How Resourceful Are You?

arrowsupdownMy parents, who lived through the Great Depression, instilled the value of resourcefulness within me at a very young age. To this day, it is one of my top values. From the time I was a child, I found a way to recycle/repurpose long before it became fashionable. Yet the term takes on a slightly different meaning in the professional world. How can you be resourceful in your work environment?

Resourcefulness in the workplace is vitally important to an organization’s success. The Center for Creative Leadership identified resourcefulness as one of the top five skills a leader must possess in its 2009 study, The Leadership Gap. Within the study, resourcefulness was identified as “working effectively with top management.”

What value has resourcefulness brought to companies and organizations in the past five years? The most recent recession forced many to tighten their belts and be more resourceful, yet, what does that mean? In my opinion, being resourceful at work also includes:

  • Involving key contributors in strategic decisions
  • Honoring organizational priorities
  • Creatively pursuing options and possibilities
  • Including some new voices in the conversation, especially those who are rarely asked or who may get lost within the organization’s hierarchy
  • Knowing where to go for answers
  • Asking tough questions
  • Considering new solutions to age-old problems
  • Engaging workers in the mindset of “sustainability”

Being known at work as someone who is resourceful can position you as a leader who cares about the company, its mission and its people. How can you become more resourceful at work?



Respect Nature

water-drop-pearls-on-green-leaves-thumbAs you celebrate Earth Week this week, take a moment to pause and respect nature. Let it inspire you. Nature provides abundant experiences. A wide, expansive sky. Varying cloud formations. A spectacular sunrise. A glowing sunset. Majestic mountains. Roaring oceans. Tranquil lakes. Rushing rivers. Tall trees. Fragrant flowers. Take the time to see, hear, feel, smell, taste and experience what is around you. Nature plays an important role in helping you lead a balanced life.

How do you respect nature? Perhaps it’s the biodegradable packaging made of corn that you buy for the office. Or the eco-friendly detergents you use. Or the simple act of using compost to enrich your garden soil. Or using repurposed wood in a new project. Or reducing the number of plastic garbage bags you fill each week. To me, one of the most important ways to respect nature is to leave as much of the natural environment undisturbed and in tact. Ask yourself, “How do I, or can I, respect nature?”

A colleague of mine recently commented, “I need to take the time to stop and smell the roses.” He was well aware that he needed a break from his busy work schedule. I smiled and reminded him that the roses will be in bloom in June.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about nature:

What is your relationship with nature? How often do you take the time to enjoy it?

How can you incorporate more of nature into your life?

What are your favorite outdoor activities? Do you prefer to hike alone or take a walk in the park with a friend?

When you are working inside, how often do you stop to look outside a window, or take a five-minute break to walk outside, just to clear your mind?

Happy Earth Week. Now get out there!


Are You Exactly Where You Need To Be Right Now?

CompassHave you ever had an amazing experience in your life when you found yourself saying, “I was meant to be here. I am exactly where I need to be right now.” When that happens, you are fully present in that moment, appreciative of the gift that has been given to you.

This past week, I experienced a string of moments just like that, as I repeatedly said to myself, “I am exactly where I need to be right now.”

The first experience was musical. My husband and I heard for the first time an incredible performance by a local band that features a friend of ours. The leader of the band, a talented singer, songwriter and musician, inspired me to tap into my creativity.

The second experience was theatrical. A visiting performance troupe, dog + pony dc created a memorable theatre experience, A Killing Game. While we could have easily left after the program ended, we chose to stay and meet the actors. They motivated me to expand my thinking.

The third experience was inspirational. I met a physically challenged young man who shared his life story of overcoming obstacles and pushing his own limits. His joy inspired me to live my life more fully.

In each of these experiences, I said the same thing to myself, in that moment, “I am exactly where I need to be right now…to be fully present, to hear this message and to learn from this experience.” From each connection, I took away something new, yet there were threads of continuity.

When you are fully present in a moment and you recognize it and cherish it, you are open to receive a deeper message.

Ask yourself, “Am I exactly where I need to be right now?” When you answer yes, then you will appreciate – for that moment – that there is nowhere else that you would rather be.

Be an Experience Creator

BlondeGirlExcitedOf the many roles that you play in your life, did you know that you can also play the role of Experience Creator? What is an Experience Creator, you ask? Let me create two scenarios for you. Imagine this:

Scenario One: You arrive at the office with your espresso latte in one hand and briefcase in the other. You want to get to your desk quickly so you can check to see if the meeting time you requested with the Regional Vice President is a go. You have worked really hard on this project and are eager to share your thoughts with the RVP. All you can think about is your ideas. You are focused on those ideas, almost obsessed about them. You can’t get them out of your head. As you breeze into the office, so focused, and so determined to get to your desk, you don’t hear it, you don’t see it and you don’t experience it: The cheerful “Good morning!” from your department assistant. In fact, every morning you are so focused on what you are thinking that you miss her hellos. That simple “Good morning” that she shares with you every day is her way of being an Experience Creator. An Experience Creator creates a positive, even memorable, experience for other people.

What is the result of your not acknowledging the assistant’s greeting every morning? She thinks you don’t like her. In fact, she shares with one of your co-workers that she thinks you don’t like her. “She adores you,” your co-worker replies. Your co-worker decides to share this important piece of information with you because she thinks it’s something you need to know. She’s right. You are so appreciative that she shared this information with you that you vow to make a change the next day.

Scenario Two: You arrive at the office with your usual espresso latte in one hand and briefcase in the other. You pause before you enter the building. You take a deep breath and consciously feel the air entering your body. As you walk, you are aware of everything around you. As you enter your department, you make it a point to stop at your department administrative assistant’s desk, smile and say, “Good morning, Haley!” Now you are the Experience Creator.

Think about the many people who you come in contact with on a daily basis. Customers. Co-workers. Friends. What kind of experience you are creating for them? Is it positive or negative? Are you friendly or guarded? When you remind yourself that you are an Experience Creator, it will completely change how you see others and ultimately how you see yourself. When you create a positive experience for others, it positions you as a professional who cares.

Practice saying this new mantra each day: “I am an Experience Creator!”

Plant a Seed of Hope

SeedlingWhen was the last time you planted a seed of hope in someone else’s life?

When I was growing up, my dad called me his “Yardbird” because I helped him with outdoor chores. He instilled in me at that early age the knowledge that any seed that is planted can grow into something beautiful when it is nurtured. Every day I watched those seeds grow and change. Every day I hoped to see something new.

Now many years later, as a Master Gardener, I have the privilege of planting seeds of hope in the lives of some individuals who are new to gardening. This year I chose to volunteer with the Cleveland Crops program, a partnership among the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Ohio State University Extension Service, Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County and others. This urban farm program educates, trains and employs individuals with developmental disabilities so they can lead productive lives.

During our first training session last week, we Master Gardeners provided information and answered questions about basic planting and watering techniques. In the coming weeks, we will teach other aspects of gardening to willing participants. When asked if they were excited about the hope of getting involved in gardening, many of the participants enthusiastically said “Yes!”

In the world today, we must remind ourselves to put aside our own needs and focus on others who need our time, attention and expertise. There are individuals within our own communities who simply want a chance, to prove that they can contribute and be part of something greater than just themselves.

Last week, I planted a seed of hope in every person I met. What seeds of hope can you plant in someone else’s life?