by Emma Sue Prince
We live and work in a world where uncertainty and change have become the norm. Even though we have all the information we could possibly want or need at our fingertips, our inability to manage its constant flow into our Smartphones and brains renders it useless. It seems as if we are constantly distracted, overwhelmed and unhappy.
But there are skills that we each have that really can help us to be happy right now. These skills need to become an essential part of our toolkit so that we are well equipped to prosper in our brave new world. We just need to tap into them and strengthen them. All 7 matter and all 7 overlap. In this exclusive series for Family Friendly Working, each week I’ll be looking at a different skill that you can immediately tap into and embrace. I promise you they make a huge difference to you personally, to how you work and to your family.
What if I told you that we each have a super power at our fingertips that can transform all our relationships almost instantly? That superpower is Empathy and Nr. 3 in this 7 Skills to Happiness series.
Relationships are key to our happiness, wellbeing and success, whether personal or professional and empathy is the ability to put yourself into someone’s shoes – really hard to do but again, surprisingly or not, we are also hard-wired to be empathetic! Tap into this skill by really paying attention to the person you are with – whether that is during a meeting, conversation or presentation. Paying attention is just that and you pay by being present.
Being present only happens when we quieten our minds, uni-task and put our phones away. The practice of mindfulness not only encourages presence but has been proven to strengthen the neurons in our brains that link with empathy. You can practise mindfulness at any time – it does not have to be about sitting still and meditating. It can be simply being 100% in an activity whether that is drinking a cup of tea or helping your child with their homework.
The most successful people have that ability to make every person they encounter feel special but actually we all have that ability – we just don’t use it. We are so distracted by whatever else is going on that we find it impossible to be present.
If you can make mindfulness a regular practice (really it’s about doing nothing so next time you are in a queue or commuting, instead of reaching for your phone, do nothing!) it strengthens the neurons in your brain that are linked with our ability to be empathetic. If your relationships are strong and happy ones, then you will be strong and happy too. And if you want your kids to be off their screens? You need to model that yourself.
Emma Sue Prince is author of “7 Skills for the Future”, published by Pearson Business, available now in all major bookstores and from Amazon. Her podcast 7 Skills for the Future is on ITunes and all podcasting platforms. Emma Sue Prince is a specialist in experiential learning and believes strongly that this methodology is key to developing life skills and soft skills as it is the only way to develop self-awareness, upon which all behavioural change is based. She delivers powerful workshops in this regard and does so with many different target groups including “closed” groups such as Muslim communities in Bangladesh and North Africa and diverse groups in the UK including lawyers, doctors and software engineers.
Find out more at www.unimenta.com