All About You: Make time for a ‘spring refresh’
EDITOR’S NOTE: Motivating employees to work safely is part of the safety professional’s job. But who motivates the motivator? In this monthly column, veteran safety pro and professional speaker Richard Hawk offers his entertaining brand of wisdom to inspire safety pros to perform at their best.
Spring is my favorite season. Many places around the world celebrate it as the time for new life and fresh beginnings. It can get your creative juices flowing.
Two things I do every spring are add a new habit or two to my personal routine and see what I can refresh or update in my professional life. Here’s what I’m talking about. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to make some springlike changes, too.
Add a fresh way to improve your body or mind
I just bought a basketball. Instead of running on the treadmill or jogging, I’m going to shoot a few hoops for my cardio workout each morning. It’ll be a strange change from what I’m used to, but it’s a simple way to add new experiences to my exercise program.
You can do the same thing with any routine, even a simple one like brushing your teeth. I now brush with my nondominant hand. Research has shown that this change can improve brain function. I started the switch a few years ago during my “spring refresh.” It seemed strange at first but now it’s an ingrained habit – even though I had only planned to do it for six weeks or so. Perhaps it’s time to switch back to my dominant right hand this spring!
I’ve enjoyed the process and know that it benefits me to freshen up and change my lifestyle.
Review elements of your safety program
You probably have training modules, procedures and other elements of your safety and health program that haven’t changed one iota over the years. That doesn’t mean they aren’t viable or don’t meet legal and company requirements. It just means they may be stale and could use some spicing up – even if it’s just the title and cover page. Changing the look and format will help employees notice the page more and enjoy looking at it.
As a full-time safety trainer, I taught a “Rad Worker Review” course, which was, as the title suggests, a review for experienced employees. Every spring, I’d add several activities and stories. The reviewers enjoyed the changes, and so did I – it was fun. For example, one year, I added a game at the end of the course that covered all the objectives but was “fast and furious” (winners won a prize like a yodeling pickle). It turned topics that employees struggled to pay attention to – because they already knew most of the material – into a high-energy, interactive training experience.
Do some mental ‘spring cleaning’
We all get into mental ruts. Although I don’t just do this in the spring, I find that taking longer walks and being outdoors inspires me to explore new mental adventures.
For example, last year, I started reading and listening to books about animals and how they experience the world. (Check out “An Immense World” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ed Yong. It’s fantastic.) Of course, I still read safety and health-related material, but delving into a new topic forced me to think differently.
This year, I’m reading about the human body, which is helping me with my speaking and safety career. (Bill Bryson’s “The Body: A Guide for Occupants” is my favorite so far.) One of the many benefits of putting new life into your reading or other pursuits is that having new and sometimes unusual topics in your conversational repertoire can make you more interesting to your friends and co-workers.
Even if you live in an area where spring doesn’t receive much fanfare, freshening up a few things at home and work is a pleasant task. I look forward to it every year, and I hope you will, too.
This article represents the views of the author and should not be considered a National Safety Council endorsement.
Richard Hawk helps leaders inspire employees to care more about their safety and health so “nobody gets hurt.” He also has a long history of success getting safety leaders to increase their influence and make safety fun. For more than 35 years, Richard’s safety keynotes, training sessions, books and “Safety Stuff” e-zine have made a positive difference in the safety and health field. Learn more about how Richard can improve your employees’ safety performance at makesafetyfun.com.
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