Why Creating an Environment of Success Will Save Your Company Money

working at coffee shop

Working in the national parks for years, I’ve learned the real cost of employee attrition. It’s almost impossible to find another qualified candidate when you are out in the middle of the forest (even for housekeeping). Finding out what you can do for that person to make their job easier could be as easy as a sliding schedule for the start of the day. Finding a solution to your employee’s issues could help you fill a shift you assume no one wants or could be as easy as moving a desk next to a window.

What is a Successful Environment

A successful work environment is one where your employees can feel productive and engaged. You can achieve this through effective leadership, better offices, and by meeting your employee’s needs. This not only means adjusting the physical environment with things like natural lighting and adjustable workspaces (an Osha requirement), but also hitting their human needs, like coffee, being an upstanding company, paying for their continuing education, or encouraging growth internally.

working at coffee shop

Rewards To Reap

An actively engaged employee is infinitely more successful than a disengaged employee, they steal less, they are there more often and longer, and even get injured less on the job. Having an employee who pumps out great work for years without getting ill or injured in an employer’s dream, so why not fulfill your employee wants.

Ways to Transform Your Office Today

You can boost morale and create an environment of success with a small initiative today like meeting your employee’s basic needs, encouraging their growth (and your’s), and listening to them.

There are many ways to improve your employee’s moral, but an indicator of a good direction is stress reduction. This could be anything from providing snacks or even breakfast options for the earliest shift, to encouraging carpooling (a great stress reducer!). Listening to people, providing them with their basic needs (money, health insurance, growth), and doing whatever you can to reduce their stress. Stress and fear are great motivators for fast results, but brandishing your employees in the fire will only make them melt faster later.

For many people, this means a focus on the individual. This could be a diverse office with a variety of workstations to sit at, a variety of ways to communicate information to you, and access to sunlight (or natural lighting). Small steps to make people more productive add up over time, so even something small, like cubicle spaces for people who prefer privacy rather than your open office can pay off.

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Ways to Transform your Office Tomorrow

There are certain aspects of stress reduction environments that take time to accomplish. While a couch by a window, a conference room converted to a quiet space, or a carpool can be set up in a day, a small office or a health initiative might take a month or two to implement.

Health initiatives are great! These cover everything from HR meetings to walking groups or a paid gym membership (which pays off in the long-run). Encouraging your employees to get up every two hours for a ten-minute walk or even allowing for longer lunch breaks could help them get more done when at their desk.

Really cracking down is not a good method of getting things done. Success breeds success, and that includes personal success. You may even consider redesigning your office. Even though cubicle farms feel impersonal, open air offices can be even more dangerous to productivity levels. Consider remodelling around your workflow, it can be similar to remodelling a kitchen – workflow and budget are important.

A converted “quiet” room provides an escape from a busy open floor plan, that hinders productivity. You can also ‘hack’ your open floor plan with nooks, half-walls, and by splitting the floor into distinct individual pods that give the impression of separation. Just like above, making your office work for the majority of individuals is the way to get the best work from your employees. This could mean allowing some employees to “find the zen of fuzzy slippers” or working vampire hours.

Because a checked-in, productive individual who feels like they can accomplish things is the number one way to create an environment of success. If that means a bean-bag corner where your dev. team can hold their meetings, or allowing everyone to clock out and take a two-hour lunch to combat afternoon fatigue, then that’s what you should do. Every environment of success is different because every company culture harbors different types of workers.

What to Take From This Article:

Everyone is a little different. Some people get everything done in the morning. Other people don’t do anything until three in the afternoon. And allowing your employees to work around those constraints, will give you happier, more productive employees. There isn’t one environment of success, there are many. The real environment of success is the one that lets employees find what works for them.

How I got a job I Was Unqualified For

Custom backdrops DIY backgrounds for pictures

You see a job description online that jazzes you up. You read through the job ad, and you think, “I’d love to apply for that,” but you’re hesitant, because you can’t check all the boxes they’re asking for. Maybe you have an opportunity to interview for a job that you don’t feel qualified for, and you’re careful not to get your hopes up, because you know that likely every other candidate is more qualified than you, so what chance do you have anyway?

Do you know the feeling I’m talking about? I’ve been there.

Early in my career, I was working at a cafe in a large industrial park, where I’d see the same customer faces each day as they came in for their morning coffee. I’d remember their orders each morning. I wouldn’t always remember their names, but I’d know that was the guy with the “grande double decaf americano with extra room.”

My plan was to work at the cafe until I finished college, where I was getting my diploma in Business Administration. While I was at college, I stayed late one night helping a fellow classmate with economics homework. Because I had been helpful to him and “saved his butt,” he asked if I wanted to apply for a job where he worked. He said he would gladly refer me.

I was excited! My first question: Where do you work?

“Abebooks,” he said (Which unbeknownst to me was about to be acquired by Amazon).

“Sure!” I said without giving it anymore thought, “That sounds amazing! Send me the job description.”

When I got home, I excitedly checked my email. I saw this description, and I almost fell out of my chair. I realized immediately that I was not even the slightest bit qualified for this job. The only thing it had in common with me was that people would be in that office, and I talk to people at the cafe.

I wondered how my classmate even thought that I’d stand a chance here. Then I figured he was probably just being nice, even though nothing would likely come of it.

Some of the responsibilities as I read down the page included things that I didn’t even understand, like:

“Support seller acquisition campaigns and account management”

“Knowledge of SQL and/or HTML”

“Experience in Sales and Account Management”

“Associate or Bachelor Degree in Business or related field preferred”

These were just a few of the bullet points that made me think to myself, “Should I even bother with this? The other candidates surely all have more experience than I do.”

As I actively tried not to get my hopes up, I started thinking about a process to prepare for this interview that would make me different. I’d already said yes. Even if no job came of it, I knew I had to at least try. I had to pinch myself because this job paid more than I had ever been paid before. The company was prestigious and had won many awards. Looking at my background, it looked completely out of my league.

How did I do this? Decoding the process now, I attribute 3 key things to why they chose me out of what later I found out was a pool of 7 shortlisted other qualified candidates.

1. A Referral Goes a Long Way

I know now that a lot of companies give quite a high preference to referred candidates, even if the candidate doesn’t check all the boxes right away. If they’re a referral they’re more likely to get invited in for an interview. I had some courses from school that made me sound smart, and I would highlight my people skills and cross my fingers.

Before I handed in my resume, I figured if there was ever a time to invest in getting it to be as close to perfect as possible, it was now. I had a professional resume writer help me with it (actually I had three). You might not always have time for this, but it gave me the confidence and reassurance I needed to finally hit “Send.”

One of the resume writers said to me, “What makes you think you’re going to get an interview for this job?” Long story short, the resume (along with my classmate’s good word) was compelling enough to have them interview me.

2. Likeability is Underrated

I learned later that being likeable is actually more important than skills, education, or experience. At the time, I think it was a highly contributing factor. It may have been the one thing that got me the job. It’s hard to tell but I have a feeling it was big. I can’t explain getting hired any other way.

It may sound unfair or even unprofessional to hire someone that you like over someone who is more skilled or experienced, but sometimes human nature trumps logic. This was confirmed when I came across a study in the Harvard business review. It proved that people might say that they’d choose the more skilled person over the more likeable candidate; however, in practice, when it comes right down to it, they don’t.

Quoted from the HBR review:

“Generally speaking, a little extra likability goes a longer way than a little extra competence in making someone desirable to work with.”

3. The Questions YOU Ask Are Everything

At the very beginning (before they had a chance to go “stream of consciousness” with their questions), I asked them what the top priorities would be for someone entering the role in the first three months on the job. This was a strategic move. I wanted to find out in their words what exactly they wanted from their new hire. I was looking for anything other than the gibberish on the job description. My thought was that once I knew this, I could position myself as a better candidate as I answered questions throughout.

The truth is the answer wasn’t super helpful, but it was good enough. They said, “The successful candidate will spend the first three months training, learning our systems, tools, and procedures.”

This information helped me enough that I talked about my love for learning new things. It gave me a focus that I knew was desirable to them. I made a point to talk about examples and stories of learning new software programs and new concepts, and how I loved putting time and effort into learning, because it always paid off in the end. I talked about techniques I used for learning, and I captivated them with some things I’d learned that were interesting. People also like people that are interesting and can share interesting, entertaining and new info.

Another thing that I think contributed was that at the time Abebooks didn’t have a way for customers to provide feedback on their site for whether or not books were received on time and in good condition. I said, “I notice that you don’t have a way for customers to provide feedback on your site at the moment. For such a large site with so many customers, I would think something like that would be beneficial.”

I brought up this gap in their business, and I noticed the interview panel glance over at each other and smile. The gentleman on the end, who was one of the Department Managers, looked over at the Director (who was seated in the middle) and said, “Do you want to take this one?” She laughed as she started telling me how they’re excited to launch their feedback feature. After long and hard hours of working on it, the release date was less than six months away! She talked excitedly about how it worked on a star rating system, which is what you see if you go to their site today.

Sometimes it’s not about what they have in place; it’s about what they don’t have in place yet (and who notices).

The takeaways from my story include:

  • Being qualified isn’t everything
  • People will more likely hire who they like vs. who is the most skilled or the smartest
  • If you can get referred, that’s even better
  • Be strategic with when and what you ask

Try out these ideas at your next interview, and keep the doors open. Unlikely things do happen, even if they seem impossible. When that opportunity came up, I had no idea how I was going to approach it. All I knew was that there was something inside of me that was nagging me (perhaps it was my dad’s voice). “Just say yes,” he would say, “and then figure out how to do it later.”

I may have hated this advice when I was younger, but I will admit that it was not the worst advice my dad ever gave me.

Natalie Fisher is an enthusiastic HR Generalist who loves her job! She’s been on over 50 interviews and received 48 job offers. Download her Free Guide: How to Nail an Interview You’re Unqualified For.

10 Examples of How to Use Your Strengths at Work

Strengths at Work

An organization I work with recently brought in a consultant. At meetings he furiously types away at his keyboard.

What gives? I record the minutes for the group. I’m the writer, remember?

His summaries were for his own benefit. Still, we were both doing the same task.

Could I be flexible enough to hand over this job? Heck, yeah. It’d be one less thing for me to do.

So I approached our consultant about the overlap, and he was more than happy to take on the responsibility. Because I was flexible, I lost a bothersome chore.

The organization also benefitted. I’ll admit that the consultant’s notes are better than mine. (I’m a writer, not a note-taker, after all.)

Consider your skills in a new light, and see how it wins you points – or brings you relief – in the workplace.

Does your organization need help improving communication, feeling grateful, or creating a happiness plan? Then let’s chat! Then fill out the short form at the bottom and we’ll see how more happiness can help your organization.

1. Adaptability 

Adaptability is essential in life and to live. If species hadn’t adapted, evolution wouldn’t have happened. We never would have made it out of the primordial soup.

Naturally you must be adaptable within your field of work, but what if you’re suddenly outside the box?

Several years ago, a college student accepted a summer job as construction coordinator for an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. One minor complication: He had no construction experience.

However, he was adaptable. He quickly learned everything he needed to get other people working hard building houses. By the end of the summer, several families had new homes and the college student found he could learn way, way outside his field.

2. Assertiveness

It’s not too difficult to be assertive at work: speak up at meetings, take credit when it’s due and make recommendations when you see a solution. It’s about being on your toes all the time.

However, another – and less-used – aspect of assertiveness is saying no to unrealistic expectations, to unfair demands, even to unrealistic requests.

For instance, a career coach was asked at the last minute to provide a follow-up workshop to a lecture she was giving – at no extra compensation.

Heck, what’s the big deal? She knows all the info, and she’s already there.

However, this is her profession. You just can’t go around giving it away at the drop of the hat and still make a living. It’s O.K. to be assertive in order to keep the paychecks coming in. Saying no is another way to stand up for yourself.

3. Consistency

At work it’s important for people to know they can count on you. If you’re consistent, your output is always on time and high quality. What happens if being steady at work makes it possible for you to do your job without having a meltdown?

Consider what it’s like to be a wedding photographer. Yes, you’re helping couples document one of the most important days of their lives. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s also often insane.

What if the reception is a disaster, tensions are running high, too many people are running around and you still have to produce lovely pictures? If you have a set routine, nothing is going to throw you off. You can take chaos as it comes. You have a plan, and you won’t deviate from it.

4. Design 

People in artistic fields naturally need design skills, but they also come in handy in many workplace settings. You can use your keen eye to make the environment better and more productive for everyone.

What if the office is being repainted? You make suggestions, knowing what you know. Green suggests tranquility, while red is intense. White opens up a space, and blue encourages productivity. What color fits best with your work culture?

Perhaps you’re ordering new furniture. What’s going to enhance your specific setting? Geometric shapes encourage organization and discipline. Softer, flowing pieces enhance creativity. Which does your office need?

5. Empathy

When you’re empathetic, you can look at a situation from someone else’s point of view. At work, this can be enlightening for you, especially if you’re considering things from a client’s perspective.

However, what if you extend that empathy outside your office … far outside? A tech firm regularly sends employees to other parts of the world to simple help out. The causes range from preventing rhinoceros poaching to helping low-income families obtain needed baby equipment.

Sure, this wasn’t bad PR, but the intended and achieved goal is to encourage employees to think about larger issues and work together to have an effect. It’s not all about the bottom line.

6. Flexibility

Covered in the introduction. You did read it, didn’t you?

7. Focus

Being focused on your work helps you crank it out better and faster, but what if you could be more focused about your focus?

Some workers try batching: setting aside a significant chunk of time to accomplish a specific task. Interruptions are forbidden: no email, Facebook, coffee breaks or texting. All work, all the time.

It takes a lot of focus to be so focused, but setting up rules you’re determined to follow really cuts down distractions and interruptions. Productivity soars.

8. Listening  

Of course it’s important to be a good listener at work. This encourages clear understanding among all stakeholders.

It can also help avoid conflict. A probate mediator was working on a longstanding dispute among family members. One, in particular, had been volatile and out of control.

Rather than jumping all over the man or trying to keep him under thumb, the mediator simply listened. The man had been yelling and cursing to try to get someone to understand the situation from his point of view.

When the mediator chose to listen rather than react, the formerly explosive man was calm and appreciative. So was the rest of the family.

9. Peacekeeping 

Speaking of keeping the peace, it’s essential in the workplace. Someone’s got to negotiate disputes. If you use your peacekeeping skills early, you can prevent problems before they even start.

A manager who regularly checks in with employees just to see how things are going will help morale and encourage productivity. Workers have the opportunity to get things off their chests before problems escalate.

It’s kind of like formulating a truce before any real hostilities have erupted. Do it right – and often – and your office won’t feel like a middle school, full of resentment, animosity and grudges.

10. Self-Confidence

At work, believing in yourself and your abilities helps keep you on track and focused, even when things aren’t going your way. You’re sure that you’ll rise above the noise and distraction.

Self-confidence on the job can also help prevent some devastating potential consequences of insecurity: alcoholism and drug abuse. If you know that things will get better because you can make them better, you won’t lose hope and have to look outside yourself for solace.

That’s a powerful strength that can see you safely through some tough times.

Introspection

This is valuable in many ways, but use it right now to think about what talents you regularly bring to the workplace. Don’t be modest – you’ve got skills. Probably a lot.

You’ve just read about 10 strengths. Do you see yourself there, or are there others? Creativity? Competitiveness? Time management? Teaching? Writing? Learning? Speak up and don’t be shy. Then, consider how you can use these abilities in other ways to make work better for yourself and others.

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

A Simple Guide to Career Happiness – Genius Methods

Edison Light Bulb

Most people don’t believe they have true freedom in their career. They scoff at the idea because they are afraid of the power that they possess within themselves.

I believe everyone has great powers. Superpowers not to just help others, but ones that make us happier.

80% of people are currently looking to change their career because they don’t care about their work or feel like they aren’t making a difference.

When you believe in a mission greater than yourself, you’ll push yourself to grow, improve, and make a difference. This stems from the internal belief that you can change lives.

A superpower is sparked by your passions. You then create leverage in your career with your strengths. You then apply your focus to get closer to your reaching your goals. It’s this formula that has allowed myself and people who work with me to do more of the work that makes them happier while getting great results.

Thomas Edison is a great example of this.

I could use your help. I’m working on a title and subtitle of my new step-by-step guide to help you, just click here to tell me which one you prefer.

Passion

Thomas Edison obtained1,093 patents, a single-person record that still stands to this day. And these patents didn’t happen in 1,093 days. They were spread over his entire career, so this was a daily exercise in passion.

Once a reporter asked Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” and Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

He believed he was on to something great he couldn’t stop. He saw the possibility. He once said, “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

He saw his ideas helping millions of people live better lives, and it motivated him to try over 1000 times until he succeeded. His vision trumped his fear of failure. He didn’t know that his light bulb would succeed. He just so desperately wanted it to that he just kept trying small ideas until he saw progress.

Passion has to be nurtured. Edison was pulled out of school after only 3 months (his only formal education) because his mother was saddened that they couldn’t see his potential. They stifled it. So instead, his mother allowed him to follow his curiosity through his experiments.

Many times people won’t want you to follow your curiosity and vision for your ideas, but it’s up to you to pull yourself away from these people. You can only follow your passions if you don’t hold yourself back or let anyone else hold you back from seeing what you can accomplish.

Need help unlocking your career passions? Check out the Unlock Your Passions ecourse I put together to learn more about infusing your passions into your career.

Strengths

Strengths are tricky because sometimes we don’t know our strengths until we practice them awhile. When we practice things we are skilled in, they can turn into a talent. If we practice enough times, we get stronger and more fluid in how we execute our actions.

Thomas didn’t believe his success came from his genius. He believed it came from practice or perseverance.

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

Edison failed at perfecting the light bulb over 1,000 times. Each time he looked at what didn’t quite work. He gained knowledge from the supposed failure, then went back to fixing the problem from a place of strength.

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” – Thomas Edison

It’s hard persevering through career challenges, but if you can view the challenge as a learning experience, you’ll find yourself able to try just one more time. You have another chance at refining your skills and turning them into a real strength.

How did Edison find this positive outlook through each failure?

He relied on memories of past success, his mother’s support, and his curiosity to find the right solution.

Instead of focusing on what you might perceive as a failure, try focusing on what you learned from the experience. From a money-losing project to an idea that no one believes in, give yourself some time to breathe and try again from a place of strength.

Next time you hit the wall of failure, ask yourself what your greatest supporter (could be your best friend, mom, even your dog if he could talk) would say to you. Let this be the voice of reason to help relax your inner arch nemesis and do great work.

Focus

Thomas Edison was mostly deaf due to unknown reasons, but there is one thing we do know. He liked not being able to hear very well. He could concentrate on his experiments without distraction.

He knew he was easily distracted. It’s why he struggled in school. He needed to focus his attention on work he cared about without interruptions.

Edison once said “The first requisite for success is to develop the ability to focus and apply your mental and physical energies to the problem at hand – without growing weary. Because such thinking is often difficult, there seems to be no limit to which some people will go to avoid the effort and labor that is associated with it….”

Look at where you lose focus on projects. What keeps you from finding a unique solution?

You need to eliminate any distractions to allow yourself to get in the zone. The next step is to have the willpower to put your focus back on your work when you have a failed attempt (i.e. a step on the way to success).

Your focus is actually like a muscle. The more you use it the better you get at it. This is where your inner arch nemesis is so important to listen to, but not dictate your actions.

Give yourself a chance to process the failed attempt, but then get back to it and try the 101st step and see what happens.

* You can pre-order the soon to be released guide here.

Remember: Failure Is Inevitable

Many of Edison’s ideas never took off. He tried creating a practical family home out of cement molds, which was never accepted. He tried to create a practical way to mine iron ore to help meet the demand Pennsylvania steel companies needed for the metal.

When that didn’t work out either, he gave up and moved on to more practical projects. You will have failures too. The key is know when to give up and put your focus back on projects that will help you grow your happiness and your career.

More Important Than Failure

Edison knew his ideas could help people live better lives. From the light-bulb to his attempt to make cheaper and sturdier houses. He stuck with an idea he cared about from beginning to end.

He let go of various ideas like cement molds and electrographic vote recorder, but persevered on his motion picture Kinetoscope and iron ore separator.

Letting go of ideas that aren’t working well and following through on the good ideas is part of Edison’s genius. He couldn’t have perfected the light bulb on his 738th or 978th try. He kept going because he knew he was on to something great.

What small action can you take today to help someone to grow your career?

Let’s Review

Edison believed that his hard work is what helped him accomplish all his amazing inventions. He did this through his superpowers (passion, strengths, focus). He believed that his curiosity was more important than worrying about failure. He believed that having time to focus and let go of negative thoughts kept him moving forward on projects that never went quite right until that last try. He believed that his strengths grew stronger the more he tried.

He believed…

He believed in himself, and although he probably didn’t call them “superpowers“, he had utilized his Passion, Focus, and Strengths

Do you believe you have any superpowers? (Powers to help others)

If not, why not?

Are you using these talents in your career?

Career happiness shouldn’t be for only 20% of the population. Career happiness can come in many packages. You can find it in the strangest places. Over my conversations with hundreds of people who’ve found their passion, I’ve found the happiest people have one thing in common. They take daily actions to make a difference in people’s lives.

They aren’t always in a blissful state, but their purpose keeps them moving forward, chipping away at their goals. It’s this passion that drives them to seek out creative solutions.

Your Turn

You have great gifts too! What are they?

And what is one failure that you worked through and came out on top?

The Biggest Mistake People Make When Trying to Improve Their Focus

Your Focus

* No laughing at my rudimentary drawings. I wanted to create a visual drawing for you of work that gets me “in the zone”.

Last week I was working my butt off for a client deadline. I was in the zone. Time didn’t exist and I was killing it. After I was done I lifted my head, looked around, and basked in the glow of doing great work.

I stood up, stretched, and a little dance just popped into my legs.

You ever have moments like this?

They don’t happen often enough for me. They don’t happen often enough for anyone.

This experience hardly ever happened until I began to apply a few techniques that have made a huge improvement to my ability to focus and accomplish great work.

I’m a thought chaser, easily distracted.

It’s like watching my dog watch squirrels she can’t catch, just enjoying seeing them run around in the yard.

Many times I have a thought or idea I act on it, which means I pull myself away from work that I need to stay focused on.

Thought Chaser

I’m a fairly productive guy. I write two blog posts a week. One here and one on Domino Connection, my customer connection site. I also do career coaching calls, interviews, social media, speaking events, and website Connection reviews. I have a 5 year old son, wonderful marriage, exercise and many little tasks like grilling chicken and making amazing green beans for dinner.

I’m no slouch.

I am however a thought chaser, which means I struggle to harness my focus at times.

This can be a good thing for your creativity, but many times it holds you back from getting in the zone and accomplishing great work. It means stress kicks in at the end of the day because you didn’t get what you needed to get done.

I used to work at night all the time to catch back up on work. There are times I work at night, but now it’s because I have a creative itch that I need to scratch, not because I didn’t do all my work.

As I’ve been dealing with my attention issues I began to notice certain patterns.

Squirrel Brain

Your focus is the reason you are successful. The better you get at prioritizing your days the easier it is to get your most important work done, so you have more flexibility in your day.

You are allowed to chase squirrels, but you need to know when to stop and get your focus back on track.

Sometimes it’s fun chasing thoughts around, but if we do it usually leads to getting nothing done.

Next Step

Look at where your attention is being distraction and why you think it’s happening. If you don’t have focused time to get your most important tasks accomplished you won’t get great results.

Ask yourself:

What can I do to create more focused time at work?

This question will help you identify where you are losing your focus. Once you figure out what triggers your attention to diminish you’ll find it’s much easier to get it back on track.

Unlock Your Focus

Need help harnessing your focus at work? Check out the Unlock Your Superpowers course where we help you unlock your focus as well as your passion and strengths to make reaching your career goals faster and a lot more fun.

The course will go live on Sept. 10th. There is a presale discount going on right now. Click here to see what’s in the course and how it can help improve your happiness at work. The more efficient you are able to get your work done the quicker you can move on to work that makes you happy.

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.

Why Your Career Strengths Aren’t the Whole Picture

Understand Your Why

Your strengths are tricky.

I used to think I was a great writer, but I’m really not.

There are many better writers than me, but what helps me sell books and courses, and grow my blog is my passion for my subject, not the quality of my prose.

Art is also a passion of mine. There is something amazing about taking a blank canvas (blank page) and turning it into something that makes people feel something.

In college, I once wrote a paper breaking down a piece of art from Rembrandt.

I broke down each area of the painting. From the hand gesture of the woman laying in bed to the expression on her face. I handed in my paper and when I got it back I saw that my professor got to the second page and then marked a bold red line under the first paragraph.

He wrote, “I can no longer edit this paper. The grammar is terrible, but the thoughts are excellent.”

He gave me an A-.

He saw my vision and rewarded me appropriately.

Passion First

I believe that work happiness is one of the most important things any person can strive for in their career. I’m on a mission to help as many people as I can unlock their superpowers so they can work happier. That means conveying my ideas through writing.

I can’t let my writing skills hold me back from being great. With that being said, I truly enjoy writing and I do it to get my ideas out into the world. I’ve turned myself from a terrible writer into a good writer. It has become a strength because of the amount of hours I’ve put in. It’s easily over 10,000 hours. I now consider writing a superpower of mine because it combines passion, focus, and strength.

Work happiness is my passion and I use writing (which comes easy to me and gets me in the zone) to reach more people.

I’m never going to write the next great novel, but I am able to convey ideas that get people excited about taking action. That’s even more beautiful to me than writing the next great novel.

Check out the free ecourse to help unlock your passions, it’s the first step to unlocking your superpowers.

Superpowers

That’s why I always tell my coaching clients to start with work they are passionate about and add actions that come easy to them (strengths) as well as  actions that they get lost in and it feels like time doesn’t exist (focus) to make sure that they achieve great results.

When your motivation wanes, (and it will) it’s this larger-picture thinking that will get you back on track more than task-oriented thinking If you can focus on why you are doing the work instead of focusing on just the task, it will become easier to stay motivated.

That’s how you unlock your superpowers and take your career to a new level. The whole you instead of just your strengths.

Your Turn

Do you think about why you are doing a project to motivate yourself and help you get focused? If so, would you be willing to share your passions?

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.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

Important Point

It’s very important to note that as you create your plan you need to have an overall vision of where you want your career to go. Even if it feels foggy right now, you have to decide on the best idea that will add to your happiness and build your career.

You can’t keep adding extra work to your day that takes up more of your time and stresses you out. If you day is full from start to finish and there is no room to add a career building ideas then you have to eliminate something to make room. Something that is preferably boring to you and other people won’t notice if you let it go or pass it on to someone else.

By eliminating something boring and adding something exciting you are able to double your career happiness in one swoop. I sometimes like to eliminate two small tasks that maybe a year ago I thought were important, but the truth was I was holding on to it for all the wrong reasons.

The more you can simplify your day, so you can focus on work that will truly boost your career and bring in great results for your employer, the more enjoyable your life will become.

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 has helped you bring more passion to your career projects and plans?

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 boosting updates.

Do You Have Career Superpowers?


Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Career Superpowers

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

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

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

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

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

Unlock Your Superpowers

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

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

Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto Cover

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

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

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

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

Questions

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

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

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

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

Simple Questions

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

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

Why am I choosing to do this task or project?

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

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

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

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

Live Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

Sound like fun?

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