The Importance of Starting Today

career superpowers

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

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

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

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

I’m inspired to do even better.

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

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

It comes back to focus.

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

I’ve been there.

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

You can probably guess.

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

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

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

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

Welcome to our club!

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

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

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

How to Start a 2 Minute Meditation Practice That You Won’t Quit

2 Minute Meditation

As soon as I hopped on a coaching call last week, I heard a sigh. Jamie was stressed out.

“How was your week Jamie?” I asked her.

Another sigh.

“It was rough. My boss dumped all this extra work on my plate and I can’t do it all.”

“Are you feeling stressed.”

“Oh, boy, do I! I just can’t seem to stop thinking about work.”

“I know the feeling. Why do you think it’s so hard to let go?”

“I know, it’s just…” she trails off.

“It’s just what?”

“I’m not sure. I just don’t know the answer.”

How you feel at work affects your performance, relationships, and your happiness.

Jamie was obviously stressed, so we needed to start at the beginning of how she could deal with her stress. First we had to focus on her and get her back to a calm state before she can even tackle the work overload.

So I asked her “What do you think about starting an easy mediation practice?”

“I can’t meditate!” She said.

“Can you breathe?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Can you sit on a chair or cushion?”

“Sure.”

“Then you can meditate.”

She chuckled.

I may have sounded blunt or facetious, but she knew I was serious. Meditation helps ease stress, improve focus, and best of all increase happiness. I knew that if she could just meditate for two minutes a day for 30 days, she would be hooked.

I walked her through the steps to start meditating. Here are the basics for you to start your own meditation practice as well.

Step 1: Pick a time of day where you can set aside 2 minutes to just be by yourself in a quiet place.

If you live in a noisy house, then you might want to invest in a sound machine that can create white noise to help limit any distractions you may have when you meditate.

Step 2: Give yourself a very compelling reason you should start a 2 minute meditation practice.

Five popular reasons are:

  1. I want to reduce my stress.
  2. I want to be able to focus at work.
  3. I want to feel happier.
  4. I want to “enjoy the moment” more.
  5. I want to live longer.

Pick one or come up with your own reason, but you have to have a really important reason that’s close to your heart so you actually do the next step.

Step 3: Schedule this meditation time on your calendar for the next 30 days.

I meditate at the end of each day, usually after I put my son to bed and before my quality time with my wife. So it’s flexible, but always done. I started with 2 minutes because it felt easy. It got me started and  I loved it.

Now I usually meditate for 10 – 15 minutes Because 2 minutes turned into 5 and then 10. I really do love it, and I rely on it to help keep me happy.

Step 4: Meditate for 2 minutes.

This is actually the hardest part because your inner arch nemesis may hold you back at first, but don’t listen to your inner arch nemesis (internal voice) that may say you don’t have time or that meditating is silly. Say “thank you for your input, but I’m going to try meditating for just 2 minutes”.

So here’s the process:

  1. Sit down on a cushion or chair. It’s important to have a straight spine so the air moves in and out of your lungs easily.
  2. Set a timer for two minutes and hit start.
  3. Close your eyes, put a slight smile on your face to relax your facial muscles, and breathe slowly and easily.
  4. Feel your breath going in and out, and also focus your attention on it.
  5. Every time your thoughts wander to work, life or whatever, just bring your attention back to your breath.
  6. Repeat #5 again and again for the 2 minutes until your timer dings.  You will probably repeat this process 1,000 or 10,000 times for many many months, until you can keep your focus on your breath for any extended period of time. That’s ok, it’s the practice of bringing your focus back to your breath that matters.

I guarantee that at the start, you will lose focus. You may feel frustrated. You may even feel weak. That is all part of the process.

Remember to start simple. Don’t just dive in and meditate for 20 minutes, especially if you are new to meditation. Start with 2 minutes and eventually work your way up.

Step 5: Be Thankful

After your meditation is over, take a few seconds to be thankful about what went well during your 2-minute meditation.

This last step is important. Taking the time to appreciate your meditation will help reinforce this hard work so you will want to do it again tomorrow.

For example, I usually pick 3 different things to be thankful for:

  1. Thank you lungs for working well during my meditation.
  2. Thank you brain for trying your hardest to stay focused on my breath.
  3. Thank you heart for circulating my blood while I meditated.

Step 6:  Take Action

Now go look at your calendar and figure out where you can put 2 minutes of meditation into your schedule every day for 30 days and make it happen. Once you find a good time, try to be consistent with when you meditate, so it has a better chance of becoming a habit.

Even if it means that you can only meditate for one minute then at least do it for one minute. If you can make meditation a part of your daily routine your happiness will increase, your stress will lower, and work will be easier.

Step 7: Tell a Supportive Friend

When you tell someone that you are going to meditate for 2 minutes everyday you will feel responsible to actually do it. Tell them in person. Tell your social media friends. Tell your co-workers. Join a local meditation group. Tell us in the comment section.

You won’t want to let them down.

It’s just a little trick to make sure you give yourself the best chance of turning this stress relieving and happiness inducing practice into a daily routine.

Who wants to join in?

If you want support from the Work Happy Now community, then make your voice heard in the Comment section. We’ll be glad to support you and help you get your meditation practice off the ground.

If you know you want to start meditation to lower your stress, try starting with Active Relaxation. It’s more of meditation for everyday experiences.

And even if you don’t need support, please comment on how you’re doing with your new meditation practice.

Use This One Thing to Boost Your Motivation

Be playful in your work

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

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

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

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

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

More Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 1Find your motivation object.

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

It could be a…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3Bring yourself back to taking action.

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

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

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

Quick Tip

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

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

Your Turn

How do you get your motivation back on track when you

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.

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