How Can You Live with a Little More Passion?


I’m drawn to write about something very important.

A friend of mine recently died.

He wasn’t a close friend. We briefly chatted at WDS, but I knew he was powerful the moment we chatted.

He had a honest confidence that I can’t put into complete words.

We talked at WDS (World Domination Summit) in Portland a few years ago. I asked him about his site and he asked me what I did. He listened intently. After a couple minutes his group took off and I stayed with mine.

That was the extent of your exchange.

His name was Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend.

I wanted to interview him for Work Happy Now, but I never did. This I will regret. Scott seized his moments as often as he could and it’s a lesson I’ve learned from him. We have to grab every opportunity that life has to offer.

He was a passionate and purposeful person. He was a little over halfway through his around the world sabbatical when a terrible accident happened.

Loose rocks fell on him while he was hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro.

I hope he didn’t suffer.

His site has changed thousands of lives. He’s taught people to live a life of passion and purpose. To think of every choice as a chance to live a fuller life.

He’s grown his community all over the world. It’s his inspiration that has helped me understand my mission more clearly at Work Happy Now.

At first I focused on helping companies create a happier work environment, but the reality is that it’s personal for everyone. A company can’t make an employee happy. They can create a fun and inspiring work environment that encourages open feedback and ownership, but they can’t make them happy.

I want to do a better job of focusing on helping people with growing their strengths, improving their focus, and living their purpose. The first one is where most people who are unhappy should start. Growing their strengths helps you create more leverage in your career. This starts at work and at home. A side project is a great way to build strengths and confidence.

I called the strengths, focus, and purpose all together, a superpower. I’ve gotten away from this because it’s tough for people to think of themselves as super when they don’t enjoy their careers. So I’ve focused on all three individually. Lately I’ve focused the most on purpose because it’s this driving force that will encourage you to improve your focus and strengths.

You’ve probably noticed that my content has focused on helping people understand, so they can do work that they love.

I created the Happiness Map to help you understand the importance of utilizing how you feel at work and how to do more of the work you love to grow you career. This is the 3rd email people receive when they sign-up for the e-course.

Scott’s work was amazing. I love how he talked about living your legend. He knew that projects and tasks helps us add to our legend. From consistency to creativity, each person has their own purpose. Teachers who stay late to CEOs that start a happiness at work program to the solo entrepreneur.

I see Scott’s life and the risks he took. The community he built and to be honest I felt a little jealous, but over time this faded and I admired him. I admired his passion and willingness to take risks.

I know I need to take more risks. More risks with my writing. More risks with reaching out to make new friends. More risks to grow this community. More risks with partnering with people like Tim Brownson of Coach the Life Coach.

Scott’s death is a reminder to everyone. We only have this life right now. What we do with it matters. Scott lived 3 lives in the short time he was with us.

So my question to you is what could you do tomorrow to bring a little more passion to your life? Be creative and let us know in the comment section.

RIP Scott and I know you are someplace special.

Karl Staib

P.S. I don’t want you to quit your job tomorrow. I want you to build skills that will build your confidence and help you create more leverage to make the leap to the next thing that you truly want to do. Start with a small project and see where it takes you.

Why Mastery Won’t Make You Happier Unless You Implement This Habit

daily habits

There’s a myth I want to dispel right now.

People believe that if you chase mastery you will be happy. This makes me mad. They say don’t pursue your passions just focus on being really good at something. They are fools because they want to give you the magic bullet to solve your career unhappiness.

Before you yell at me and site 10 articles that say we shouldn’t pursue our passions. Like this one and this one. I know how hard it is to chase career happiness. There is no magic bullet.

Chasing mastery can only make you happy if you have a balanced approach.

This is where most people get tripped up.

They chase after what they think will make them happy without looking at other factors.

I love music, but you won’t catch me up on stage with a guitar belting out my latest song.

Appreciate Your Weaknesses

I know my limitations. Maybe a bit too well.

You must be honest with yourself. Your weaknesses matter as much as your strengths.

This is where it gets tricky for most people. They see themselves up on stage with an excited crowd cheering them on. They want this feeling. They think it will make them happy. They believe that if they try hard enough they will make it happen. They negate their strengths and try to make their dreams a reality.

That’s why I advocate to all my clients to create a plan that fits their strengths, passions, and focus. I like to call this trifecta your superpowers. It’s the last one that’s maybe the most important.

Passion focus strengths

Focus allows you to get lost in the work. You’ve heard the phrase:

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

That’s why getting lost in the work is as important as getting great results. Because the journey is where 99% of your time is spent. If you only enjoy 1% of your work then you have a terrible happiness ratio.

This is why passion is as important as strengths. If all you did was focus on your strengths and you became the best in your industry in your field, you could still feel empty.

Know Your Purpose

It’s the people that love their work and are amazing at what they do that are the happiest and get the best results.

You can be extremely happy just doing projects that make you happy, but not a lot of money. In fact you should be doing projects that are solely done to make you happy. That’s what Work Happy Now is for me. It’s my passion project.

You can make a lot of money mastering skills that others admire and pay you well for, but true happiness is mastering work that you love.

To be able to do work that makes you happy and played to your strengths and focus is a trifold effort and always a moving target.

I might master weeding my garden, but it probably won’t make make happy for very long. There is not a lot of difficulty in weeding.

New Challenges

What made you happy 10 years ago won’t make you happy today. Skills you mastered 10 years ago won’t be as enjoyable today. Your brain craves new challenges.

The best way to make mastery an important part of your happiness program is to review and adjust on a regular basis. At the end of each day I review my progress. It’s this habit that has helped me make sure I have a balanced approach to my work.

I make sure that following my passions or mastering a skill doesn’t over consume my life.

Reviewing your day is one the best habits you can implement in your career. You may want to start with a gratitude journal. It’s where I started and one of the best habits I’ve ever implemented into my life.

How you do this is important. It’s important to have a system that fits your personality.

Do you use reflection to improve your career?

I’m working on creating the Work Happy Now podcast, so you can grow your work happiness on your commute or lunch hour. I could use your input. What do you need from me to help you be a better leader at work? Just fill out this 2 minute survey and let me know how I can serve you better.

Start Something New to Level Up Your Happiness

Of all the buildings in Texas my favorite has to be the Alamo. You can feel the pain that happened there.

Even the walls look like they are crying.There is something cathartic about walking through the historic building. I can just hand over my worries to the building.

Then after you thoughts are cleansed you go outside into the courtyard. As you walk around the asphalt paths there are soda machines tucked back by the bathrooms. They make me smile.

We can’t help but infuse modern living into museums. It’s who we are.

Do you want do work you care about? You have to start by building a resume that your ideal people love. Click here to check out the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide. You’ll find out the 7 most important steps to doing work you love.

There was someone that thought this was a good idea. It was voted on and now we have soda machines to quench people’s thirst as they walk the grounds.

I’m not sure it this is good or bad, but how cool would it be if there was an area to buy a drink that mimicked the experience of what it would have been like to buy a drink over 100 years ago?

Employees that worked the 100 Year Old Bar could be dressed similarly. There could be old style music. I’m not sure what they drank back then, but they could add modern drinks and flavors like Coke, but keep everything else feeling like it would a have been ordering from a bar at that time. Yes, this would cost more, but I know it would generate more money for them. It would be a memorable experience. One I would pay for again and again.

The idea is to get visitors to talk about the story of the Alamo with my friends. The only way to do this is to do something new. Something I haven’t seen before. Something worth sharing.

Yes it might be more challenging for the organization that runs the Alamo, but it could also send thousands of more people there each month.

New challenges help us become healthier. It slows down your cognitive decline and helps you work with purpose.

I want to create a better experience for you at Work Happy Now, so I decided to do something new.

As I work to infuse more ways for you to bring more happiness to your career and life I’ve decided to create a podcast.

I want to make it special. I want to make the experience fun, learning, and authentic. Something for you to download to your phone or other device so you can listen on the way to work.

So I’m hoping to get feedback from you.

Are you a fan of podcasting?

Then fill out this short survey and let me know how I can help you infuse more passion, improve your focus, and leverage your strengths at work.

P.S. If you don’t listen to podcast or don’t like audio books then no worries. I’m going to continue to write articles to help you too. If you do like audio then fill out the short survey and let me know how I can help you better.

What’s Your Next Step?

Curious Cat

Many well-intentioned parents, grandparents, and teachers urge kids to get a job with good benefits.

I couldn’t agree more.


Except that when most people talk about “benefits,” they usually mean really, really good health insurance (with full dental!) and some sort of retirement plan that will take care of you when you’re put out to pasture.

When I was going through high school, trying to decide what I wanted to do in life, I got the impression that these specific benefits were very important. Even more important than liking the actual job I was doing to obtain said benefits.

That seemed backward to me. The idea of doing a job I hated (or only kinda liked) just for the so-called benefits made shooting myself out of a cannon into a brick wall more appealing.

Fortunately, my parents did support me as I gravitated toward a career in art that pretty much assured there would be no such benefits.

It blows my mind how many people make major life decisions based almost exclusively on this narrow view of “benefits.” They are willing to stay stuck in dead-end jobs that eat their soul just because they have a good vision plan. I think that a Cadillac health insurance program or generous vacation packages are fine factors to consider when hashing out the pros and cons of any potential job. But they should never be the only ones. And maybe not even the main ones.

The truth is that my job offers NONE of the benefits in the traditional sense. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. In fact, my job as an artist, author, and speaker, comes with TONS of benefits:

  • The work I do makes a difference.
  • I spend every day doing things I love.
  • I set my own hours.
  • I am rewarded for the results my hard work generates.
  • I don’t have to answer to clueless middle managers, corporate suits, or short-sighted shareholders.
  • I get paid to travel to cool places.
  • I have no dress code. (I literally wear jeans or sweatpants every day.)
  • I can take time off whenever I want. (Kim and I were BOTH able to take a maternity leave when our kids were born.)
  • On most days, I get to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my family.
  • My daily commute is seven seconds long.

Now these benefits don’t come without a price. (In fact, ALL benefits come with a price of some sort.) Most of mine have required many years of hard work and persistence. Then there’s the pressure of being responsible for generating income (no sales = no groceries). Also, I don’t have a pension or company-matching 401k program, but I love what I do so much that I don’t envision ever really retiring. Oh yeah, and I have to pay a few hundred bucks a month for health insurance.

Totally worth it.

So yes, you should definitely have a job with benefits.

Just make sure they’re the ones you really want.

Do here is what you can do.

Write out a list of at least ten benefits you’d like in your idea job. They could be things like a good health plan, zero commute, freedom of schedule, relaxed dress code, doing work that matters to me, lots of variety, etc. Then decide on the three most important benefits to you and circle them.

If your current job has all three, great! You’re in a good spot. If not, your next step is…to decide what your next step is. I know that sounds flip, but on the road to our dreams, we rarely know ALL the steps we’ll need to take to get there. We often don’t even know the next three. But we always know the NEXT step (and it’s usually not to just quit your job!)

Get a little curious about about what you could do to bring more benefits to your career. It’s your curiosity that will drive your next step. Maybe it’s to make a phone call. Buy a book. Attend a conference. Or design a new logo. Do that, and the next step will materialize.

What’s your next step?

Jason Kotecki is an artist, professional speaker, and author of the book “Penguins Can’t Fly +39 Other Rules That Don’t Exist,” (Amazon link) which uncovers some of the most useless so-called rules we can find ourselves living by. It explores some small but mighty actions you can take to turn your life into the fun, adventurous and exciting story you deserve. This beautiful 240-page hardcover work of art is a magical combination of Jason’s whimsical illustrations, humorous wit, and poignant anecdotes. Learn more at

9 Powerful Tips to Help You Ace Every Job Interview

Job Interview

Here’s an important point no one ever shares. You do not have to be the most qualified person applying for a job to get hired. You just have to be the person your interviewer likes for the job!

Most managers hire for personality and passion, not your skill set. A lot of skills can be learned by people who bring a positive attitude to work.

You can always become better trained on the job. It comes with experience. But no manager wants to hire a person they don’t find likable. They’re looking for someone who will be pleasant to be around and will work well with their current team as a productive member.

In the past six years, I have tripled my income by moving up and moving on to better opportunities. I’ve used these practices to ace all my job interviews, including the latest one that landed me my present, new general manager’s position.

I am happy to share my tips with you that always get me the job.

1. My best “secret” is: Pretend like your interviewer is your own real friend!

Pretend to yourself that the interviewer is a friend you’re meeting for a casual chat, like getting together over coffee or lunch.

Relax: You aren’t stiff around your friends. Hold your shoulders relaxed. Make your attitude warm and friendly. Be yourself!

Be confident: You wouldn’t be nervous and scared visiting with your own friends. You are awesome, smart, and qualified! Be confident. But not cocky. No one likes that.

When you are out with your own friends, you aren’t trying overly hard to impress them. You’re just being yourself and enjoying their company! Your interview will be more successful if your interviewer likes you than if he feels impressed by you.

You also don’t want to smell of desperation because you need the job. You don’t act like that in your friendships, right? You like your friends, you want to spend time with them. You are not desperate for those friendships. So act like you’d like to have the job, but you’ll also be fine if it doesn’t work out. You can still be glad you met the interviewer, and there are other good things that could come from your new connection with him or her.

Smile: Be warm, friendly and genuine. Smile a real smile. Like you would for a real friend. Not just when you are first introduced, but during the whole interview, at appropriate times in the conversation, not frozen throughout. Let your facial gestures naturally follow the conversation. Pleasant, serious, smiling, thoughtful. Just as if you were having a conversation with your own friend.
Repeat: That was a warm, genuine, friendly smile. NOT flirty! Never flirt in an interview! You are negotiating for your livelihood here. Don’t give anybody the impression you could possibly be anything other than a professional.

Eye contact: Don’t concentrate on the eye contact and stare too intently; that is just uncomfortable for people. Maintain the normal eye contact you would if you were sitting down with your best friend.

2. Positive Attitude

Never say anything negative about present or past employers or coworkers! You could come across as difficult or complaining. Don’t let the interviewer think you are someone who does not take responsibility for himself, but looks for someone else to pin blame for his problems.

If the real reason you left your last job was because you had an evil supervisor, or you were harassed at work, or you were passed over for a promotion you earned, don’t say so. Just say you are looking for a better opportunity to grow or to better provide for your family. Don’t try to explain anything else. It might seem like you’re making excuses.

3. Attentiveness

Don’t fidget. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and your hands loose in your lap. Sit upright in your chair. It helps if you lean slightly forward toward your interviewer, but only slightly so that he feels you are interested and alert, not like you’re trying to show off cleavage. Speaking of that:

4. Appropriate dress

Women, never dress sexy at an interview! No low cut tops, no too-short hem lengths! Keep it conservative, and keep it covered! Makeup should be kept conservative also.

All interviews are not created equal. Some companies are more conservative than others, and some jobs are more conservative than others. If your target job is artistic, creative, or tech-y, your coworkers may go to work in shorts and flip-flops. Even if that is the case, if you want to stand out at your interview, always kick it up a notch and dress better than is expected.

5. Preparation

Think ahead. Do some research about the company. Google it. Map out directions to the interview. Learn what you can so that you know about the business and its customers. How can you be an asset to the company? Make sure you have a good understanding of the business.

I checked out the website of my new employer before the interview so I was armed with pertinent information as well as suggestions for improvements that I could help implement. I also did a drive-by so I knew exactly where to go and how long it would take me to get there.

Google interview questions, and practice your answers out loud until you feel comfortable and natural. Be prepared to tell your interviewer how you can help their business succeed.

6. When asked a negative question, always spin it into a positive!

When my interviewer asked, “What do you see as your weakness?” I said, “I’m too much of a perfectionist. I expect too much of myself and always want everything I do to be perfect.” See, a positive spin. They want everything you do to be perfect. That’s how you ace interview questions!

7. What to say and what NOT to say

Don’t talk too much, and especially do not volunteer information about your personal life. Keep the conversation at a professional level.

You want them to see you as a professional, not as a husband or a mom. If you present yourself as such, they’ll imagine you allowing your wife or kids to let your work suffer.

Although my children are more important to me than my own life, I did not mention that I had a family during my interview. I didn’t want to put it on my interviewers’ minds that I could ever need to leave or miss work for their activities or illnesses.

My family is none of their business. My personal life is none of their business.

My professional life is their business.

When they ask you if you have any questions, this is your opportunity to turn the conversation to what you need to know about working there. It is NOT the time to discuss salary, unless your interviewer brings it up. That usually comes after you are offered the job.

You should, however, ask what is expected of the position. Make sure you are clear about the job responsibilities and your ability to perform them. Which brings up this point:

8. No lying about your qualifications

I’ve read lots of advice about “beefing up” your resume and “overstating your qualifications” (lying) to get a job.

Don’t do it!

You will set yourself up for failure, and you’ll probably lose the job anyway. It is not worth it. Dishonesty is never a good idea.

A supervisor who works for me recently interviewed several men for a new maintenance assistant.

One guy told him outright that he did not understand a lot of mechanical and repair work, but he would do any difficult or dirty work he was asked to do. He had good character references and a good work ethic, a likable personality, and an eagerness to work.

We appreciated his honesty. Because he was up front about his qualifications (or lack thereof!), and we liked him more than the other candidates, we hired him. We gave him our landscape guy’s job and promoted our landscape guy to maintenance. Everybody won a victory!

9. Practice for more confidence.

The more practice you have, the more comfortable you will get with the interview process. If you are someone who gets very nervous, you can practice interviewing for jobs you don’t even necessarily want, in order to prepare for the one you do. If you don’t care about the opportunity, you don’t have to feel nervous or feel rejected if you don’t get it. It’s not like you’re obligated to accept if you are offered a job, and it’ll add to your confidence if so! Interview any chance you get. You can take away something new from each experience.

You are amazing; you are smart; and you are perfect for your dream job! Go get it!

If you are in HR or a manager who interviews a lot of people then think about how you can reverse engineer these ideas. For example look at #5. Watch how well prepared they are as they answer each question. Are their answers clear and concise. Do they give details that shows their passion and creativity?

Do you have any great interview tips to share? What is your favorite advice that works?

* Deborah Shelby is a life and happiness enthusiast, voracious reader, full-time working mom of teenagers, and writer. She shares inspiration and ideas for a more positive and joyful life on her blog, Happier Better Life.

Take the Career Happiness Quiz

career test

Before we jump into the career happiness quiz there are so many different ways a career can turn from good to lousy. Some examples please!


Your boss walks up to you to find out about the status of a project. You feel rushed, embarrassed, and exhausted. Your first thought is where is the warning. Then you think, I emailed you 2 times and you never responded.


You walked into work and you notice everyone is quiet and it’s Friday. Something is going on, so you ask your co-worker. She tells you that they are calling people in to the conference room. Layoffs.


You’ve been working on a project for the past 6 months and you present the third update to your boss. He doesn’t say much. You don’t feel good about his reaction. You find out that the project is being shelved and you and the team have to switch focus. Your last six months of hard work feels worthless.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Special notice: The Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide is now available. Click here to see how the 7 step process helps my clients become happier and get better results.

I was recently working with a coaching client who works for a famous tech company. She was very good at her job. She liked her employees. She understood her “why”, but the grind was wearing her down. She didn’t feel like she was making any progress.

The most important part of your work is seeing that you are making progress on projects that you care about. If you aren’t getting the proper support to make this progress, it’s hard to stay motivated. This wonderful article from Harvard Business Review that goes a little deeper into this idea.

Now for the quiz! I intentionally made this quiz just 3 questions because when I struggled in my career and I took personality type quizzes, stress quizzes, life satisfaction quizzes, I took them all, I found them too cumbersome. I never applied them to my life. I wanted this quiz to be succinct and give you a clear idea of how happy you are and whether or not you need to make changes.

Career Happiness Quiz

When you enjoy your work, you do great work. You dig a little deeper to get the results that make you happy. Let’s get a quick idea of how happy you are in your career, grab a pen and paper and take a few moments to answer these three questions, using a scale of 1-10:

  1. How excited are you to start your work day?
  2. How much do you enjoy your work rather than just the paycheck you receive?
  3. How much are you able to live your core values at work?

If you scored a 27 or more you are already doing work that makes you happy. If you score a 23 or below you aren’t living a career that makes you happy. If you are below a 20 then you should seek out help very soon. If you are below a 17 you should seek out help as soon as possible.

Your career should support your happiness, not tear it down.

Let us know your score in the comment section. If you don’t want to share publicly, then check out this work happiness survey. No one’s personal information will be shared. Just a fun survey to learn more about your work happiness.

I would like at least 2,000 people to fill out this survey. So if you have 5 minutes I would really appreciate it. The more people that fill it out the more I can help people work happier.

1,000 Thank You’s a Day


I was on my way to the grocery store and my favorite song was on the radio. As I was backing out of the driveway, it ended. I had a rough day. My normally calm demeanor snapped. I freaked out.

I hit my steering wheel, yelled stuff I wasn’t proud of, and looked around to see if any neighbors noticed my outburst.


I was alone.

I put the car in drive and slowly rolled toward the grocery story, the anger just throbbing inside of me.

The thing was there were 1,000 things that went right that day.

  1. I had a delicious cup of coffee.
  2. My son hugged me.
  3. My wife kissed me.
  4. My heater kept me warm throughout the night.
  5. I watched a funny YouTube video.
  6. I landed a new client project.
  7. I brushed my teeth which really felt good.
  8. I walked to the bathroom without stubbing my toe.
  9. My dog was quietly lying next to me as I worked.
  10. My lungs were working well, keeping the oxygen flowing.
  11. A bird outside my window sang it’s heart out, trying to make sure I heard and enjoyed his tune.
  12. My delicious PBJ.
  13. My laptop started up without any trouble.
  14. I listened to my favorite jazz song from John Coltrane.
  15. (What would you add to the list?)

The list went on.

The thing was I stubbed my little toe on the coffee table at the end of the day, and got an email from someone confirming that they were going with a different keynote speaker at their conference. These two things caused my mood to sour and I couldn’t let them go.

When my favorite song that I really wanted to listen to ended right as I turned on my car, I snapped.

How often have a few bad things totally wrecked what could have been a great day?

A co-worker’s snide comment or your boss dumping extra work on you are kind of lousy events. Yes, unpleasant things do happen, but so many things go right throughout a day as well.

The important thing is to notice and appreciate them, and that’s where the 1,000 thank you’s a day challenge comes into play.

This idea came to me after hearing A.J. Jacobs speak at the World Domination Summit. (BTW, if you want an inspiring conference that sparks you to try something new, this is the conference for you.)

After watching his talk and listening to how he appreciated things we take for granted, like his pressing the elevator button and the elevator doors closing and the elevator rising up, I began to see how powerful this practice could be.

I like to keep things simple so I’m doing the 1,000 thank you’s a day challenge for one week. If I can say 1 thank you every 30 seconds that’s 1,440 thank you’s within 12 hours.

I can do 2 thank you’s a minute.

Even if I only reach 500, that’s a lot of thank you’s.

This is bound to change my thought habits. I’ve kept a gratitude journal the past few years, but I want to take my gratitude up a notch. The key to making a lasting change is pushing outside your comfort zone and trying to keep it there then take a break to allow this part of yourself to rest and get stronger. Just like exercising your bicep, stomach or any other muscle. If I can build a more thankful foundation in my everyday life, I know I’ll increase my happiness. And I know you can too.

Would you be interested in joining in on the fun? Can you be thankful for 100 things each day, or maybe even just 10 for one week?

Whatever number feels good to you, I say go for it.

At the end of 7 days, I’ll list 1,000 things I’m grateful for and share them with you in a blog post. If I don’t reach my goal of 1,000, I’ll add what I have and keep adding to it until I hit a 1,000.

If you want to join in with 100 thank you’s or even 10 thank you’s a day, then let’s do this for one week. Join in right now and write 5 things you are grateful for below in the comment section. Let’s make this an epic list of positivity. Oh and if you find this fun then tell a friend to stop by and leave their list of 5 things they are thankful for too.

3 Greatest Questions You Can Ask Yourself to Unlock Your Happiness

Good Questions

A young man took his artwork to the local market. He set up his booth with his paintings of a blue horse. People liked his work, but he never sold much. Each week he would go back hoping for someone to fall in love with his work.

One day one of his fellow artist friends stopped by to share a cup of coffee. They joked around and laughed.

A man came up to them and asked the artist if he could paint a yellow elephant for him. The artist laughed and said “I paint blue horses. Don’t you like them?”

“Yes, but my wife loves elephants and I thought…” said the man.

“I don’t do yellow elephants. I hate yellow,” said the artist as he brushed the man away.

So the man left.

After a few months, the young artist’s friend set up his own booth with paintings of yellow elephants. The young artist stopped by to have a cup of coffee with his friend and asked “What is this? Yellow elephants? No one will buy these ugly things.”

They laughed about it. The young artist was right. No one wanted the yellow elephants. That was until the man from a couple months ago stopped by.

“These are beautiful. How much?”

“For which one?”

“For all of them?”

Do you have stories that you tell yourself that hold you back? E.g. when someone asks you to work on a project and instead of trying to make it your own you dismiss it or don’t try your best to do a good job?

Special notice: The Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide is now available. Click here to see how my 7 step process helped my clients become happier and get better results.

Might it be possible to create a project in your career that delivers happiness for them as well as to you?

No one taught me the skills on how to build a career that would make me happy. At every step of my education I was taught to execute other people’s ideas well. A teacher would give me an assignment and I would figure out how to make them happy.

Did you have a similar upbringing?

I was told I was a terrible writer. I should put my energy into “other” things.

I believed him and many others for the longest time.

The thing was I loved to write. I love everything about the process. I never gave up on this dream and now I have a popular blog that has been read by over 1 million people. I don’t consider myself an amazing writer, not even a great one, but I’m definitely good and it helps me earn a living.

What matters is I love writing, it allows me to help people I care about, and it helps me grow my career.

My first job out of college I had a boss come in to help be the butter between the employees and the CEO. He loved me. He really wanted to help make me happy, but I didn’t know what made me happy. I coasted because it was easier than figuring out what I wanted out of my career.

I was never given tools to learn more about my own happiness in my own work.

“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.” – J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation

I had to teach myself how to develop projects that excited me from within instead of following someone else’s guidelines. This was a painful process that after many years of trial and error, I finally got down and put into a guide.

I want you to start planting your own seeds in your mind.

Good questions do just that.

One seed could start a domino effect that can change your career in just a few months. When your passions, focus, and strengths align, change can happen very fast. That one seed could help you break out of the career box you might have put yourself in from long ago.

Use these 3 quality questions to unlock your happiness:

1. What stories do I tell myself that hold me back from doing great work?
2. What is one thing I can do right now that will make me happy?
3. Who can I offer to help that helps me build a stronger friendship?

Your career happiness is dependent on you. Your boss isn’t going to discover some hidden strength that helps you grow your career. He’s worried about his own career.

To take back control of your own career, you have to be willing to try new projects that will push you outside your comfort zone just a bit. When you create projects that help you build resume layers that also add to your happiness, growing it from your core values, and the best part is you’ll find it easier to be happy and do great work

Are you ready to start planting career happiness seeds to grow your career over the next year?

How to Get Your Spark Back

Career Spark

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they stop attempting new challenges in their career. They coast and then start to hate their job.

The key to getting the spark back in your career is to look at how you view your work. I had a client who lost her spark and couldn’t find it.

She told me, “I don’t care if I get fired. No. I hope I get fired.”

I remember this conversation very vividly. I’ve been there.

I asked her, “Why don’t you quit?”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because I need to support my family.”

“So do you really want to get fired?”

“Well, no, but if I got fired I would be forced to find something better.”

“Could you do that right now?”

“Yeah, but…” she trailed off.

She was afraid of taking a big step. The big step of making a change.

We are all afraid of big steps. That’s why people who take little steps that add up to big steps are more successful. They see the first little step and take the step. They don’t see 12 little steps as one big step.

They take it one step at a time, and before they know it, they’ve gone 12 little steps and the first big step is accomplished. They can see what little step they need to take next.

They don’t see their big goal as something unattainable. They see their goal in little steps that when put together help them get close to their goal.

It’s why I tell clients to stop setting goals and create projects instead. If a project fails, they can toss it aside and create a new project. If a project succeeds, then they create the next project to help create another layer to support their greater vision.

The key is to layer each project so they build upon each other. A domino effect that adds to your career momentum and happiness.

Your work either supports or tears down your happiness. It’s up to you to take back control of your career and turn it into something that you want to share with your colleagues, friends and family.

I believe that we are all meant to do great work that helps people we care about. If we don’t do work that matters, then we stop trying to do great work. Meaning in our work matters. It’s important to find the connection that matters to you.

If you are looking to create a meaningful career that impacts people’s lives, I suggest you start with the email course that I have set-up call Unlock Your Career Passions. It’s helped thousands of people so far. You should probably join in on the career boosting fun if you haven’t already.

How to Figure Out if You Need a Career Change

* This post was first published to the Work Happy Now community via email.

Next career step

I worked in the financial industry for seven years, and I hated talking about how to increase our checking account sign-ups. It just wasn’t fun. . I knew for at least three years that I needed to get out of the industry, but never did anything about it except make it known that I wasn’t happy. I complained way too much.

I made myself miserable. I stopped trying to grow my career.

I was laid off in 2011 and the hard decision was made for me. I was forced to figure out my next move.

I recently watched an interview with Gretchen Rubin by Ramit Sethi. She talked about why she left her successful career as a lawyer. She was surrounded by peers who enjoyed talking shop with each other on the weekend. They read books about law, had casual conversations, and enjoyed the intellectual banter that came along with both.

You’ll notice that the people who enjoy talking shop at work are the ones that are in the right career. They enjoy the talk that goes into creative problem solving within their career.

Next time you are in a meeting or even grabbing a cup of coffee, watch what happens when people talk about work.

Final reminder. The Unlock Your Career Happiness guide has been released. I’ve decided to extend the bonuses for a short time. Click here to check out how it can help you break out of your rut and level up your happiness in just 30 days.

Do you join in or do you avoid the conversation?

If you notice that you avoid these conversations, then you may realize that I’m going to suggest that you change or at least tweak your career.

Of course, that is not always simple.

Ok, so I knew that I wanted to leave my job for years before I was laid off. I was moved between 3 departments in less than 2 years. The last department didn’t leverage any of my strengths. In fact it was such a bad fit that I had daily thoughts of quitting.

This same effect can happen as you get promoted. You might be promoted out of your happy state. You might be caught in mostly management meetings instead of project meetings. You might not be doing work that plays to your passions and strengths.

If you notice this trend taking place then look at which conversations at work excite you and which ones you wish you could just hide underneath your desk.

The first step is figuring out what conversations and/or meetings you want to eliminate altogether.

The next step is to create more of the conversations that excite you. Where do these conversations occur and how can you make them a larger part of your day?

Do you enjoy talking shop about your work?  Whether you do or not, please take the time to share your thoughts in the comment section.