Awaken the Magic in You - It's Productive
by Meg Reilly
and Tom Larkin
Do you believe in magic? Or wonder? Or mystery?
Why wouldn't anyone believe in magic when you are surrounded by it all the time? The kindness of a stranger. The birth of a child. Coworkers doing things that make you smile out of nowhere, contributing ideas that cause people to take immediate note and say, “Yes, that will work!”
But Magic of your own making, at work? You may be skeptical.
You don’t have to sit back and passively wait for a magic moment to come along. You are the magician. You have the ability to make magic happen – in your own life and in the lives of the people you encounter every day, in every moment. Here’s how you make magic at home, when you are out and about, and yes, right where you work.
1. Be attentive. Stop and attend to something closely. Choose to perceive it anew with more nuance, humor, and spirit
We are all busy people and we have work to do. Developing the skill of attentiveness can be a strong creative force. Say you look at your calendar and just feel overwhelmed. How will I get this all done today? It’s too much. Too many meetings, phone calls, commitments.
Stop. Really stop and attend to your own feelings
Remember the acronym STOP stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe what feelings are going on inside or, what is happening around you, and after all that, Proceed.
So back to your calendar. I see that I can push that call off until tomorrow and can make this call now. I see that I can announce at the beginning of the meeting that I have a hard stop at 11:30 so my colleagues and I can set expectations for each other. I see that I can order that birthday gift online in five minutes instead of stopping at the gift shop after work. Bam! I just added two hours to my day so now I can write that proposal. Magic.
You can be more attentive to anything. Do you have a second? That’s all it takes to be attentive to someone. Add a short phrase to your email, “Jim, I appreciate your time more than you know.” That might take three seconds. Look the cashier in the eye for one second longer when you pay your check and say, “Thanks.” One second. Just taking an extra moment establishes a connection that makes Jim, the cashier – and you -- feel just a bit better. Your words and your smiles add magic to the day.
When you decide to be present and contribute “small things” it creates more awareness of your unique impact on others. You benefit because:
You experience your unique influence
You’re energized by seeing the impact of your small choices
You feel the confidence and emotion of a contributor who influences the world
Others benefit because:
They are more engaged with you
They are more likely to remember you
They are more likely to contribute a small thing
2. Be a meaning maker
Meaning is powerful magic. Giving meaning to someone or something creates extra energy. We ascribe meaning to special events like anniversaries, birthdays or holidays and they become magical celebrations. We create that extra energy in the workplace when we regard our work as a vocation. It’s what we choose to make of our labor. Are you someone who” takes calls all day” or someone who ”helps people all day?” Don’t underestimate the meaning you assign to your work. We know people at John Hancock that loved being a part of a team that was getting good service marks. They made it mean they were revolutionizing the way they serve their customers.
You are the meaning maker. So, be proactive about it. Add meaning – and therefore, magic – to your life, including your work. Maybe you remember the person who got you your first job in your field and every day, you say a silent thank you to her or him. Perhaps you appreciate the technology that makes your work and your day easier by reflecting back on how your job was done before the ease of technology. No matter how you get from A to B during the work-day, making meaning of it creates extra energy, generates passion, and reduces monotony.
3. Bring it to life. Put spirit into it.
Carl Jung, the famous Swiss Depth Psychologist posited that life is simply the space between birth and death. That “space” can really energize you if you pursue it concretely, by breathing spirit into your life, “day-in, and day-out” by the choices you make. Once you begin to practice this awareness of wonder and begin to make meaning of it, you become the meaning-maker. You give an extra boost to your own life and the lives of people around you. After all, a smile is both cause and effect!
Acknowledge someone’s trials and how they inspire you to be compassionate.
Comment on a connection that others may not make, “Jim, I see that you and Pat share the same appreciation for gardening, and I think it’s related to your ability to ‘grow’ our client base!”
Systems theory teaches us that we operate as part of many systems: family, work, the environment, to name just a few. Everything that happens within a system has an effect on the individual as well as the whole. Your calm, helpful response to an unhappy customer can result in a better outcome for the customer, which can become repeat business or a referral for new business. It’s like that ad where someone holds a door and that person picks up a dropped letter and that person assists someone across the street, and on and on. When you actively attend to your inner and outer world, then consciously give meaning to the moments, things and places that inspire you, then you are breathing life and spirit into your system and every system you participate in.
Magic is everywhere my friends. Wonder, awe, blessings and the inexplicable are the air you breathe, the steps you take, the things you touch. All you need to do to experience it is to open your heart and your eyes, partake with the full intention of your own creative force and you become the magician. What magic will you make? And what difference will it make for you?
Meg Reilly, MS, CH, is a holistic counselor and consulting hypnotist. In her private practice she helps her clients to live mindfully and create their life with compassion for themselves and others. For five years, Meg has written a weekly blog on making intentional, compassionate choices to improve personal growth, development, and peace.
Click here to check out her blog.
Tom Larkin is president, CEO and co-owner of Communico Ltd. and has more than thirty years of experience as a consultant, coach, facilitator and business owner. He is the co-author of How to Talk to Customers: Create a Great Impression Every Time with MAGIC® and is also a part-time professor at Fairfield University.