One-third of your life will be spent at work. That’s 90,000 hours over the course of a lifetime. So, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that your self-esteem and the impact of your workplace environment go hand in hand.
How is this possible? Well, it’s simple. Self-esteem is made up of two components. The first is how valuable you feel (what you believe you’re worth). Secondly, is how competent you feel (what you believe you can accomplish)? Both are sets of beliefs developed in the brain over time and ultimately determine what we think, say, and do in life.
The fact is, our self-esteem is developed from childhood experiences but is nurtured throughout the course of our life. If ⅓ of our life is spent at work, it’s no wonder how we think, feel and act are often a direct response to the environment in which we live.
The Importance of a Fun and Positive Work Culture
As a Chief Fun Officer, I’ve noticed that many CEOs and executives recognize the importance of a healthy work culture, but they still find their companies suffering in challenging times. Business is on the brink of bankruptcy, sales are down or turnover is at an all-time high and they don’t know what to do. The truth is, the health and self-esteem of each individual in any company is the number 1 element that has the power to radically turn things around.
In fact, in most surveys, when employees are asked to rate the importance of a pay increase, a pat on the back, more time off, or improved communication, a pat on the back and increased communication are nearly always rated the highest.
What does this tell us? That how people think and feel about themselves will determine how productive and engaged they are at work which obviously affects the bottom line. So, why aren’t more companies paying attention to their number 1 asset, the people? The most common problem I come across is that CEOs don’t know how to create a fun, thriving culture. They get stuck because they can’t find the time or don’t know how to strategize a plan, let alone implement it.
Luckily, I’m an expert at creating customized plans to implement fun, positivity, and overall joy into the company culture. The idea is to create an environment where people don’t dread the next day and secretly spend their time searching for a new job, but rather one where they feel seen and heard and are excited about sales, growth, and opportunity within the company.
When a person’s thoughts and energy shift from wondering if they even matter to anyone to feel appreciated and valued, it is natural to see increases in productivity, retention, and innovation. Not only that, people who are happier with who they are and feel confident in what they’re doing are more likely to be excellent team players and a joy to be around. Wouldn’t it be nice to work with more people like that?
Positivity vs Negativity
There are two forms of self-esteem; positive and negative. There are also two main ways to achieve both. For example, positive self-esteem can come in the form of accomplishments and positive affirmation. In turn, negative self-esteem comes from failures, being embarrassed, or belittled.
Think back to middle school. You might have had a teacher or a parent who saw potential in you. He or she noticed your talent, gave you positive affirmations and opportunities to practice, develop and grow. When you screwed up, they talked to you about it, they encouraged you to do better. They believed in you. Likewise, you might have had someone in your life that discouraged you and told you that you were stupid or refused to listen to your ideas. In the first example, the person develops a positive self-esteem. He practices then fail but is encouraged and eventually excels at what he’s doing. In the latter example, she tries, fails, and is discouraged and eventually adopts the belief that she has unrealistic ideas or goals, believes she’s not capable of doing what she wants, and thus develops a negative self-esteem.
Even though we grow up, the desire to feel valued and capable doesn’t change.
This is why having a leader and an environment that encourages and fosters excellence, opportunity, and productivity will breed positive self-esteem which leads to higher productivity, creativity, and innovation in the workplace.
Fostering Leaders and Growth
If we dive a little deeper, we’ll find that, more often than not, the people in charge are not communicating very well which is causing employees to feel ‘not good enough’ and incapable or incompetent. The boss is stressed and overworked herself and is demanding high performance from his employees, who in turn feel unequipped to carry out such demands. It’s a vicious cycle of feeling unheard, unseen, frustrated, undervalued, and even disposable to the company. Even the most talented professionals will experience lowered self-esteem and business suffers.
In a healthy culture, it’s easy to discover that the people in charge are leaders who actually walk the talk. They are authentic, living examples of how humility, perseverance, self-awareness, and courage have led to growth and wild amounts of success. They invest in their own personal development and growth, and they provide the same opportunities for their employees. These leaders create a culture where each person has meaning, purpose, and opportunity to excel.
They create space for each person to be themselves. So, when the constant stress and pressure of work is decreased and when employees feel valued, appreciated, and capable of doing their jobs, the results are a drastic increase in production and retention of top talent. Inevitably people feel confident and appreciated and able to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Not only that, people want to do their best. Their self-esteem skyrockets and possibilities become limitless.
Create Environments that boost Self-Esteem and You’ll See Those Increased ROI’s
We’re all human. We need to know we’re valued and important to the community in which we belong. From family to friends to our workplace. In order to be productive, this is an absolute necessity. Recent studies show that workplace environments that provide opportunities for fun, creativity, and open communication correlate to increased positive self-esteem and overall productivity. Examples, where employees can’t stop raving about where they work, are Southwest Airlines, Google, Facebook, Menlo Innovations, Zappos, Twitter, and Adobe.
The proof is in the pudding. When you feel good about yourself and confident in your abilities, your desire to be more productive in life and at work will be innate. No longer will you need your boss to push you to deliver. You’ll have seen the results of your efforts and want to continue on that path. You’ll want to stay in your job because you are seen, heard, and valued in the company.
Since you’re going to spend 90,000 hours somewhere, you might as well be somewhere you can be yourself, where you feel the best about who you are and what you’re capable of. Find that place or, if you’re a boss, create that place for the people who are looking for it. From there, everyone can thrive and grow and success will be inevitable.