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.

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.

4 Steps to Conquer Self-Sabotage

The habit of self-sabotage is both the cause and effect of low self-esteem. Not believing in your abilities, strengths, and talents can make you question your every move. Whenever you have fears of not being good enough, it plants thoughts of self-doubt and inadequacy, leaving you depleted of energy and robbing you of your momentum.

As a master of self-sabotage myself, I found that the only way to stop sabotaging my life was to simply stop listening to my inner critic who was always so harshly judgmental. Editor’s note: I like to call the inner critic. My inner arch nemesis.

With conscious effort you can achieve what I did, as I describe below. I learned to silence my inner critic, and let myself be and do what I knew all along I was capable of doing, but too afraid to do. [Read more...]

Day 30 of 30 Meditation Challenge – Micro Progress

meditation

Have you ever seen fast forward video footage of a plant coming out of the ground?

It’s simply beautiful.

You see these small delicate green stems pushing up out of the ground and you can almost hear them struggle then sigh as they come into their own.

I’m 37 years old and yet I still feel like I’m in these earlier stages of growth.

Catalyst

Meditation has been my fast forward button that I just wasn’t ready to push in the past.

Now the button has been pushed.

I’m enjoying the benefit of my struggles to get where I am today.

My career has had many ups and downs. I believe that much of my earlier stress in my career and poor choices caused my cancer.

I’m currently the healthiest I’ve ever been. Happier, more energy and my relationships have become stronger with more diverse people in my life. I feel lucky.

After meditating for 30 days I’ve realized how hard I’ve been on myself, how I couldn’t let go of pain and enjoy the present moment.

Your Career

Look at your life and try to remember a difficult moment that occurred in the past few weeks. Was it a difficult moment with a co-worker? Was it fear of a new project? Was it back pain from sitting too long?

Whatever caused your pain, only you can let go of it and put your focus on what truly matters.

At the top my “to do” list for the past few weeks has been the phrase:

“Most important first!”

I thought of this while I was meditating. I realized that I just didn’t make the simple choice of doing the most important thing first.

So I stopped.

If I choose to procrastinate by reading an article on my favorite sports team I owned up to it. I gave myself permission to enjoy it then move on to doing the most important first.

What a difference this has made.

Because I’m taking the time to sit down, let me thoughts go and focus on my breath I’m developing more awareness when I make choices.

This is a gift that meditation allowed me to open up to. I’m not allowing my thoughts to dictate how I feel and what choices I make. I believe that my feelings can be let go.

I feel them for what they are and now I’m learning to let them go.

Small Steps

I tried meditating in the past, but never to this level of consistent success.

There is just something special about trying a 30 day challenge that will change you forever, even in just the most subtle and silent way that makes it all worth it.

And if the 30 Day Challenge doesn’t work as you thought it would then you can just try something else.

Look at your career and think about what could use a little more leverage. Is it your emotional state? Is it your relationships? Is it your income?

Then think of one simple thing you could do every day to help this part of your career. I guarantee you’ll love the results.

30-day-challenge-image-250

Your Turn

Did you try a 30 Day Meditation Challenge for yourself? Has it helped you personally or professionally?

Would you like to try a 30 Day Meditation Challenge next month?

Would you be interested in me putting a small course around creating your own 30 day challenge to improve your career and life?

Would you prefer a meditation challenge course or an overview of how to put a 30 day challenge together.

I know a lot of questions. I know. The more feedback I get the better.

* I’m working on a much overdue redesign for Work Happy Now. What would you like for me to add or eliminate to make it easier to navigate and read the articles?

Day 19 of 30 Meditation Challenge – Slow Rocking Meditation

meditation

Are you wondering what meditation has to do with an enjoyable career?

Good question!

Most career depressions are due to a lack of perspective.

We find ways to hate our jobs because we have annoying co-workers or a boss that doesn’t listen to us. These are only trigger points that show us hidden feelings inside of us. The mirror of difficult co-workers.

Meditation is a chance to watch where these self-destructive thoughts are coming from a meet them before they take over. I like to think of this as meeting your arch nemesis at the pass.

30-day-challenge-image-250

The Shift is Happening

I meditated for 9 minutes on Thursday I noticed a very subtle shift in my challenge. I wanted to make my meditation break a little less stressful. I

By taking 1 minute off my meditation actually helped a lot. I felt less pressure and more joy.

I also rocked to my heartbeat.

It was a unique experience.

As my heart thumped I noticed that I was leaning ever so slightly forward. It was something I never experienced or noticed before. I was rocking to my heartbeat.

Taking the time to just sit and breathe is definitely more interesting than I thought it would be.

Tipping Point

As I’ve been adding meditation to my daily routine I notice a positive side effect of my challenge. My thoughts are a little easier to follow and less strong.

It’s a little easier to catch my anger before it takes over, slow my thoughts down and decide if I want to escalate my anger or not.

Yes, there are times I’ve actually escalated my anger. My son and I were out on a walk recently and he told me he peed his underwear. At first my anger took over than I caught myself. We’ve been working on this for the past 5 months. At first my reaction was it wasn’t a big deal. Then I knew that I needed to express my anger in a level-headed way so my son understood the importance of listening to his body and asking to go pee even when we are on a walk.

I was able to ride my anger at 10% capacity to get my point across in a very relaxed and stern way. It was an interesting experience that I hope to repeat very soon.

I got my point across, but was able to move on quickly and enjoy him and not hold on to my anger. This was all due to my meditation practice.

B. M. C.

Before meditation challenge began I understood the importance of following my thoughts, but never really understand on a physical level. Now I feel like this daily practice has allowed me to understand all the Buddhist books I’ve read over the years.

Your Turn

Should your company give employees time to meditate. What do you think? Would this help them become happier, more productive and compassionate?

Learn more about how meditation can improve your career:

Day 9 of 30 – Meditation Challenge

meditation

Have you ever heard that the more you resist something the more you need it?

I’ve been meditating 10 minutes a day for the past 9 days and it’s been a struggle.

I find myself getting lost in thoughts

or

stretching my neck

or
[Read more...]

New 30 Day Challenge! Meditation

meditation

I recently owned up to a mistake I made on this blog. I apologized for my actions. You can read about it here.

As my mistake soaked in I realize how far I have yet to go to fully open up to who I am.

So…

I’m starting another 30 Day Challenge!

My last 30 day challenge I created the “realign my joy with my subconscious” challenge to help me understand and appreciate my everyday challenges that I go through.

30-day-challenge-image-250

I’m starting a 30 Day Meditation Challenge.

I want to meditate every single day in October for at least 10 minutes. I’ve done research and most of the experts agree that 20 minutes is optimal.

This seems like a bit of a stretch for me. I practice Yoga, but 20 minutes while sitting still on a cushion is more than I can handle.

10 minutes a day seems doable and won’t stress me out.

The first step is picking a time that I will meditate every day. I have to find a time that fits my schedule. Make sure that I won’t have any clients to deal with, no webinars, etc.

The next step is set my alarm to go off every day at this time.

Then all that is next is taking the time to meditate.

I’m curious to how this will affect my productivity. Will it bring it down or will it increase it?

I’ll document all this on the blog, the Work Happy Now Facebook page and my @kstaib Twitter account.

I would really like for you to join in with me.

Do you think you could take 10 minutes out of every day to meditate and let us know how it makes you feel?

The more people we can get to do this challenge the better results we’ll see because we can keep each other accountable.

Mistakes Do Happen and How to Deal with Them

Delete "MISTAKE"

I make mistakes.

You make mistakes.

We can’t avoid them.

But we can be open to them, learn from them and use them to create deeper connections.

My Mistake

I recently made a big mistake. I tried to be something I wasn’t. I wanted to let people know that if they weren’t engaged with my content then they should unsubscribe from my email list.

My email list costs me money, not a lot, but enough to consider reducing the cost. I thought if I could eliminate the people who didn’t want to hear from me any longer that I could reduce my monthly email cost.

I sent out an email to people on my list who haven’t opened my email in over 6 months asking them to either open the email or never hear from me again.

I’m not proud of this.

After many emails from fans of Work Happy Now came in explaining why they weren’t engaged recently or that they had been opening my emails, I realized I made a mistake. Gmail doesn’t consider email opened until you click on the download link. People were opening up my mail, but just not clicking the download link, which is common. I do the same thing.

There are probably other email providers that have the same system.

Most replyers were kind, telling me that they wanted to continue to receive my emails. This made me feel worse.

I wasn’t expecting this type of response. I thought if they hadn’t opened an email in over 6 months that they probably wouldn’t open this email up.

They were still listening.

Then I realized something.

Work Happy Now isn’t about money, it’s about building connections and helping each other.

Understanding

I strayed from my purpose with this blog.

To be helpful and affect as many lives as I can.

I apologize.

It won’t happen again. I can’t promise that, but I’ll do my best to reduce these type of mistakes.

Thank you for being so kind to my inappropriate email.

I truly appreciate all your support.

Teachable

We all make mistakes, but it’s understanding why and using them to help us grow.

Next time you make a mistake think about why it occurred. Were you not listening to what you truly wanted to convey?

If so it’s important to wait and think is this what I want to do or should I say this differently.

Your Turn

What mistake have you made recently that you learned from?

* Courtesy of TerranceDC

Day 30 of Joy Realignment Challenge – Leaning Forward

jogger-street

Have you ever sat on a bench and watched people jog by?

You can spot the people who have an easy time jogging. They have good form. They don’t seem to be struggling.

They get it.

The technique doesn’t seem to be that difficult. Lean slightly forward, land on the balls of your feet, have a steady rhythm and pace.
[Read more...]

Day 21 of Realigning My Joy with My Subconscious Challenge – Turning a Corner

30-day-challenge-image-250In the previous update I talked about my struggles with my subconscious joy realignment challenge. How I’m trying to figure out how to find easier ways to enjoy my daily struggles.

At first I felt like I was floating on big fluffy clouds after Day 7 from just a simple mantra each morning and afternoon. It seemed too good to be true.

I guess it was.

Reality has crashed on top of me.

I seem to have lost with how to proceed.

I feel like I’ve gone backwards. I’m trying too hard instead of just watching and learning as I do this exercise.

I woke up this morning with a stiff neck. This 30 day challenge was supposed to improve how I dealt with my stress not make it worse.

[Read more...]

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