101 Tips to Make Work More Fun

Tip to make work more fun Too often we forget this simple rule:

Fun is a necessary part of life.

When work is fun, you are doing great work and, you don’t dread work, you look forward to it. You look forward to laughing, sharing, and growing. Now that’s motivating! So let’s look at a lot of different ways to make your work more fun.

  1. Blast your favorite song. (Put on your headphones first if you need to be considerate of others.)
  2. Make a game out of doing a tedious task. (Make it a race against the clock or someone else, or the fewest mistakes and the winner gets a free lunch.)
  3. Find one super small reason to be excited about a boring project.
  4. Write in your gratitude journal.
  5. Invite a new co-worker out to lunch.
  6. Bring a dessert for your boss or a co-worker.
  7. Go out and buy a perfectly ripened piece of fruit and eat it at lunch.
  8. Give a small gift to all your co-workers.
  9. Write an email to a co-worker explaining how awesome they are and why you think they are the greatest person in the company.
  10. Come up with a wild idea for the advertising department even if you aren’t in their department.
  11. Buy donuts for everyone.
  12. Share your favorite moment from childhood with a friend.
  13. Bring in apple juice for everyone.
  14. Find an awesome joke online, memorize it and tell it to everyone.
  15. Don’t wear any underwear.
  16. Offer to help organize your boss’ or a co-worker’s office.
  17. Bring in freshly brewed sun tea.
  18. Make 10 people a copy of your favorite music.
  19. Have a paper airplane contest. Whoever’s plane goes the farthest gets an extra 15 minute break.
  20. Make today the day where you say “yes” to everything.
  21. Find one project you truly love working on and do it for at least an hour a day (even if you have to create a new project).
  22. Take 10 deep breaths.
  23. Pick a day where you won’t complain.
  24. Wear two different colored socks and see if anyone notices (step farther – different shoes).
  25. Give a friendly wave to someone that you like.
  26. Bake cupcakes for the office.
  27. Improve the recycling program.
  28. Go above and beyond everyone’s expectations.
  29. Set-up a happy hour to allow people to relax and connect with each other (alcohol usually helps).
  30. Offer a co-worker help on a project that fits your strengths.
  31. Write a poem during lunch and print out a copy for everyone.
  32. Ask someone what they enjoy about their job.
  33. Make everyone gather for a group photo.
  34. Compliment the first person you talk to today.
  35. Ask five people how they are feeling. Then ask them how they are “really” feeling (and just listen).
  36. Bring in a plant for your desk or workspace.
  37. Bring in stickers that a third grade teacher would have e.g. “You are Great,” and pass them out when someone does something good.
Need a fun speaker who can give your audience the tools to be happier and more productive at work? Then let’s work together to take your event’s happiness up a few notches.
  1. Ask all your co-workers for their best joke. The best one gets a cup of coffee on you.
  2. Find 10 simple things to be thankful for (your soft chair, your computer turning on and working, your co-worker who helped you avoid a mistake, your lunch, your desk holding everything up, your breath for keeping you alive, etc.)
  3. Do something kid like and create a “show and tell” Friday.
  4. Answer the question, “Why do I enjoy this job?”
  5. Start a book club that meets once a month.
  6. Take a 5 minute break to move around every hour.
  7. Have a child paint a picture to take into the office.
  8. Ask your boss for positive feedback.
  9. Stretch at your desk for five minutes.
  10. Bring in your old magazines and put them in the lunchroom for someone else to read.
  11. Laugh at yourself.
  12. Give a copy of your favorite book to the employee who annoys you the most.
  13. Celebrate everyone’s birthday – tailor it to their likes.
  14. Dress up like it’s a special day.
  15. Celebrate a big contract or completion of a project by having music, dancing and a prize of a dinner for two.
  16. Announce to your team/office that you are giving away a prize to the most creative solution to a specific problem that you are having. (Prize could be a giftcard, lunch, or your favorite book.)
  17. Move a friend’s objects around on their desk as a fun little joke. (Make sure that you are good friends, so they don’t see it as mean-spirited.)
  18. Wash a co-worker’s car during your lunch.
  19. Have a dress-up day on a random day (besides Halloween).
  20. Switch jobs with someone in your department for a day.
  21. Have a 15 minute exercise break for the whole office.
  22. Write a letter to the most famous person in your industry asking for one piece of advice.
  23. Do a 1 minute relaxation exercise that makes you look weird (like yoga nostril breathing), but you don’t care because you’re relieving stress.
  24. Have a coloring contest – it brings back the “kid in school” feeling.
  25. Make a cup of hot tea for a co-worker.
  26. Offer to let someone else borrow your lucky “object” for the day (figurine, photo, etc.).
  27. Bring in a carved design in a piece of fruit (what type of fruit depends on the season).
  28. Ask to switch desks with someone for a day.
  29. Set-up a team meeting with donuts to share ideas.
  30. Wear all white.
  31. Watch a YouTube video on “Office Pranks”.
  32. Give every co-worker a special rock or flower that you picked for them and tell them why they got the rock that you gave them.
  33. Bring in a board game and play it during lunch.
  34. Write a “thank you” note to your favorite client, customer, or business.
  35. Ask someone if you can decorate their desk.
  36. Do your boss’s or co-worker’s most hated task.
  37. Throw a party for everyone in the office. Give one reason why you appreciate each person and that’s why you are throwing a party for everyone.
  38. Decorate your desk with things you care about.
  39. Bring in face paints and paint employees’ and customers’ faces.
  40. Bring in a cool piece of original art from home and display it in the office.
  41. Create a company song.
  42. Ask one person what their favorite animal is and why.
  43. Bring in Trivial Pursuit cards and ask people questions. If they get it right, they win a piece of candy.
  44. Do a 2 minute meditation in a quiet spot.
  45. Walk up to your nearest co-worker and give them an honest compliment.
  46. On your way home, plan a route that will take you by your favorite local landmark.
  47. Ask a co-worker to teach you a skill of theirs that you’ve admired.
  48. Make a list of 10 things that make you happy at work.
  49. Allow yourself to start fresh at this moment. Nothing that happened earlier in the day matters any more.
  50. Ask a co-worker who has admired your skill if they want you to teach them how to do it themselves.
  51. Use the phrase “I choose…” whenever you catch yourself saying “I need…”
  52. Make your tomorrow’s “to do” list at the end of today.
  53. Ask yourself, “How would my favorite person in all of history handle this situation and go do it.”
  54. Ask someone to share a story about their favorite career moment.
  55. Ask someone to be your mentor for the month. (Extend it if you both enjoy the experience.)
  56. Show up to work 10 minutes early so you can ease into your day.
  57. Admit to a co-worker that you made a mistake and that you were sorry. A clear conscious can do wonders for your happiness.
  58. Organize your desk.
  59. Draw a silly picture for a co-worker just for fun.
  60. Bring in a ten pack of bubbles to the office and give them away.
  61. Ask someone if they could be a part of any moment in history, what would it be.
  62. Smile at everyone and keep doing it for the whole day.
  63. Create an email meme that compliments 3 of your co-workers and/or customers and ask them to compliment 3 people.
  64. Just be in this moment and realize how lucky you are to be alive, breathing, helping, sharing, eating, drinking, laughing, crying, screaming, loving, and being you.

What would you add to make this list even better? 102 tips would be awesome. Just leave your tip in the comments below, either something you’ve been wanting to try or have tried in the past.

If you would like to be happier and more productive at work, you probably should check out the Unlock Your Passions free e-course. It takes you step by step through what you need to bring more passion into your career.

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.

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.

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

How to Exercise Your Vital Powers to Reach Excellence

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I was intrigued by the idea of microresolutions. It’s a great take on the concept of encouraging babysteps.

Today, I bring you the smart and interesting Caroline Arnold who has a book out called Small Move Big Change, Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently.

Karl Staib: What is one task that annoys you? How do you make it more enjoyable or at least tolerable?

Caroline Arnold: A task that annoys me is any task that is fundamentally uninteresting but not yet mindless.  Basically, most of our day is run by a kind of personal autopilot that is made up of behaviors and attitudes that have become entrenched through repetition.

Autopilot is mindless and efficient, you don’t have to think to tie your shoes, or lock the front door–autopilot does it for you.  Autopilot makes it possible to save your mental energy for the most important mental tasks:  problem-solving, decision-making, and self-control.  So, whenever I try to change an autopilot behavior through a microresolution, I find it very annoying, because it requires mental effort.  That’s true whether I’m trying to change a behavior like not saying “I told you so” to my spouse or learning a new behavior such as always leaving some food on my plate at every meal.  But I am able to get through the annoying and stressful part of building a new habit because my microresolution gives me  an immediate payback and by now I’ve worked through so many of these changes that I know that the behavior that annoys me today will become a mindless part of autopilot  in just a few weeks.  Any change causes some discomfort, but by focusing your willpower narrowly on a behavioral target, you can succeed every time, and success is enjoyable!

KS: Why are microresolutions so important to happiness?

CA: A lot of unhappiness comes from feeling that we are helpless to change ourselves.  The desire to self-improve is pretty basic to being human, and when we feel defeated in our efforts, it’s demoralizing.  Microresolutions are designed to always succeed, and that’s tremendously empowering.  Realizing that you absolutely have the power to change yourself is liberating and fulfilling.  I did it!  I actually changed myself!

KS: What is your favorite part of your job? Why?

CA: My favorite part of my job is brainstorming with my team and colleagues.  When the whole team is around the table creating something new, problem-solving, exchanging diverse points of view, and then establishing direction, I find that inspiring.  I also treasure those moments when we face obstacles or find ourselves in crisis and beat the odds by outperforming and through just plain HEART.

KS: How do you maintain harmony between your working and non-working life?

CA: I try to maintain as much of a routine at home as possible.  I make dinner every night, it’s very important me that we gather around the table and share a nice meal and the events of our day.  There are times when work issues makes it a late  dinner, and  times when I go back online to work afterwards, but the dinner hour is a real anchor in our family life.  Some people talk about work/life balance as if it’s something fixed, but It’s never settled–one is always tuning that dial in response to work needs, family needs, personal objectives.  When it comes to demanding jobs and family life, you have to draw your own line, no one will draw it for you.

KS: What is your favorite stress reliever?

CA: Laughing!   Nothing like a few yuks (especially at your own expense) to relieve pressure.  Walking is also an amazing stress reliever.  You experience the season, change your surroundings, rev your metabolism, clear your head, and it’s very meditative.

Frederich Nietzsche said that “all great thoughts are conceived while walking” and I have to say, I have thought through many a gnarly issue as I walked to work.  While I was trying to finish my book my husband gave me a foot rub every night, and that was an amazing stress reliever.  Makes me want to write another book!

KS: If you are feeling down, what do you do to lift your spirits?

CA: If she hasn’t ditched me for the day in favor of teen activities, I hang with my daughter Helen and that lifts my spirits.   Whatever I am grappling with, it pales beside the challenge of growing up and trying to shape one’s own future.  Kids are dealing with demands from every direction, but they are amazingly resilient and capable, and that’s inspiring.

KS: What is your biggest detriment to enjoying your work?

CA: Fatigue.  It’s hard to enjoy anything when you’re tired.  On the days when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m dragging by 2pm, and I hate not feeling top of my game.  There are many exciting projects and conversations to be a part of, but you if you have no energy to participate, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  Sleep is also essential to self-improvement efforts.

Willpower gets restored when you sleep and hormones essential for weight control only get balanced with sufficient sleep.  it’s really difficult to stick with a diet or fitness goal when you’re exhausted.  People spend tons of money on face creams to look younger — getting an extra hour of sleep will do far more for you.  I have a whole chapter on getting more sleep in Small Move, Big Change.   Sleep is like a secret weapon for those who appreciate and respect its power.

KS: What do you do to stay motivated and productive?

CA: Challenging work is, to me, the greatest motivator and makes me most productive in my job.  In my experience, people don’t burn out from challenging work, they burn out from highly political workplaces or relentless routine.  I seek out challenges for myself and for my team, and I find it tremendously motivating to see team members take ownership and nail these challenges with spirit and smarts (and outperform me).

KS: Why do you think someone should buy your “Small move, Big change” book?

CA: Small Move, Big Change is for people who want to be successful every time they make a resolution, period.  It’s about cracking the code on making a personal change that lasts forever.  Whether that’s losing weight, getting fit, arriving on time, improving relationships, getting ahead at work, getting more organized, saving more, or being neater — there is a small move you can make today that will improve your life right now and have far-reaching effects in the future.  The book teaches the art of achieving continuous self-improvement.

KS: If you could give work happiness advice to someone just starting their career in 140 characters or less (Twitter style) what would it be?

CA: I can’t improve on Aristotle who said, “Happiness is the exercise of vital powers along the lines of excellence.”  (What a tweeter Aristotle would have been!)

Find a job where you can give your all, your very best, every day.  Try to work your way into an organization with a vibrant work culture that supports personal growth, risk-taking, and rewards high performance, not political dexterity.  We spend the largest part of every week at work, so look for the opportunity that will stretch you and nurture your growth as a human being.  The best jobs are hard work and also a blast.

Caroline Arnold* You can check out Caroline Arnold website here and her new book on Amazon (affiliate link, which will help pay for my next cup of coffee), Barnes and Noble or visit an Independent bookstore near you.

4 Words You’ll Want to Use More Often in Your Career

Gratitude Changes Lives

Have you ever known someone whose presence is so uplifting you feel better just because you see or talk to him or her?  Someone who carries and spreads joy because of their love of life?

I know someone like that.  His name is Jim Gray.  Mr. Gray lives in the building where I work.  His passion for his work carries over to an overall passion for life.

You can apply Jim Gray’s success secrets to success in your own life!

1. Gratitude

I’ve heard Mr. Gray say many times how lucky he feels that at the age of 81, he is still able to paint.   He enjoys life through a feeling of gratitude, and he generously shares and spreads his joy for life.

“I can’t believe I still get to do this (paint)!” says Jim Gray.  He believes he has had a blessed life and that he has been very lucky.

I believe he has a wonderful life because of his own attitude!

Remember to count your blessings, too.  Every day, if possible, focus on the positive in your life, not the negative.  Mr. Gray does not dwell on the pain of his arthritis or his failing vision.  He focuses on how lucky he thinks he is.  Make it a point to remember how lucky you are (even if you have to program it in to your daytimer or appointments or reminders)!

2. Kindness

My favorite part of the day is when Mr. Gray sticks his head in my office doorway and says, smiling, “Hello, dear!”  No matter how busy, stressed or tired I may have been feeling, I am instantly uplifted by his appearing there because he delivers a positive energy that affects how I feel.

You too can have this effect on others, both in and out of the workplace.  I know it goes beyond the typical definition of “people skills” to try to spread positive energy, but being kind and treating others as you would like to be treated (the “golden rule”)will breed success and happiness.

Authentic caring and kindness are some of the key ingredients of a charismatic personality.  People will want to be near you, and as a consequence, you will have greater influence and success.  Of course, that’s not the only reason to care and be kind to others. Living from a space of caring and kindness will directly affect your own happiness because kindness, success and happiness are all entwined.

3. Humility

Sometimes I hear Mr. Gray in conversation in the hallway outside my office.  He is easily engaged into conversation or advice with others by his love for people.  And people don’t even realize they are chatting casually with a renowned artist! 

Mr. Gray is too humble to think of himself as a “famous artist”.  That’s part of his charm.  He makes such an impact on others because he isn’t thinking of himself at all.  He thinks about other people…he genuinely cares about others… he is sincerely interested in other people.

He often talks and laughs at the same time he paints.  He told me that when he was young he learned to work both sides of his brain at the same time in order to enjoy chatting with people and answering their questions while he was working on a painting.  He does not see their interruptions as a problem, but a gift.

Mr. Gray says, “When you paint outdoors, invariably people will come to share the view you’re looking at (for your painting) and then ask to have their picture taken with you.  They want to watch and talk to you while you work.”

Jim Gray is a prolific artist.  You probably know about the beautiful cast bronze statue of Dolly Parton at the Sevierville, Tennessee courthouse (outside the Gatlinburg area).  Mr. Gray sculpted that!  It’s just one of hundreds of wonderful works of art he has given to the world.

4. Fun

A sense of fun and adventure has kept Jim Gray passionate for both his work and his life.  When people ask Mr. Gray what his favorite painting is, he often answers, his next one!  This may be what keeps him fresh and excited about his project.

Mr. Gray tells me that when he was a younger man living in Tennessee, he used to go off in a camper by himself to find new subject matter.  When he saw a beautiful landscape he wanted to paint on someone’s farm, he would knock on their doors and simply ask if he could paint a picture of their magnificent landscape.  No one ever said no!

“I have a weird, but fun, job,” he says.

So that’s a weird lesson – don’t forget to have fun at work!  Often (especially as we get older), we need to be reminded how important it is to keep having fun, despite all the serious things in our lives and our world.  Laugh and have fun!  Travel or have some adventure for a fresh perspective like Mr. Gray.  Choose several items from these tips to make work more fun.  And carry them out!  Release those endorphins and freshen your perspective so that you can continue or regain love for your work and your life.

Do you or someone you know have a heightened quality of life because of passion for your/their work?  If so, please share your story of inspiration in the comments!

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

How to Create a Better Job for Yourself

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This might mean that you must learn to get creative…or think outside the box…but you can use your current job to provide yourself with free training and new skills to beef up your resume in order to get a pay raise or better career position, or simply to enhance your present workplace and your relationships with your coworkers.

Here are some of the ideas I have used to successfully create a better job for myself:

I became a notary public in just a few hours online, and I did it with my boss’s permission — on company time!  He even let me pay for it on the company credit card because it would be so useful to him to have a notary on the premises.

Pitch Your Boss

The point here is to try to think of an idea you can pitch to your boss that will help him or her or the company, and therefore make you a more valuable employee.   You will have more job security and confidence, management will love you, and you can grow your resume for the future.

My most recent pitch to my boss was not for myself.  I learned that a coworker who is also a friend has a small hobby/side business that requires a lot of social media, so she is very experienced in that field.  We pay our advertising company an astronomical amount of money to have them manage our social media in addition to running our website and designing our ads.  Their contract is up next month.

I talked to my boss and presented my idea to save the company tons of money by having one of our own employees take over the social media portion of the advertising contract for next year.  We could even give my coworker a nice pay raise, but it would be SO much less than we currently spend.   The company would come out MUCH better off financially, and so would my friend.

Believe it or not, being kind and offering to help others can also be an opportunity for you to create a better job for yourself at work.  Because I volunteered to do extra work filling in for someone on maternity leave so that her boss could cope, when she decided not to come back to work after having her baby, the position was given to me…with a pay raise!

Look for Training Opportunities

Another potential way to improve your career options is to sign up for any relevant training programs offered by your employer  You can also find out if they would pay for certifications or classes.  By taking advantage of any learning opportunities available, you can become a more valuable asset to your company while also growing and improving yourself and your capacity to earn more money in the future.

For example, I learned of a fabulous program in my state offered by Workplace Development.  I discovered it through an email sent by our local Chamber of Commerce.  It is a grant offered by the state to pay for employees’ continuing education or to improve or build job skills.

I presented it to my boss and told him I would do all the work involved if he would let me apply for the grant.  (Full disclosure: If I’d realized how much work would be involved in the grant process, I’m not sure I would have been so eager to volunteer for this project!)

With the grant, I am getting approval for over a dozen of my coworkers and myself to take classes on company time for two hours, twice a week.  With our new knowledge and skills, we will then be able to get pay raises, but the company will benefit financially as we apply the new knowledge and skills.

For example, our maintenance staff will learn more intensive plumbing, air conditioning and electrical skills.  They will be able to do more of the big jobs that usually require hiring outside contractors.  Therefore, even with giving the maintenance staff pay raises, the company will come out ahead by saving money spent on contracted services.  Win-win!

For myself, I am taking accounting and Quickbooks classes so I can cover for our bookkeeper when she goes on vacation, rather than having to wait for her return every time she takes a few days off.  Perhaps one day, I’ll even want to change my career from administrative assistant to accounting. In the meantime, I have a pretty good thing going with the present job I created for myself.

Frame Your Idea in Positive Way

The first time I asked my boss if he had a few minutes to talk to me, I felt him cringe as he assumed I was going to ask for a raise.  (There was no money in the budget for that.)  I learned to ask instead, “Do you have a few minutes so I can run an idea by you?”  Now when I approach with a big grin asking if he has time to talk about a new idea, my boss is eager to hear what I have to say.

Have you ever pitched a new or creative idea to your boss that changed your job or experience?  Please share your ideas or comments!

Contributed by Deborah Shelby of Prayerful Mom.

Day 30 of 30 Meditation Challenge – Micro Progress

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

It’s simply beautiful.

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

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

Catalyst

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

Now the button has been pushed.

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

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

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

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

Your Career

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

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

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

“Most important first!”

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

So I stopped.

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

What a difference this has made.

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

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

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

Small Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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Your Turn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 19 of 30 Meditation Challenge – Slow Rocking Meditation

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

Good question!

Most career depressions are due to a lack of perspective.

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

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

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The Shift is Happening

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

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

I also rocked to my heartbeat.

It was a unique experience.

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

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

Tipping Point

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

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

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

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

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

B. M. C.

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

Your Turn

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

Learn more about how meditation can improve your career:

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