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?

Are You Scared to Make Your Next Career Move?

is it five yet

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

“I’m not afraid! I’ll read it.”

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

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

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

Pretty simple to understand, but hard to actually do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

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.

You Have to “Own Your Desires” Before You Can be Happy

Puppy with vision

I was doing the grocery shopping for the family this past week and I overheard a beautiful older woman chatting with the woman cashier. The older woman had bought a new dress and the cashier complimented her on it. The older lady replied that the cashier would look beautiful in a similar dress, and that they even had her size – small.

To my surprise, the cashier didn’t want to hear any of it. She dismissed the whole idea and refused to take the compliment. I could see that her desire to be beautiful was strong. She briefly smiled before dismissing this lady’s compliment.

Have you ever done anything like that?

You may…

  • be in debt
  • feel overweight
  • have a big mole on your cheek
  • be bald
  • laugh at inappropriate times
  • have a stutter

and none of it really matters.

I say this because I’ve been afraid of letting the real me out. As kids we don’t care what anyone else thinks of us. What matters is to have fun.

Then we become teenagers.  We try to fit in. We want to be accepted.

What we lose is self-acceptance for who and what we are. This is one of the greatest tragedies in present day society. Yes, you need positive relationships and projects that excite you, but you will never truly be happy anywhere if you don’t own and accept your own desires.

A Story

I tested this theory out with my co-workers at my previous job. I had been afraid to relax with who I am around them. Finally I stopped worrying about whether what I thought was funny would amuse them and just blurted some jokes out.

The response was mixed. Sometimes I got a laugh and other times I was laughed at.

My joke about Shaquill O’Neil’s (former NBA player) big butt pushing everyone out of the way when he is near the basket didn’t go over that well.  I guess straight guys don’t like hearing about other dudes’ butts. :)

But it was ok. I felt better that I was just letting my true self come out rather than trying to control what people thought of me. No one can control how other people feel about us, the only thing we can do is be who we are and hope other people find a way to enjoy it.

5 Ways to Start Owning Your Desires and Enjoying Yourself

You don’t have to try hard to make your desires a reality. You just have to be willing to fail, get back up and try again.

It all starts with believing you deserve to be happy.

1. Laugh at Your Mistakes

Your mistakes can be embarrassing or a way to connect with others. I truly believe that the people who take themselves too seriously are the people who have trouble dealing with stress and finding enjoyment. They are attached to how they want people to view them.

The idea is simple, but very difficult to implement because of our ego. When we make mistakes, we usually feel the need to protect ourselves from looking stupid. We make excuses, try to hide our mistakes, and wish that the embarrassing situation never happened.

Next time you make a mistake, try laughing with yourself. Don’t point to any outside influence as a crutch. Try to enjoy the fact that you were able to make such a mistake.  It means you’re human.

I accidentally used the word crotch instead of couch in a recent email to a coworker. I noticed it immediately after I sent it, and I felt the embarrassment rising within me. Instead of letting this feeling take over, I laughed. The tension released and I made a joke to add on top of it. Something about needing to sit on a psychologist’s couch, not crotch, to get help with my dyslexia.

We both laughed about my slip up and it was easily excused.

2. Allow Your Weirdness to Shine

Most people will shun you at first for being weird, but over time the weirdness is what people learn to like about you. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m weird.

Heck, all of of us are weird. Even the normal ones are weird because they are usually normal to the point that they are so boring you wonder what their definition of fun is.

I’ll do squats in the bathroom or push-ups in the parking lot if it makes me feel good. Pretend to be a dinosaur in the grocery store. Share my fascination of praying mantises, dung beetles and sex.

I still struggle to own many of my desires, but the more I practice the better I get.

When you stop being afraid of what people think of you, that’s when you can have creative interactions that make you feel good.

Your desire to be accepted is probably very strong. I know mine is, but it’s not the acceptance from other people that you crave, but the validation from other people that you are worthy of their love.

3. Reflect on What Makes You Happy

People who worry feel sad because they stay connected to the thoughts that bring these feelings on. The people who take the time to reflect on what makes them happy are setting their mind into positive motion. They keep on connecting the dots toward a more positive outlook and become happier thought by thought.

I was a worry-o-holic. I thought that the more I worried the more I could out-think my troubles. Wow, was I wrong.

Shifting my perspective to reflect on what makes me happy is one of the most basic fundamentals to my happiness.

Focus + Positive = Happiness

But you can’t fake this. You have to truly believe your positive thoughts.

You can build slowly. For example, take the time to be grateful for 3 good things that happened at the end of each day and find one reason to appreciate the present moment.

If you practice this every single day, you will slowly shift your mind from constantly worrying to always finding the good in your day and the joy in the moment.

4. Imagine Yourself Being Loved for All Your Quirks

Michael Jackson died several years ago. That man was probably the quirkiest celebrity on earth. Also loved by millions. Michael was never happy with who he was. He went under the knife way too many times, creating an external weirdness to match his internal feelings of himself.  What if he had loved himself as he was?

Do you love yourself as you are?  If you don’t, you could.  You can see every part of you as beautiful. You just need to practice.

To start with, list the things that make you stand out. Then list why someone might like those things about you. If you can’t see why someone might think you are beautiful or smart or kind or funny, then think of talking to your best friend or even someone like the Dali Lama. Imagine you are talking to this kind and gentle soul, and ask him to help you list good qualities about your external and internal traits.

You are a beautiful person inside and out. You just need to see yourself with compassion and love. Then let these emotions out and feel them for what they are, don’t hide from them.

5. Know that Only You Can Make Yourself Happy

True love starts within you. If a person can’t love themselves and the people in their lives, how can they expect anyone else to return those feelings?

Your view of yourself will determine how you view your life. And if you cultivate a loving mind, you will have loving relationships.

That means that you can’t expect your significant other to make you happy, nor your children, your job, or your friends. You need to own your happiness and find a way to make it a reality.

I used to pray for other people’s failure at past jobs because I thought it would make me look better. What an awful way that was to live.

Now I pray for other people’s success so their desires come true. Even if I don’t like them I smile at the initial thought of wanting to see them fail and remember that the more their desires become a reality the more they learn about themselves. A much more enjoyable thought process.

Putting It All Together

The goal is to own every quirk and desire within yourself. I promise that once you get started, you will be more relaxed and able to enjoy your life.

You have the ability, and you don’t need to become vain in the process. Vanity is ego that isn’t grounded.

You can have a balanced ego that fills you with confidence. All you need to do is start practicing the ideas in this post and tweak them to fit your needs.

Happiness comes from within. Own your desire to create happiness and happiness will follow close behind.

So I suggest that the next time someone compliments you, you say thank you and take it in and enjoy it, and reflect on your desire to be smart and beautiful. And in fact, I’m wondering if there are ways to enjoy your ability to connect with your positive desires.

Do you want a raise? Do you want to add a new friend? Do you want work that creates a bigger impact in other people’s lives?

How could you let your desires create more happiness?

* Need help unlocking your desires to bring more career happiness into your life? Then let’s set up a time for a discovery chat.

Questions

* The Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto is being released very soon. If you want a sneak peek at the first section, please fill out this 5 min survey.

Great questions are so much better than great answers because they help us dig within to find out what we truly want to happen.

When you ask yourself a tough question and take the time to answer it, you learn how you got to that answer and why it matters.

For example, if someone hands you a great solution to your problem, you’ll have a harder time implementing it and getting great results because you won’t understand the “why’s” until after you are done working through the solution.

Simple Questions

Sometimes just asking a question to a friend or expert can help us understand more about ourselves. Their answer can help us create a more fulfilling journey.

One of the most profound questions is a very simple one.

Why am I choosing to do this task or project?

When you understand your “why”, it’s easier to connect to your work, and when frustrations or obstacles get you down, you can remind yourself of your “why”.

I do this through my writing. I ask myself tough questions that I would like an answer to, then craft my answer in a blog post. It’s how Work Happy Now got started.

Earlier in my life, I was mostly unhappy with brief periods of happiness. I struggled through depression, bad jobs, and bad relationships.

Through great questions, I began to uncover what made me happy. As I became happier, I wanted others to become happier too. I’m far from perfect, but I’ve learned a lot since launching Work Happy Now back in 2008. And I want to share that learning and knowledge with you.

Live Q&A

I’m creating a live Q&A on Facebook on Thursday, April 24th at 9pm ET (6pm PT) where I can answer any questions on this post about how to Unlock Your Career Superpowers. I also hope to create a live webinar soon.

During the FB Q&A, you might ask me:

  • How come my boss doesn’t appreciate my superpowers?
  • How do I use more of my superpowers at work?
  • I just lost my passion completely and have no idea on how to get it back. Help?
  • Why do you use the word superpower instead of strengths?
  • How come I have 6 toes and can I turn this into a superpower?

I’ve helped thousands of people unlock their superpower and I would like to help you too!

Oh, and when you join in, you’ll have a chance to win a free “Unlock Your Superpowers” coaching session. You’ll also find out when the manifesto is going live.

Sound like fun?

Good. Then let’s unlock your superpowers together. Join us on the Work Happy Now Facebook page this Thursday night at 9pm EST (6pm PST).

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. :)

How to Complete Your Projects

Know Your Own Superpowers

One of my weaknesses is putting the finishing touches on a project. I can develop, design, write and create, but can’t put the “fancy” on a project that extra touch to make it shine.

I hired an editor to help me with the Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto. It’s coming out very soon. I’m great with ideas and concepts, but not very good with finishing the product. I get bored and want to move on. So I make less money in the short run, but in the long run it’s paying off.

She helps me clean up, polish and put the bow on my projects.

Her superpowers complement mine and it’s worth every dollar.

The next step was to find a great designer. Once again I have superpowers in structure and layout, but not so much with colors and images.

I hired a local designer to help me create something beautiful. Something so special that people couldn’t help but want to share it with their friends.

This was only possible by understanding my superpowers, but also my project kryptonite.

You have superpowers that aren’t being used very well because you don’t have the right people around you. You need superheroes in your back pocket. Follow these steps to build your network so you can make growing your career easier and more fun.

I could use your help. Please fill out this 5 min survey. so I can help you become happier at work and unlock your career superpowers. If you fill out the survey, I’ll give you a sneak peak into the Unlock Your Superpowers manifesto.

 

1. Unlock Your Own Superpowers

A deep understanding of your own superpowers is a must before you begin reaching out to find other people to help you. When you understand what you do well, it makes it easier to exchange superpowers.

The key is to have a mix of passion, focus and strengths throughout your daily actions. You can read more about that here.

2. Learn Your Project Kryptonite

Every large project has certain tasks within it that weaken you. These are your project kryptonites.

You can usually spot a project kryptonite by how hard you try to avoid doing the task. For example I do not like editing. It’s hard enough to write something unique and interesting. I struggle with going back over posts and finding missing connection gaps and grammar errors.

This is where you need to leverage other people’s superpowers. You need to give these tasks to other people who enjoy the work and do a better job than you.

What tasks do you find yourself avoiding?

3. Ask people in your network for help

The key is not to directly ask them for help, unless you are really good friends. It can put both of you in an awkward position.

I suggest just asking them if they know anyone who can help you with your project, then they can volunteer themselves if they want to or offer up someone that might be able to help you.

You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by the quality of referrals that you will get from friends and family. No one wants to be the person who recommended a dud to you.

You can ask people directly or post on one of your social media accounts. I see this happen a lot in Facebook, especially for car mechanics.

4. Know the Value You Will Give in Return

If people help you with a certain part of your project, then the next part is understanding how you’ll reward them in return.

  • Do you pay them?
  • Do you thank them? (Depending on your relationship with them)
  • Do you offer to help them with a project?

There should be some kind of reciprocity that takes place.

When someone holds the door open for you, you smile and/or thank them. People want to know you appreciate their hard work.

The more time and energy they give you, the more important it is to show them your gratitude.

5. Set Up a Trial Period with Your Potential Superhero

Not everyone you think is amazing is a good complement to your skills. It’s best to test out the idea of working with them. When you ask them for help, make sure they understand that you are just working on a trial period.

I tested out a few editors before I found one that I clicked with. The other editors were very good, just not a good fit for me.

You might want to try 30 – 90 days. Whatever the trial period is, make sure you have enough data to understand if they are a good fit for you or not.

Try giving them different types of projects that challenge their superpowers in different ways. You’ll see whether they are a good fit for you or not very quickly.

Superheroes Are Everywhere

Friends, family, and co-workers can all be very helpful if you give them a chance to help you. Don’t be afraid to be clear about your expectations for a project. As long as everyone understands the goals, it makes for a much easier time working together.

Just ask for help and remember to reward them so they understand how appreciative you are. If you plan on making money from the project I would suggest paying the person. If it’s a hobby project, a small gift or heartfelt thank you can go a long way.

Your Turn

How do you find people with complementary superpowers to help you complete projects?

I could use your help. Start your own 30 Day Connection Challenge today! The resources are Please fill out this 5 min survey. so I can help you become happier at work and unlock your career superpowers. If you fill out the survey, I’ll give you a sneak peak into the Unlock Your Superpowers ebook (pages 1 – 5).

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