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.

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).

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?

How Do You Want to Feel in Your Career?

Desires Create Life

You deserve happiness. You deserve to get excited about your career.

But most people are unhappy in their current career, and over 80% of people are currently looking for a new job.

I was unhappy for 6 years at one job. I just stopped trying after the first year. I would go into different co-workers offices and just chat for 30 minutes at a time. I didn’t see the point to working hard. Other people would literally take naps at their desk. It was such a toxic environment.

Instead of looking at what would make me happy, I compared my situation to the people that I was surrounded by.

BIG mistake!

I stopped looking at how I wanted to feel at the end of the day and work toward those feelings. I stopped trying to make myself feel energized and took the easy way out.

So, how do you currently feel when you are working?

  • Tired
  • Bored
  • Relaxed
  • Challenged
  • Excited

If the first feeling or memory that pops in your mind when you answer that question is negative, then your career isn’t adding to your happiness.

Your passion for your work dictates your success.

If all you are doing is working for money, then your actions will reflect your results.

Money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s only a tool.

Once you choose work by how you feel and not for just for the external reward, then you will develop a career that takes you to great places physically and emotionally.

Now of course, we must connect to the external world in some way. We can’t work in a bubble.

You can’t expect to be able to write a novel, then have a publisher waltz into your house, print it out, read it, love it, and publish it to global honors.

As we talked about earlier, there is work involved.

That’s where focus and strengths come in. You focus on what will get you the best results and do work that delivers great results.

We’ll talk about focus and strengths another time because passion is the spark that starts it all.

How do you want to feel while you work? Write down how you want to feel (happy, proud, excited, challenged, joyful, etc.).  Think of your top 5.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Your desires create your life.

When you have a better understanding of how you want to feel while you work, then you can begin to deconstruct your desires and create a career plan to get there.

This is where knowing yourself is so important. The best place to start is looking at how you want to feel as you do your work and how you want to feel at the end of each day.

Here are some examples with concrete emotions of how you might want to feel:

  • I want to get excited about the people I work with.
  • I want to feel energized by the people I’m able to help.
  • I want to be curious about my challenges instead of feeling tired by them.

See how this works?  These are positive emotions:

  • Excited
  • Energized
  • Challenged

Now that you know how you want to feel, you can take the next step and deconstruct how you are able to make these feelings a reality in your career.

Visualizing what actions will help you feel happier. For example if writing makes you feel energized then how do you think you could incorporate more writing into your career?

Could you write your company’s newsletter? Could you create your own project that would help the company and create a role that requires you to write more? Could you create a side project to help you connect with other writers?

Which one excites you the most?

When you know how you want to feel then you can look at what actions make you feel this way. Then it’s developing a plan that you can act on to make these feelings occur on a daily basis.

Share in the comment section what feelings do you want to experience more at work. What actions cause these feelings?

Do You Have Career Superpowers?


Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto

How do you think you would feel about your career if you believed you have superpowers that others need?

It’s an inspirational way to look at your career passions, focus and strengths.

As a kid who grew up with a German father and Icelandic mother, I had both practicality and whimsy infused into my DNA.

I love percentages. It’s why I’m so good at making decisions based off of numbers. (German side)

I also love the idea of having superpowers. Stuff that I do that others wish they could do. (Icelandic side)

You probably know how much I talk about unlocking your superpowers. In fact, I have an e-course dedicated to it.

When I first started my career coaching practice, I focused on strengths (practical), but left out the whimsical side. I also kept falling into the trap of leaving out the emotional side (passion). But I kept coming back to the idea of superpowers. It’s just a much more fun way to look at our skill set. It’s more whimsical and empowering.

When I first started coaching people, I was afraid to mention the word “superpowers” thinking that they would laugh at me. When I did, I would say something like, “What is your strongest superpower, AKA strength.”

I realize now that it diluted the impact of what I was trying to accomplish with my clients.

When I finally owned up to using the word “superpowers”, everything clicked. I got better results for my clients and I had a lot more fun coaching them.

Your Career Superpowers

Many of you asked how I came up with the idea of a superpower. I would explain that too many people focus on strengths at work and forget about passion and focus.

Because my parents recently just came for a visit, I see a little more clearly who I used to be and who I am today. As I sipped on a cup of coffee with my dad, I saw myself in him, and I realized something very important.

Superpowers are passed on from generation to generation. It’s how we leverage our superpowers that makes us different from our parents.

When I talk to a client that takes their past into account as they make career decisions I found they made better decisions. They try to remember why they’ve been successful in some situations and not others and how to set themselves up for better success for the upcoming project.

It’s this balanced approach that also helps them follow through with their idea. Follow through comes from understanding your superpowers and your weaknesses, so you can work with people that complement you instead of those that replicate your superpowers.

Unlock Your Superpowers

To be able to find people who complement your superpowers, you need to have a fundamental understanding of what your superpowers are. Once you know what skills you are passionate about, get in the zone with (focus), and that come easy to you (strengths), then you can add people to your team (network) who can help you and those that need your help as well.

I wrote the Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto to help you dive deeper into the idea of career superpowers, so you can connect with people that complement you instead of weaken you.

Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto Cover

You can learn more and download the Unlock Your Superpowers manifesto right here.

I hope it provides inspiration to follow your superpowers in your career choices. The world needs people with your passion, focus and strengths to make this world a better place, so go grab your favorite drink and take an hour to read the book. You should find something to help you illuminate your next career decision.

If you know someone that could use a career boost, please send them the manifesto, or even better, send them a link to download the book. Thanks!

* Want to win a career strategy session with me. Just leave a comment below, letting me know you downloaded the ebook and what your greatest career superpower is. Looking forward to reading them.

5 Ways to Bring Yourself More Career Success and Happiness

micro improvement

* Quick update! The Unlock Your Superpowers manifesto is so close to being finished. Stay tuned for when it goes live and a Facebook Q&A date.

Last week I had a conversation with my friend Matt. We were chatting while our kids played together and we sipped on some Earl Grey tea.

He joked about how he wished that all he had to do was play music and not have to worry about booking his gigs, marketing, finances, etc.

Have you ever said something similar?

Matt’s a popular local musician in San Antonio. He put in a lot of hard work to get to where he is now.

He laughed. I smiled and took a sip of my tea.

Those words have been bouncing around my head every since they flowed from his lips.

Everything he does from booking gigs to marketing all support his ability to do what he is passionate about.

I recently said something similar. Just recently I was frustrated because I was passed up for a speaking gig. In that moment I wished my great life to be something different. I wished my book was a best seller. I would have gotten that speaking gig I said to myself.

The words flowed out of my mouth. I couldn’t stop them. I paused and smiled at this thought.

I know it’s a good book, filled with great information, but nowhere near a best seller.

I have learned to smile when I’m getting down on my life. It’s how I cope with difficult situations.

Let’s Break It Down

As a parent of a 4-year-old, I realize that we like to try to take 4 steps all at once. Instead of getting us to our destination more quickly, it can cause us to fall on our faces. We may have had far better results just enjoying the walk.

You’ve probably heard the phrase:

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

I know I’ve been so focused on a goal before that I forgot about the journey. Have you also forgotten to enjoy the moment you are in for its inherent worth?

There’s so much we miss when we don’t enjoy the journey, because that is the stuff of life. It’s kind of like you can’t laugh at a joke before you hear the whole thing otherwise the punch line doesn’t make sense.

This Is Where the Secret Lies

Maria Forleo was on Oprah’s Sunday show talking with two other panelists about life lessons, seeking and spirituality.

When she said:

“Bring passion to everything you do.”

A little light went off in my head. Then she said.

“Passion is like a muscle that we can build through use.”

Then the light went full bright. Yes! I knew what she meant.

I’ve talked about this before here and here and in my manifesto on Unlocking Your Superpowers that I’m completing in the next few weeks. In there is another quote:

When you do work you love, you do amazing work.

When you do work you hate, you do crappy work.

That’s why it all starts with passion, then the focus and strengths come into play to turn an action into a superpower.

How do you go about bringing passion to everything you do? First you must start with the basics. Let’s look at a 5 step process that I use with my coaching clients.

1. Become a Watcher of Your Thoughts

The words you choose before you start on a task will determine your mindset. If you say I “need” to wash the dishes, you’ll most likely go into the task dreading every moment. When you say, I “want” to wash the dishes, there is a positive choice you are making before you do the task.

You can check out a short interview I did with Jason Fischer, about mastering your internal dialog over at Domino Connection, my close your connection gaps blog. You might want to have a notebook handy because he digs into some great ideas.

2. Give Your Full Attention to the Situation

If this was your last day on earth, what would you do?

Think about this question for a few seconds. What really matters to you?

If you’re like me, you might notice that your sip of coffee tastes a little better. You might imagine what it would be like to never have another sip of coffee again.

When you give your full attention to the moment, you don’t let worrying thoughts bother you. How could you? Right?

3. Feel Gratitude

When you feel gratitude, your passion will kick in. When you really appreciate what you already have, it helps you find the right perspective. Instead of worrying about needing an extra hour of sleep, you think I’m up and awake so that I can enjoy this day for all it is ready to give me.

Try keeping a gratitude journal and work on making this a part of your daily life. You can learn more about creating your own gratitude journal here. The key will be to be consistent with keeping your journal so it becomes a habit.

4. Listen to Your Emotions, then Let Them Go

Your emotions should help guide your decision-making processes. Successful people always feel first, then make a decision after they’ve had a time to process their emotions and rationally weigh out their options.

This process will allow you to make decisions based on happiness as well as logic.

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s also essential to let your emotional attachment to the outcome go so you can enjoy the present moment.

5. Develop Career Building Habits

You probably used to practice every day. Whether it was soccer, piano, or homework, .you worked on improving yourself. This habit is ingrained in you and can easily be re-energized if given a little motivation.

One idea is to try creating a 30-Day Challenge for yourself. Ask yourself, “What part of your career could use a little help?”

For example, do you need to grow your network? If so, what could you do every single day to find more people you can help as well as lean on them when you need help?

I’m working on bringing you action oriented courses like a 30 Day Connection Guide and course and Unlock Your Superpowers course to help people grow their network. Would this interest you? If so, please fill out this survey link and let me know a little more about what you want help with so I can create something that can really help you grow your career.

Putting It Together

Your career is dependent on micro-improvements. When you try taking small steps every day, you can turn your career into something that makes you happier and helps more people.

Try applying one of these ideas to your career and let me know what happens after one week. If you like the results, I suggest turning it into a 30-Day Challenge in order to make it into a habit.

What has helped you bring more or the most success and happiness to your career?

* I can’t wait to share the Unlock Your Superpowers manifesto with you. I think you are going to love it. Stay tuned. :)

Why Do Projects Take So Long?

Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto Cover

Have you ever wondered why projects take so long to complete?

This thought has been on my mind for a few weeks now because I’m working on a manifesto for How to Unlock Your Superpowers. When I first started it, I thought it would take a few weeks. Now that I look back on my naiveté, I have to laugh.

I’ve been at the ebook and project creation game long enough to know better, but I guess I still have to fool myself. Because if I knew up front how long it would actually take to create the concept, write it, edit it, lay it out, design it, launch it, and follow up with people who like it, I would never even start it.

You have probably had projects that seemed to take forever, or even worse, ones that were never finished.

This got me thinking about what it takes to work on a project from start to finish. Why are some people so good at finishing, while others don’t follow all the way through?

What I realized is that the only way this manifesto is even close to finishing is due to my finding people who have superpowers that I don’t have. I’m not a good editor, so I sought one out. I’m not a good designer, so I sought one out for that part of the project too.

A Superhero Team

I realized that I’m not a superhero taking this book from start to finish all on my own. I’ve been putting my team of superheroes together so that the end product benefits from the combination of our superpowers.

I’ve written about this before, but never really showed people step-by-step how they can create their own superhero team. So, that’s what I’m going to do with my next post.

I’m going to walk you step-by-step through how to find the right people to create your own team, how to grow your network, and how to boost your career to the next level.

Before I do that, I would like to ask you to think about the following question:

What have you struggled with as you try to build a strong superhero team (network) around you?

And if you’re willing to share, please do and I will do my best to address it in future postings. More to come soon, so stay tuned!

Karl

Unlocking Your Superpowers to Advance Your Career

smiling-at-work-2Have you ever felt stuck in your career?

I was recently talking with a client and she told me, “There is just no room for improvement in my present career.” She felt handcuffed by her situation.

I asked her, “So there isn’t a creative way you could improve your situation?”

She paused. “Ah, um, well…” She trailed off. “I could do a better job of playing politics,” she said unconvincingly.

“Is that what you want to do?” I asked.

“Um, no,” she said.

“Ok, so you have one option. What other options do you have?”
[Read more...]

Jenny Blake of Life After College Interview

One of my favorite things about having a blog is being able to reach out to amazing people who have different points of views. Jenny Blake is an amazing story and you’ll learn a lot from this interview.

The video didn’t turn out very well. I’m still working on my video recording skills. The content is great and I think it makes up for the out of sync lips.

Here are a few key tips that you’ll take away after you watch the video:

  1. Why great loss can be the best time to start fresh.
  2. How to let go of your fear and reach out to people who can help you.
  3. How to find clarity within your goals.

[Read more...]

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