Remote Bias

Now we hear that employees who prefer or need to work from home may face a type of bias that could leave them behind.

In one study, the at-home workers were half as likely as their office counterparts to get a promotion – and promotions often mean raises so there is a hidden economic danger.

By the way, that was true even though the remote workers were 13% more productive making more calls per minute in their travel agency jobs and taking fewer breaks.

As we return to work, remote bias is a challenge that will have to be faced.

Virtual facetime will be even more important.

Finding ways to be present in person may be helpful.

To avoid the stress that will surely come from working at home at a disadvantage to those returning to the office, a plan to compensate for distance by making yourself more familiar is a sensible step.

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The Right Headspace

Being in the wrong headspace is a bad time for taking on challenges.

It’s better to listen to yourself and step back.

That’s what Simone Biles did in the Olympics – she battled inner voices that robbed her of her usual confidence and knew enough to take a time out.

Same for the rest of us.

Handling problems at work or personal pow-wows are not worth the mistakes that could be made by not being fully mentally available to participate.

This is an advantage not a shortcoming.

Former Olympic athlete Shannon Miller nailed it:

“We have to pay close attention to ourselves to notice those clues that something doesn’t quite feel right, and then take appropriate action to get the care and support we need.”

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But Wait, There’s More!

Ron Popeil died recently after decades of pitching dehydrators, veggie slicers and the Pocket Fisherman.

I was always enthralled watching and listening to him – can’t tell you how many times I saw the same infomercial over and over and now I know why.

Of course, his ability to always be closing and making products I never bought sound appealing and affordable – but it was the line “But wait, there’s more!” that I craved.

That is what we all want to hear.

More to his offer, of course but more to our lives, more to our relationships, more to our careers – when there is the expectation of more, we can always find a way to stay motivated.

When you believe there is always more, you have hope and we humans do not do well without hope.

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Sportsmanship

American runner Isaiah Jewett’s act of friendship after he was accidentally tripped by Botswana’s Nijel Amos was deserving of a gold medal for sportsmanship.

An inadvertent accident after years of training for the men’s 800-meter event left Jewett understandably angry but he got up, helped Amos to his feet, continued the race where Amos let Jewett finish next to last – Amos was last.

“I learned from all the superhero animations I watch, regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day. That was my version of trying to be a hero.”

Sometimes losing is winning.

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Changing Yourself

Change is a tough proposition.

Psychologists say we are starting to get set in our ways by the time we are three and that environmental and family influences are critical to who we become.

Change is possible.

See the goal vividly in your mind’s eye in 3D, full color and surround sound if that is even possible – but the idea is see the change you want to make in an unforgettable way.

Have a plan – work the plan – expect no miracles just good determined effort to get to your goal.

Use discouragement as a motivation to focus harder.

Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet put it like this:

“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

Change doesn’t mean you want to be a different person – just a better one.

Releasing Stress

I saw a checkout person in Sprouts this past weekend self-destruct in front of a customer and her boss.

The customer was semi-understanding but she was melting down nonetheless.

The panic was on her face when she left her station to find her boss and when the boss arrived, she apologized profusely for making a mistake and causing the problem.

Her boss said not a word – just cancelled the mistake on the register and the increasingly irate customer was able to leave.

I was next in line.

One thing I know is that humor releases stress – a few jokes later, she was visibly relieved and seemingly back to being herself.

We all make mistakes – Houston Astros Michael Brantley is among those with the highest batting averages in baseball currently (.330) meaning he fails almost seven times out of ten.

Keep reality in perspective before trashing yourself for being human and keep a sense of humor when missing the mark.

The Friendship Deficit

30 years ago, 33% of Americans said they had ten or more close friends not counting relatives.

Today it’s 13%.

In 1990, 75% said they had a best friend.

Now, just 59%.

People want fewer but better friends and at the same time are more isolated in spite of their digital and social media connectivity.

My take is that looking for friends or expanding your group is a waste of time.

More important, spend that time becoming the person you want to be and when the right next friend comes along it will be a meaningful connection.

The number of Facebook friends are meaningless, the number of “likes” in social media misleading and constant contact does not a friend make.

The best way to make meaningful friends is to become a better friend to yourself.

Here are more findings I thought you would like on The state of American Friendship.

Short Memories

Sometimes your favorite animal is a goldfish because it is said to have a memory of ten seconds – what humans need to have.

That’s the advice from Ted Lasso, the principal character in the hit Apple TV series about a coach who knows nothing about soccer and everything about motivating people.

A short memory should be our goal even though Ted Lasso’s information is incorrect (goldfish can have a memory of many months).

The longer we humans carry around negative thoughts of animosity, jealousy or hurt, we become more like the person who offended us.

To gain control, give up control of lingering animosities so we can swim away like a goldfish to enjoy another day.

Simone Biles’ Gold Medal

American gymnast Simone Biles holds the record for the most World Championship medals (25) and the most gold medals (19) in World Championship history for an athlete of either gender.

She attracted empathy from fans when during the current Tokyo Olympics she stepped away from competition citing mental health issues – these issues are extremely common in the population these days especially among young people.

Unfortunately, Simone also had to suffer the criticism on social media that called her unpatriotic and denigrating her competitive spirit.

To me Simone Biles won the most important gold medal — the one for Courage when she revealed her mental issues and had the courage to step back and attend to working on them rather than continue to seek more glory.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka is in the same category – brave to speak up and step back at personal career peril to do the right thing and in spite of criticism by some.

One definition of a champion is a person who fights or argues for a cause on behalf of someone else.

In that case, thanks should go to brave people like Simone Biles who set a new standard for all who experience mental health issues.

Self-Destruction 

It’s one thing when someone else makes life miserable for us – when they doubt, criticize, disapprove, etc.

But doing it to yourself is an act of self-destruction that can be resolved.

I remember my first time on television hosting a movie in primetime.  Everything went well until a slight mess up with the Teleprompter at the end.  I thought it was the end of my career.

No one said a word from viewers to people I worked with at the TV station.

They just saw a good performance that I couldn’t see – that’s self-destruction.

People fear speaking almost as much as dying according to surveys and we obsess about every thought, paragraph and fear of leaving out something important almost as if the audience knew what you forgot to say.

Protect yourself from destructive comments and actions of others.

Just as important – don’t join them in self-inflicted criticism and hurt.