Good life or great life? Your choice.

Quick, name a similarity between highly successful companies and happy people.

There are many, but the first to come to mind for me is that they define in detail who/what they want to be.  Plenty of “good” companies could be great if they would stop being too many things.  Putting aside some potential good opportunities to focus on what they really want to be. The best ones to work for do that.

It’s the same for each of us individually.  Many of us are “pretty happy”, but there’s room for more if we get real clear on what we want to be.  Define it and move toward it, not just think about and wish for it…whatever IT is.

Move away from people, processes and other things that hinder that progress.  Focus on the few things that can get you there. It’s not easy.  It’s just worth it.

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Posted in Career Development, Get Proactive, Passion, Personal Development, Planning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Layoff- one year later, lessons learned

So it’s coming up on a year since I last posted a blog. Guess I’m not even sure any readers are still out there!Lessons learned

Why a year?  Well, I stopped once I found a new employer in June of last year.  Basically, I wanted to really focus on all that I had to learn with my new company. Now that the dust has settled, figured I’d jump back into the blog, if only briefly (we’ll see).

Why a new employer?  I got laid off from my job about a year ago. Once past the initial shock, I was actually excited (read more).

So what did I learn through it all?

  1. Job searches suck (duh)- even for an HR guy who considers himself well connected and not afraid to network with people.  Although I was confident it would work out fine based on my experience, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t concerned with the lack of response to my applications, phone calls and emails.  It’s not easy for anyone.
  2. Figuring out what I really wanted in my next job was critical.  It paid off.
  3. I had settled for “good enough” in my old job.  Because so many things were good, I looked past the things that weren’t.
  4. I’m better off than I was.  I had a good job, great boss and coworkers and flexibility.  It’s even better now because my responsibilities are aligned with what I most enjoy.  Call me lucky, but I spent a lot of time thinking, reading and planning.

Moral of the story.  Take the time to understand what really drives you.  Don’t settle for good enough. Barring being let go, you can always stay where you are, but don’t be afraid to test the waters.  If your employer isn’t satisfying your needs, you have work to do.  Get better where you are and earn a different opportunity or set yourself up to move on.  You’re not doing yourself or your employer any favors if you aren’t all in.

I know some people wish they could enjoy any aspect of their job, much less a whole list of things.  If that’s you, all the more reason to get busy.  Like anything worthwhile, it comes with a price.  Get to it!

Question: What scares you about the possibility of changing jobs?  

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Posted in Attitude, Career Development, Get Proactive, Job search | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stop arguing with reality!

Whether at work or home, do you ever argue with the reality of a situation? Are you creating drama that isn’t choicesreally necessary?  For the large majority of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is a resounding YES, at least some of the time.

I know I’ve had many situations in the past where I felt like I was working harder than ever, but still not getting the results I wanted.  Frustration was high while energy levels were low.

What I have come to realize and is that the suffering is optional.  In her book, Reality-Based Leadership, Cy Wakeman does a great job of spelling this out.

We all tend to hold some beliefs that aren’t accurate. I know I had a situation earlier in my career where a coworker was given a promotion over me. I immediately made up a story in my mind about how she got it and I didn’t.  The reality is that she probably did some things along the way to actually EARN the opportunity while I was too busy doing other things. Just because I wasn’t aware of all the facts, I made up my own.

This is what happens in organizations (and even home) way too often.  We argue with reality.

In order to bring peace to our lives, we need to understand that the source of our suffering is not what happens to us, but the stories we create about what happens to us. Sometimes unconsciously, we tell ourselves these stories that aren’t even accurate and then live with the drama that follows.

As Cy puts it, “It’s the single largest barrier to peace and success for most people. The only way to change it is by becoming aware of when and how you tend to do it.”  It’s learned helplessness.

Here are some examples of it:

  • “This isn’t part of my job description.”
  • “Why aren’t others more dedicated?  I do everything around here.”
  • “There’s never enough time.”
  • “Management just doesn’t understand. They only care about the bottom line.”

We are arguing with reality when we judge a situation in terms of right or wrong instead of fearlessly confronting what actually is the reality.  Judging is a waste of time and energy and brings no value.

As a leader, if I allow people to complain and make excuses for their results, I am encouraging this learned helplessness and the victim mentality that goes with it.  Doing so allows the idea that unless everything is 100 percent perfect, we can’t really be held responsible for the results.

Whether just watching out for yourself or also trying to lead others, you must remember this.  Happiness is correlated to the amount of accountability you accept in your life. The more responsibility you take for your results, the happier you will be.  It’s my choice. It’s your choice.  Make the right choice!

Question: Do you work in an environment where this victim mentality is way too common? What can you do to change it?

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Posted in Attitude, Career Development, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments