Archives for happiness

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 3 of 4

What does 2018 have in store?

Some things may seem out of your control, but there is no good outcome that can occur by spending time thinking about them. Rather, invest time in creating a vision of your new year that inspires and empowers you to do what is in your power to do so, which is all you can do, and yet, is much more powerful than you might expect.

Already the days are getting longer, and the dawn of a new era is always just a decision away.

We will talk about 3 new categories this week, with 3 more remaining. These categories are all important to your overall happiness and fulfillment. We tend to think that we can compartmentalize our life, and even having such categories might imply that, but what we need to realize if we are ever to achieve mastery in our lives, is that each category impacts the others.

Whether you have someone to kiss at midnight this year or not, we are going to start by recreating your vision of romance.

7. Love Life

Who has a relationship that you envy and why?  Some may tell you that envy is unhealthy, but that’s only if your admiration of someone’s life makes you sad instead of inspired. What would your life be like if you were able to have the kind of love that you admire?

If you have been in a long-term partnership, as I have (married 12 years, together for 17), you might feel as though it has already been as good as it will get. We can’t go back to the past, but we can infuse fresh life into relationships. I have seen miracles happen in this area. The magic comes from communication, compassion, and generosity.  Tony Robbins has some great videos of moments that he transformed relationships in minutes. It is possible!

If you are unattached, but wish to be, I have some friends in your boat, too. I have no answers for you. You probably have gotten a lot of advice, and perhaps even been set up more times than you care to have been. Some may think your standards are too high, or perhaps even feel like you choose the wrong matches. It’s still worthwhile, in my opinion, to create a vision of your ideal mate – the qualities, physical features, etc. While you are doing so, be in the feeling of having this person, rather than the feeling of missing this person.

The same method works for an established relationship:  it is the emotional component that activates the law of attraction. When American Indians did rain dances, they didn’t pray FOR rain, they prayed FROM rain – from the feeling of gratitude that rain was already coming.

You may have a great relationship, in which case, enjoy making plans of how you can deepen your relationship in the New Year – adventures you can have, ways to test yourselves and grow in new ways.

8. Lifestyle

From what I see, most of us start out our lives determined to live a certain lifestyle and then make decisions that we think will lead us to live that way. Sometimes, however, we want to live a different life than the one we were raised in, and may struggle to know what different decisions could be made that would help us transform our lifestyle.

Do you know someone who has a lifestyle that you would like to attain? Are there biographies available? Are they accessible? Could you interview them? Perhaps they might even be willing to mentor you. In my experience with successful people, many of them enjoy their blessings even more when they are able to pay it forward and help others.  A willing student is like a brand new canvas they can paint.

You may not need a full transformation of your lifestyle, but perhaps just a level-up in 2018.  Maybe you have been sacrificing travel for family obligations and next year’s level up is to travel more often. Where do you want to go? What are the costs of going? What are the landmarks you want to visit or adventures you want to experience?

Other things you can look to level-up:  vehicle, technology, garden, kitchen, office décor, organization, automation.

This category can seem superficial to some, and therefore unimportant. I want you to consider that while the true measure of a person is not what they possess; we often tend to measure ourselves this way anyway. We may even determine that we should deprive ourselves to be a good person, or that we are less than because we don’t possess what others do.

I don’t condone this thinking, but it happens, and society supports it, even breeds it.

Sometimes, things make us happy. Should we measure our lives by them? I’m not one to say “should” or “shouldn’t”.

I do know that there are scientifically-proven benefits to feeling happy, and if something makes you happy, you would be doing yourself good to allow yourself to enjoy it.

9. Character

How often have you thought about what kind of person you want to be, or how you want to be remembered?

The classic movie and book, A Christmas Carol, always makes me think about what impression people have that I might not know they have about me.

Did you ever picture yourself at your funeral? What do you think people would say? What would you want them to say?

One exercise a coach brought me through years ago was making a list of the top 5 people I admired, and then listing their top 3 qualities. It was said by this coach that these qualities are actually your true self, and that is the reason these qualities appeal to you.

We may not always operate in accordance with those qualities because what we learn and endure throughout our lives may take us out of alignment with those qualities, but they are intrinsically a part of us.

To help these qualities manifest more often, we must first raise our self-awareness and notice when we are not exhibiting those qualities. Then, we keep recreating and reinforcing a vision of ourselves as someone who consistently exhibits those qualities, and soon we make more decisions from this place of being. Then we also start enjoying the outcomes of making those decisions in terms of our relationships, improved habits, and peace of mind.

I know this makes it sound so simple. The truth is our brain defaults to make this type of change very challenging. It is possible, however, with a clear vision of the desired changes, resolve to stay self-aware, and commitment to sticking with it.

Which of the 9 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you?

Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover the last 3 categories next week.

 

Have a memorable, safe, EPIC new year!

Europe – The Final Countdown (Official Video)

Europe’s official music video for ‘The Final Countdown’. Click to listen to Europe on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/EuropeSpot?IQid=EuropeTFC As featured on 1982-1992.

Step 6 to Career Happiness: Refine! It is and it isn’t a Numbers Game

Numbers by MorebyLess of Flickr

 

A lot of people do not follow step five to happiness, asking for help, because they assume that the reasons they are not able to land the job that they want after making a concerted effort are beyond their control, or worse, that the problem is them. In other words, they feel beyond help. This is a dangerous and wildly inaccurate perspective, because it can lead to hopelessness and depression.

There has been a trend in the past year on LinkedIn I have been watching with concern. Against personal branding best practices, people are pouring their heart out about their despair in their status updates, as comments on other viral status updates, or even calling out people that they blame for their situation.

Even though most get what they seek with these actions, sympathy, encouragement, sometimes even advice or offers to help, there is a detriment to doing this, which I cover in my vlog, Get Interviews Through Your Network – The #1 Key Ingredient Most People Are Missing. However, some advice people give is good, and some of it, unfortunately, can actually make people feel worse in the end.

The advice that can be most damaging is that it is a numbers game. By the time someone has gone seeking advice online, they have usually already exhausted themselves replying to anything and everything for which they could possibly be a fit.

To hear that they just have to sustain that somehow can be very daunting. And, I do not think I need to repeat the definition of insanity.

What they really need to hear is that some of their activities are going to produce really great results, and when they discover what that is they do not have to spend nearly as much time and effort getting those results.

To be clear, the results you want to see in your job transition of course are interviews, but not just any interviews. Interviews are a big expenditure of our effort and energy. To do them right you have to do a lot of research, practicing and mentally practicing, making yourself look and feel professional, and then there is the adrenaline needed to just travel there and get through the interview. Then, of course, there is the energy that you spend after the interview wondering how you did, when you will hear something, when the appropriate time to follow up is, do you even want this opportunity, did they like you… On and on.

While momentum in your job transition does look like multiple viable opportunities in play at the same time, the key is “viable.” Judiciously give time and energy for opportunities that are a good fit for you and you for them.

Backing up a few steps, other results that indicate that you are doing the right activities, are introductions to other people relevant to your goals, whether they be in a target company or not. Even one introduction to someone who is well-connected can lead to multiple high-quality leads, if you can teach them how to develop those leads for you.

That is the other key – not only do you have to do the right activities, but you have to do them in the right way.

Though many people do not know what the right activities are and what the right way to engage and execute is, anyone can learn them. It is also true that this can differ from person-to-person based on individual goals, challenges, and strengths.

You can discover these on your own, which means instituting a good activity tracking system that also tracks your results, evaluating that on a regular basis, and experimenting with and tweaking your activities.

I estimate that if you were disciplined with inputting your activities, strong with data analysis, and bold enough to try various activities, that with some trial and error, you could be much more productive and efficient by week five or six.

If you do not have five or six weeks for trial and error, you do not consider yourself disciplined, strong in analysis, or bold by nature, but you are coachable, you can be more productive and efficient in half the time by engaging a career coach like me who has the systems, tools, expertise, and a strong track record of results.

Besides the pragmatics of your activities and what you do, there is also another how that must be addressed, because some people are doing the right activities, but who they are does not inspire the action of others. I’m not trying to say that people are being wrong, but what I am saying is that some people are not being their full, complete selves. Before you invest in a coach, you have to find one with whom you can be completely open and vulnerable, otherwise your investment could be in vain. A coach worthy of your investment will be able to identify and promptly, compassionately share with you when you are not thinking or acting in your highest good. Furthermore, besides tools and systems to help you and your activities, they will also offer tools and systems to help you heal and restore so you show up as a person that you would hire.

So, while you know you are doing the right things in the right ways from the right frame of mind when you have multiple viable opportunities in play, the key is to getting there is not to continue activities at a high volume for the sake of activity.

If you have come to an unfortunate and inaccurate conclusion based on lack of results that you are the problem, please have a free consultation with me. You are actually whole, complete, and perfect by nature, though you may have been taught and believe otherwise. You do enough, you have enough, and you are enough. You may need some help accepting that, or you may not have answered the call to adventure that is true to you.

 

Success and happiness is yours for the taking.

This is the final part of my six-part series. If you have missed previous entries please see steps one, two, three, four, and five.

 

Step 2 to Career Happiness

Happiness by Goutier Rodrigues of Flickr

 

Some people grow up believing that they can do anything. Some people have parents that reinforce this belief. When you grow up under these conditions, you develop a very friendly perception of the world. You perceive very few limits and are attuned to identifying and leveraging resources to achieve goals. You are apt to try things that other people would never attempt, simply because you have an ingrown faith that success is inevitable.

Many would consider you blessed, even charmed, and they may be resentful. Just as it is hard for them to understand why you are so lucky, it can be more difficult for you to empathize with people who suffer from career and financial shortcomings. To you, it looks like a choice.

You are not wrong, however the choice is not a conscious one.

We all run on programming that we developed at critical, impressionable stages growing up. Even two people growing up in the same household can develop very different beliefs with a different meaning they ascribe to the same event.

Last week, my challenge to those who identify a recurring, automatic belief that success is for others was to imagine yourself in your current circumstances, but in the flow. The flow is a state of being in which you feel that just by being your fabulous, highest self, things are working out perfectly.

Perhaps your commute to work has green lights all the way. There is a parking spot right up close. Nobody comes to talk to you for 15 minutes while you evaluate and plan out your day. The meeting you dreaded has been rescheduled. That person you’ve been trying to reach has returned your message. The challenge that you were working through last week has a viable solution. The week you requested off has been approved. The project you and your team successfully completed has received high accolades and has been noticed by key players in your organization. Your boss now wants to talk to you about growth opportunities. Everyone you speak with is picking up on your positive vibes and returning them with friendly gestures and offers to help. You end your day having satisfied your list of tasks, and even made headway on some strategic initiatives that will help you gain even more visibility and credibility. On your commute home, your favorite song comes on the radio, and you sing like no one is watching, even though they are. You get home to a peaceful, clean house or apartment and your favorite meal, courtesy of someone you love. After spending some time engaging in a favorite pastime, you excitedly take a look at your day ahead, and rest easy knowing everything is as it should be.

Have you ever had a day like this?

If not, or if it has been a while, the first step is visualizing your day to go exactly as you want it to.

Practice it every night and or morning for a week, and then start this new exercise:

Visualize your ideal day with the circumstances you perceive to be ideal.

Perhaps you no longer commute, and instead work from home or from anywhere. Perhaps instead of speaking with grumpy customers all day who complain about a poor product your company makes, you are onboard and supporting clients who love what your company has helped them do. Perhaps instead of having a boss who rarely offers support and guidance, you are working underneath one of the most brilliant minds in business and she invests an hour or two each week to coach you on how to get to the next level. Maybe instead of following someone else’s rules that do not make any sense, you are architecting the best practices and standard operating procedures that are helping your organization run über efficiently and effectively.

Sometimes we think that we envy someone else’s situation, and then we put ourselves in it and realize there are things about their situation that we would not want.

I have a client who thought his ideal employers were in the city, which would have been an hour or longer commute every day, after running a company from home for many years. He took a job in the interim that was still a significant commute, but much shorter than the city. He realized in the first week of having that job, and not having seen his three-year-old for several days in a row, that working for those employers in the city would not have made him happy.

Now that he knows this, he has a greater peace and empowerment around his choices. He can more confidently invest his time and energy into a next step that will make him happy at home and at work.

His homework is the same as yours – once you have spent a week visualizing yourself in your current circumstances in the flow, spend a week visualizing ideal circumstances, from wake up time to sleep time.

The best time to do this is in the morning when your conscious and subconscious mind are still closely connected. You may also choose to do this as you go to bed, though sometimes I can get myself so excited that I do not sleep as well.

This exercise alone does not stop those recurring beliefs that success is for other people. You will still want to notice them, and when you do, go back into your visualization, but affirm for yourself that this is possible for you.

 

If that feat is very challenging, ask yourself why it isn’t possible for you.

Are these answers truth, or story?

 

Get in the Game

Baseball by PaulMLocke of Flickr

 

Was it hard to tell this Monday from any other Monday at work?

Can you remember the last time you felt triumphant at work?

Has it been more than three years since your last big professional growth spurt?

Your answers may reveal that you have been coasting. Sometimes we need to coast, like when we are going through big personal challenges. The impacts of these challenges can last a year or two (caring for an ailing elderly relative can take much longer). It can take us out of contention for professional growth and opportunity. There is only so long you can coast before ultimately running out of gas.

It may not be your fault; bad companies and bosses can kill your motivation and inhibit your desire to do more than a job requires.

Regardless, it is against our nature to stay stagnant too long and it can be detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Ambition is something that we naturally generate. We can get into situations where we are re-trained to kill our own ambitions, and it can start at a very early age.

Pretty soon we are convincing ourselves that we are fine; the status quo is comfortable; change is unwanted and scary.

My friend since middle school ended a marriage she was unhappy in after she found evidence on Facebook that he was cheating. A couple years later she is very grateful for that evidence, because she may have stayed unhappy even longer without it. She is currently engaged to my brother’s friend, a man I have known since he was a boy, who I know is making her happy, will make her happy, and will be the loyal and affectionate spouse she wanted her ex to be. She said, “You don’t know how unhappy you were until you are happy.”

I do my monthly Epic Career Tales podcast so that people can be inspired by the level of success and happiness that other people have achieved. I know it is not always good to compare yourself with other people, but if you aren’t getting back from a job what you put into it, then you already know that you’re not as happy as you could be. But how do you know how happy you could be unless you compare yourself to how happy other people are?

A lot of you reading this right now have an automatic thought coming through saying, “Yeah, but those people aren’t me. They are [enter any one of the following: smarter, luckier, more privileged, prettier, wealthier, not as busy, more educated, better connected, etc.]”

If you don’t, that is great for you, because you have few reasons not to take action and become happy.

However, if you recognize that thought, that is also great for you, because recognizing it is the first step in taking its power away.

This post is not meant to put you on a path to extreme change in your life so that you can have happiness. I realize that if you have this thought then you also perceive the effort of becoming happy as potentially futile.

You may want to take action, and I encourage it, but effort is something I want you to save until you have a clear vision of what you being happy in your job could look like.

Tony Robbins has said, “Activity without a high-level of purpose is the drain of your fortune.”

So many of my clients are hesitant to picture what it could look like to be happy because they think that it will lead to greater disappointment.

Tony Robbins has also said that our expectations of what our reality should look like can cause our misery.

I just want to leave you with one distinction that might help clear up what seems to be a contradiction.

Be mindful of how you define happiness. The change you think might be necessary in order to achieve this may not be anything external.

Instead of thinking in terms of what you get when better conditions exist, think about you and your current conditions. Picture yourself in the flow, knowing you are at your utmost best and not needing anyone else to notice or recognize you for it.

This is a baby step to get your head back in the game of your career. For now, do not worry about winning the game, and certainly do not think about the championship – just play.

 

If you can generate a sense of happiness even in unfavorable conditions, you can become unstoppable.

 

For What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?

 

My father-in-law, Kenneth Huller

I sit astounded at how many made the ultimate sacrifice. God bless those who were willing to leave their loved ones, put themselves in hell on earth, and give their life to secure a safe, prosperous life of freedom for future generations.

My Uncle Barry fought in D-Day, and made it home to receive the Purple Heart. My husband’s father was shot guarding the US Embassy in Germany. Thankfully, he survived to meet my oldest daughter. But my husband’s grandfather died in WWII when his mom was just four. I am eternally grateful for the choices we are afforded because of this sacrifice, but also saddened that my mother-in-law had to spend time in an orphanage when her mother could not support her three kids after her husband was killed.

Today I honor not only the men and women who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend my freedom, I also honor the families who sacrificed for them and suffered for this cause.

A memorial to my husband’s grandfather – click for a larger size

I think about the comforts we are afforded because of their sacrifices, and though I cannot say we all take them for granted, too many stay stuck or stifled, unwilling to risk that comfort, even in small ways, to pursue their truth, their passion, and their freedom.

While the majority of us recognize that our basic needs are met every day – food, shelter, clothes, we often have much more than we need to survive, and yet not enough in our lives to feel fulfilled and happy.

I aim to teach my kids not to succumb to what is immediately gratifying when what they really want for their lives requires a little effort, time, and patience. It seems like such a small thing compared to putting your life on the line, but it is because of their sacrifices that we have much smaller sacrifices to make in order to live a full life.

 

What are you willing to give up to improve not only your life, but also the lives of future generations?

 

Now More Than Ever, Empathy and EQ Are Critical

Empathy by Aslan Media of Flickr

THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL POST.

Now more than ever, in a divided country in conflict, organizations and employees will need to find ways to bridge the chasms that continue to grow between ideologies in order to enable an optimized future for us all.

Should these adults just be able to suck it up, work together, focus on the task at hand and get business done? Well, yes. However, studies we have cited in the past have proven that happiness impacts profits, and in this blog our focus is on EQ and empathy, and their impact on profits. Also, we will focus on what YOU as a leader (whether or not you are a manager) can do TODAY to be empathetic, raise your EQ, improve the everyday experience of being at work, and contribute to greater profits.

Why should profits be so important? Because the profitability of businesses enables prosperity by ways of job creation, wage growth, higher spending, and improved quality of life. If there is one thing that can unify us, it is that we would all love to live better.

Empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. It requires NOT making assumptions, but rather actively listening to someone else’s story, insights, beliefs and concerns without discrediting or judging them.

Employees with a high EQ (Emotional Quotient) possess the ability to be empathetic. It can be taught or innate, it is facilitated by having a curiosity of others, and a desire to seek to understand. When you have a high EQ, you are not prone to mislabeling others’ emotion, and certainly not calling people names.

Daniel Goleman has purported that EQ is even more important than IQ. Why? It is the human in us all. It is the fundamental desire for love and acceptance. Most of us have our physiological needs met, and beyond feeling safe, Maslow identified that people want to be loved and want to belong. Nothing gets done without people. The fastest way to accomplish anything is through people, even in an age of automation. You still need people to approve, implement and maintain automated systems.

It makes sense, though: The more self-actualized your people are, the better they will perform.

Conversely, failing to address a sense of alienation will promote segmentation and silos that will increase unnecessary bureaucratic and political obstacles to collaboration, creativity, and progress.

What are your alternatives to using empathy to confront conflicts that exist OUTSIDE of business to avoid those obstacles?

Hire only people who agree. Have only customers and vendors who agree.

Good luck with that.

What you can do is simple in that it does not require complex steps, but it is challenging, because it does require that you acknowledge and dismiss your ego when it starts to want to make sure you’re right, that you look good, and that the other person is wrong and looks bad.

WE ALL DO IT! It is just that people with a high EQ can distinguish between an ego response and an empathy response.

 

STEP 1 – ASK

Ask the other person questions that help you understand why something is so important to them. What you might have thought was a lack of values, is really just a difference in experience that places a higher priority on different values. This can take place in a workshop or team-building environment, or it can be a simple one-on-one.

 

STEP 2 – LISTEN

Active listening means that you are listening with the intention of understanding, not responding. If you do not understand something, ask more. I will warn you that the second a person senses that they are being judged, the energy of the exchange shifts. Judging is something we all do. It is okay to admit that you are human. If you recognize that your judgments are interfering with your understanding, admit your fault and reassert your desire to achieve an understanding. It will humble you and put you both back on equal, human ground.

 

STEP 3 – DON’T DEFEND

The purpose of this conversation is NOT to explain yourself. That is your ego’s need to be understood. If the other person has a high EQ, they may be curious about your point of view, too. Be very careful not to negate what they say as untrue, invalid, or irrelevant. You are able to share your point of view without doing that, and this is a practice of EQ.

That’s it. That’s all it takes to start practicing empathy and raising your EQ.

Of course, you can take this practice very far, and the farther you take it, the more you will contribute to your company and the faster you will grow in your career.

Curious how high your EQ is? Take this quiz.

 

If you’re curious to what I have done to improve my own EQ, it was the Landmark Forum. There is one near you. I went in 2008 to help manage the stress that I experienced dealing with other people’s shortcomings only to discover and appreciate the beauty of being human, imperfectly perfect… or perfectly imperfect… or BOTH.

Share with me (us) some ways that empathy (or lack thereof) has been impacting your work life.

 

What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

Tombstone by Martin Cathrae of Flickr

Tombstone by Martin Cathrae of Flickr

 

You might have heard that the most significant part of the tombstone is not the epitaph, but the dash between your birth date and your death date. What will the dash mean to the people you leave behind? Will you have had the chance to fulfill your highest purpose? Is that even really important?

According to Dr. Abraham Maslow, a purposeful vocation is essential after your most basic happiness needs are met. With nearly 70% of Americans being disengaged in their vocations, the majority of us won’t know higher levels of happiness before we make our exit.

On this Halloween, when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, it might seem preposterous to suggest visiting a graveyard. If you are not that kind of thrill seeker, simply read through this exercise then close your eyes and use your imagination.

Sit in front of a tombstone and imagine that it is yours. Reflect on your life. Consider the legacy you cultivated. Did you bring forth your fulfillment in this lifetime? Did you complete your missions? Did you find your passion and share it with others? For what do you wish you had made more time?

When life gets hard, it especially becomes difficult to be grateful for the little things, like the fact that we woke up this morning and we’re still alive. We have today, but we don’t know if we will have tomorrow. What can you do to make today a meaningful part of your dash? What can you do tomorrow, if you are lucky enough to still be here?

Are the hours you are spending at work bringing you closer to the kind you of happiness that will make you feel proud of the life you led?

If this exercise makes you aware of a gap that needs filling in your purpose, contact us and we can help you accelerate the career discovery process and help you find a purpose-lead vocation that suits your skill set, personality, and desired lifestyle.

 

Don’t wait until December for my book, Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint Your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days.

 

The Chicken or Egg Quandary: Happiness or Success?

happy by Gordon of Flickr

Happy! by Gordon of Flickr

 

What comes first? Happiness or success?

I have a client who is unhappy at his job (hence why he engaged me, obviously). He makes great money, when he is performing, but his compensation is highly commission based. When he’s not performing, he’s not making great money.

Due to life changes, he NEEDS to catch up financially and find a new job that pays the same or more to what he was making when he was at the top of his game. He also really wants to make sure that his next step is the RIGHT next step, or he will find himself at square one.

There are also personal priorities in his life that he rated highly, but is willing to delay them for years, if necessary, in order to land and succeed in a new, high-paying job.

In essence, he is delaying happiness for success.

However, what I learned this weekend from a Consciousness Engineering class is that Harvard studies prove that happiness increases success, and not just by a little bit. A quality annual vacation time of 11 days or more away from home leads to GREATER performance.

The main takeaway from this class was that using happiness as a means rather than an end increases productive energy by 31%, sales by 37%, and the likelihood of promotion by 40%.  Additionally, you are more likely to live longer and stave off sickness and disease. You raise your intelligence and improve your memory. Your creativity and problem solving abilities receive a boost. There is also the link between your wellness and performance to consider.

“Great,” you say. “Just get happy, eh?”

I understand. It is not as easy as it sounds, so Shawn Achor shared four practices that, when done daily for a period of 30 to 90 days will improve your happiness and gives you all of the benefits previously mentioned. None of them take longer than two minutes and you can use the strategy of habit pairing. An example would be doing these while you brush your teeth, to increase your likelihood of making them true habits.

Here they are:

  1. At work your first item of the day is to spend two minutes expressing your gratitude in writing to a colleague, boss, or vendor.
  2. Every night think about three new things that you are grateful for and WHY– the WHY is most important.
  3. Think about a single positive experience you had in the past 24 hours and write four bullet points recording the details you remember about it, such as the clothes you were wearing.
  4. Spend ten minutes focusing on your breath moving in and out, or whatever time you can make. Yes, this is meditation. Think you don’t have time? Investing this time has produced 62 more minutes of productivity. So, in essence, it creates more time.

Ironically, I listened to this class while driving down to the shore in an effort to make myself happy after an unusually challenging day with my youngest daughter. It did not work, but the next day we got to bike ride on the boardwalk, play in the ocean, and go on rides before heading back home for her first day of Pre-K. Today, even though I am still exhausted, I feel calmer, happier, and even more patient.

 

Try experimenting with happiness in your life and share with us the results you find.

 

Is a Prevalent Thought Creating an American Epidemic?

The ultimate source of our happiness by BK of Flickr

The ultimate source of our happiness by BK of Flickr

 

In a MindValley podcast Marisa Peer, once touted as Britain’s best therapist, talked about the prevalence of the thought, “I am not enough.” She discussed its limiting impact on people worldwide. Ms. Peer called it the biggest disease affecting humanity and attributed it not just to unhappiness, but illness. The way she presented this recurring, primarily subconscious thought pattern, she made it sound as if it has reached epidemic proportions.

I wonder if there is a correlation between this prevalent paradigm and an epidemic that drives me to reach as many people as possible with solutions for their career. Though it seems like in previous years discontentment has inched down slightly, Gallup polls still maintain that nearly 70% of Americans are disengaged in their job. This disengagement costs US companies $350 billion per year, according to McLean and Company. I have seen some estimates at $550 billion. I do not know which number is right, but both substantiates an epidemic in my mind and begs the questions, “Why?” and “How do we fix it?”

Companies are not acknowledging this problem. Nor are they harnessing what we know about the brain and human performance optimization to hire appropriately and, once hired, help employees achieve utmost performance.

Workers are operating under an outdated paradigm that dictates work is not supposed to be enjoyable; it is merely what must be done.

People are in the wrong jobs; they either they never discovered their calling, were discouraged from pursuing it, or decided it was unobtainable because they are not enough.

If you consider yourself among the 70% of the disengaged, do you recognize that the underlying belief that you are not enough may have played a part? Then according to Ms. Peer, there are nine steps to mastermind your life and reverse the impact that this belief has had.

 

  1. Know you are enough.
  2. Praise yourself.
  3. Remove destructive criticism.
  4. Mindfully command yourself because your brain does exactly what you think.
  5. Be specific about the rewards you want because your brain moves you away from pain and toward pleasure.
  6. Be purposeful with the pictures and words in your head because they determine your thoughts.
  7. Do what you hate to do to get what you want.
  8. Do not take “no” for an answer.
  9. Take action every day.

 

If I had to boil down her advice to one practical step that has proven to be effective with her patients, herself and her daughter, it is to wake up every morning telling yourself that you are enough. Write it down and keep it visible so that you will see it multiple times throughout the day. Then reaffirm that you are enough at night before you go to bed.

 

As for the other possible causes of the disengagement epidemic, I will save them for future posts. In the meantime, I welcome your comments.

Are there other causes that you see that I have not mentioned? What solutions do you propose?

 

Dedicated to my dad because today is his birthday, and I recently learned he loves the Carpenters.
 

Stop Suffering in Silence…NOW!

From BrainyQuote

From BrainyQuote

I don’t know if I like April anymore. At all. Two years ago after the passing of my nephew on his 28th birthday, I urged you to take immediate action to make yourself happier and more fulfilled in the 40 hours you spend at work.

This week a 22-year-old and a 41-year-old were buried on the same day. While their short lives were celebrated, and we all are grateful for every second we were able to spend with them, we feel robbed. We have been robbed of future encounters, future moments, and future embraces. They have been robbed of all future possibilities. Everything we wanted for their future can no longer happen.

The day after these two young souls were buried, I learned that a friend has been suffering silently in a successful job. She is paid very well and her family depends on this income to maintain the standard of living that is important to them. Their kids are in one of the best school districts. She has been promoted. However, she is not inspired by her company’s mission, and because of her hours and commute, she has handed many of her “mommy” duties to her husband, for which she suffers much guilt. (I can, and most likely will, write a blog about the archaic corporate and societal expectations that are unfortunately alive and well and causing undue pressure for professional moms.)

She did not tell anyone how long she has been unhappy, and how much impact it was having on other areas of her life. She was embarrassed and bewildered by the fact that she did not have it all together. The discussion with her doctor to go on anti-anxiety and depression medication was surreal.

It felt silly to complain. She lives in a nice house in a great neighborhood. Her kids are actively involved in sports. She makes great money and she has a job for which many people vie. She thinks about how many people are not as fortunate as her, and then feels additional guilt for being unhappy.

She had been taking action to change her circumstances. She was applying to jobs and interviewing. It was time-consuming and heartbreaking. She would become excited about an opportunity only to learn that she was not offered the job. With little precious time to spend with her kids, she resigned herself to being stuck and unhappy.

Until yesterday…I hope.

In a 20-minute conversation with myself and another friend, we helped her create a new, inspiring vision for her future. At first she said she was not really sure what she even wanted to do. It turns out there is a mission for which she has a lot of passion. You see, she has learned quite a bit about how to brand yourself, to obtain buy-in, and to do more in less time as a woman in a male-dominated corporate world. Although her confidence is more than a bit shaky from the self-inflicted mental torture she has been enduring in silence, she knows that she can teach what she has learned, and it will make a huge difference for women striving to be seen, heard, noticed and rewarded equally. With her background, her chances of being successful in this new endeavor, whatever it happens to look like and whenever it happens to come to fruition, are very high.

She not only has created a vision that will pull her out of bed, but she has also created a new heart-centered possibility for her career. That vision will not only make her fulfilled in her work, but will also enable her to be the mom and wife that she wants to be. I am so excited for her and yet I’m still saddened by how long she had been suffering without my knowledge. I wish we had this conversation months ago, if not years ago.

If you see yourself in this story, please, please, please… ask me for help. This is why God put me on this earth (besides to have my beautiful children). It is why I sacrificed a handsome potential six-figure salary as a recruiter. It is why I don’t mind taking (some) time away from being a mommy to do career coaching and learning how to do it better.  It is my passion and my gift.

Tomorrow doesn’t come for everyone. Live while you are alive. Change isn’t just possible; it is highly probable when you have me as your partner.

 

I expect to hear from you: Karen@epiccareering.com