ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Workplace polarity: mastering the push & pull.
By Jill Cressy & Leslie Lyon
Tuesday, 2nd October 2007
In the workplace we need to blend our masculine and feminine qualities, whatever our current purpose - passive or assertive, leadership or partnership, buyer or seller.

Consider that you have the power to guide situations and achieve greater influence over desired outcomes. What if you learned to respond rather than react to triggers? The art of embracing every business and life circumstance with the belief that your behaviours motivate other's decisions is truly a life-altering lesson.

We all miss simple opportunities every day, to knock the socks off not only our customers, but with everyone we come in contact with. No matter what your job description is, when you learn how to cultivate the use of superior people practices in your place of business, and in your life, you'll be helping to unearth everyone's proud purpose...especially your own.

Today we'd like to talk about empowering your inner character to do just that. There is great beauty that manifests when we make decisions with strength and style, aware of the "bigger picture". Respecting the whole organizational system with which you work in gives birth to a new, hidden, inner strength.

It emerges with a passion that may have been dormant in you for years - this is the recognition that it is solely up to you to take hold of the opportunities that are in front of you - and to be and do your best, every day, starting today. It's not up to your leader to make it better and it's not the responsibility of your peers, or your loved ones, this responsibility lies squarely and surely on your very own shoulders.

Employers - You've told us you need your staff to better understand and support your business - that you'd like them to "think like a manager". You've said you need new ways to motivate your staff and inspire action and results.

You know that an Employee who shows interest in learning and supporting what makes the business tick, is an exceptional asset to the business. But are you taking the initiative in growing your talent into the performers you want them to be?
Employees - You say you wish your boss could just see things more clearly from your perspective.

You wish your efforts were recognized and that you felt more motivated and inspired to achieve. Leaders who innovate faster, offer opportunities and deliberately develop employees grow a strong, loyal team. But are you sure you are pulling your collaborative weight? Are you generously sharing your strengths and talents to help improve the status of the business in order to enjoy these rewards and recognition?

In the Spa business, we have many quick, one-time visits from customers and they are an important part of the big picture. But if we view every client as a potential life-long relationship, this brings a much greater promise of success into the picture; theirs and yours.

What we do for our clients in the treatment room is essential, but it's what we give freely to them on the human level that really makes the difference. Same goes with our co-workers - working smarter is not always about money, sometimes it's about deep caring and genuine compassion from our heart.

In yoga we talk about Yin and Yang energy, our feminine and masculine qualities. Every person requires both of these energies in the workplace. It's not about balance, it's about 'energetic play', the dance of 'pull' and 'push'--- the duality and polarity that exists in each and every one of us. There are situations in our working day that require Yin instinct while other situations call upon our Yang qualities.

Our feminine energy is the ability to be flexible, to go with the flow, to surrender to the moment, to be open and receptive to different viewpoints, and to embrace situations as they arise, to let situations unfold without attempting to control the outcome. This is our Yin essence. It brings us into the now, allowing us to connect more intimately with the moment, to caress the 'be' rather than the 'do'.

For example, when we feel anger we can embrace the emotion by allowing ourselves to feel the anger fully...in our heart, in our chest, in our back, up and down our spine, in our cell tissues, throughout every thread of our being, knowing its ok to be with this emotion, trusting that the anger is here for a purpose.

The anger can be perceived as a friend, a cooperative energy. It shows us that whatever we're responding to has meaning, and we don't necessarily have to figure out or feel out the message, we just need to be present with the anger even if it's just a few seconds.

The Yin essence is to trust the experience, to hang out in that uncomfortable place long enough to let it move around, understanding that this emotion has a right to exist, realizing it's ok to be not ok, that it's necessary to be vulnerable at times for submissiveness is part of our make up and it's here to provide support. By giving ourselves permission to feel anger throughout the entire body, we let the anger move through our system.

If we deny the anger and try to shift it before feeling it fully, then it just gets filed and shows up later as tension or illness, challenging our immune system and the organization's immune system. Accepting the anger, breathing with it, allowing it to run its course helps it do what it needs to do, and it knows exactly what its doing. Allow the beautiful red-hot anger to be felt. Let it spread through the entire body so it can dissolve and disappear.

Other circumstances in our day require Yang instinct, our masculine energy. We can't be in the now so much that we fail to think about the future. We need to stay grounded in the practical world and be able to function in a setting that has rules and policies. It is useful to crank on our Yang instinct to create specific goals, give direction, take initiative and set boundaries with clear-cut intentions.

We need to be able to write outlines, fill out forms, make decisions and find solutions, plan budgets and pay the bills. These tasks require a more aggressive 'push' energy, our masculine instinct to control. It's a penetrative energy required to break through barriers, to cut through obstacles, to take action. We can't deny the benefits of natural Yang instinct. Male or female, we all need a certain degree of push in our life.

The art and skill is to consciously change the Yin/Yang ratio. For example, the choice to speak up or shut up is a frequent workplace challenge. We need to realize when it's appropriate to share our truth and when it's appropriate to be patient and listen. When we learn the dance of 'pull' and 'push' and consciously shift our Yin and Yang, we naturally feel more vital.

It's when our Yin and Yang are out of whack that we feel on edge, off, out of sorts, confused, and frustrated. Disharmonious Yin/Yang results in misplaced anger. We think we are angry with a particular person, or frustrated by a certain situation, when we're really angry and frustrated at ourselves for not letting our Yin/Yang energy to manifest in healthy form.

It's our birthright to be vibrant. To liberate life force fully through our entire body we need to allow our feminine and masculine energy to stay active yet in the flow, the marriage of 'be' and 'do' with Yin and Yang shifting as situations, needs and desires change.

The greatest workplace challenge is when to speak up and when to stay silent. Tuning into the inner voice requires feminine Yin energy, while using the outer voice (speaking) requires Yang energy. We are able to observe rather than absorb all the toxic muck that goes down each day.

We realize our co-worker's blocks, defenses, and old tapes. We see the links and patterns in the situations that they personally attract, and the links and patterns in the situations that our organization attracts. Some of us can even sense what's going on with our colleague's chakras, aura and electromagnetic field.

And in cases where we know our co-workers well enough to understand their personal past, we see the family patterns that they re-create in the workplace. But is it our place to go there? While it's important for us to understand the core truth of the situation at hand, we don't always need to share our insight.

We can perceive the bigger picture of the immediate so called problem and make conscious choices as to what we do with this information. We are not necessarily the messengers of all the messages that we receive, particularly if the person we are reading is not open to our message.

So, it is very useful to be aware of our inner voice, yet equally important to know when to keep this to ourselves. And then there is the third variable, the ability to convey the message in a caring, constructive manner, should we decide it does need to be said.

For example, as a therapist, maybe you feel the need to make your Leader aware that you need stronger moral support and caring guidance in dealing with the stresses you endure daily. Your inner voice is telling you it's time to be accountable for your own success and happiness, it's time to speak up.

As the Leader, you are observing that your employees are losing loyalty, continually dissatisfied with their jobs, and expecting more monetary rewards than you can manage. It's time to listen to your inner voice as well. It's telling you that the time has come for you to find more constructive ways to retain staff and sustain the business.

Perhaps your inner voice is saying to you "my employees are telling me that the less time I spend with them, the more attention they need from me". It is time to act.

We have the power to hold back what we want to say, and we have the power to say what needs to said. This is the greatest workplace challenge. The 'push-pull' dance is when to speak up, when to shut up and when to buck up. If we are bluntly honest and speak intuition moment to moment, calling everyone on their stuff, then we risk losing respect from those we work with, and we risk hurting people's feelings.

In some cases there is also that risk of being fired. On the other hand, if we continue through our lives, never speaking what's on our minds and trying to deal with the hurt solely and internally, we are bound to show the scar tissue by lashing out or just falling out, neither of which is to anyone's advantage. We are not in the workplace to 'fix' our co-worker, manager or those we supervise. We're here to do a job and work together as a team.

There are effective outlets to make up for what we hold back. All the words and messages we repress can be released later in the day, later in the week, through movements that symbolically throw away frustration, anger, resentment, grief, jealousy, guilt, fear, all emotional baggage, AND through vocal fitness, specific exercises to release repressed self expression, making up for all the words and thoughts that we held back this week, this month, this year, this life - just make sure you release it somehow.

 Forgiving all the people we think we need to forgive is not enough. The body carries resentment, memories, and heavy emotions. This can challenge our immune system. We need to physically feel this internal muck, bring it to the surface through certain moves and sounds, and then throw away the toxic tension.

 By physically going through these movements and sounding exercises we learn to stop fighting stress, and instead work with it, so we can work through it and be better Leaders, co-workers, friends, lovers and humans.

Spas2b is a full-service Spa Development, Consulting and Training company based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Spas2b draws on the extensive experience of its President, Leslie Lyon. Leslie has evolved with the Health and Beauty Industry for more than 30 years and has participated in many aspects of the Spa trade. An Aesthetician and Electrologist for 25 years, today Leslie enjoys her profession as an International Consultant, Educator, Key Note Speaker, Published Columnist and Freelance Writer. Over that period of time, Leslie has gained a reputation as a creatively inspired, conscientious industry professional.
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