Archive for the ‘generations’ Category

What’s In It For Me?

February 20, 2017

This is a question that drives almost every decision we make. Those words are subconscious messages from the naughty little voices that we sometimes hear chattering in the back of our minds. Sadly, they sometimes prevent us from doing the right thing because our egos stand in the way.

Most of us probably want to take the moral high ground, but life can get complicated and the world seems to be going at an incredibly fast pace. It sometimes feels as if we can barely hang on and handle our own challenges without taking on someone else’s issues. And there are those situations which involve someone hurting our feelings or competing with us for something we want or need. Are we really supposed to step out of our own ego bubbles and defy our “I have to look out for number one” inclinations? And what if it seems that other people benefit from our work even more than we do and we don’t get credit for it?

Here are some possible thought processes that we might experience: If someone hurts me, why should I forgive him? Sure…he may be off the hook for what he did, but what’s in it for me? Someone needs help; I really don’t have the time and it will be an inconvenience. Lending a hand would make life much easier for that person, but what’s in it for me? After all, we all need to look out for ourselves, don’t we? Someone is being mistreated or bullied. I could intervene and stand up for him, but then I would have to get involved and if I do that…what’s in it for me? Why should I work hard to make life easier for someone else…what’s in it for me?

Yikes! What a dilemma! Or is it? Speaking for myself and my own experiences, here is what I have found to be the answer to the “what’s in it for me?” question:

  • The phrase, “what goes around, comes around” is true most of the time. What we send out usually returns to us. Negativity and mean spiritedness usually come back to bite you in the booty; kindness returns to you tenfold. We reap what we sow.
  • There is more peace in stepping out of yourself than there is in building walls around yourself. When you practice kindness for kindness’ sake, you find that the question of what you’re going to get out of it appears less frequently in your thoughts. There is a kind of contentment that comes with giving and forgiving without expecting acknowledgement or credit.
  • There is a lot to be said for paying it forward. Attitude is like ripples in a pond when a stone has been thrown in. When you are kind to someone, you are increasing the likelihood of that person passing it on to others. It is the gift that keeps on giving. And it works in reverse; as well…snarkiness breeds snarkiness. Don’t be the one who starts the snarky cycle.
  • This is an important one: We are all part of a continuum. Everything that we accomplish; inventions, medical advances, even our philosophies are possible because of those who came before us. We build upon their knowledge, discoveries, and work. Nobody creates anything totally alone….it is a cumulative process involving generations of people. Our ancestors worked and possibly sacrificed to pass onto us, a better life. We are all stewards of the accomplishments and knowledge that have been passed down and it is our responsibility to use them to make the world a better place with everything we do…without asking “what’s in it for me?”

The universe has a way of balancing things out. What’s in it for us is that we get to be part of a magnificent continuous thread that is this life. But if you are still having trouble doing the right thing because you’re not sure what’s in it for you, offer yourself an incentive…something nice, like chocolate. It works for me! But…I’m easily bribed.

How To Not Act Old…Even if You Were Born When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth

July 25, 2015

For the first time in history, there are four generations out there in the workplace. Obviously, people of different ages are coming from different experiences and that can sometimes create difficulties in communication and work styles. Every generation brings something of great worth to the workplace and it can be very beneficial if everyone respects the differences.

For instance, Millennials should try not to see Baby Boomers as fossils who have outlived their worth in the workforce. On the other hand, older people need to appreciate the innovativeness and fresh ideas of the youthful. I know this is important, because I am one of the (ahem) more mature workers. I will not reveal my age, but in dog years, I’m dead. Just kidding. Maybe.

I love the younger generation and in my Generational Workshops (“Dude…What’s Woodstock?”) I encourage the older workers to open their minds to the possibilities and to not be afraid of new ideas and technology. I tell them not to fall into the “We’ve always done it this way….” or “In my day, we…..” mentality. The times, they are a’changin’ and if we don’t change with them, we will be left in the dust. And so I offer some tips for the more mature worker:

Don’t be a technology dinosaur (Technosaurus): If you are wondering if you have fallen into this category, here are some guidelines to help you know for sure: You might be a Technosaurus if you still use cassette tapes and a matching player. You are definitely a Technosaurus if you have an eight track player. However, this does not apply to owning vinyl albums and a turntable on which to play them. This just makes you retro and that is cool. Sometimes it takes a while to catch on. When I first started presenting webinars, I had a hard time aligning my head with the camera so that participants weren’t watching a pair of talking eyebrows.

Learn the terms: If you think that Twitter is something that only birds do and that Skyping is the act of birds winging across the sky while they are twittering, you may need to brush up on some of the modern terminology and techniques. Understand that lol does not mean Lots of Love, and now there is more than one meaning to the word “cloud.” Streaming doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with water and nobody under the age of 35 knows what a floppy disc is. If you say you have some, people will think you have a problem with your back. If you don’t know these things, well OMG you ARE a Technosaurus!

Don’t be critical of younger people utilizing texting rather than face-to-face communication. This is the way it’s done now. I know that it’s difficult when your Smart phone outsmarts you. I have fought with auto-correct many times and lost. It caused me to send a message reading, “I can hardly contain my excrement!” That has a much different meaning than excitement, which is what I meant to say.

Don’t be critical of the way the younger generation dresses or speaks: Remember bell bottoms, mini-skirts, go-go boots and trying to look “boss,” “bitchin’” and “groovy.” And while we’re on that topic….

Do not try to be younger than you really are: Age is an attitude and the wisdom you have acquired is valuable! Part of not acting old is not trying to act too young. Dress appropriately…I have a tee-shirt which reads “So Many Men And So Little Time!” As I get older, that statement takes on a different meaning! I also have one which reads “I’m Still Hot…It Just Comes in Flashes Now.” I don’t wear that one because why advertise? Be comfortable in your own skin….mine is more relaxed-fit now, so I’m pretty comfortable.

Do not wear sunglasses over your bifocals. Choose one or the other.

While ordering in a restaurant, understand that the waiter or waitress does not need to know why you’re not ordering bacon and buttered toast. Your cholesterol numbers are your own business and of no concern to your server. And please remember that no one at your table, coworkers or even your best friend needs to hear what onions do to your digestive tract.

Of course, I am having fun with this topic but the point is valid. There are many benefits to having multi-generational workforces. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge that can create magical things, if everyone is non-judgmental and appreciative of each other. Life is a continuum and so is our learning!

Linda Henley-Smith is a motivational speaker, coach and “But”-Kickin’ Diva! Learn more about “Dude, What’s Woodstock? (Managing the Generational Mix)” and other programs at