We humans are social. The baby cries after being born to be recognized and be taken care of. It seeks touch, warmth and smiles. It wants to be fed. Its life depends on feedback from the first moment on. It is only the feedback of others which enables us to develop our personality, our character and our identity.
As adults we work like crazy to reach that next goal, to be recognized by our company, colleagues, friends, society and fans. The biggest risk for burnout is not too much work, but it is the imbalance of working a lot without getting recognition for it. If we feel not seen, than we lose motivation, are dissatisfied and might even get ill. Nevertheless in our day to day we are all spearing with praise. Maybe it’s because of these sayings which are especially used in the south of Germany that if nobody complains that is enough of a praise”. Whoever invented that story, it is not true!
Science has proven: It is the same brain area where we handle the addiction to drugs and recognition. Recognition is the biggest internal motivational force for our brains. If we get a smile, an eye-contact, a praise Dopamin is released which helps us to feel strong and happy. At the same time bodydrugs like opiates and Ocytocin help us to feel relaxed and full of joy. The more attention and recognition we get, the more chemicals are released in our body. If we get love the networks of our brain are about to explode. Everything we do has the deep desire for connection to others.
We can sum up, we need feedback and we want to be seen. It starts with ourselves and our internal voices and our reactions on our own person. Do we really take care for ourselves? Do we see what we need and do we take care for it? Do we love ourselves? Are we ignoring our body’s feedback? If so, then no external feedback ever will make us happy on the long run. It is about us, to make space, make time and honour and respect our beautiful life and body we have.
Our brain does handle risks and danger quicker and more intensely than positive things. The amygdala reacts still sends information to our brain stem which tries to react with fight, fleeing or stiffness without involvement of the cerebral part. The limbic part of our brain has stored all the emotional events in our lives and is quick to react on situations which have endangered us in the past. We tend to suppress our emotions and merely function. This means we tend to react more readily in grumpy, aggressive, neutral or negative ways. We know that it is so much easier to criticize, than to find the aspects where we have made a good job. That is true for our internal communication and naturally also for the feedback to others. But there is also hope. The frontal cortex of our brain can be trained and overrule these old brain behaviours. We can learn to stay in our emotions, stay empathic and give ourselves recognition. This enables us to give also critical feedback in a good way and to receive feedback graciously with thanks and learn from it. The concept of the Trusttemenos Academy uses these findings to help leaders to become empathic, mindful and intentional and to be able to establish these new kinds of working cultures.
We can choose: If we ignore people or exclude them, this can be an existential threat for their lifes. They can lose their motivation, their happiness and they can start to be aggressive. If we want to have ease, love and happiness in our workplace, first thing we could do is to be mindful of ourselves and second to be mindful of how we deal with people and take care of them. This might be the magic ingredient for the joyful work environment we have been yearning for so long!