5 Powerful Questions Every Boss Should Ask Herself

What can I do to bring more happiness to my employees?

There is one aspect of my work that makes me so amazingly happy I feel blessed to be doing what I’m doing. I think this is an overlooked part that we don’t see because we are so busy with our own lives and careers.

We get to work with people who want to be happier.

You can probably say the same thing for at least 90% of your co-workers. Some of them probably want to stay miserable, but for the most part most of them want to be happier. Helping them bring more happiness into their lives is vital to growing your career.

The thing that makes my job fun is that happiness and productivity go hand in hand. A happy employee is much more productive than an unhappy one.

“A happy workplace can increase sales by 37%” (Martin Seligman from Psychology Today)

“A happy workplace can decrease burnout by 125%.” (Harvard Business Review)

The hard part is harnessing this happiness. Employee happiness can feel so elusive

One of the most interesting questions I get from employers is how does work happiness improve the bottom line.

ROI is important, I get it.

You want to make sure that employees are happy, but you also want the best results for your business.

Quick Story

I had a friend who works for an amazing company. They follow many of the work happiness rules, they give free drinks and candy to employees, they have a slide, they bring in speakers, and they give their employees a flexible work schedule.

The problem is they fall in the same trap that most technology companies do. They want happy employees, but they don’t work on the fundamentals. The stuff that shows employees that their work matters a lot and empowers them to create better results. Employees want to see their hard work matters. They want to see progress.

If your company is just throwing great perks at you then your company culture will suffer. They must give tools to employees that want to improve the company.

You give me a piece of dark chocolate and I’ll be happy for a few minutes, but then I’ll go back to my normal mood. It’s a quick fix for the moment, not a long-term solution.

“Happiness is the joy that we feel on the way to living our potential.” Shawn Achor

Improving your happiness at work is not a quick fix. It’s long-term thinking that helps employees feel happy and stay happy. This is where progress is vital to every employee.

Does your company keep doing the same things over and over to try to bring more happiness to your workday?

Little Steps

What really needs to happen is working with employees’ emotions to help encourage them to build better relationships, do work that matters to them, and improve their results. There are no quick fixes when it comes to emotions. It all starts with listening to employees and their opinions of what needs to happen to improve the company.

This concept has been going on for ages. The blacksmith that encourages an apprentice to share his ideas with him is someone that learns from his apprentice to make his business better.

I call this the Flying V.

You’ve probably seen the V formation that geese use as they migrate to warmer or colder climates, depending on the season. They use this formation to help support each other through the journey. One goose takes the brunt of the wind (friction) and creates the starting point for the draft that all the other geese benefit from as they fly behind.

One goose doesn’t fly at the front for the whole journey. When he gets tired, he’ll drop back and let someone else take the lead. They trade off to support each other through the journey. It’s this technique that allows them to fly further together.

Most companies should utilize this same principle. Each employee knows his job well, but many times isn’t utilized to their full extent. They don’t require their employees to help support the company with their ideas. They follow the head geese (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.) ideas, implement their strategies, and feel underutilized.

The C level executives should be dropping back from time to time to rest and let other employees support the larger mission of the company.

The idea is a simple one, just ask employees for the best ways to improve the company. The hard part is implementing this within an organization. I talked with a client who was the head of HR that struggled to actually make time to listen to their employees’ suggestions.

They liked the idea, but were stuck in their old habits.

As a leader it’s your job to break these old habits.

If you are a leader at work you have to ask yourself some powerful questions:

  1. What can I do to be happier?
  2. What can I do to help employees build stronger relationships?
  3. Am I eliminating obstacles for my employees?
  4. Am I asking for feedback from my employees?
  5. What can I do to empower my employees to utilize their passions?

The first question is one that many managers forget to ask themselves. They think their happiness doesn’t matter to their employees, but it truly does. Happiness is contagious. If you are happy, your employees will be happier too.

The best part is that it’s mutually beneficial to everyone to bring more happiness into the workplace. Happy employees are more engaged, so you have their actions heading in the right direction. That’s the beauty of happiness. It’s easy to get them taking action on the right things because this is where the best results come from.

I have a step-by-step process that I’ve come up with through years of research, testing, and coaching. It’s called the “Happy Employees” program. It’s in BETA and I would love to talk with you if you are interested in bringing more happiness to your team. You can click here to learn more and we can set-up a quick chat to see if I think my program will help you and your employees.

You can click here to learn more. It explains what it takes to bring the Flying V techniques to your company so you can bring more happiness and engagement to your employees. If you are an employee and think your company can benefit from these ideas then send them on to your boss. It’s at least a good way to spark a conversation.

10 Ways to Make this Year the Best Year Ever

celebrate more

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

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

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

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

1. Believe in your talents.

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

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

2. Celebrate more.

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

 3. Give help when you can.

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

4. Recharge your battery.

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

5. Appreciate what you have. (AKA gratitude)

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

6. Say yes to challenges that help you grow.

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

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

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

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

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

 9. Ask for help when you are struggling.

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

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

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

I’m not perfect and neither is this list.

So…

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

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

7 Habits of Healthy, Happy, and Productive People [Infographic]

If you believe in the idea that a positive and happy person is also a productive and healthy person, you probably have attempted to take some steps to achieve that idea. As with anything in life, though, making lifestyle changes isn’t as easy in theory as in practice.

Taking steps to make yourself happier has to become something you incorporate into your daily life until it becomes a habit.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps that will make you a happier person, whether at work or at home.

Exercising

Long-distance runners describe the “runner’s high” after several miles, which is a surge of energy and confident feelings that chases away the exhaustion and pain from the run to that point. The good news is you don’t have to necessarily run several miles to receive a similar feeling.

Any form of exercise outdoors, from walking to running to cycling, can release the endorphins in the brain that provide the feelings of revitalization and happiness, while releasing tension. A company that can provide encouragement for its employees to exercise, whether through providing time in the workday or providing some sort of incentive, will almost certainly have happier, healthier employees down the road.

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

Volunteering

Another great way to encourage feelings of happiness and gratefulness in employees at work is to provide an opportunity for volunteerism. Some companies will encourage employees to take a couple of hours out of the work week to give back, whether it’s at a local school, hospital, or other organization.

Thinking back to the “runner’s high” discussed earlier, many people who volunteer receive similar benefits and feelings in what’s called a “helper’s high” achieved through volunteerism. In fact, some of the overall benefits for the volunteer are similar to what’s achieved through exercise, including better physical health and less tension and negative feelings over time.

Teamwork

Having employees work together as a team to achieve a goal almost certainly will create more feelings of satisfaction and happiness among them. Being able to count on coworkers on a team project can cause them to count on each other in other aspects of the workday and outside the office, too.

One key to creating teams of people who work well together is to teach them how to listen properly. As the infographic below shows, four keys to learning how to listen properly are:

  1. Maintain eye contact
  2. Don’t cross your arms
  3. Avoid distractions, such as from a smartphone
  4. Occasionally paraphrase what the other person is saying to show you understanding what’s being discussed

Fun Time

All work and no play makes the office a pretty dull place to be. It also puts a significant dent in the work the employer has done to try to build the level of happiness for employees through the steps outlined above.

Finding ways to help your employees laugh at work and be happier is a good idea. Certainly, the office is designed to be a serious place most of the time. But there’s no reason employees can’t be encouraged to have time for laughter too.

Laughter releases endorphins in the brain, and these will reduce stress for the employees. People who laugh together also tend to build social connections over time that will help with the teamwork aspect of the office described earlier. And having employees who are closer to each other and who connect with each other better will lead to improved productivity, which is a great benefit for any employer.

Healthy-Habits-590

This infographic was provided by Mark Kirkpatrick.

1,000 Thank You’s a Day

smile-bench-bird

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

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

Nope.

I was alone.

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

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

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

The list went on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can do 2 thank you’s a minute.

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 Healthy Rewards to Boost Your Happiness

holding-dove-dark-chocolate

Last week I was struggling to do a few simple tasks. I laid my head down on my desk and sighed. The two tasks weren’t a lot of fun, but I needed to get them done.

So instead of forcing myself to do them I decided to take a kinder self-approach. If I finished the first task I would take a 10 minute walk. If I finished the second task I would get myself a piece of Dove dark chocolate.

It’s important to remember it’s not just the reward that you give yourself for doing a difficult task. It’s how you use it to recharge your internal battery. A difficult task can drain your energy and if you don’t savor the reward it’s not benefiting you as much as it could.

Once I finished my task I grabbed the Dove dark chocolate piece, unwrapped it, and mindfully placed it on my tongue. I let it sit their for 3 deep breaths then chewed it. It made up for the tedious task. It also gave me some energy for my next task.

External rewards are really good for tasks that don’t have a lot of internal motivation. So if you can’t get yourself excited about a tedious task try these little “carrot” type of rewards to help get your happiness and productivity back on track.

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

Reinforcing good habits is paramount to building habits that help you stop procrastinating and taking action on work that needs to get done.

1. Take a short walk.
2. Write down 5 things you are currently grateful for right now.
3. Have lunch with a friend.
4. Eat a piece of dark chocolate.
5. Take a 20 minute nap.
6. Drink a really good cup of tea.
7. Do a quick celebration dance to your favorite song.
8. Call a friend for a few minutes.
9. Share your hard work on Facebook.
10. Go work in the park for an hour.
11. Do a smile session. Think of someone you love and smile. Repeat this 10x. (Best to do this in an empty room so you don’t scare anyone.)
12. Buy a small gift for yourself.
13. Make a thank you card for yourself so you can read it at the end of the month.
14. Go get a massage.
15. Watch a funny clip on YouTube. (Search “ultimate dog tease or office pranks”)
16. Read some of your favorite quotes.
17. Eat a ripe piece of fruit.
18. Drink a glass of wine or beer. Good for weekend tasks. :)
19. Buy a sandwich for a friend.
20. Write a poem to a loved one.
21. Meditate for 10 minutes
22. Play a board game with a friend.
23. Offer to do a boring job for a friend to help them and you appreciate your work.
24. Go “old school” and use a pen for the next half hour.
25. Put underwear on your head and sing the song, “I am awesome.” (This might not be in the healthy or do at work category, but it should release some endorphins after you crack yourself up.)
26. Play your favorite game for the next 20 minutes. (Set a timer so you don’t over do it.)
27. Email a friend thanking them for all their support.
28. Bake banana and raisin cookies for yourself and the office.
29. Move the furniture around in your office to make it more Feng Shui friendly.
30. Make a list of the next 5 people you want to build a friendship with to grow your community.

You can alter or change these healthy rewards to fit your personality. Remember to not repeat something too often. If you reward yourself with a piece of chocolate after every little tedious task that you complete your waistline might not be very grateful for you increased productivity.

What type of small reward would you add to the list?

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

Like Us On Facebook