and LinkedIn profile to learn about him or her, and then introduce yourself by email or in person. Invite your chosen executive to have coffee with you in the break room or at a coffee shop around the corner.
Ask him or her about his or her life and tell your executive friend what you're up to. Tell him or her how you're growing your flame.
Work is a fantastic place to get stronger and more confident and to figure out what you love to do and get better at it. If you slog to work and slouch through the day, it's no fun for you and nobody benefits. Every job gives opportunities for flame-growing, though you may have to hunt for them.
Every time you teach someone how to do something, your flame is growing. Every time you share a bit of yourself that isn't strictly buttoned-down and professional, ditto.
Go ahead and doodle at work! Other people will follow your lead. Doodling is a fantastic way to keep your brain engaged when a meeting gets boring.
Sing your song at work, and grow your flame -- that will help other people grow theirs, too!
Why are we alive, after all? We are alive to learn and grow. All living things grow and change. Being at work doesn't mean being stuck, stiff or rigid. We can celebrate being alive and keep learning and evolving on the job -- that's what the Human Workplace movement is all about!