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!

#1

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.

#2

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.

#3

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

smile-bench-bird

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.

Nope.

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.

Why Is Purpose so Important to Your Happiness?

contemplating-man-on-railing-590-2

I recently read an article that said, don’t follow your passions.

What?

I almost passed out. That’s stuff from the 1950’s. Ignore how you feel and just do the work. You can just be happy after you retire.

How well has that worked for people over the last 80 years?

Just look at the people in your community who enjoy their careers. They enjoy their work because they care about the results.

How often have you tried to do something you thought would be fun, but it ended up feeling like drudgery?

I had a friend who was a really good writer. He hit some literary success, but he hated it. He did it because his father was a writer and he was encouraged to be a writer himself. He knew how to construct a good sentence, article, and book, but the passion wasn’t there.

One night he told me, “If I have to write another godforsaken article, I’m going to scream!”

How many times have you told this to yourself about an email, or an Excel spreadsheet, or taking an order from a customer, or a request from a boss?

My friend took a sabbatical from writing just to see what would happen. He paid off his debt, was recently divorced, didn’t have kids, and had saved a bit of money (this last part is most important).

An what he did was find different ways to play.

He tried woodworking, web design, travel writing, consulting, party planning, video editing, cooking, and a few other ways to “play”. He had fun with each one, but one especially called out to him.

After 3 months he went back to writing, and he hated it. So he made a difficult choice about his happiness and his career.

He decided to pursue more happiness and let the dominoes fall where they may.

The one thing that was more than fun for him during his sabbatical was web design. He had always dabbled in Photoshop and coding, but never really pursued it. So on the weekends he stopped writing, and worked on web design instead. And he put a website up and started to promote his web design services.

Check out the Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide, so you can build a career that you lights you up inside.

The Transition

He told a few friends that he was transitioning his career to something that was more exciting for him, and I helped him with his connection strategies. He built up his portfolio and began to land a client here and there. He got  a few more clients each month, and within 18 months, he transitioned his career from writing to web design. He was earning 2/3rds of the income that he had made as a writer for hire, but he was much happier.

You have every right to feel excited about the work that you do too!

But first you need to ask yourself one big question:

What could you be doing right now to feel happier in your current career?

It doesn’t have to be life-changing actions, you don’t need to take a sabbatical or quit your job, it can be very small actions that you can build upon.

Do you want to have a conversation with your boss about expectations to get you both closer to being “on the same page”?

From Goals to Projects

I like to think of any resume builder as a project. If I turn it into a goal I get all stressed out. A project is a fun experiment that I can try for a month and see how it helps my career. If it doesn’t I try a different project.

Can you create a project on the weekends that will help you add skills to your career?

It’s easier to coast along in your career and complain about how it’s not fun or what you want to be doing.  If you want your career to bring you more happiness, you have to think about it and “own” it. Yes, it does take time, but could be very attainable in as little time as the next 30 days with a special guide I’ve developed.

And I’m not talking about big strides to attaining career happiness. It’s about little steps that get you closer to happiness on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.

It starts with figuring out and then following your passions, and then mixing in your strengths and allowing yourself to let go of expectations and just get in “the zone”…that special place of focus where time doesn’t exist. This is the core process that will help you “unlock your career happiness” because it starts with your core needs.

You never know what is possible in your life until you start working on or for something you truly care about. Learn how to unlock your own career happiness with a little help from my guide coming out very soon.

At least, that is my belief. Have you seen the same opportunities happen because you’ve put focused energy into a new project that you cared about?

Do You Have a Job or a Career?

Do what you love

It’s a simple question that most of my coaching clients get as soon as I ask it.

Most of the time, they answer right away.

The subtle difference between a job and a career is that a job is something you do for the money, and a career is work you do because you care about the results.

A career helps you become a better person and help people you care about.

For most of my life, I was stuck in a job. This changed in 2011 when I was laid off.

“You can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.” – Jim Carrey

I know no career is perfect. Most careers have moments of desperation in them. Moments when you feel like throwing in the towel – usually right before you make a connection with someone who believes in you.

The difference between doing work you love and doing work that you don’t love is that work you love is helping people and/or causes that you care about.

That’s the start of it all.  Or at least it was for me when I started Work Happy Now and then my second business Domino Connections.

Your Turn

Please share…Who do you enjoy helping and why do you want to help them? (Let us know in the comment section)

If you aren’t sure who you enjoy helping then try out my free Unlock Your Passions ecourse. Check out what you get and how it can help you work happier. It will arrive in your inbox every couple days to help give you a happiness boost.

Our Choices Add Up

Each choice matters

Bad choices will be made, we can’t stop this, but it’s how we learn and improve our decision making skills that help us create a career we love and grows with us. Each choice you make either builds your happiness or subtracts from it.

Last year I had to choose between two events that I wanted to go to that I thought could help me. I chose one over the other because it was a bit easier to get to and I thought the event was a higher quality group of people. Bad choice.

Understanding what bothers you is just as important as understanding what excites you.” – Chris Guillebeau

I paid for flight, hotel, food, and I basically flushed my money down the toilet. The event was terrible. It was filled with people that weren’t my target market. I ended up just chalking it up as a loss.

Of course it wasn’t a total loss because the adventure was fun. I met a kind man in a store as I was looking for a gift for my son. He walked me around the store, helping me find the perfect gift. After I was done I told him I wanted to check out. I expected him to walk up to the register and help me cash out. He told me that he was just browsing and frequents the store for his grandson.

He just helped out of the goodness of his heart.

Your Best Guess

I made the best guess of which conference to attend with the information I had at the time. I weighed out my decision and tried my best to be smart about my choice.

We are faced with these choices in our career and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t It’s the fact of your career and life. You can’t be perfect in every choice, but you can grow with each experience.

I got an amazing story out of the experience. That in itself made the trip worth my time and money.

How About You?

What bad career choice had a silver lining for you? happiness of pursuit book giveaway* The person who leaves the best answer in the comment section will have a chance to win a hardback copy of Chris Guillebeau’s new book “The Happiness of Pursuit.” (Aff. Link) I’ll mail the book with my own money if the winner is in the USA. If you are outside the states then we’ll have to figure out plan B (either give it to the next best entry or pay for the extra shipping to your country).

Use This One Thing to Boost Your Motivation

Be playful in your work

Yesterday I was struggling to get my “happy plane” off the ground to do some writing, but I just couldn’t get my mindset into a creative mood.

I knew what I wanted to write, but the sentences were clumsy. Then I did what any smart creative person does…

I picked up one of my super rubber duckies and just looked at it and squeezed it.

I give presentations and throw these superhero duckies out into the crowd to help remind people that they have superpowers. Funny how I forget the simple reminders that I know are useful to my clients.

Toys can have a calming effect on even the grumpiest adults.

More Fun

I said to myself, “Why not have a little more fun with your work?”

Then I picked up my Spiderman golf putter that my brother gave me for Christmas, grabbed a golf ball, dropped it on my carpet, picked a little opening between the wall and the couch, and hit the ball toward the opening. Another smile came over me.

After sixteen tries, I got the ball in the opening, and I smiled for the third time.

Then a thought of what I wanted to say in my blog post popped into my head. I put my putter aside and the writing started to come a little easier.

And I remembered that being playful in my work truly does matter in order for me to be creative. Taking a break can be more productive than going through the motions, and that rubber duckies and indoor golf can actually help me regain focus, clarity and forward momentum.

Although hugs, handshakes, high fives, and other experiences that bring us in contact with other people can motivate us to maintain forward momentum, we can also choose a physical object to remind us to be playful or to refocus when we’re stuck and no one else is around. Think of it as an emotional trigger to bring a little happiness back into your workday.

Step 1Find your motivation object.

Look around your workspace and see if you notice an object that you might not have been aware of before that helps quiet your thoughts..

It could be a…

  1. Photo of a loved one
  2. Action figure
  3. Coin
  4. Stress ball
  5. Letter
  6. Golf putter
  7. Feather

The key here is to use this object to trigger the next step.

Step 2Use a phrase to help you relax and shift the focus of your thoughts.

If you noticed in the example above, I used a phrase that helps me let go of my stress and helps me focus on what I want to happen next.

I said to myself, “Why not have a little more fun with my work?”

I don’t force it, and you shouldn’t either.

And don’t just repeat your phrase once and try to get right back to work.

Use your phrase and allow yourself the time and emotional space to take a break and then start to get your mindset back on track.

Step 3Bring yourself back to taking action.

When you try to get yourself back on track, think of one thing you can do to improve your motivation, and then think of the next little step to make that a reality, so you can start taking action again, but this time in a little more focused direction.

In my case, I wanted to do some writing. So I gave myself the space to allow the creativity back into my mind by being playful.

You shouldn’t force the issue of what you want your mind and body to do next. Just plant the seed and allow yourself to relax. Then let your brain and body do what it wants to do naturally.

Quick Tip

I suggest not to make your motivation object anything like your phone because it can be more of a distraction than a object to help you get back on track. You don’t want to get lost in a game and lose our on valuable work time if you can get your motivation back on track in 10 or 20 minutes.

The same thing goes for food. You don’t probably don’t want to rely on a donut every time you need an motivation boost.

Your Turn

How do you get your motivation back on track when you

Are You Scared to Make Your Next Career Move?

is it five yet

What did that little voice inside you say as you read the headline?

“I’m not afraid! I’ll read it.”

“I’m scared, but maybe this article will help.”

“That’s the stupidest headline line I’ve ever read, but I have to read it.”

The inner dialog that goes on in our head is responsible for 80% of our happiness. If it’s positive you are usually happy. If it’s not you are usually unhappy.

Pretty simple to understand, but hard to actually do.

I like to call this little negative inner voice in my head my inner arch nemesis. We can be are our own worst enemies, or our best advocates.

I recently talked to an author who linked to me on the Forbes website. We had a nice chat and offered to do an honest review of each other’s books on Amazon. I sent her mine with the caveat that it isn’t designed that well and her reply back was…

Dude, why did you couch your book on the phone as “just something you wrote in the past but my manifesto is better”?? It’s flipping great! I mean it. I really really loved it. Review is up!!!

I didn’t mean to put down my book. It’s just that it’s not as designed as well as I would like. The content is solid, but it could use some images and better transitions.

The thing is, nothing is perfect. My career, my book, and my cooking skills could all be improved.

You see my point. We can be our own worst enemies. Sometimes it’s not even conscious. I put a lot of hard work into my book. Two editors looked threw it twice, a dozen read throughs and edits by me, hours of layout and it’s still could be improved. My book might not be perfect, but I’m proud of it. The reviews have been good and I know it has helped a lot of people.

It’s why I work with mentors, coaches, and therapists who can help me in my business and life. They’ve been invaluable to my success. It’s why I also practice active relaxation and meditation. I’m training myself to be more aware of the thoughts I choose, so I choose more encouraging thoughts that support my goals instead of feed my fears.

What do you do to let go of your fear and take a career gamble that could make you happier?

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