Many years ago, I did go through a period of time where my work wasn’t necessarily inspiring. However, I always believed it would eventually get better. Rule number one: if you don’t like your reality then change it.
M. Scott Peck had a significant impact on me many years ago. I often look back to the writers who have influenced me in the past to help navigate the present. There is a lot of natural fear circulating around these days. The Coronavirus/COVID-19 is a scary threat, as all threats are that are randomly […]
Life can be a roller coaster at times. There will be highs and there will be lows. The important thing is not to overreact or think that everything has to be perfect all the time. Perspective is important. There is no silver bullet. There is nothing you can buy or pill you can take that will make you happy for any extended period.
I know quite a few people who actually start feeling depressed on Sunday night because work is the next day. Sadly, for many of them, this has been a feeling that has existed for years. I honestly cannot comprehend this state of mind at this point in my life. Sure when I was fresh out of college and new to my professional work life I didn’t always get thrilled about Monday mornings, but as I have progressed in my career and thinking, that is a long distant memory. If what you are doing makes you that unhappy either change how you think about it or choose to do something else. Life is too short for habitual Sunday night misery.
I am in the process of reading Gordon Livingston’s great new book, The Thing you Think You Cannot Do, and as usual he delivers many useful tidbits of helpful information and a wise perspective. In one chapter, he talks about the importance of asking the question, “What next?” While his clinical therapy patients may often be dealing with much more significant challenges than my clients, as human beings we all have things that hold us back and inhibit our positive momentum. It’s easy to get mired in the past or caught up with the urgency of managing now. Many of us are far too quick to embrace the role of victim and tell our sad stories to anyone who will listen. We end up creating negative energy which hinders our ability to move on and create a positive future. I’m not saying we don’t have to make peace with what has happened, but the best way to get out of hole is not to keep digging deeper but to climb out.
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in my line of work is that you can’t save everyone. Despite your good intentions and best efforts, sometimes the formula will not work. In some cases, you might have to accept the fact that you are not the right fit for a given engagement or client relationship. In other instances, there is always a reason why someone is struggling and until they fully come to grips with this fact and take ownership of their behavior, there is only so much you can do.
Every survey you read about work/career satisfaction is depressing. I can’t believe that so many people go to a job every day that they don’t like and/or are doing work they find uninspiring. Why would someone choose to live that way? I’ve never quite understood the whole idea of simply working until you retire. As people have to work for longer periods of time due to lack of pensions and/or other financial resources this means that individuals will be unhappier for longer periods of time with their chosen profession.
I’m guessing it is somewhat a function of getting older, but I wake up much earlier these days. At first this used to frustrate me. Although I never was a late sleeper, I did enjoy sleeping until the alarm clock woke me (which was always set too late). Now I don’t even need an alarm clock. It took some getting used to but I eventually started to see my morning time as a gift. I tend to get alot done before the typical day even starts including this blog.
So much about life comes down to your attitude about it. I know privileged people who are regularly misanthropic and others with less economic advantages that seem to be mostly happy even though their lot in life seems comparatively difficult. Every day we wake up we get to make a choice about how we approach our life. We can see our existence as an amazing gift full of unlimited possibilities or a burden full of work, obligations and limitations. We can appreciate what we have or yearn for what’s beyond our reach. We can make a positive difference in the lives other people or focus exclusively on ourselves. We can build bridges to solidify positive relationships or forget to tend to the basic maintenance of effective human interaction.
We can’t control what people say or do, but we can control how we respond to it. It’s important to always remember that no one can make you feel anything; you choose to feel that way. It’s amazing how a few unkind words or obvious negative body language can affect us. I’ve seen fairly successful and confident people wilt under the glare of another person’s disapproval. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes, so only take constructive feedback to the degree that it helps you improve/grow as a person. If the feedback being given isn’t constructive, then learn to simply block it out or ignore it.
Sometimes life is heavy. There is just no way around it. We lose people we love; our own bodies break down; and other personal or professional challenges appear unexpectedly. When this happens it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the adversity of the moment(s) and wallow in despair. You can sometimes feel like the famous statue of Atlas who carries around the weight of the world on his shoulders. When this happens you need to count your many blessings and seek out opportunities for joy, love and support.
I’ve been fortunate for many years that I don’t dread Monday mornings or get bummed out on Sunday nights because of work. Sadly, I know alot of people who do feel this way. I can’t imagine starting my week in a bad mood for no other reason than it is the beginning of another work week. Sure, I look forward to the weekends, but I don’t work just for them. I’ve always believed that how you start your week on Monday sets the tone for the entire week.
Henry Ford has a famous quote, ‘if you think you can do a thing or you think you can’t do a thing, your right.” I believe this sums up most of life quite nicely. Self-confidence and self-belief do matter. So much about success and happiness is related to your mental attitude and emotional resilience. Some of us may have a harder time than others or start out with more baggage, but the history of civilization proves that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things and overcome great obstacles in the process. While it may seem easier at times to give up or give in, you must fight these feelings, forge ahead and persevere. Never embrace failure and unhappiness as your default reality.
High performing businesses often resemble their sports counterparts. Starting at the top, there is predictability to their concentration and effort. Nothing is taken for granted. People know what is expected of them and they do it on a daily basis. Crises are few are far between. Business units don’t beat themselves and are quick to notice and leverage performance advantages. Individuals are self-motivated and do not require external stimuli. Winning is an expectation not a surprise or the result of an imbalance of effort. With all truly great teams, victory is a foregone conclusion.
Every leader I know wants to be successful. In fact, they can usually articulate the generalities and specifics of what this means pretty easily. However, the majority of these same people spend most of their time simply “surviving”. Why is this? If it’s not a question of awareness, what is getting in our way? The answer is simple: our actions don’t match our thoughts, ideas or goals.
The attitude with which we approach our life matters. It is easy to get stuck in a rut or not fully appreciate the ability to which we control our own destinies. The truth is that how each day goes is largely up to us. Even in the midst or tragedy or misfortune, we can choose to soldier on and make the most of our circumstances or not.
In life and business, everyone has an agenda and that is OKAY. In fact, it is to be expected. Most people live their day to day existence in a subjective mindset.
Gratitude is important. Every day we go though life and good things happen to us. Sometimes this may not be as significant or frequent as we like, but it does happen nonetheless.