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 Stop Office Negativity

Office Conversation

What do you think would happen if everyone in your office vowed to stop spreading negativity?

Would it improve the communication in your office or maybe reduce the daily stress that you feel?

The majority of your time is spent at work.  Regardless of whether you love your job, or whether it’s only a necessity for keeping a roof over your kids’ heads, you can make it a happier and better place to be all those hours.

I used to work in a toxic office environment. Our boss was not a warm and kind sort of person. She set the tone for a hostile and negative work environment. Soon everyone was grumpy and unhappy at work. I hated to get up in the morning because I hated my job.

My coworkers were fearful of losing their incomes, yet hated coming to work. We all complained incessantly to each other, and we stopped caring about the quality of our work. I wasn’t aware of how or why it happened, only that I hated it.

Then one day a new hire came to me for paperwork. She was enthusiastic and cheerful and sweet.  I really liked her.  A couple weeks later she came to talk to me again. She closed my office door and started crying.

She came to see me because she thought I was the only nice person there, and she told me she wanted to quit because the place was so depressing and unfriendly.

Listening to her felt like a light bulb switching on. I realized that I was just as guilty in spreading negativity as the others every time I participated in talk about how awful the boss was or how grumpy or mean another coworker was.

Gossip and negativity should have no place at work. They should have no place even in our hearts. If we want happier and better lives at work or at home, we have to take charge of negativity.

1. Find an Ally

I talked to my friend and coworker Sarah across the hall. I told her about the new hire’s situation. Sarah was also depressed by the gossip and negativity that surrounded us at work. I confided to her that I had promised myself time and again I would not engage in gossip about anyone, only to be horrified at myself for joining in every time.  Sarah felt that the negative attitudes and complainers drew her in and made her as miserable as they were.

Sarah and I made a pact.  We decided to become positive forces at work.  We would NOT give in to gossip or negativity.   We made the process fun by making up code words to alert each other if we noticed either of us was “falling off the wagon.”  That encouragement and support from each other helped both of us to succeed where we used to fail.

2. Start a Movement

Sarah and I found that when we did not participate in negativity ourselves, our other coworkers were more fun and uplifting to be around because we had to find other topics to discuss than what a jerk our boss was.

Another of Sarah’s pet peeves was the lack of teamwork from certain individuals. She began to set the example herself of offering to help other people with their work.

One evening when I was leaving, I noticed a coworker still hard at it.  I really wanted to get home, but I asked her what I could do to help so she could go home sooner too.  She was very grateful, and I realized it benefited me too. It gave me an amazing feeling! Negativity produces hostility and anger, but kindness produces good will and spreads positivity.

The nicer everything got at work, the more of my own faults I began to see. Another necessary step to improving office morale was a friendlier stance with a couple of people I didn’t like.

I didn’t feel that I had to socialize with people I didn’t care for, but I found that just behaving generally more pleasant toward them actually made me feel better myself.

Try making eye contact and smiling at every person you come in contact with, whether they are coworkers, vendors or customers, even when you don’t like them. You’ll see what I mean about feeling better.

3. Work for Someone Else

If you don’t like your boss, then tell yourself you are not working for him!  Tell yourself you work hard and do a good job for God.  Or for the Universe or whatever you believe in and value.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for the experience or a building block for something greater in the future.

Remember when you interviewed for your job?  Remember how badly you hoped to get hired?  Remember to be grateful!  Lots of other people are out of work or making less money than you.  They would love to have your job.  You are lucky to have it!  Remember to count your blessings. *Editor’s note: Mindset is the most important part of building a happy and great career.

Unexpected Benefits

Being kind to everyone at work makes your own days more pleasant, but there are also other advantages.  You may be able to get recommendations from coworkers or make unexpected connections through them that can lead to better opportunities.

You don’t have to socialize or engage with them any further than that if you don’t want to.  Just smile at them as you walk by.  Make an effort to be pleasant if not friendly.  You will FEEL more pleasant and friendly just by smiling.  It can also make you a happier person!

There is a very real relationship between cultivating a positive attitude and achieving a happier and better life. Do you want to have a more uplifting, positive workplace?  Start the movement yourself. Be the office hero, and take charge of negativity.

  1. Spread a positive attitude.
  2. Care about other people!
  3. Help your coworkers.
  4. Be kind.

Just imagine if everyone just followed the last rule how much more positive our work experience would be.

Have you or someone you know spread an attitude of positivity in your workplace? Please share your story or just make a comment.

* Contributed by Deborah Shelby who writes inspiration for a happier and better life at Prayerful Mom.

** Image courtesy of @boetter

4 Steps to Conquer Self-Sabotage

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

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

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

Day 30 of 30 Meditation Challenge – Micro Progress

meditation

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

It’s simply beautiful.

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

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

Catalyst

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

Now the button has been pushed.

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

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

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

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

Your Career

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

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

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

“Most important first!”

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

So I stopped.

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

What a difference this has made.

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

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

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

Small Steps

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

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

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

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

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

30-day-challenge-image-250

Your Turn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 19 of 30 Meditation Challenge – Slow Rocking Meditation

meditation

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

Good question!

Most career depressions are due to a lack of perspective.

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

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

30-day-challenge-image-250

The Shift is Happening

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

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

I also rocked to my heartbeat.

It was a unique experience.

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

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

Tipping Point

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

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

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

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

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

B. M. C.

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

Your Turn

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

Learn more about how meditation can improve your career:

Day 7 of Realigning My Subconscious My Joy – Cloud 9

30 Day ChallengeAs you may know I’m working on a 30 day Challenge. I’m on a mission to realign my joy with my subconscious.

Now I’m a pretty happy guy. I had testicular cancer a few years ago and it gave me a new lease on life. My two year check-up this past June was clean.

Yeah!

The thing is I fell back into my old habits. I was worrying about little things that really didn’t matter.

I had a few lousy night of sleep last month. I felt out of sync. I knew I needed to do something to help improve my perspective.

I decided on a 30 day challenge because of how much my no complaining challenge improved my life.
[Read more...]

Realigning My Joy through My Subconscious – 30 Day Challenge

I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve reduced my complaining since my “No Complaining – 30 Day Challenge” and wondering what other parts of my life could use an adjustment.

The subconscious is a great place to start. There are many hidden thoughts and ideas that lay only semi-dormant unless released.

Did you know that our brain actually stores every experience? There have been experiments that prove that we can actually recall incidents from our childhood to the exact detail if we are willing to stimulate our brains with a small shock. I’ve never tried this and I don’t think I will any time soon, but it’s a very interesting concept because it means our brains are more powerful than we might realize.

In addition to recalling incidents from childhood, we can also plant ideas within our subconscious that can help us grow.
[Read more...]

How to Deal with “To Do” List Overwhelm

relaxed-at-work-feet-up-250Most of you know I was laid off from day job in 2011 and been helping small business owners develop their core values, improve their sales pages and create amazing product launches. The business has been going well, but there are struggles too. Last week my son was sick and I had to keep him home with me. Every hour of work time is precious to me, but like any family man with strong family values my son comes first.

He stayed home with me last Tuesday and Wednesday. He broke his fever on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon he was back to his happy self.

On Wednesday night I looked at my “to do” list that had piled up. I felt behind. Overwhelmed. I felt this panicky feeling bubbling up inside me. You probably know that I like to call this my “arch nemesis”. That little negative inner voice that tries to scare the heck out of me every chance he gets.

Take Back Control

Instead of letting my arch nemesis take over I looked at where this stress was coming from. I began to feel like I didn’t choose to stay at home with my son. This made me feel even worse. I was lying to myself to motivate myself to be more focused. It wasn’t working. I was freaking out. I couldn’t focus.

As you know fear isn’t a very good motivator or at least too much of it is bad. There is a difference between good stress (Eustress) and overwhelming stress (distress).

I had a little chat with my arch nemesis. We went for a short walk.

I needed to readjust my attitude. Taking 15 minutes out of my day to do this saved me from wasting hours of work worrying instead of actually getting something accomplished.

Conversation with My Arch Nemesis

Me: “It’s ok to feel behind.”

Arch nemesis: “No it’s not. You have 100 things to do to take your business to the next level.”

Me: “I agree, but who is more important my “little dude” or the work?

Arch nemesis: “I hear you, but…what about the blog post, client call and proposal that you have to do today?”

Me: “They are all at the top of my list. I’ll get it done. I have 4 hours. If you ease up on my a little bit I’ll be able to get a lot more done.”

Arch Nemesis: “Ok, what about the first draft of the landing page you have to write?”

Me: “Number 4 on my list and I’ll get it done. I can only do one thing at a time.”

Arch Nemesis: “Hmmm, what about your ebook that you wanted to outline?”

Me: “That’s going to have to wait until tomorrow.”

Arch Nemesis: “What?! But you were so looking forward to it and once it’s done you can get started on it and that’s going to really help level you up.”

Me: “I know, but we did what was right. Our little dude needed us. Right?”

My Arch Nemesis puts his head down in defeat.

Arch Nemesis: “Ok, you promise to work on it for at least an hour tomorrow?”

Me: “I promise.”

After our conversation was over I felt much better.

It’s amazing what a walk with your inner arch nemesis can do to improve your perspective.

Your Turn

What do you do to bring your “To Do” anxiety back under control?

Why 86% of People Are Looking for a New Job This Year

how-to-be-happy-at-work86% of people who have a job right now will be looking for a better job, according to Inc magazine.

Why will you be looking for a new job this year?

Because you don’t feel appreciated, that of course makes you feel unhappy.

You aren’t appreciated because you don’t have enough leverage at work. You haven’t been able to carve out a niche – a place in your company where you are the “go to” person to solve certain problems. This could be because your core values and your company’s core values aren’t in sync. This happens and figuring out how to realign your needs with your company’s will help level up your career.

Becoming a “go to” person at your company isn’t easy, but when this happens you feel needed, appreciated and useful.

That’s what a great career gives you.
[Read more...]

The Simple 5-Step Method to Having More Energy At Work

high-energy-300Some people will tell you “Just have a cup of coffee” when you are feeling tired. This may help for a short while, but the coffee only masks whatever underlying issues you may be having.

You may not feel a connection to your work like you once did. You may not be getting enough sleep. There are many reasons why you may be struggling with your energy level at work.

The key is to look for the underlying issues.

Last week 3 pm struck and I had hit a wall. I literally couldn’t even see straight.

I knew something wasn’t right. Usually I can work late into the day without feeling tired at all.

Then I realized that I hadn’t taken my short walk. I was so busy trying to get stuff accomplished that I forgot my walk.

I jumped up and went for my short walk, but it was too late. My routine was thrown out of whack and I never recovered.
[Read more...]

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