Frustrated at work? Try this

Have you ever felt you work wasn’t recognised? That your experience, competence and contribution were not valued?
Doesn’t it make you feel frustrated?
If the answer is Yes, I have some bad news for you.
It is going to get worse…
unmotivated employees
A study called “Bad is stronger than good” found out that usually, what we consider to be bad news affects us 5 times as strongly as the good ones.
But that’s not all. Researchers also found out that while we tend to receive consecutive good news in pretty much the same manner, the bad news have a cumulatively negative effect.
That means that if your level of satisfaction is dependent on the recognition you receive from people around you, it is much more likely to get worse than before with every situation where your contribution is not recognised.
The effect of this dynamic is terrifying.
Time after time, I see smart and capable people close themselves, and stop contributing to those around them because of  someone didn’t recognise or like their work.
There is some good news though.
You can choose what you base your satisfaction on.
For this, you only need to change your mindset.
You need to become an Entrepreneur.
– What are the characteristics of an Entrepreneur? you might ask…
– Very good question. Thank you for asking :-)
What distinguishes an Entrepreneur from a normal employee is that the Entrepreneur
– knows that success is not immediate and it might take many trials to succeed
– treats set-backs and criticism as if it was feedback for improvement
– constantly explores how his interests can contribute to the people around him
– and most importantly, doesn’t let other people’s recognition or lack of it define him. He gives himself his own validation
When you adopt this mindset, your satisfaction stops being dependant on other people approval or recognition.
It only depends on your own alignment with your Priorities and Values.
It also doesn’t matter if you are working as a freelancer or if you are an employee who is part of a bigger team that is part of a huge organisation. There will always be opportunities for improvement and innovation you can explore.
A friend of mine (let’s call him G.) was a simple member of a larger team, but he liked analysing “results”. Every time he had a free moment, he would be exploring the software used by the company and extracting new in depth statistics on results delivered by the the team every day, week, month…
At some point, his manager noticed the utility of this data. This became one of G’s official tasks. Soon, he was giving advice and training to other teams on how to do it.
After a year or so, as the company grew, these statistics needed to be done on an always larger scale and with more and more accuracy and meticulousness. A new team was created who would monitor the quality of work of more than 500 people.
Who do you think had the most experience in doing it?
G. naturally found himself in charge of that team.
The funny thing is that he wasn’t looking for recognition. He was only combining his own interest with delivering something useful for his team.
Of course, I am not saying that you will get a similar result every time…
But if the main motivation of your actions is external recognition, you are in for a big disappointment.
Become an entrepreneur instead.
Start today.
1. Explore the possible overlap between your own interests and what has value for those around you.
2. Take one action in that direction.
Keep taking one small step every day and you will notice how your work gradually becomes more gratifying.
Another side-effect is that you will be constantly developing your skills and acquiring new strengths.
your own race
And who knows… you might even get a good surprise at the end 😉

How to use Empathy in a Conflict

When I speak about using Empathy in a Conflict, what I hear most of the time in response is “I DO understand him, but it’s HIM who refuses to understand ME. HE is the one who needs more Empathy”

And that person might be right, but for me, this is missing the point. This is a clear sign of still thinking in terms of who is right and who is wrong.

A big part of Empathy though, is the skill of being NEUTRAL.

To really work, Empathy needs 2 specific steps

1. Letting go of our own point of view (… at least for a moment)

We tend to connect our thoughts and opinions to our sense of identity. But to truly experience Empathy, we need to be able to detach ourselves from our position and be able to take a look at ourselves from a distance. As if we were observing a stranger defending the same point of view as ourselves.

When I go through this process, as I observe this “stranger” who looks like me, I ask myself: “Is “his” way, the only possible correct way of seeing the situation?” Usually I have to humbly accept that it is not, there are always various ways of seeing the same situation and even though it feels like it, there is no guarantee that my way is the correct one.

And only when we are able to put our own point of view aside, can we progress to the next step…

2. Seeing through the other person’s eyes

Most of the time, we tend to limit our “understanding” of the other person to the level of thoughts related to the situation. But there is so much more going on under the surface.

Seeing through the other person’s eyes, means literally becoming that person. It means projecting ourselves inside their mind. It means feeling what it is like to be in that person’s body.

Whenever I perform this exercise, I ask myself: “When I am seeing the situation through that person’s eyes…
– Do I have to arch my neck back or to lower my eyes to see the person in front of me?”
– Do I look straight in the eyes or do I avoid direct eye contact?”
– How do I stand and move?”
– What is happening to my face? What expression do I wear?”

I might even quickly adopt the posture and the facial expression of the other person and slightly imitate his body language.


This momentarily personification triggers automatic associations in our unconscious mind and the information we discover this way is much more extensive than just thoughts. Through feeling the other person’s posture, movements, facial expressions… we automatically have a deeper insight of the emotions the other is experiencing which in turn can help us to understand his or her behaviour much better.

And this is only one benefit. The other is that by allowing ourselves to temporarily adopt the other person’s point of view, we are breaking the invisible wall created by the conflict. This releases the tension we might be feeling and takes us out of the “conflict mode”. Now, instead of focusing on winning the discussion, we can create a collaborative alliance and seek a win-win solution.

In my experience, whenever I follow these 2 steps (Letting go of my own point of view and Seeing through the other person’s eyes), I notice an immediate change in how I feel, and most surprisingly I usually also notice subtle changes in the attitude of the other person. It seems as if whenever I let go of the tension and of my desire to be right, on an unconscious level, the other person feels it and follows my lead. Most of the time, the conflict gets resolved very quickly and the relationship deepens.

Taking these steps is not always comfortable but it neither is it very difficult. The most challenging part though is often to take the decision to go through the process because very often it means recognising my own shortcomings and see where I am being stubborn or unreasonable.

But it is worth it, every single time.

The freedom of not identifying myself with my opinions, associated with the insights I receive from truly considering the other person’s point of view, have allowed me to resolve countless conflicts, build stronger relationships with people around me, and most importantly grow as a person.

Try it. On an ongoing conflict, or a past one that still leaves you with a bad after-taste whenever you think about it. And let me know how it worked for you.