This is the second episode of the Marketing for Good mini-series on Erica’s new FREE ebook: Recharge: Energizing your employees one word at a time. In this episode, Erica expands on the two beliefs around professional and personal lives, and productivity that are highlighted in the Recharge ebook. She emphasizes that words matter so they matter and are full of energy. She then dives into the first of the three C’s: clearing out negative mental clutter. Erica reminds listeners to pay attention to their thoughts and harness the power of the word “and”.
Visit https://claxon-communication.com/recharge/ to download your free copy and follow along!
This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!
ants, mental clutter, employees, recharge, belief, thought, work, purpose, talk, words, productivity, employers, book, feel, antidote, humans, negative, neural pathways, APT, cultures
Erica Mills Barnhart
In the last episode, I walked through how and why I ended up writing an ebook called recharge, which is about using words to energize employees and humans, generally speaking. There’s precisely nothing new with me talking and writing about words and how to use them and to produce a given output or outcome. Anyone who’s been following this podcast or me will be like, “yep, nope, you and words? Nope, nothing new there. You’ve been at that a real long time”. The sort of newish part was, and I go into much more detail in the last episode, was the transition from the output, or the outcome of my work being exclusively or at least mainly focused on marketing. And then the transition to it, you know, kind of my realization that how I was using words, which was much more supporting and supportive of efforts to create cultures where people feel included and inspired. And is that handy for marketing? Well, yes, yes, it is. But it’s not exclusive to it. And this, you know, this focus on cultures, and specifically cultures where people feel included and inspired, you know, as an antidote to the great resignation, and the language gene and the malaise that so so many folks are feeling. And so the reason that this matters so much, is no one can do their best work when their batteries are on empty. Like, you know, if you have a phone or anything that needs to be charged, like it just can’t do its job, if they are out of batteries, so charging those puppies up can be daunting. So, this is where the insight that words matter, because they are matter, and therefore have energy that you can tap into becomes very, very, very, very handy, right? Because you end up realizing you have this almost infinite resource of energy that you can tap into, and that you’re tapping into any way, right? So we’re just sort of repurposing the focus of your words, and having them serve you in a different way. Out of all that, Recharge was born. Okay, so if you missed the last episode, maybe rewind, I know that that’s like not a thing with podcast, but you know, go back to the last episode, listen to that before listening to the rest of this because it is kind of important context and the, the bits about words being energy, or what I call the energetics of language, are important. And they’re, I don’t use this term lightly, but you know, it’s empowering. It’s empowering to know that you have right there for you anytime you want it, this resource, this resource, that is words and communication and language. So that’s super cool. All right, let’s dive into the book a little bit more. So the bulk of the book is about the three C’s, cleaning out mental clutter, especially the negative mental clutter, connecting with purpose and then creating momentum. Before we go into the three C’s, and what you’ll see in the book is I talk about two beliefs that, that I believe are getting in the way of employers doing a better job of like doing their employees a solid when it comes to charging themselves back up, especially after the last few years. So the first belief is that employees only bring their work self to work, like we have these distinct lives and selves. And the second belief is that productivity is categorically positive. So regarding that first belief, it’s, I mean, it’s sort of goofy when you think about it. And it harkens from time long, long before social media came along, and other technology and whatnot, when that line between professional and personal, was already getting blurry. And then the pandemic happens, and then let’s Zoom meetings, just you know, where there’s like kids and dogs and things falling over, and horns honking, and doors buzzing and like just so many things happening, that don’t or didn’t happen for folks who were in a physical workspace. Now, this created a lot of awkward moments, of course, but the blessing or at least a silver lining, is that it did, you know, it made just people as people a bit more obvious that this distinction that we have been working so hard to maintain, just wasn’t available to us anymore, and that in the end, that was very humanizing. Very humanizing. So, you know, some employers are like, it’s not my job to help my employees recharge, they can do that on their own time. If you take that approach, I mean, you do you but as the title of the 2021 McKinsey report says so plainly and directly if you take that approach, you’re going to watch your employees leave, right? Employees are craving purpose in their lives and therefore in their, in their workplace. I mean, 82% want to have a sense of purpose with their work. And that’s why the second C is about connecting with purpose, both personal and organizational. So, again, I acknowledge that, you know, this, this focus on or sort of prioritizing of employees and getting them to a place where they do feel inspired and included and where they can do their best work. Not all employers are gonna jump on that bandwagon. And the ones that do will reap the rewards. So, you know, there’s no downside to making people feel awesome. There just isn’t. So all things being equal, as the economists like to say, why not do it. And with Recharge, there’s no reason for leaders not to give it a go. Because the three C’s are simple, they’re practical, they’re fun, and employees can do them anytime, anywhere they want. So there’s no downside to it. The other belief that gets in the way is the idea that productivity is categorically positive. So like the first belief, this harkens back to like the industrial era, or industrial, yeah, the industrial era, things were more transactional, right? We were producing different things. So productivity, had a different role. But now we operate in what Aaron Hurst calls the purpose economy. So purpose becomes currency, it is currency. And I say in the book, and I’m going to quote it here, you know, it’s time to create company cultures that prioritize humanity over productivity. Now, am I saying to encourage employees to be categorically unproductive? No, of course, I’m suggesting that companies and their leaders take a people first approach like truly, truly not just lip service to this idea, not just words, right. And words obviously need to be backed up pervasively throughout the culture through action. But take this people first approach, so the productivity, meaning, you know, the outputs, and eventually the outcomes are done more joyfully and more sustainably. When this is sort of the vibe, all boats rise, it makes everything that you’re trying to do as an organization so much, just so much easier. And it’s not like everybody’s going to show up every day and be like, “Oh my god, I’m so excited to be here, yay!” Like, trying to be completely Pollyanna about the whole thing. But you know, you can feel it when even on a bad day, somebody shows up and they’re like, “Okay, I’m happy to be here. I feel grateful to be here. Yay.” Alright, what does productivity mean in your company culture? Have you specifically defined it? It’s very powerful. It’s very powerful to define it. Especially in the purpose economy, it’s worth taking time to unpack that, and be able to describe it for for the work you do for for your mission, vision, values and purpose as an organization. Okay, so if we let go of these two beliefs, and we embrace the idea that people are bringing their full, awesome selves to work, then we can move into the specifics of energizing said awesome humans, by using words as charging cables. I’m pretty sure I can’t say this enough. So I’m gonna say one more time. Words matter. Because they are matter. They have energy, they have physicality, every thought you have lays tracks in your brain. And those add up over time, those become neural pathways. This is why the first C is about clearing out negative mental clutter. In the book, I talked about ants, I have to say, I lived, oh my gosh, so far in my rearview mirror, I was an exchange student in Paris. Yes, it was amazing. It was also a very complicated and hard year for a variety of reasons. One of my distinct memories, for a while live with this woman. And she loved to bake, which meant there was like always sort of a like, you just walk into the kitchen and it just sort of feels sugary. Like everywhere. It never quite went away and she’s quite meticulous about cleaning. But sugar was always lingering. And so not surprisingly, at some point, we got an ant infestation, sugar ants made an appearance and you know, she waged a full on battle against these ants. It was quite something to behold. And eventually, eventually, we got rid of them. But it took a lot of effort to get rid of those ants. So now in the context of you know, recharging our batteries, and getting re-energized, I’m of course talking about automatic negative thoughts. So not sugar ants. But those thoughts that are mind, mental ants, that they’re there day in day out always with us. Now, again, since our thoughts take on physicality in the form of neural pathways, physical ants, sugar ants, and the ants in your brain actually have some similarities, right? And so in the book, I go into this a bit more about like, about how you get rid of the ants in your brain. And I offer the antidote of pairing an ant with an APT, I know APT, it’s just not, you know, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as much. But APT stands for automatic positive thoughts. Okay, so you know, there’s a lot out there that’s like if you have negative thought just turn it around and make it positive. There’s actually a lot of research to say that doesn’t work. Or it works maybe fleetingly, very momentarily, what’s far more powerful is to pair a negative thought with a positive thought. So with a positive thought. So for instance, and if you’re like, starting this work of just noticing your thoughts, but then that feels overwhelming, which it can, it’s totally can. Notice how many times you say should have, just the word should have. I should have drank more water today, you know, but I didn’t. Okay, so turn them around. I should have drank more water today and tomorrow, I will drink more water. Right? I should have lifted heavier weights during my workout today. I had this thought earlier. That can become Yeah, I could have lifted heavier weights today and tomorrow or next time, I’ll give that a go. Right? I know exactly where the weights are. I have everything I need to make that happen. Right. And so it goes, so this pairing of, you know the negative and acknowledging it being like, Yeah, that sucks. With a positive alternative, it’s the and is the power of the and with this antidote. Okay, so again, more in the book. But clearing out mental clutter is the first C, because it’s just tough to focus on anything else, I can tell you firsthand. You know, with an ant infestation going on whether or not those are sugar ants, or mental ants, you have to address them. And this isn’t, you know, this is just how we are wired as humans, our negative thoughts are trying to protect us. So, you know, we want to honor them, thank them for what they’re trying to do and just let them know. We’re okay. Right? We’re okay without the negativity in there. And in fact, once you create a little space in your mind, then you can move on to things like connecting with purpose and then once that’s in place, then you create momentum. Right? Okay, so you have the basics on beliefs that are no longer serving leaders and employers, so strong encouragement to at least be open to shifting on those and you know, the first C about current mental clutter. So after you listen to this, you might already be somebody who’s in the habit, you know, you’re already doing this, the mind work. But if this is new, just take a few hours after this and just notice your thoughts, you know, you can jot them down is really awesome getting them out of your mind and onto paper, your computer or whatever. Do that just notice, don’t need to judge them. They’re just they’re doing their job. Just notice and see what you learn. See what shape and energy the thoughts have for you. And this will give you insight into what your APTs might be and set you on a solid path to ant free existence. It probably won’t be ant free, again, we’re human, but at least it will be less ant pervasive, right? The ratio of ants to APTs will shift, so you can have that existence, which is freeing. In the next episode, we will talk about the last few C’s connecting with purpose and creating momentum. I can’t wait. I love all the three C’s. And it’s really encouraging to hear how this is landing for folks, how just these really teeny tweaks in terms of what you’re doing with words. And really the shift to like, oh my gosh, they have energy, that is a source I can tap into. You know, that’s pretty energizing. So notice your thoughts just for a bit, just start right there and when we come back together, we’ll talk about those other two things. In the meantime, please never forget this: You are amazing. Thank you for all you’re doing in the world. Do good be well and we will see you next time.