I Need a New Job

feeling free

How many times have you heard “I need a new job!” from a friend?

How often do they act on it?

How many times have you said this to yourself?

And how often have you acted on it?

86% of people are currently unhappy at their jobThese are stats from 2013, but from my work with clients I don’t think much has changed. That’s a staggering percentage of people who don’t enjoy their job.

It’s not easy to just jump to the next job or start a business. It can be scary. I was fortunate enough to be laid off during the past recession. I was pushed out. Forced to figure out what I wanted to do next. I was fortunate to be set-up to start my own business.

My Network

I had built up a network, tried and failed at a few ideas while at my day job, and I had a bit of small success when I was let go from my day job with Domino Connection. My User and Customer Experience (UX and CX) company. I made the decision to go for it.

All this was possible because I started Work Happy Now back in 2008. I used a lot of the knowledge that I researched and wrote about here to make myself a success.

When I look back on it. I was broken or at least my mind felt broken. I had to go to the doctors because of the mounting stress in between my shoulder blades. One day was so particularly bad that my right arm went numb. The doctor prescribed me an antidepressant. I was in bad shape.

Do you want do work you truly care about? You have to start by building a resume that draws people to you.  Click here to check out the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide. You’ll find out the 7 most important steps to doing work you love.

I was scared to quit, but my job was slowly killing me. Something had to give.

Ok, so do you enjoy going to work?

If you don’t I can probably guess the reason.

It’s usually one of three things:

  1. No purpose (aka no passion)
  2. Terrible boss
  3. Lack of progress

When it’s at least 2 of the 3 reasons people usually want to quit, but like me they are afraid and don’t want to take the risk. My boss was actually really good at my last job. He tried to get me training and help me along, but I was in the wrong department. When it’s all three most people quit.

When you don’t have purpose then you’ll get bad results.

When you have bad results then you won’t see progress.

When you don’t see progress you lose your motivation.

See where this is going?

A spiral downward.

And you can’t get off.

I’ve gone through many depressed states because of my lack of purpose at work. I woke up rolled out of bed, put on pants, and went to work without even brushing my teeth. It was so bad on some days I would completely avoid work. I pretended to work and the more I avoided work the more depressed I became.

You don’t have to hate your job like I did.

I made so many mistakes that I wish I could change.

I didn’t take advantage of free training because I just wanted to get out of there. I didn’t take advantage of growing my network through my co-workers. I didn’t challenge myself to take on new projects.

Do you feel you were meant to do something different with your life?

The next question needs some honesty.

What is holding you back?

Your education? You can improve your skills and strengths online and offline.

Your time? How much TV (movies, TV shows, YouTube, etc.) do you watch each week? Your focus is in other directions instead of doing projects that you care about. You have time you aren’t utilizing.

Not sure what you want to do? Then you have lack a purpose. You can do some soul searching. I suggest create a Happiness Map. You can learn how on the free e-course, Discover your Purpose, that we created for you.

You can start working on your current skills, so you can improve your resume and build a career that will make you happier. You may want to stay in your current line of work or start your own business, but whatever it is you can start taking action today. I started off researching work happiness, then expanded into career coaching, then I expanded into User Experience to help people with their websites, and formed a partnership with a friend.

I learned from one of the best coaches and now we are partners at Coach the Life Coach, where we teach people the skills to be a coach and start building a coach practice.

The idea for me was to incorporate my different strengths and passions into my work.

I fulfill my need to teach with Coach the Life Coach. I fulfill my problem solving skills with Domino Connection. I fulfill my need to write and coach here at Work Happy Now.

Always Growing

This took time and is far from perfect. I would like to earn more money, so I can travel more with my family. Nothing is perfect, but I’m so grateful for the extra time and flexibility that my career has afforded me.

If you see your next great job or business as a mountain you’ll procrastinate and never take any action. You have to break down your journey into smaller increments. When you create your Happiness Map it focuses on how you want to feel while you work not just doing something and later regretting the time spent on the project.

I explain more about how to build a happiness foundation and create a happiness map so you can do great work in my free email course that doesn’t cost you a penny. If you read each email and take action on it I guarantee you’ll be off to a great start building a career that you love.

So how do you want to feel while you work? Do you want to feel free, challenged, excited, calm…

* Statistics from Washington Post Article

10 Ways to Find Career Happiness

Career haze

Even on good days your career can seem a bit hazy. You’re not sure what your next step will be.

That’s natural.

It’s happened to all of us. We start a career with the best of intentions, planning to give it our all and to find fulfillment. Then, for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen. When your career is lacking in the meaning department, you’ll likely start to lose your sense of purpose and your drive to give it all you can. In the end, nothing positive can come from this situation.

I’ve been there. I went to a great college — Penn State — enjoyed my time there and did my best. After graduation, I moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to pursue my career. I landed — what I thought — was a great job and couldn’t wait to get started. This was the type of position that would look great on a résumé and would really help me move forward in life. Then, reality hit.

A few months into the job I realized that I was “just getting by.” I was punching the time clock and doing what was required of me, but I was starting to feel limited in my position, hampered by my cubicle. I needed something new. I chose a better opportunity and path in marketing and started a side gig as a freelance writer. I found my passion in these areas, starting a blog — Punched Clocks — to share my advice with others who are navigating the work world while trying to achieve happiness and success in life and in their careers.

For me, finding career meaning meant switching jobs and taking control of my career. For you, it might be a different avenue. Try one of the 10 ways to find career meaning where you wouldn’t think to look if you’re feeling stuck in the same rut I was:

Do you want do work you truly care about? You have to start by building a resume that draws people to you.  Click here to check out the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide. You’ll find out the 7 most important steps to doing work you love.

1. Practice Gratefulness

Here’s the thing. Even if your job isn’t what you hoped, or if you’re struggling to find meaning, there’s still a silver lining: You have a job. 8.3 million Americans are currently unemployed and actively searching for work. 2.1 million of these individuals have been searching for over 27 weeks — that’s almost 7 months. Sometimes, finding meaning is as simple as examining the world around you and being grateful for what you have. It might not be ideal. It might not be what you’re looking for long term, but it’s paying the bills. Remind yourself of this next time you’re ready to turn in your notice on a whim.

2. Identify the Real Problem

What’s driving your perceived lack of meaning? If you cannot identify this issue, you’ll likely to fall into the same rut regardless of what career or position you find yourself in. So many times we hear — and maybe say — “I’m not happy at work,” or “I have no purpose in my job,” but what’s underneath that discontent?

Ask yourself honest questions to find the real problem. Could your discontent be related to:

  • A sense of dissatisfaction with your actual role?
  • The fact that you’re working in a field that doesn’t match your passion?
  • The idea that you find yourself longing to set your own schedule and to be your own boss?
  • Finding yourself thinking of a different passion while you should be focusing on your job?
  • Feeling undervalued for the job you’re doing?

These are deeper issues than feeling as though you should be paid more or a simple sense of frustration. If you can’t identify the real problem, you’ll have a hard time finding meaning, no matter what you do.

3. Build Relationships

If you find yourself punching in at 9 and out at 5, sitting in your cubicle and performing the tasks that are required of you without going above and beyond in any way, you’re likely missing out on an important part of your workday: relationships.

Many employees list relationships with co-workers and managers as two of the top ten contributing factors for career satisfaction. What do you know about Peg in the cubicle across from yours, other than what she eats for lunch daily? Maybe finding meaning in your career means looking outside of yourself to those around you. When we’re stuck in a place where we are our only focus, it’s likely to get lonely. Put time into getting to know those around you to brighten each day and to give a little more meaning to what you do.

4. Work Together to Make a Difference

Once you’ve established a few solid working relationships, maybe it’s time to work together to make a difference. When you invest in the lives of others in a tangible way, you’re likely to feel more fulfilled yourself.

Look around for local charities. Start a clothing drive at work. Sign up for a 5k that benefits a special cause and make team shirts, or find another way to get involved in your community. Work together to brighten someone else’s day.

5. Enhance Your Personal Abilities

Maybe you just feel stuck. You feel like you could be achieving more, but you lack the training or skill set to make it happen. Perhaps, like me, your real passion lies somewhere else — in another field altogether. In this case, it’s time to enhance your personal abilities. Sign up for a few online continuing education courses. Consider going back to school to pick up a different degree, or look for seminars offered by local professional organizations. Maybe to find meaning, you just need a little extra training.

6. Stop Depending on Your Job for Meaning

Too many people find themselves in a place where their sense of meaning is linked solely with their job. There should be meaning there, but it should also lie elsewhere. What you do outside of work is just as important. To find meaning elsewhere, consider:

  • Investing in your family. How could you work to make your spouse or children happier?
  • Setting new goals outside of work, starting a fitness regimen or taking a cooking class to find pride elsewhere.
  • Joining a community organization and finding ways to contribute.

Or, try something else altogether. When you feel more fulfilled outside of work, the feeling will likely carry over to working hours.

7. Improve Upon What You Do

Here’s the thing: If you’re doing only the bare minimum to get by, you’re probably under-achieving. How could you improve upon your current role?

Sit down with your manager to discuss options for improvement. Perhaps changing a few processes, changing a few responsibilities or improving on how certain tasks are completed could improve your attitude and your actual position. This type of initiative could even lead to promotions down the road.

8. Track Your Progress

If you feel as though you’re just getting by and just punching the clock, perhaps you’ve lost track of what you actually accomplish each day. Start a portfolio to remind yourself. Not only will this help you track your progress, but it may help in future job searches.

Collect pieces you’ve worked on. Gather metrics from campaigns in which you’ve played a part. Print out screen shots, and do whatever else it takes to prove your value. Keep a journal that helps you reflect on the good and what you can improve about your career. When you see how far you’ve come, and what you’ve actually done to make a difference, you may start to find more career meaning than ever before.

9. Take On New Responsibilities

While this goes along with improving upon what you do — see # 7 — it also takes it to the next level. If you’re the type of employee who regularly avoids speaking up at staff meetings, volunteering for task forces and taking on new projects, you might be stuck in a rut.

To find meaning, consider challenging yourself by committing to new responsibilities on the job. This effort could help you improve upon working relationships while helping you find something new to be passionate about. What responsibilities have you been avoiding that could help you take your career to the next level? If you’re not sure where to start, ask your manager for ways to take on new responsibilities. Pay attention in your next meaning, and read company-wide emails looking for individuals to commit to various projects. You might just surprise yourself in the meantime.

10. Look Elsewhere

If all else fails, maybe you’ll find yourself in the same place I was — somewhere that cannot be improved and where you’ve done all you can to find meaning. If you’re here, there’s no reason to stick around. You owe it to yourself to find something different. Remember to identify what the problem was in your old role and to look for positions that will give you the opportunity to improve. That way, you’ll avoid falling into the same rut once again.

Your career is a part of who you are. It’s what helps you live a fulfilling life and where you spend a large number of your waking hours — 18.5% over a lifetime according to one study. Are you wasting your time due to a lack of fulfillment and a lack of meaning? Start with the ideas listed above to make a difference. You deserve to lead a fulfilling career, and the time to act is now.

Your Turn

What have you done or seen at work that has helped people build career happiness?

Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping others find happiness and success in their careers. Follow her for more inspiring tips at @SarahLandrum

The Ultimate 3 Step Process to Help You Bounce Back from Career Failure


A few years ago something very difficult happened in my career. Now that I look back on it…

It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

I wouldn’t wish career failure on anyone, but sometimes it can put things into perspective and give someone the kick-start they were afraid to do themselves.

I was laid off in 2011 and I looked very hard for a job. A good job, something I could get excited about. The few good ones out there were difficult to come by, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Your career is filled with learning experiences, and many of them occur because of failure. This is natural — when you are pushing yourself outside your comfort zone you will fall down.

I’ve failed so many times, it’s a bit embarrassing. And it also makes me stronger. After months of searching I decided to go all in with starting my business. Along the way there have been many painful moments.

I did a radio interview for a national program a couple years ago. I went into the studio, and the engineer guided me through the whole process. The microphone was at eye level. I was comfortable and armed with knowledge to dispense. I was ready. The whole process made me feel very important. After it was over, I asked her, “How did I do?”

“You did ok,” she said.

I was expecting a more enthusiastic response. It was like a punch in the gut.

“Just ok?”

“Your tone was flat.”

“Really? How could I improve?” I asked.

“Try to vary your voice more, and if you feel passionate about a particular question, let it out in your answer.”

She was right. I held back because I was afraid of showing the true me. The next radio interview I did still lacked punch, but by the 10th one I had improved a great deal. The radio interview could have catapulted my career and it ended up doing nothing for me.

Failures are a part of everyone’s career. If it isn’t then you have to ask yourself, “Am I taking enough risks?”

I had a client max out his credit cards to start up a business that failed. He filed for Chapter 13, cleared his debt and started a new business that became successful.

You must keep moving forward, even if it’s only one little shuffle step at a time.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas A. Edison

Yes, I still get upset when I mess up. My inner arch nemesis takes a bite out of me, but it doesn’t last very long any more. I let him nibble on my pain, then end it before it gets out of control. I have too many people I want to help to let my sad feelings hold me back from doing my work.

Do you want feel happier and be more productive in your career? Find out the 7 most important steps to doing work you love and getting better results while doing it. Click here to check out the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide.

1. Understand Your “Why”

You will have career setbacks. You won’t be able to prevent them. In fact you should embrace them.

It starts with understanding why you do what you do. If you can’t answer why you do what you do with any conviction, it might be time to change your career.

If you can answer your why, then this is where you can dig a little deeper to understand how you can get better results.

Next time you have a career setback, just ask yourself, “Why should I continue working?”

By phrasing this question to garner a positive response, your brain will gravitate towards finding solutions that will help you grow in new directions.

“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” – Benjamin Franklin

Your mindset is the most important aspect of letting go of failure. The quicker you can let go and bring back a happy and positive mindset the easier it will be for you to take action again.

2. Ask for Feedback from Quality People

The feedback that many people give you at work isn’t always well thought out or what you want to hear. That’s why asking quality people for feedback is important. You want to ask people who have good values and who won’t let their feelings get in the way of giving you feedback that you can use to grow.

Once you’ve asked for feedback, you need to listen very deeply to the response. Especially if it’s done with pause and consideration for your best interest.

That’s why I suggest not asking to anyone who could have trouble putting their love aside for you. (*cough – your mom, dad, or a best friend – cough*)

By asking people who believe honesty is more important than making you feel good, you can find out where to put your focus. Once you find a few quality people, just tell them openly about the situation, and ask them, “Using mostly facts and as few feelings as possible, what do you think I could do to make this situation better?”

3. Create a 30-Day Project

Now that you have feedback on how you could improve, you have to look at how you can use this information to make your career more enjoyable. What were they able to tell you that you didn’t already know?

This is where it can get difficult.

You have to separate the super-helpful from the non-helpful.

Look at what they said and what resonated with you. Then think about three ways you could improve on this part of your career. Look at each idea and pick the one that you like the best. Turn this into a flexible goal. Better to start with an idea that you like and that can grow with you than procrastinate on taking action trying to figure out which is the perfect idea.

Then schedule a daily plan for the next 30 days. What project could you accomplish in the next 30 days to level up your career?

Not sure how to create a 30 day project that will boost your happiness and career? Check out the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide that walks you step by step through a proven process that’s worked for hundreds of people.

Pick how much time each day you want to spend on accomplishing this goal. Try to be flexible and understanding with yourself. Depending on how intense your career setback was, you may want to schedule some recharge days, not work on your project every one of the 30 days.

I was laid off from my job 2011, and it took me a couple of weeks to figure out what my next move was going to be. I panicked trying to envision my entire future instead of starting with a short-term plan that I could build on and adjust as I went along.

You need to focus on slowly building a better, stronger, and happier career that allows you to grow. Each day is a chance to build habits that can help you feel happier and help more people.

When you’ve come to the end of your 30 days, then look at what went well and what could be improved for your next 30 days. It’s this measuring and refining process that most people slip up on. That’s why 30 day increments are important.

You can improve your career one day at a time andone month at a time. If you do, I promise you’ll get results over the course of the next year.

Your Next Step

Look at your career and make sure you understand your why, then follow up with honest feedback from a friend then create a project that will give your career a boost.

What project could you start and work towards in the next 30 days to help more people that you care about?

10 Ways to Make this Year the Best Year Ever

celebrate more

Let’s get real right now. You are probably reading this because you aren’t as happy as you could be with your career. You made mistakes last year that you regret. Oh, I’ve been there, plenty of times. Just last month I can think of 5 mistakes I would like to take back.

This year could be the most amazing year ever if you can put a few systems in place. The hard part is not just taking action, but growing your career so your actions create a domino effect that creates more freedom, happiness, and increased income over this year.

I wrote this post because I had a conversation with a friend. He told me he had so much bad luck last year that he just lost his motivation. Luck plays a role in every career, but good luck only happens when you put yourself in the right spots.

Let’s look at what you need to do to make sure you grow your career in the right direction this year:

1. Believe in your talents.

You have talents that others wish they had too. You are where you are in life because of your ability to leverage these talents. Don’t let one bad day or month stop you from believing in yourself. Take the time to remember the good results you’ve been able to accomplish because of your hard work and talent. Reflecting on the positive aspects of your talents will help you remember why people need your help.

Special notice: The Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide is now available. Click here to see how the 7 step process helps my clients become happier and get better results.

2. Celebrate more.

Too often we finish a difficult project and don’t take the time to celebrate our hard work. You need to take more time to celebrate when you work hard on a project. You deserve the reward. You’ll be reinforcing this positive behavior as well as giving yourself a stress relief break that you could use to recharge your internal battery.

 3. Give help when you can.

Improving your career and getting better results for your company (or if your own your own business, your clients) requires a team effort. You can’t do it alone. So remember to give back to people who’ve helped you over the past year. Write them a thank you note, offer to help them with a project, or just jump in and assist if you see they could use your help. This is a great way to build stronger relationships.

4. Recharge your battery.

You only have so much energy to use on high level work. No one can go and go and go. You need to recharge that beautiful brain and body that needs your love. Next time you hit an energy wall don’t power through. Take that time to recharge. Go for a short walk, call a friend, or grab a refreshing drink. Use that time to reset yourself and bring your focus back to doing the work that will grow your career.

5. Appreciate what you have. (AKA gratitude)

You have a finite amount of waking time each day. You can focus on the good or bad. When you appreciate what is good about your life you release endorphins that make you happier. Give this a quick try. Try thinking about 3 things you are grateful for. How does it make you feel? Now try thinking about 3 things that make you miserable. How do you feel? See how this affects your attitude? Your mindset truly does matter.

6. Say yes to challenges that help you grow.

You have the same three options that we all do. You can choose growth, maintaining, or shrinking. It’s really your choice. The only option that I believe is viable is growth. Think about your favorite band. They didn’t settle for that one hit and ride it out. They kept trying to improve on their music. This is the mindset that you need to bring to your career. As long as you know where your comfort level is and how to push slightly past it then you are growing. You may take more of a Turtle approach like me, or you may be more like Tim Ferriss who takes a rabbit approach. Both are good. Both lean toward growth, just at their own pace.

7. Say “no” to tasks that don’t excite you.

Your time is important. You can say “yes” to projects that just don’t light you up inside or you can learn to say “no” to projects that don’t excite you. It is that simple. Really. You just have to learn how to say “no” so people don’t get upset. This is where the gray area comes into play. Instead of just saying “no” try giving the person an alternative solution. You can suggest someone else who is better suited for the particular task, which can make you look good if they deliver great results. If you take this approach, be sure that you follow by offering yourself for a task that suits your strengths. Or you can change how the project is being done so you can leverage more of you strengths, which can help you get even better results.

8. Know that you can make a BIG difference in people’s lives.

You are here on this earth not to just get by. You are here to thrive. You are here to make an impact on others. Don’t believe that you can’t make a difference. If you start to believe this then you’ll start to pull back from helping others. There are an infinite amount of ways you can help others while also growing your career. I believe in win-win scenarios and if you can help people who you admire while also building your network then they win and so do you. That’s a career domino effect that creates layers that you can build upon.

 9. Ask for help when you are struggling.

We all struggle at times. We all have our doubts, but the people that we surround ourselves with can truly make a difference. When you need help, you need to learn to reach out to these people. Find someone who can point out a fresh perspective, or someone who sees something inside of you that’s hidden deep. Go to these people when you are in pain and be clear about how you need help. You just need to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.

10. Visualize where you want to take your career, break it down, and start doing it.

This last one is maybe the most important for most of you. You must understand your “why” before you can take action in your career. If you are wishy-washy you won’t get stuff done. You have to live your core values and know how each task and project helps you grow stronger if chosen well. I struggled to put together a guide that encapsulates my beliefs. I resisted for years because I was afraid. When I finally let go and visualized how my guide would make people’s lives better, the actions became much easier. I focused on my purpose instead of my fears. I stopped trying to motivate myself, and instead I focused on helping people who mattered to me. By helping others find meaning and happiness in their work, I was also able to find meaning in mine.

I’m not perfect and neither is this list.


What advice would you add to help others be able to make this the best year ever? (Just leave a comment and let’s help each other grow.)

* I’m curious to how you feel about your career and how I can help make it better. If you have 5 minutes I would really appreciate it if you filled out this quick survey. Thanks!

1,000 Thank You’s a Day


I was on my way to the grocery store and my favorite song was on the radio. As I was backing out of the driveway, it ended. I had a rough day. My normally calm demeanor snapped. I freaked out.

I hit my steering wheel, yelled stuff I wasn’t proud of, and looked around to see if any neighbors noticed my outburst.


I was alone.

I put the car in drive and slowly rolled toward the grocery story, the anger just throbbing inside of me.

The thing was there were 1,000 things that went right that day.

  1. I had a delicious cup of coffee.
  2. My son hugged me.
  3. My wife kissed me.
  4. My heater kept me warm throughout the night.
  5. I watched a funny YouTube video.
  6. I landed a new client project.
  7. I brushed my teeth which really felt good.
  8. I walked to the bathroom without stubbing my toe.
  9. My dog was quietly lying next to me as I worked.
  10. My lungs were working well, keeping the oxygen flowing.
  11. A bird outside my window sang it’s heart out, trying to make sure I heard and enjoyed his tune.
  12. My delicious PBJ.
  13. My laptop started up without any trouble.
  14. I listened to my favorite jazz song from John Coltrane.
  15. (What would you add to the list?)

The list went on.

The thing was I stubbed my little toe on the coffee table at the end of the day, and got an email from someone confirming that they were going with a different keynote speaker at their conference. These two things caused my mood to sour and I couldn’t let them go.

When my favorite song that I really wanted to listen to ended right as I turned on my car, I snapped.

How often have a few bad things totally wrecked what could have been a great day?

A co-worker’s snide comment or your boss dumping extra work on you are kind of lousy events. Yes, unpleasant things do happen, but so many things go right throughout a day as well.

The important thing is to notice and appreciate them, and that’s where the 1,000 thank you’s a day challenge comes into play.

This idea came to me after hearing A.J. Jacobs speak at the World Domination Summit. (BTW, if you want an inspiring conference that sparks you to try something new, this is the conference for you.)

After watching his talk and listening to how he appreciated things we take for granted, like his pressing the elevator button and the elevator doors closing and the elevator rising up, I began to see how powerful this practice could be.

I like to keep things simple so I’m doing the 1,000 thank you’s a day challenge for one week. If I can say 1 thank you every 30 seconds that’s 1,440 thank you’s within 12 hours.

I can do 2 thank you’s a minute.

Even if I only reach 500, that’s a lot of thank you’s.

This is bound to change my thought habits. I’ve kept a gratitude journal the past few years, but I want to take my gratitude up a notch. The key to making a lasting change is pushing outside your comfort zone and trying to keep it there then take a break to allow this part of yourself to rest and get stronger. Just like exercising your bicep, stomach or any other muscle. If I can build a more thankful foundation in my everyday life, I know I’ll increase my happiness. And I know you can too.

Would you be interested in joining in on the fun? Can you be thankful for 100 things each day, or maybe even just 10 for one week?

Whatever number feels good to you, I say go for it.

At the end of 7 days, I’ll list 1,000 things I’m grateful for and share them with you in a blog post. If I don’t reach my goal of 1,000, I’ll add what I have and keep adding to it until I hit a 1,000.

If you want to join in with 100 thank you’s or even 10 thank you’s a day, then let’s do this for one week. Join in right now and write 5 things you are grateful for below in the comment section. Let’s make this an epic list of positivity. Oh and if you find this fun then tell a friend to stop by and leave their list of 5 things they are thankful for too.

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.

Are you ready to bring back the joy to your work? In the Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide you’ll learn how to quiet your inner arch nemesis and create projects that boost your resume and of course your career.

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.”


“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.

* This article is a part of the Unlock Your Passions email course that you can get access to by joining our community and getting free career happiness boosting updates.

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?

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.

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