#WFH: Do Things Happen That Are Out of Your Control?

You are a bit more sensitive both to external and internal influences. This vulnerability is influenced both by the potential impact of an event or situation and the adaptive capacity of the person. If the technology goes down, what do you do? Do you go to a coffee bar, the library or your neighbor’s house? Do you borrow a computer from the kids, go to the local high school or call a friend? Or do you just say, “I can’t or won’t adapt. This is an outside influence and there is nothing I can do to change the situation.” In the digital workplace, you are free to handle things or not. It is your choice to take the initiative and try to rectify the situation, make adjustments and realign priorities. You can choose to be relaxed and more productive, or tense and less productive. You create the atmosphere you could not create in the company cubicle farm. You can’t blame things on anyone or anything else. Do things happen in digital workplaces that are out of your control? Of course they do. It is not what happens that is important, but it is your ability to respond, not react, and your actions that will influence the positive or negative outcome. So, be in charge of your actions, make the best of each situation and change your thinking to what supports your success.

Your success is influenced by more than just your conscious intentions; it also is profoundly influenced from the subconscious mind. For the purposes of this book, I will put everything below the surface of consciousness into a category called “subconscious” and not distinguish between the personal subconscious, the collective subconscious and the unconscious mind. If something is not part of conscious thought, then I consider it subconscious and below the surface of consciousness.

Let’s go back to the physical office for a second. When you were in a traditional work environment, were there company logos on all the floors, in the lobby and on the doors? On the notebooks, windows and murals? On the company letterhead or the digital template? What is a company logo anyway? It is a symbol and symbols have a very strong influence on the subconscious mind. When you see the Nike swoosh logo, what do you think of? If you answered, “Just do it” and Nike, you are absolutely right. But don’t stop there. There is a lot more meaning attached to that little figure than just a few words. Once you are aware of this meaning, it is always in your subconscious even if you simply say it means Nike. Otherwise, why would we pay so much money to wear Nike shoes? Or why would there be million-dollar lawsuits over the ©? Why do people protest and riot over the peace sign? It is just three little lines in a circle. Why would you want to go to jail over that?

It is much easier to be limited by boundaries when they are already set in your conscious and subconscious. The environment you are in molds and shapes you; it conditions your reactions. Boundaries provide unwritten expectations for behaviors. Walls, roles, functions and the environment set the physical boundaries. In the mail room, they sort the mail, and in the conference room, we conference. There are lines drawn both consciously and unconsciously about what you can do in each room. There are logos on the wall and pictures on the boss’s desk. When you are in the boss’s office you act, communicate and confirm that you are interacting with the boss. The virtual world’s boundaries and symbols can act as border restrictions and limits; some of these are already set for you because you physically are where you are.

In the traditional environment, connection boundaries were set by whom you worked with and where you worked. A little personal communication was probably acceptable but too many personal calls were considered behavior that was not on task. You knew these boundaries and you adhered to them. The expectations were clearly defined, either in a spoken or written policy, or implied by the unspoken word. Time and space were also well defined in the traditional work environment. You worked 9-to-5 or 12-to-7. You went to work and when you clocked out, you were no longer expected to be on “company time.” You didn’t bring your parents, your children or your dogs into the office. Why not? You didn’t do it because it was company space.

If you are going to be efficient, you must stay on task. Being on task and reaching a standard of high performance means you have to concentrate or focus on what it is that you want to accomplish. Functioning with The Pajama Effect means blurring these lines, limits and boundaries. It means the company no longer sets up the boundaries, or at least not all of them. You do. It means a blending and blurring of expectations, emotions and behaviors. All of these have to be managed and executed in a way that ultimately leads to your success. You must conscientiously decide to take proactive measures to keep yourself organized and focused, but also sane in the ever-challenging virtual office. The blending of your private world with the demands of the virtual workplace requires you to take responsibility and care.

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