A Simple Guide to Career Happiness – Genius Methods

Edison Light Bulb

Most people don’t believe they have true freedom in their career. They scoff at the idea because they are afraid of the power that they possess within themselves.

I believe everyone has great powers. Superpowers not to just help others, but ones that make us happier.

80% of people are currently looking to change their career because they don’t care about their work or feel like they aren’t making a difference.

When you believe in a mission greater than yourself, you’ll push yourself to grow, improve, and make a difference. This stems from the internal belief that you can change lives.

A superpower is sparked by your passions. You then create leverage in your career with your strengths. You then apply your focus to get closer to your reaching your goals. It’s this formula that has allowed myself and people who work with me to do more of the work that makes them happier while getting great results.

Thomas Edison is a great example of this.

I could use your help. I’m working on a title and subtitle of my new step-by-step guide to help you, just click here to tell me which one you prefer.

Passion

Thomas Edison obtained1,093 patents, a single-person record that still stands to this day. And these patents didn’t happen in 1,093 days. They were spread over his entire career, so this was a daily exercise in passion.

Once a reporter asked Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” and Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

He believed he was on to something great he couldn’t stop. He saw the possibility. He once said, “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

He saw his ideas helping millions of people live better lives, and it motivated him to try over 1000 times until he succeeded. His vision trumped his fear of failure. He didn’t know that his light bulb would succeed. He just so desperately wanted it to that he just kept trying small ideas until he saw progress.

Passion has to be nurtured. Edison was pulled out of school after only 3 months (his only formal education) because his mother was saddened that they couldn’t see his potential. They stifled it. So instead, his mother allowed him to follow his curiosity through his experiments.

Many times people won’t want you to follow your curiosity and vision for your ideas, but it’s up to you to pull yourself away from these people. You can only follow your passions if you don’t hold yourself back or let anyone else hold you back from seeing what you can accomplish.

Need help unlocking your career passions? Check out the Unlock Your Passions ecourse I put together to learn more about infusing your passions into your career.

Strengths

Strengths are tricky because sometimes we don’t know our strengths until we practice them awhile. When we practice things we are skilled in, they can turn into a talent. If we practice enough times, we get stronger and more fluid in how we execute our actions.

Thomas didn’t believe his success came from his genius. He believed it came from practice or perseverance.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison

Edison failed at perfecting the light bulb over 1,000 times. Each time he looked at what didn’t quite work. He gained knowledge from the supposed failure, then went back to fixing the problem from a place of strength.

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” – Thomas Edison

It’s hard persevering through career challenges, but if you can view the challenge as a learning experience, you’ll find yourself able to try just one more time. You have another chance at refining your skills and turning them into a real strength.

How did Edison find this positive outlook through each failure?

He relied on memories of past success, his mother’s support, and his curiosity to find the right solution.

Instead of focusing on what you might perceive as a failure, try focusing on what you learned from the experience. From a money-losing project to an idea that no one believes in, give yourself some time to breathe and try again from a place of strength.

Next time you hit the wall of failure, ask yourself what your greatest supporter (could be your best friend, mom, even your dog if he could talk) would say to you. Let this be the voice of reason to help relax your inner arch nemesis and do great work.

Focus

Thomas Edison was mostly deaf due to unknown reasons, but there is one thing we do know. He liked not being able to hear very well. He could concentrate on his experiments without distraction.

He knew he was easily distracted. It’s why he struggled in school. He needed to focus his attention on work he cared about without interruptions.

Edison once said “The first requisite for success is to develop the ability to focus and apply your mental and physical energies to the problem at hand – without growing weary. Because such thinking is often difficult, there seems to be no limit to which some people will go to avoid the effort and labor that is associated with it….”

Look at where you lose focus on projects. What keeps you from finding a unique solution?

You need to eliminate any distractions to allow yourself to get in the zone. The next step is to have the willpower to put your focus back on your work when you have a failed attempt (i.e. a step on the way to success).

Your focus is actually like a muscle. The more you use it the better you get at it. This is where your inner arch nemesis is so important to listen to, but not dictate your actions.

Give yourself a chance to process the failed attempt, but then get back to it and try the 101st step and see what happens.

* You can pre-order the soon to be released guide here.

Remember: Failure Is Inevitable

Many of Edison’s ideas never took off. He tried creating a practical family home out of cement molds, which was never accepted. He tried to create a practical way to mine iron ore to help meet the demand Pennsylvania steel companies needed for the metal.

When that didn’t work out either, he gave up and moved on to more practical projects. You will have failures too. The key is know when to give up and put your focus back on projects that will help you grow your happiness and your career.

More Important Than Failure

Edison knew his ideas could help people live better lives. From the light-bulb to his attempt to make cheaper and sturdier houses. He stuck with an idea he cared about from beginning to end.

He let go of various ideas like cement molds and electrographic vote recorder, but persevered on his motion picture Kinetoscope and iron ore separator.

Letting go of ideas that aren’t working well and following through on the good ideas is part of Edison’s genius. He couldn’t have perfected the light bulb on his 738th or 978th try. He kept going because he knew he was on to something great.

What small action can you take today to help someone to grow your career?

Let’s Review

Edison believed that his hard work is what helped him accomplish all his amazing inventions. He did this through his superpowers (passion, strengths, focus). He believed that his curiosity was more important than worrying about failure. He believed that having time to focus and let go of negative thoughts kept him moving forward on projects that never went quite right until that last try. He believed that his strengths grew stronger the more he tried.

He believed…

He believed in himself, and although he probably didn’t call them “superpowers“, he had utilized his Passion, Focus, and Strengths

Do you believe you have any superpowers? (Powers to help others)

If not, why not?

Are you using these talents in your career?

Career happiness shouldn’t be for only 20% of the population. Career happiness can come in many packages. You can find it in the strangest places. Over my conversations with hundreds of people who’ve found their passion, I’ve found the happiest people have one thing in common. They take daily actions to make a difference in people’s lives.

They aren’t always in a blissful state, but their purpose keeps them moving forward, chipping away at their goals. It’s this passion that drives them to seek out creative solutions.

Your Turn

You have great gifts too! What are they?

And what is one failure that you worked through and came out on top?

The Biggest Mistake People Make When Trying to Improve Their Focus

Your Focus

* No laughing at my rudimentary drawings. I wanted to create a visual drawing for you of work that gets me “in the zone”.

Last week I was working my butt off for a client deadline. I was in the zone. Time didn’t exist and I was killing it. After I was done I lifted my head, looked around, and basked in the glow of doing great work.

I stood up, stretched, and a little dance just popped into my legs.

You ever have moments like this?

They don’t happen often enough for me. They don’t happen often enough for anyone.

This experience hardly ever happened until I began to apply a few techniques that have made a huge improvement to my ability to focus and accomplish great work.

I’m a thought chaser, easily distracted.

It’s like watching my dog watch squirrels she can’t catch, just enjoying seeing them run around in the yard.

Many times I have a thought or idea I act on it, which means I pull myself away from work that I need to stay focused on.

Thought Chaser

I’m a fairly productive guy. I write two blog posts a week. One here and one on Domino Connection, my customer connection site. I also do career coaching calls, interviews, social media, speaking events, and website Connection reviews. I have a 5 year old son, wonderful marriage, exercise and many little tasks like grilling chicken and making amazing green beans for dinner.

I’m no slouch.

I am however a thought chaser, which means I struggle to harness my focus at times.

This can be a good thing for your creativity, but many times it holds you back from getting in the zone and accomplishing great work. It means stress kicks in at the end of the day because you didn’t get what you needed to get done.

I used to work at night all the time to catch back up on work. There are times I work at night, but now it’s because I have a creative itch that I need to scratch, not because I didn’t do all my work.

As I’ve been dealing with my attention issues I began to notice certain patterns.

Squirrel Brain

Your focus is the reason you are successful. The better you get at prioritizing your days the easier it is to get your most important work done, so you have more flexibility in your day.

You are allowed to chase squirrels, but you need to know when to stop and get your focus back on track.

Sometimes it’s fun chasing thoughts around, but if we do it usually leads to getting nothing done.

Next Step

Look at where your attention is being distraction and why you think it’s happening. If you don’t have focused time to get your most important tasks accomplished you won’t get great results.

Ask yourself:

What can I do to create more focused time at work?

This question will help you identify where you are losing your focus. Once you figure out what triggers your attention to diminish you’ll find it’s much easier to get it back on track.

Unlock Your Focus

Need help harnessing your focus at work? Check out the Unlock Your Superpowers course where we help you unlock your focus as well as your passion and strengths to make reaching your career goals faster and a lot more fun.

The course will go live on Sept. 10th. There is a presale discount going on right now. Click here to see what’s in the course and how it can help improve your happiness at work. The more efficient you are able to get your work done the quicker you can move on to work that makes you happy.

The Importance of Starting Today

career superpowers

I talk a lot about focus because it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. I have ADD. It takes me awhile to get my focus going in one direction and keeping it there. When it is there, the results are fantastic. When it’s not, I’m a blubbering mess.

Finding ways to improve my focus has been a mission of mine over these last few months. It’s been the missing piece to my success.

I’ve got most of my passions figured out. And I know my strengths well.

My success has been good but not great. Over 1,000,000 views on Work Happy Now. The money I earn from coaching and consulting is good. The people that I’ve been able to help feel happier and bring more success to their careers has been an inspiration to me.

I’m inspired to do even better.

It’s been my difficulty in focusing for long periods of time that has held me back from helping more people. All my dominoes haven’t been aligned as best they can.

Now things are improving on a daily basis. I’m layering my projects so they fit into a larger picture. It’s this vision that has helped me reach new levels. Each choice is made to reach bigger goals.

It comes back to focus.

This took awhile. I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn’t put it all together. Many of you might feel this way about your career as well. You’ve done great work, but your focus is a bit off, or maybe your passions are a bit off because you’ve lost some of your motivation.

I’ve been there.

Do you know the four words I use the most often on my site?

You can probably guess.

  1. Passion
  2. Strengths
  3. Focus
  4. Happiness

I’m obsessed with these words because if you can utilize the first three, you are utilizing your superpowers and developing a happier career and life.

It’s why I created the Unlock Your Superpowers Course. Right now it’s $20 off until Sept. 10th. I know this course is not for everyone. I designed it for people who want to make a bigger impact on others and feel happier at the end of each day. If you don’t believe you have special talents (superpowers) then you probably won’t be able to utilize the course.

Ok, if you are still reading this, you probably believe in your talents and you want to take back control of your career happiness.

Welcome to our club!

My goal with this course is to help you do three things.

  1. Bring more passion to your work so you get excited about your work again.
  2. Improve your focus so you get better results.
  3. Grow your happiness so you feel less stress and improve your relationships at work.

Click here to join in on the fun and bring back the joy to your work.

Why Your Career Strengths Aren’t the Whole Picture

Understand Your Why

Your strengths are tricky.

I used to think I was a great writer, but I’m really not.

There are many better writers than me, but what helps me sell books and courses, and grow my blog is my passion for my subject, not the quality of my prose.

Art is also a passion of mine. There is something amazing about taking a blank canvas (blank page) and turning it into something that makes people feel something.

In college, I once wrote a paper breaking down a piece of art from Rembrandt.

I broke down each area of the painting. From the hand gesture of the woman laying in bed to the expression on her face. I handed in my paper and when I got it back I saw that my professor got to the second page and then marked a bold red line under the first paragraph.

He wrote, “I can no longer edit this paper. The grammar is terrible, but the thoughts are excellent.”

He gave me an A-.

He saw my vision and rewarded me appropriately.

Passion First

I believe that work happiness is one of the most important things any person can strive for in their career. I’m on a mission to help as many people as I can unlock their superpowers so they can work happier. That means conveying my ideas through writing.

I can’t let my writing skills hold me back from being great. With that being said, I truly enjoy writing and I do it to get my ideas out into the world. I’ve turned myself from a terrible writer into a good writer. It has become a strength because of the amount of hours I’ve put in. It’s easily over 10,000 hours. I now consider writing a superpower of mine because it combines passion, focus, and strength.

Work happiness is my passion and I use writing (which comes easy to me and gets me in the zone) to reach more people.

I’m never going to write the next great novel, but I am able to convey ideas that get people excited about taking action. That’s even more beautiful to me than writing the next great novel.

Check out the free ecourse to help unlock your passions, it’s the first step to unlocking your superpowers.

Superpowers

That’s why I always tell my coaching clients to start with work they are passionate about and add actions that come easy to them (strengths) as well as  actions that they get lost in and it feels like time doesn’t exist (focus) to make sure that they achieve great results.

When your motivation wanes, (and it will) it’s this larger-picture thinking that will get you back on track more than task-oriented thinking If you can focus on why you are doing the work instead of focusing on just the task, it will become easier to stay motivated.

That’s how you unlock your superpowers and take your career to a new level. The whole you instead of just your strengths.

Your Turn

Do you think about why you are doing a project to motivate yourself and help you get focused? If so, would you be willing to share your passions?

How to Befriend Your Inner Arch Nemesis

Hug your inner arch nemesis

Your inner arch nemesis (inner critic) can be very good for you or very, very bad.

In a lot of cases, it can tell you that you are an idiot for rushing into something that blew up in your face. Quick note: it’s never ok to call yourself an idiot. It’s your inner arch nemesis getting the best of you. Sometimes your arch nemesis can keep you grounded and prevent your ego from getting too big, other times he’s a jerk and needs to be ignored.

I like to think of my inner arch nemesis as a friend trying to protect me, like any good mom or dad would do for their child.

Sometimes parents go too far though. They protect you from experiences that are supposed to make you fall flat on your face so that you can learn to get back up and try again.

Finding harmony with your inner arch nemesis is like finding the perfect balance alone on a teeter-totter.  Too much weight on either side, and the seat can hit the ground. Hard.

Opening Awareness

A few months ago it felt like my inner arch nemesis was trying to claw my eyes out from the inside, obsessively worrying about a coaching client that I wasn’t getting along with at the moment. I didn’t understand why I felt this way because she was smart, worked hard on improving her career, and had seemed to enjoy our sessions.

Instead of asking her what was wrong, I let this feeling drag on because my inner critic was speculating about all the things that could be wrong with me that were affecting our work together.

Then on our next session I ignored my inner arch nemesis for a minute and came right out and asked, “I’m feeling some resistance from you. Am I reading this right?”

She meekly said, “Yes.”

So I asked “Why do you think that is?”

“Well, I’m not sure. At first I was all excited, then we did the superpowers session.”

“Ahh. I see.”

“What?”

“You’re having a tough time with the word superpowers.”

“Yes. I think you are right. I didn’t realize it. I like the concept, but having to think of myself as having superpowers is hard.”

So we talked it through and instead of using the word “superpowers”, we used the word “talents”. This made much more sense to her, and she could now process the information better and start to take action. We still talked about passion, focus, and strengths, but in terms of talents, not superpower. By bringing the issue out into the open, we were able to uncover and work through the problem.

The reason I had been afraid to say something is because I thought she would tell me she was disappointed in our work together because of something I did or didn’t do. That was my arch nemesis taking over. He was just trying to help me realize something wasn’t quite right with my client. No relationship is perfect and if I would have ignored this voice then our relationship would have continued to flounder. Communication is important to help bring clarity to the situation, making the decision making process easier. All it took was suggesting a change in my choice of words to solve the problem.

I thanked my arch nemesis for speaking up. The doubt that was there helped  us make our relationship stronger.

Over the years of working with all different kinds of people, I’ve found that it’s better to bring issues out into the open and talk about them. Sometimes it happens that people are just not a good fit for my style, and that’s ok with me. Whatever the underlying issue is, I’ve found that it’s better to talk about it than to ignore an awkward or uncomfortable situation.

Understand Your Inner Arch Nemesis

We all have an inner dialog that is trying to feed  or tear down our happiness.

How you choose to build a relationship with your inner arch nemesis determines your attitude and success.

Here is a 3 step process to help you gain insight into your inner voice that might skew toward the negative side during difficult situations.

Step 1 – Listen to your inner arch nemesis.

It’s kind of crazy how this works, so over the next few days, I want you to watch your thoughts. i.e. what do you say to yourself in different situations?

For example,if you are in a meeting and your inner dialog is saying, “Auugghh, I can’t believe I have to be here. This is such a waste of time,” then note this inner dialog.

I don’t want you to judge this dialog, just document it and watch it. I actually named my inner arch nemesis to make it the game a little more playful.

Step 2 – Watch how your inner arch nemesis makes you feel.

Remember the first post asking about how you want to feel at work? Well, your thoughts play a huge role in how you feel at work. If your inner dialog is negative, it can becomes your arch nemesis. It stops you from taking action.

So, your notes might answer questions like the following:

Where were you when you noticed your inner arch nemesis’ voice?

ex. I was in the weekly review meeting.

What did my inner arch nemesis say?

ex. My stomach hurts. My boss is such a dork. I wish it was lunch time. Oh, my, God! I can’t take this for one more minute!

How did this inner dialog make you feel?

ex. I felt angry and frustrated, and the more I thought these thoughts, the angrier and more frustrated I felt.

Step 3 – Plant seeds to improve your relationship with your inner arch nemesis.

Here is where it can get fun. You can start to rewire how you think about and deal with difficult situations. Try imagining you have a good friend or parent with you who wants to keep you safe and support you, then ask yourself the following:

What could I do differently next time?

ex. Next time I’m in a meeting like that, I could take a big breath and relax, or I could offer up a solution to make the meeting run smoother, or maybe find a positive thought like Mary tries so hard to make this place better, next time she offers up a suggestion I’m going to support her.

Putting It All Together

Do you want to create a happier life and career?

Watching, learning, and adjusting how you view a situation will go a long way toward improving your career. You are planting the seeds for a more positive mindset. We all have difficult situations and people to deal with — the key is to be open to finding solutions that can help us and the company instead of letting our inner arch nemesis hold us back.

I know many of you will read this and will want to try the exercise of watching your inner critic and then thinking about what you could do differently. This is exciting.

I also understand that some of you just aren’t ready to take on your inner arch nemesis, maybe because it’s been a strong part of your life for so long and you can’t imagine having a good relationship with your inner arch nemesis, but I would encourage you to give it a shot.

Are you ready to take the next step and befriend your inner arch nemesis?,

If you gained any insights, please share below. I would love to hear what you will try to do differently this week and next.

Understanding Your Work Rhythms

Sandra Day O'Connor Quote

It’s funny how moving to a different climate will change your mental rhythms. I grew up and lived in Pennsylvania until my mid 20’s. Summer was a time of exploration, adventure, and hanging out.

I’ve now lived in Texas for over 10 years and slowly my mental rhythms have changed. It’s too hot to go outside for extended periods of time if you value your sanity. I get out in the morning for a bike ride or hike, I’ll go shopping in the middle of the day, and I’ll hang out with friends at dusk and into the night but for the most part summer is more an inside existence, especially from 10am to 6pm unless you are able to access a pool.

I can’t help, but become more contemplative living through Texas summers, which plays into my personality. I like going internal.

This used to happen to me in the Pennsylvania winters, it’s too cold to go outside for extended periods of time. But the winter weather in Texas, for the most part, is just too pretty for any extended contemplation, hiking is perfect and winter BBQing is amazing.

As we’re hitting the heat of the summer I realize that I’m learning to understand and care about the things that make me happy. I don’t want to go out on a Friday night anymore just because I can. I want to spend time writing this email on July 4th while most people aren’t working. I want to help more people reach their goals. I care about delivering more value in easier ways to consume.

What experiences do you choose differently than you did 10 years ago? (Ex. Do you choose to watch more movies at home instead of going out to the movies?)

Happiness is ever fluctuating. You can’t say yes, this one thing will always make me happy. Your body, thoughts, and happiness change through time.

So that leads me to learning more about you and your goals. I decided to create a survey that helped me dig into what makes you happy, what you were looking for from me and from your career because what we do with our superpowers matters.

I’ve been coming back to this quote from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on one of my blog posts:

“The secret to a happy life is work worth doing.”

I love this quote because it emphasis doing work that is greater than our own lives. I’m on a mission to help you improve your career so you’re happier and doing great work that truly matters.

I put this survey together, so I can do a better job of helping you feel happier and do great work. Just click the link below and give me 5 minutes of your time. I would very much appreciate it.

Click here to fill out the survey.

What is your greatest career goal? Could it be more fun? Could it be bigger? Could it make you feel like you can’t give up until you reach it?

How to Develop a Career Plan that Excites You

Passionate Career

Thoughtful action to enhance your superpowers keeps your career moving upward. If you stop developing your superpowers, your career can flat line. Dead. Just roll over and give up. Unless…you can see the larger picture of how each action you take can grow your career.

Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

When you keep adding skills to your superpowers, positive thought habits to your mindset, and smart people to your network, you can create a career that excites and delights you.

The challenge is developing a focused plan that helps you have fun and also create more leverage in your career.

So, what does that mean?

Would you mind giving me five minutes of your time? I put together a quick survey to learn more about you and how I can help you grow your career. Click here to fill it out. Thank you in advance.

Every Action Matters

Every action I take within my career, I try to think of it as a resume builder. I either say yes because it just seems fun and I’ll figure out how to make it fit my resume or I say no because it seems boring.

This is the gauge that I use to make many of my decisions. If it seems challenging and piques my curiosity, I go for it.

I was recently asked to speak at a conference. It took me away from my normal routine and it would hold me back from completing a very important project, but I said yes because it felt like a lot of fun.

Next time you are asked to work on a project, just ask yourself,

“Will this be fun?’

If it’s a yes, then try to think about how it fits into your career, and especially notice whether it adds to your superpowers.

A Question of Passion

If the task or project you’re contemplating doesn’t seem the least bit fun, it’s going to be hard for you to get great results. Passion is important. You have to have motivation and hopefully a sense of playfulness when you do a project or task. It’s this playfulness that will make it feel easy to take action.

Ask yourself:

“How can I make this project interesting?”

If you can’t make the project interesting then it’s time to find help. If you can make it interesting then you are playing into your passions.

You know how important your passions are to your career. They can help guide your career in the direction that will make you happier. Ignoring these feelings typically does much more harm than good.

When a job stops being fun, then it’s usually time for a change. It could entail changing your objectives at work or changing your career altogether. Something has to change if you believe happiness is important to your career and life.

Create an Actionable Plan Around Your Passions

Look at what you are most curious about in your career. If you are a nurse, it might be improving patients’ happiness, or if you are teacher, it might be figuring out how to teach something like Newton’s laws of physics and actually make it interesting.

The example below was altered from a previous coaching client that implemented a similar strategy in a different field. I asked if I could use her as an example. She said yes, as long as I changed the example to a different line of work, so not to give one of her secret weapons to one of her competitors. I agreed, so here it is.

Ok, let’s begin. If you are a teacher in any sense of the word, look at where you want your students or colleagues to be after some time together. Create a goal around this idea.

Your Goal:

____________________________________

ex. I want my students to be more engaged with the material I teach.

What can I do to make my teaching material more fun and therefore this goal easier to attain?

____________________________________

ex. I can offer them two projects to choose from and put it to a vote. Whichever the majority of the class chooses “wins” and I’ll ask them to help the others with buy in and delivery as well.

What are the main tasks I need to accomplish to make this happen?

1.

2.

ex. I need to:

  1. Find two interesting ways for the students to learn the information.
  2. Create a voting system for the students.

Once we pick a project, what are the main tasks we need to accomplish to make this happen?

  1. Explain what is expected of them and ask them to try breaking the task into actionable chunks.
  2. Discuss with class and come up with milestones and timeframe.
  3. Measure success of project by asking for student feedback.

If you can run this this project and you can say 87% of the students enjoyed the project and 92% passed the exam, you are showing results that administrators can see the value in.

Once you know what your goal is and how you will reach it, it makes actually doing the project so much easier. It feels more fun and doable.

Do you want to grow your career? Check out my superpower coaching program to help you unlock your superpowers and create a plan that makes you happy and builds your resume.

Let’s Review

In the above example, she got the feedback from the students and she could see how much they liked the project. And she used these results to see how she could improve the project and increase engagement the next time she tried a similar project.

She built a great resume. She measured what percentage of her students enjoyed the project and also what percentage learned the fundamentals of Newton’s laws.

When you add actual results to your resume, you are showing people how passionate you are about your work. Instead of just telling them how much you enjoy your job, they can see (feel) it. Only people with passion for their work take the time to measure and improve their results.

A very important point I want to make is to keep your success tracking simple. If it gets too complicated you’ll stop putting it into practice.

The more fun and actionable your projects are, the better your resume will look to people who need your skills.

What can you add?

What has helped you bring more passion to your career projects and plans?

10 Choices That Will Make Your Career More Successful

happiness quote

If only I would have…

This phrase is one of the most depressing phrases anyone can use in their career.

Depending how long you’ve been in your current career, you’ll notice the small regrets and missed opportunities adding up.

I say this because I’m living proof that it’s true. It’s usually never just one thing that I’ve passed up, it’s been the little daily choices where I’ve dropped the ball.

Here are ten choices that can prevent regret and create a better career and life.

1. Embrace challenging work.

A career without challenges is just a boring career that isn’t worth talking about. It’s a job that helps you pay the bills. You have a daily choice to seek challenging work that will grow your career superpowers or hide from it.

When you are willing to say, “Yes!” to challenging work then you are stretching yourself outside your comfort zone to a place that will open up new doors internally and externally. Internally, you’ll find that a different type of work will help you unleash your superpowers. Externally, you’ll find people seeking out your help because you aren’t afraid to tackle a new project.

You don’t need to be amazing at every new challenge. You just need to show you aren’t scared. People will be impressed by your willingness to grow.

2. Find your own definition of happiness.

Your happiness is very important to growing and enjoying your career. When you allow someone else to set the ceiling for your happiness, you’ve lost leverage and respect. To gain both back, you must look at what type of work makes you happy and make this a regular part of your day.

Even if it’s just 20 minutes, carve out time to do work that you are passionate about, work that gets you excited. Then start dedicating extra minutes to this type of work each day. When you show people the great results you are getting, I know they will want you to increase the time you spend on these type of projects.

3. Appreciate the people who’ve helped you.

Every career is built on advice, support, and love from others. You would never be where you are without these amazing people, from the co-worker that encouraged you to take the lead on a project to a boss that believed you had the potential to do even better work.

Go for a walk and think about the people who have helped you improve your career. It’s these people you should thank and make sure they know you appreciate them. This helps you because it brings more gratitude to your relationships and also reminds you that for every person who has helped you, there are people who need your help.

4. Introduce people who can help each other.

When you have a chance to introduce two people to each other so they can help each other, you are helping their careers. It’s this help that always comes back to you in some form or another.

Don’t let scarcity thinking hold you back from making these introductions. When you help other people, it will ultimately help you in today’s world that depends so much on networking.

5. Ask your co-workers how you can better help them.

A career is always a work in progress and sometimes we stall out because we burn out and/or we’ve lost interest in our work. This is natural and the ebb and flow of any good career. The best way to break out of a rut is to get feedback that challenges you to take action.

Next time a co-worker or boss asks for help, say yes and also try asking them for feedback. Show them that you are trying to improve on your results. Many people aren’t very good at giving constructive feedback, so help them along. Ask them good questions that make it easier for them. For example, “What could I have done better on project X?” or  “I felt a little awkward when I did XYZ, what do you think I could do to improve next time?”

The better the questions you ask, the easier it will be to obtain feedback that can help you improve and grow your career.

6. Share your gratitude with others.

“Thank you so much! I couldn’t have done this without you,” is one of my favorite phrases. It makes me feel like I’ve had 10 cups of coffee.

Gratitude is very important to making people feel happier. When you make people feel good, they will want to keep delivering great results for you.

Do you take the time to tell people how important they are to your projects? If not try to do this whenever you get great results from a co-worker, boss, or contractor. The key is to be authentic, so they truly feel the quality of your appreciation.

And instead of just saying thank you, insert more detail. For example, you could say “Thank you so much for all your hard work. When I saw the quality of the graphs you made, I knew that you really thought about the best way to present the information to the client.

The more detail the better. They will feel seen and appreciated.

7. Plan your projects.

You are busy. I get it. The thing is a little planning can actually save you time. You are more focused on getting the results that will help you and your company.

Look at the last project you worked on, where did things get dropped? Could this have been avoided? Probably some or even a lot of them.

Next time, try thinking about your most important goal for the project first and then work backwards. Look at how you can chunk down this big goal into little goals so the project doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Then when you have a smaller goal, you can tackle this goal before you move on to the next phase. You’ll get better results and you’ll feel less stressed.

8. Refrain from complaining.

Ahh, a complaining session can just seem to pop up spontaneously. And I admit it can feel good to complain, but what good does it do in the long run? It can really hurt your morale and that of the people around you.

Next time you happen to get caught in a spontaneous complaining meeting, try listening and asking questions. Let’s say someone complains about a co-worker. Oh, I know this doesn’t happen at your company, but bear with me.

Next time someone complains about a co-worker try this:

“Yeah, that is frustrating. What do you think they could have done differently?”

Hopefully they will feel like joining in on your little game and they say something like, “Tom could have just emailed us an agenda before we sat in the meeting for two hours talking in circles.” Then you say something like, “That’s a great idea. “How do you think we could get him to do that next time?”

Now if they just throw their arms in the air and decide to give up, you probably aren’t going to be able to help them. At least they felt heard. If they come up with a good idea, you can help them implement it.

Great questions help dig to the root of the problem. Once you understand the problem, it’s time for a little change in behavior to see if you can get the problem solved.

9. Trust others to do their job well.

As a manager of people, I know how hard it is not to micro-manage people. You have a vision in your head and want it executed well. But if we don’t allow other people to unlock their own superpowers, then they won’t feel fulfilled by the work they do, and this will cause them to lose interest in their work. And we all know that’s a bad thing.

You need engaged people who want great results. The best way to do this is to trust that they want to do great work. If they continually fall short of your expectations, then you should either coach and train them to meet your expectations, look for a different position that actually fits their talents, or let  them go so they can find a better fit for their superpowers

Making your expectations clear is the most important part of this process. When people know what is expected of them, they can do their best to meet or even exceed those expectations.

10. Make time for projects you care about.

You can’t always do work you love, but you can find time each day to do work that you are passionate about. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, it’s important to help keep that fire burning inside of you.

Set time aside to do the type of projects that energize you. Look at what projects you are currently working on and whether they excite you at all. If not, what projects have you done in the past that got your juices going?

Can you create a similar project that excites you and find time every day to move this project forward? If you need approval from your boss, then put a compelling plan together that they can’t say no to. If they say no, then try a different angle. If they keep saying no, then it might be time to find another job that is willing to appreciate your desire to do great work on what you’re passionate about.

Your Turn

What career choices have you made that were difficult at the time, but helped you grow your career?

The Purpose Behind Your Actions

Girl with puppy quote

Ask anyone that loves what they do why they enjoy their work.

Their answer will probably help you understand your own why. You’ll probably learn that they do their work because of a deeper purpose.

They enjoy the impact that they make on the world.

“The secret to a happy life is work worth doing.” – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

So, why do you choose to do the work that you do each day?

Do you care about the results that you create in your career?

Do you care about the people you help?

Do you care about the people you work with?

Notice what word keeps popping up?

Care.

Most people are motivated by something they care about.

In contrast, when you stop caring you’ve lost your motivation to make a difference. You’ve lost the “why” in your work.

I’ve talked to countless clients that lost their passion for their career. They are tired all the time and feel stuck.

One client used to love her job so much that she stuck around just because of the memories. She realized this when we went through her core values and ranked them in order of importance. She saw she wasn’t living any of her top 8 core values at her job. She used to live many of her career value in the beginning of her career at her company, but that dwindled away over the past few years. When she came to this realization, she drafted her resignation letter that night.  She waited to submit it for 48 hours, and by then she already had a nest egg and a plan. She prepared to walk away from her job of X years.

She couldn’t stay any longer because she couldn’t answer her “why”. She enjoyed the money, but she wanted to believe in her work again. So she decided to cut the cord with her present job so she could do work that helped her connect back to her purpose.

Most people don’t need to quit their job (and I actually don’t often recommend it). Many times you can bring the passion back by focusing on how you want to feel at work.  Once you do that, the next step is answering the question:

Why do you do what you do?

Getting back to why you do the work that you do will help you bring back the passion.

Your energy will ebb and flow with each project. It’s important to take breaks to recharge your battery. Once your recharged then it’s just a matter of connecting with your why and getting your focus back on track. We’ll talk a little more about how to do this in lesson #4.

This is actually a great exercise to do at the beginning of each year or beginning of every major project to help you bring energy to your actions.

It’s also a great exercise to help bring back energy into your career so you can begin adding skills. It’s these skills that will help you create more leverage in your present job or help you find a better career.

So, why do you do what you do?  Please feel free to share your answer in the Comment section below.

* You found this supplemental material from the Unlock Your Career Passions e-course. If you want access to the full course, go sign-up for updates and join our community and grow your career happiness.

The Hidden Cost of Depression

Tired at Work

Feeling depressed at work sucks. I’ve been there. I was unmotivated and lacked any inspiration at many of my jobs.

In fact, I got so low that I wrote a book called 92 Things to Do Besides Commit Suicide.

I never published it, but it was a great exercise in creativity.

You may suffer from depression or you might know a co-worker who is depressed. You can tell if they are depressed by noticing if they’ve had any major mood swings, lethargic attitude, or seem disengaged from their work.

Because you spend so much time with them each week, it’s your co-workers who are going to notice if you or another co-worker is depressed .

I read about a study that came out in 2010 called Despite Treatment Depressed Workers Have Decreased Productivity, and I found this quote in it:

“They estimate annual short-term disability costs at about $1,000 per worker with depression and $1,700 per worker with severe depression – much higher than for common diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.”

Given that the CDC estimates the incidence of depression as 1 in 10, and that the US Census estimates there are about 315 million Americans of whom 75% are over the age of 18, that means around 235 million adults could be or are depressed.  Granted, maybe 25% of them are actually retired (the statistics on this are harder to find).  That still means that 175 MILLION working people have annual short-term disability costs of $1,000 to $1,700 per year.

That’s a lot of moola.

You might be thinking, “Why should I care?”

I think you should care, not just for the financial cost to your company’s bottom line and the country’s GDP, but for the health of your co-worker, and especially for your own health.

How does a co-worker’s depression affect you personally?  It’s like this. When a fellow co-worker is happy, you are more likely to be happy.  According to Karen Kaplin of the LA Times:

“Knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy yourself.”

- excerpt from Your whole world smiles with you

The reverse is also true – being around someone who is depressed can bring you down as well. You’ve seen it happen. You are having a good day, then an energy sucker drops by and just saps you of all your positive energy.

It’s tough working with someone who is depressed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Talk with these people and see if you can help them or get them to seek professional help themselves. Talk to their managers about finding ways to help them (or yourself if it’s you that is depressed). By getting this problem out into the open, you will be helping them, helping the company, and helping yourself.

Have you ever dealt with a co-worker with depression?  How did it affect their productivity at work and your relationship with them, and how did you try to handle it?

Or have you ever had trouble with depression yourself?  How did it affect your work, and how did you deal with it?

If you are willing to enter a comment, please feel free to use a pseudonym and a discrete email address to protect your anonymity.

Thank you for sharing.

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