mo·rale [ mə rál ]
  1. how somebody feels emotionally: the general level of confidence or optimism felt by a person or group of people, especially as it affects discipline and motivation


I believe these penguins are singing. I think they are having a good time. I am one of these penguins – I’m captivated by them today.

I read statistics all the time about organizational effectiveness, after all that is the industry I am in. Today I read a statistic that if you increase morale by 1%, productivity will increase by 18%.  I work with teams that are having issues around productivity, trust, camaraderie and whatever other word you want to use, all the time. I work with teams that are going through leadership changes, work scope changes and are working under high levels of stress. The people on many of these teams are tired, frustrated, fearful, overwhelmed and again, insert whatever adjective you want and I’ve probably seen it. I’m asked over and over what can we do to improve effectiveness and productivity within our teams. I have some good answers and I think I am really, really good at coaching people and teams through these difficult times. But, this last week I have learned a huge lesson about life, which directly impacts effectiveness and morale in ourselves, which I believe directly impacts the effectiveness and morale with people we interact with both in work and in our personal lives. I’ve decided to share my lessons today because I think there have been some good ones. And quite honestly, some I’m still learning from.

For various reasons over the last several weeks, well months actually, I don’t believe I was operating at my best self. There are several reasons for this much of which I imagine we can all relate too, too much work, not enough sleep, chaos schedules, hectic lives. You know the stuff involved in this thing called life. Things were always on the go. My family and I were always on the go. There was never enough time. There was never enough anything.

Something needed to change. What has changed in my life the most is I have made time to take care of me, to focus on what I want and need and to make myself a priority. This isn’t to say that I’m not focused on my family, it simply means that I get some time to think about me. What I’ve always known and am currently being reminded of, is if we take care of ourselves first, then we are better suited to take care of others. Remember they always tell us in an airplane emergency to put on our own mask first, then help others with their masks. We should listen to those instructions more, because it is an amazing opportunity to find time to take care of you. Feeling a little deflated and unmotivated, my first priority in taking care of me has been to increase my own morale. Here is what I have chosen to do:

– Sleep! I have ensure that I have gotten a restful sleep every night. I haven’t gone to bed angry, worried or concerned. I’ve gone to bed with the intention to sleep. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you sleep. We all know this, yet I think we often find ourselves without enough sleep. And with my focus on sleep, if I were a person to take naps, I would probably make time for a nap too. Although, I’m not a nap taker, so I’ve just ensured to get my sleep at night.

– I have prioritized hanging out with people whom I feel connected too and want to be connected too. These are people who have been positive, supportive and amazingly caring of me and for me. When I’ve been around these people, I have really made an intention to be present, fully engaged and wanting to connect with them whether that be in a deep meaningful way or a fun drinking wine kind of way. I have decided not to be around any negative people or people who aren’t supportive of me and my family.

– I smile more. I’ve really tried to smile more and laugh more. My kids told me last night that I have smiled a lot lately, so they are noticing. Strangers around me have made comments about my smile, my energy and the positivity around me. So, I know people are noticing. But, more importantly, when I smile it’s not fake, it’s genuine because I have surprisingly found myself in a really, really positive and happy place. In a time of so much change and uncertainty, I have found myself in a really positive and happy place. Reread that statement, I swear to you it is true. Imagine what this would be like if at work this could be the case too.

– I’ve been available. I even wrote available as a word not too long ago. I have really, truly been available for anything. Available to do just about anything, at any time. But, more importantly, been available for opportunities, any opportunities. Don’t get this confused with desperate, I am anything but desperate, I am truly available – available for possibilities. I am open to ideas, my own ideas and those ideas of people around me. I am not desperate.

– I’ve enjoyed the present. I’m living that quote, “One day at a time.” yet, I’ve changed it to “One moment at a time and enjoy the moment.”

And, there is my secret. If I think about what has changed for me to increase my morale, these are the things that I think have changed. I really do believe these are the things that have increased my own personal morale. I’m filling my bucket and it is working. I have connected with some of the most amazing people, people whom in the past I have walked by and barely noticed. These people are now reaching out to me for connection. Reaching out to me to introduce me to someone else they know. And, then another introduction to a person they know. It’s that three degrees of separation thing and I’m finding it really does work and the world really is a small, small place.

Through the last week, I have proven if  you increase morale by 1%, productivity increases by 18%. Small increases in morale really make the world of difference.  This is true with teams and this is true with us as individuals. The sky really is the limit, we just have to be motivated to reach for the sky. To be motivated to reach, we have to have morale. With morale, we, all of us, are unstoppable.

I think changes in life, especially the big changes, cause us all to slow down and do some reflection. Maybe we can take note of our own morale and all that comes with our morale without having to go through major changes. What do you need to do today to increase your own personal morale?

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