I stopped what I was doing and wrote down 5 things I was grateful for.
- My comfortable pants.
- My wife – who was probably starting to cook me dinner.
- My bunghole of a dog – who has forced me to be more relaxed with my frustration.
- My thumb – because it looked really cool at that moment.
- My brother – who always knows what to say to make me feel good about myself.
It worked. I calmed down, walked around to stretch my legs, then came back to my desk and finished the part of the project that I needed to email to my co-worker.
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An interview is a wonderful way of understanding what you believe. You can’t prepare for random questions; you just have to say the first thing that pops in your head. Most of the time. We can’t say everything. Stacey of Let It Flow asked me some very interesting questions, so check out the half hour interview and listen to what we talked about.
My favorite technique of Stacey’s was her ability to ask follow up questions that dug deeper into the subject of work happiness. There are millions of staged interviews, but they are always boring. Always! The best ones are when the conversation flows naturally.
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Tony Hsieh of Zappos is everywhere. He was on the cover of Inc. Magazine. He speaks at large conferences and spreads the Zappos culture message. I felt lucky to hear him speak at SxSW conference this past year.
I’ve touted Tony’s leadership on Work Happy Now. I’ve also been spurred to write a few articles because of his blog. But now I landed an interview with him. Tony’s employee called him a genius. You know when an employee calls his boss a genius, this person must be something special. After all, your employees are the ones who see you for 40 to 50 hours a week and begin to see the cracks.
Tony has made me view work happiness from new angles. I’m glad he is out there in the business world. He helped create Zappos, a company that emphasizes the importance of enjoying work. His concepts are leading the employee revolution, encouraging change in the business world.
Karl: How important is work happiness to you?
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(email subscribers: click here to go to Work Happy Now to view the video)
What you focus on will determine how much joy you can extract from a situation. When you can focus your thoughts on enjoying the moment instead of trying to reach a goal, success will come naturally.
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I know working happy works because I live it. Well, most of the time. Not because the companies I worked for always gave me every perk, all the money I needed or non-stop appreciation. I had to do most of those things for myself. I learned that looking for and finding meaning/purpose in my work kept my motivation much higher.
Now I believe that if my past jobs would have given me motivational booster sessions it would have been a lot easier to sustain my motivation at a higher level.
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The more you delay gratification the more you will dislike your job.
Not all of us can love our jobs. I don’t love mine, but I do like it. It’s all about figuring out the best way to cultivate your happiness at your job – maximizing instead of hating.
You have to be in control. Not forced control, but the type of perspective that allows you to be okay with whatever life throws at you. You may not be able to increase your pay or reduce your hours, but you have plenty of tools you can use to improve your work happiness.
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I’ve signed up for Google Tech Talks. They are sent to my inbox each week. The video in this post is a great example of why Google is the work happy master. Your company could watch a Google video each week to help with stress relief, productivity, and work happiness. It’s a fantastic resource that we should all utilize.
In this video you’ll learn:
- How to better understand your mind
- Why mediation is an awesome way to relieve stress
- How to increase your focus during a difficult project
- How to deal with your anger
Tomorrow I’ll be posting my one week update on “no complaining at work.”
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Drop the things that bore you and only do what is necessary.
That’s it. Letting go of the things that don’t excite you and only doing what is absolutely needed. They are the two greatest productivity tools that you can learn. There are many times we think we have to do something, but in reality we don’t.
The only way you are actually going to accomplish a task is if you are more excited about doing it than any alternative action. If you love to do something, you are going to want to do a lot of it. If it bores you then you are going to avoid it.
Too Simple? Maybe it is, but it works. It works because you are tapping into your most primal instinct – do what feels good.
You will write a lot if you want to do it more than riding a bike, watching TV, or hanging out with friends. I love to do all those things, but I probably write more than I do anything else because I love to get ideas out. It means more to me than catching my favorite TV show.
You are going to work hard if you enjoy doing the job more than alternative options. If you choose to coast, you do this because the desire to be productive isn’t stimulating. The need to create is weak. It could be that the work is tedious or your boss never shows appreciation. Whatever the reason, it’s wrecking your ability to be productive.
I write to find new parts of myself, which gets me energized. I use those writings to reach others and hopefully excite them. I become passionate on two levels
Part 1 – Internal Excitement
I never write about what doesn’t interest me because I know that it won’t interest others. Even if I know it will make a great blog post I would rather put it aside and do something I really want to think and write about. I will run with any thought or idea that has any flicker of hope to start a fire. I’ll write about emotional development, ants walking on a flower, business development, a poem about dancing around my home naked, career advice, and my dog because when that spark is burning within me I use it; otherwise it fades fast.
Part 2 – How this action affects the “Future Me”
I have to think about what I do and how it affects the “future me.” Living in the moment is great, but it doesn’t always help build my reputation as a person who can help people improve their working life. When I’m working, I’m there in that moment, but I also seek to understand how this action fits into the way I want the “future me” to be perceived.
Drinking a few beers during lunch may feel good at the time, but the side effects hinder those feel good receptors in your brain that are waiting to be filled with natural dopamine. In the moment of the alcohol buzz, you feel good, but when you get back to work the sluggishness takes over and all you feel like doing is taking a nap. Every choice has its consequences. When I write, I’m building a portfolio of content that is shaping my future. I may physically feel better going for a walk or practicing a little Yoga, but it doesn’t help refine my future as much as writing, so I make a choice to write more because it still feels good and improves the “future me.”
The Small Catch that Anchors Your Productivity
The particular task that you are doing may bore you, but sometimes you do have to make small sacrifices in light of the “bigger picture.” If you are a writer you may hate editing, but you understand that in order to get that deep buzz of excitement that hits your soul, you have to sacrifice a few hours or days of pain to achieve the results you want. This sweet spot is where most great business people, artists, and creators keep returning to find success. The possibility for more future excitement gets that energy going and it’s tough for them to stop.
The CEOs that get themselves into positions of power do it by digging in and working on something that excites them and has potential. They may start off running around like chickens with their heads cut off for the first few years, but they know they are building a foundation for something more exciting – the ability to make good decisions and affect other people’s lives. If your passion is lacking then the work suffers and failure is the likely result.
I’m not talking about the failure to keep a job. Most of us can coast, do the minimum and keep receiving our paychecks, but that’s not where the fun is. Work becomes a chore and that constitutes a failure on your part. So it’s up to you to match your internal (gut) excitement with the future potential to get the most out of your projects.
For example, when you envision a clean work space, you probably see yourself sitting in your chair with a smile on your face, just grabbing that report or pen because everything is organized. This thought may get you excited and willing to take action, but you won’t sustain that energy if you can’t clearly see how much it will help you.
Productivity will create happiness if you strive to achieve both parts:
- Internal Excitement
- Potential Future Excitement
Both feel good, but when they are combined, you will produce great results.
* If you can’t stop yawning it’s not this post, it’s that baby. It made me yawn like 10 times while I formated it and posted this article.
- 1 Simple Tip on How to be More Productive
- How to Tell if You are an Energy Sucker
- How to Get Your Boss Naked
Image courtesy of Steve Webel
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“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
All of these problems that we see in others we also see in ourselves; a lot of the things that annoy us stem from an internal attack on our own person. I’ve noticed the people who are most at peace with themselves are most compassionate toward other people. They understand that improving their outlook is more important than changing other people’s habits.
I always wanted to be more relaxed when I commuted to work, but I couldn’t find a perspective to help me be compassionate toward other people. I wanted them to drive like me. I found myself getting mad at each driver who took their good old time making a turn or they stopped at a yellow light and this needed to change.
When a driver in front of me didn’t make that yellow light, I let the anger in and accepted these feelings. Eventually they stopped taking hold of my mood because
I acknowledged these feelings
Relaxed with them
Redirected my thoughts toward something positive
Now when I’m making a turn I take my time and enjoy the shift in force from the car’s speed. When I come out of a turn I take the time to notice a tree that I pass or a person walking on the sidewalk. My attention is not about getting to work it’s finding the cool little things that I’ve never took the time to notice before. I’ve created a new me when I drive, redirecting my thoughts to encourage happiness.
I’m changing my life one habit at a time. I don’t require as much from others. I just make the change in myself and it allows me to have more compassion.
You can make changes in your own life to reflect what you want to see in others. Please remember that you will never be perfect, but as long as you keep adding new positive habits to your life, you’ll improve your happiness.
Other cool “Emotional Tools for Better Working” articles:
Image courtesy of Rigmarole
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What is Alltop you ask? Alltop is a site that takes the best blog feeds from all types of categories and displays them on their site. Their description of what they do goes like this…
We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — ”aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, celebrity gossip, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the latest five stories from thirty or more sites on a single page — we call this “single-page aggregation.”
You can think of an Alltop site as a “dashboard,” “table of contents,” or even a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points — they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In this way, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation.”
I have officially become a valued source to the work happy industry. I know that to become a self actualized person I shouldn’t need validation from outside sources, but I can’t help it. The inclusion of my blog feed into their site makes me proud.
So take a look around and see if you can discover any other great sites. My recommendations would be…
- Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk
- Escape from Cubicle Nation
- Passion, People and Principles
- Three Star Leadership Blog
- The Chief Happiness Officer
There are so many great sites and I hate to pick only a few, but I wanted to give you a head start. So check them out and be impressed, and If you don’t want to miss any more of the action from Work Happy Now then subscribe to my blog feed and get your daily work happiness fix.
Oh yeah! I almost forgot, it was pointed out to me that my Google PageRank is at a 5. The scale goes from 1 being low to 9 being so crazy good that it makes you pee your pants. Being at a 5 in less than 3 months is pretty good. I want to thank everyone who has left a comment. When you join in with the conversation it makes this blog 10x better. Just think, when this site explodes you’ll be able to say you were there from the beginning. Okay maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but that’s what this site is all about – living your work dreams. Thanks, now it’s back to work leaving comments, editing my next blog, and online networking.
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