People seem to be in two camps right now; vaccinated and hopeful, and unable to find vaccines and despairing. How do you think the vaccine process is going to impact our workplaces? Do you think we have a reason to be hopeful or is this virus just going to throw us another rotten curveball?
A: A main way the vaccine will impact our workplaces is we’ll finally have the freedom to stop worrying about death and disability. Yes, I think this will be a spring season of hope and slow return to normalcy. Lastly, I think we’ll return to our workplaces full of gratitude and innovation after surviving this global adversity.
Global crisis in many ways is like a storm of enormous magnitude that destroys but also creates. Crisis destroys our Old World but opens a door to a new improved world. We will return to our workplaces more conscious of kindness, the benefit of relationships, equality and value of collaboration. The only reason we have the gift of returning to a new normal is the global medical and scientific community came together to develop a breakthrough vaccine.
When we work together, we’re truly capable of miracles. When we pull apart, we cannot benefit from our joint skills and talents. I tell clients the distance between heaven on earth and hell on earth is simply this willingness to either work with or against others. In every moment we decide whether we will live in heaven or hell through our interpersonal choices with others.
In this column I teach the technology of how to work with people in a concrete, behavioral and specific manner because good intentions make no difference in our ability to cooperate. If we want to listen but do not know how to paraphrase our intentions do nothing. If we want to negotiate but don’t know how to separate a person from a problem we just create a conflict.
Many new clients think interpersonal issues at work are a result of a character defect or just bad luck. I quickly point out that interpersonal problems at work are simply a result of what you currently do and say. We often create our own suffering because of our lack of awareness that what we are doing and saying is creating problems for us.
Some clients become argumentative or full of self-criticism when they see how ineffective what they are doing has been. They have to get over this hump of self-hatred to be able to apply the tools I offer.
People in your workplace really aren’t in a position to judge your value as a human being and they cannot read your mind. They can only react to the words you chose, your nonverbal communication, your tone of voice, and interpersonal skills.
Sometimes a client will say, “Well I cannot change I’m just the kind of person that is honest!” I point out that our interpersonal habits are just that … habit and not a genetic factor like brown eyes. Our interpersonal habits are as flexible as our capacity to learn. If we refuse to learn, then we chose a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Even Dr. Fauci seems to be optimistic that the worst of this virus is behind us. This year as life bursts forth into a joyous celebration of new growth I feel confident we will also be slowly emerging from our isolation into a new spring of collaboration.
The last word(s)
Q: Do you think there is a mental health benefit around getting the vaccine?
A: Yes, those two little shots offer us the significant mental health advantage of moving away from that dark cloud of doom and back into the sunlight of ordinary life.