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Life Line #3: Do Anything Differently

Posted by | Immediate Relief, Miscellaneous | One Comment

SCENERIO: You know those situations that you try to avoid (and cannot) where no matter how many times you go through it, the outcome is always the same, and always undesireable?  

Perhaps it’s that you always walk out of that particular team meeting feeling about one inch tall, the pitch to the marketing force always leaves you feeling down on yourself, or anytime you begin contributing to the conversation with a certain someone, the discussion devolves into an argument. You repeatedly experience failure in a situation where you feel STUCK.

SOLUTION: Next time, DO ONE THING DIFFERENTLY

EXAMPLES: Read More

“I Hate My Job” is Not a Business Plan

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“I hate my job” will only get you to the point where you know, for sure, that you hate your job. Then what?!

Here are TWO WAYS you can milk “I hate my job” to begin formulate an escape route.

(1) Rather than thinking “I hate my job” and stopping there, get very specific about what it is that you hate about your job.  Take a tip from career expert Marcus Buckingham

When he appeared on Oprah to work with a group of one dozen or so women with career dilemmas, the first task he assigned was for each woman to cart around red note cards and green note cards for one full week

  • Whenever the women performed a task that made them feel DEPLETED, they would write it down on a red card. Example: I hate writing emails that go to the entire company because I have to do it each week. 
  • Whenever the women performed a task that ENERGIZED them, they wrote it down on a green card.  Example: I love team meetings where I am the leader because I keep the team to a schedule, get great feedback and enjoy being in charge.

HELPFUL HINT: “Task” does not mean something that someone does or says to you. Example: I hate when Sarah makes sarcastic comments about married people. What Sarah or anyone else does is not in your control, which means that the fastest way to improve on your current job situation, or identify your vision of your perfect job, is to begin working on yourself and learning your preferences

If you try this out for a week, I promise you will learn loads about yourself and your preferences and the kind of job you would prefer having.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sometimes people struggle identifying a TASK  the enjoy/dislike versus another person’s BEHAVIOR that they enjoy/dislike – example illuminating this, below – so please do not hesitate to contact me here and let’s work together to discern which tasks you enjoy and when it’s really just the person you are working with if you are finding it difficult to make headway. 

EXAMPLE GREEN CARDS:

  • I liked redecorating the bathroom because I enjoy putting together some colors and creating a fresh, organized space.
  • I liked cleaning out the fridge because I like the ease of knowing all is fresh and ready to eat and easy to see quickly when I open the door.
  • I liked going to Pilates class this week because I see myself getting more fit and I feel so centered during and upon leaving.

RED CARDS:

  • I hated enduring an open-ended meeting with the suppliers because I don’t know how to schedule the rest of my day when there is no set end time.
  • I loathed having a very strict deadline for three creative projects because I do better creative work with enough notice to make sure I can have a large chunk of time all at once to get into the project.
  • I hated it when it was my turn to do the grocery shopping because I find grocery shopping to take up more time than it’s worth.

WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED: You like order and having a schedule.  You enjoy Pilates, and perhaps other centering forms of exercise like Yoga or martial arts, and because it centers you, you should definitely build it into your schedule, daily if possible.   You should barter going to the grocery store with your partner for organizing and cleaning out the home so that the groceries are bought but you don’t have to do it. Part of your schedule should permit open, unscheduled time for when you need to be creative.  You could perhaps build scheduling and organizing as part of your job duties and find ways to minimize activities for which it is difficult to quantify duration.

VOILA!!!! You have begun to build up the infrastructure of your ideal life and job qualifications.

(2) Write down your top 5 favorite interests and be very specific.  If one of your interests is “Movies” then name the category or specific movie that you especially love.  If one is “Fitness” then name your favorite form of fitness, such as group classes, training alone for triathalons, walking with one buddy, or lifting weights with your trainer. 

Now, go do these favorite things as much as possible.   

Notice what my advice did NOT say: I definitely did not say, if you like movies, go be a movie critic!!! Nope, that is not how these things go down.  Just because you have an interest, that does not mean you should jump into the most obvious (to you) job you know of position that permits that enjoying that interest. There are many reasons for this which I am not going to get into right now but I will say that the most overlooked factor when identifying your ideal job is  factoring in the lifestyle that you want to lead and whether the job you are interested in permits this

HINT: The secret is that doing what you love may not be the job that you will love, but it will lead you to a job that you will love.

While “I hate my job” is not a business plan, it’s a start.

Rather than wasting one more minute despairing about hating your job, let’s get started mining the vital information from this situation and work together to build the last framework you’ll ever need to find the right position for you, now and forever.

Life Line #2: Eek Out Some Gratitude

Posted by | Immediate Relief | No Comments

SCENERIO: You don’t love where you live, you don’t like your social life all that much, and you hate your job.  You think through each of the areas of your life that need improvement and then repeat the process of thinking through it all again. 

SOLUTION: Find something — ANYTHING — for which you are truly grateful. 

I know this is really hard. Sometimes I want to count my misfortunes and it feels kind of good to be miserable.  The downside of giving into poor me mentality is that it will do nothing to get you anything you actually want. In fact, feeling sorry for your situation, no matter how crappy your situation is, will keep you in that awful or working for that awful boss.

Instead of feeling badly for yourself for being out of work or in a job you dislike, find things in your life that you feel genuine gratitude for.  Trust me, there is something that you are thankful for. 

Do this exercise and REPEAT until you have 20 things you are thankful for… here is a list to get you started:

  • having two functioning legs that can take you where you want to go
  • your education
  • the opportunities you have as a result of your education that you could not without it
  • your healthy lungs
  • your friends
  • your pets
  • a back without pain
  • the joy you get when eating chocolate
  • the smell of grass
  • a back with pain that is in the process of healing
  • sunlight
  • the four seasons
  • beautifully patterned fabric
  • talented chefs
  • talented musicians
  • the history of your ancestors
  • mechanical pencils
  • going to the movie theater
  • blogs
  • anyone who encourages you to find true self and be that person always

You get the drift.  Now, get to it — just do this once to see if it works for you, witholding judgment until you finish. You know if it is working if you are feeling lighter and better.

The more you eek out a little gratitude in your daily life, the more you will find wonderful opportunities and good fortune in your path.  Who wouldn’t want those things???

Life Line #1: Take a Deep Breath

Posted by | Immediate Relief | 2 Comments

SCENERIO: You stayed up too late last night watching True Blood or the season premiere of Entourage because you had the Sunday Blues and couldn’t face going to bed and another Monday morning.  You cannot believe it’s barely halfway through the day. You are struggling to get all the many things you have to do done and hating every second of the world’s most boring conference call.  In short: You are miserable, yet again, in a job you hate.  Here is a life line to get you through the day.

SOLUTION:
LIFE LINE #1 – Focus on Your Breathing

I am not going to pretend like anyone actually takes the advice so often given by so many to take a deep breath when you feel upset or stressed or afraid. It is always kind of disappointing when the big answer to a tough situation is “focus on your breathing” and it’s so obvious that we don’t bother to do it.

We are so dumb to be so smug!  I, for one, have spent more time in the camp of, “yeah, yeah, yeah – I am stressed and should take a couple of deep breaths, but I (a) don’t have time and (b) need some real, practical THINGS TO DO to get me through this moment!” than I have spent in the camp of “deep breathing is the solution”.  However, trying to push and think through a moment of stress, misery or fear will never make you nearly as productive and happy as a few, deliberate inhales and exhales – and here’s the science to back this up.

Many, many studies on the brain have proven that an inhale that is about 3 to 4 seconds followed by an exhale of the same length (or however long it takes you to take a deep breath and slowly let it out) affects your brain more than anything else that you can control.  Of all of the things you feel are under your control, this act alone can calm your nerves or stress or anxiety most of all. Why is it so important to not feel stressed out or anxious? Good question. Read on! Read More

Clear the Way and Move Foward in Your Career

Posted by | Miscellaneous | No Comments

Sometimes, the biggest obstacle to making the changes in your job is your own brain.

Take Michael, for example. He works as a concierge at a nice hotel in Manhattan.  He has graduated from cooking school while working at the hotel because his passion is food and the dining out experience.  He would love to be a restaurant consultant, where he helped new restaurateurs and failing existing restaurants cultivate a menu, staff and interior that reflects the best they can offer of the vision the group has. 

With his connections at high-end restaurants through his current job, his training and the specificity of his vision, one might think Michael has set himself up to lay out a business plan and get cranking on his dream, right? Wrong!! Poor, poor Michael has been trapped by the dungeon that is his current thinking.

MICHAEL: “I am so sick of being a concierge and I want to have my own business creating fabulous dining experiences, basically being a restaurant consultant, but I have no idea how to begin.”

ME: “Michael, why don’t you approach the management at restaurants you know of that are not packing the house, offer a free 3-month trial of your advice and services to be renewed at X price if they find you’re helping improve their business?  There are SO many struggling restaurants right now, I am sure you have a lot of pickings.”

MICHAEL: “Yeah, I could do that, but I wish I had enough money to quit my job and start my own business, with a lovely office and gorgeous lobby, and make my services only for the very most high end of restaurants.”

This conversation, where the heart’s desires are thwarted by “yeah, BUT” cannot be resolved by logic. This conversation may sound like the back-and-forth in your own head at times, and can go on forever. 

Feeling deeply stuck is always the result of a stalemate between a command and a countermand from one’s own belief system.  A countermand is an instruction that another command should not be followed – examples:

  • I see myself running my own business (command), but I need an MBA (countermand)”
  • I see myself getting married and having children (command), but my boyfriend won’t propose to me (countermand)”
  • I see myself being a restaurant consultant (command), but I don’t have enough time or money to start (countermand).”

Your mind ALWAYS denies that you are doing this – it pretends the countermand is some very real external circumstance or situation or force that makes it “impossible” for you to achieve you goal/command.  The big red flag that you are countermanding what will make you happy is the word BUT.

COUNTERMANDING SPELL

When someone is countermanding their heart’s desires with BUTS, you cannot help them solve the problem with logic because they will “yeah, but” your every suggestion.  Arguing does not work.  The only way for the person to see their way out of their countermand is by Byron Katie’s method – there’s a formula you follow each time. 

This is what you do: Read More

Play WARMER/COLDER to Tweak Your Way to a Better Job

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It’s easier than you think to make progress today towards a happier job situation or a new career. 

 The largest obstacle for many people is understanding what the next step right now should be.  Whether you know exactly what changes need to happen in your current job (or exactly the new career you’re meant for), or whether all you know for sure is that the job you have at this moment is all wrong wrong wrong for you, or whether career changes have been thrust upon you by being let go from your old job, playing WARMER/COLDER will lead you to the best next step for you. 

Remember your two selves?   As you take a moment to digest these two fellows, it may be helpful to remember how your true self tells you NO, I hate this, please stop now. Now it’s time to explore the whisperings of when your essential self says YES, do this more, this way to easy street. When you develop the ears to hear your essential self’s wishes, it’s YES feels “warmer”, it’s NO, “colder”, and it’s choices, the wisest for you!

The best part about beginning to know what you truly want from the only decision making place inside you that can bring you deep joy is that you do NOT have to make one move… in fact, often times your smarty pants social self knows:

  • that waiting to build up your experience in photography by shadowing professionals that you respect and taking the night course at the YMCA on developing your own prints should occur prior to quitting your job at the advertising company,
  • that slugging out a few more months at your high paying job while cutting your spending and increasing your savings will permit you to actually live your dream of spenidng a year in rural India, or
  • that “I hate my job” is not a business plan and instead of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire by basing your new job choice on the one qualification that “it’s not the job I have”, taking time to reconnect with yourself, your likes and dislikes, natural preferences for work environment, lifestyle and your natural strengths will help you make a smart move that suits you better than your current ill-fitting life situation.

But your social self cannot lend a hand if you aren’t listening to the times when your essential self is telling you YES.

How Your Essential Self Says YES: Take a moment to remember a time in your life when you felt the warm, buoyant feeling of deep happiness: Read More

Your Two Selves

Posted by | Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are having a tough time deciding what career you are meant for.  

This is not a tough scenario to imagine for most in modern society where work is, well, kind of like work.  Retiring or selling that company or winning the lottery seems like the ticket out of a hellish existence of working for people you don’t respect or even like, often doing tasks that do not highlight your strengths and working nights and weekends you wish you could spend doing ANYTHING ELSE than working.

On the one hand, you’d like to make your parents or partner proud.  On the other hand, you’d like to enjoy the time you spend working each day.  Take Deborah, for example.  

I am kind of getting depressed just discussing this “work is work” mentality. How gross is it to focus on enjoying yourself only in the future instead of right now? Not to mention avoiding the very rewarding process of identifying work you feel passionate about and pursuing it.

Instead of grinding out each day, never getting to the bottom of what job may make you exceedingly happier than your current career as a financial analyst (answer: every job) or personal assistant (answer: every job but financial analyst), I would like to suggest finding your next steps to your best work situation.  Read More

One Person’s Journey

Posted by | Miscellaneous | 3 Comments

What a great story.  

My friend’s career story (names changed, of course) is so awesome because it shows how logic alone is not sufficient for choosing your career. 

It shows how often it takes ungodly amounts of suffering to be motivated to make the necessary changes. 

And it teaches that taking incremental moves may be the only way for some people to know what those necessary steps are. 

You will see that you are not alone, and you may find hope and practical advice for sorting through your own work struggle. You may find that making your own changes to a better career is irresistible, inevitable and unstoppable once you read this story…

Read at your own risk! 

 

One Person’s Journey

INCOMPLETE CRITERIA

After years of hard work at college, Deborah was accepted at an ivy league law school during the spring of her senior year.  All those hours in the dark stacks of the library paid off!

She had always wanted to go to grad school. Law school was a logical choice since there was a viable job at the end of it – unlike getting a master’s degree in political science, an idea she had once entertained. Political science was her major and she loved almost all of her classes. But, Deborah decided during her sophomore year at the ripe old age of 19 that a master’s degree in political science was not as practical or lucrative as a law degree would be. 

It did not occur to her to account for her natural interests and energy. Or whether a lawyer’s day met her natural preferences for work environment.  She reasoned that she could work at any law firm in the country if she got into the right school and did very well. 

She felt so proud when she told her friends where she was going to school, even if she didn’t really know what law school would be like.

THE GRIND

Deborah started law school the next fall and worked very hard in to be in the top 25% of her class. 

Read More

Welcome! I’d Like to Introduce Yourself.

Posted by | Miscellaneous | 3 Comments

I’d like to introduce yourself. Why do I think you require an introduction? Well, please peruse this list of symptoms that indicate your true self is not currently the lead character in the story of your life: You frequently suffer from a major energy crisis due to a job that depletes you; you get sick once or more year; you cannot force yourself to remember certain tasks at work; you perform ‘stupid’ blunders; you have mood swings; you rarely sleep through the night or always wake up in the morning exhausted. Watch these signs! They are telling you that changes must be made or else these maladies and MORE will only continue and worsen. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to make rapid improvements for relief today.

Read More
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