What do you believe about your job

What do you believe about your job? I use to believe all sorts of crazy things like:

  • People make the biggest deal out of the tiniest issues.
  • We don’t save lives; we ship crap to people quickly.
  • I’m a really good manager.
  • Some people are just not cut out for our company.
  • The culture here is brutal.
  • The promotion process is so screwed up.
  • Who you manager is will make or break your happiness.
  • I’m the wrong gender to be successful on this team.
  • There’s no way in hell we are going to reach those goals.
  • This company does not care about people. They only care about getting what they need out of you.

And the list could go on, but a belief is a thought we keep thinking over time. Often times they feel like facts because we have so much evidence for them. I could get a lot of other people to agree with some of my beliefs about work and I know there’s some juicy HR files somewhere that would back me up.

But a belief is just a thought. They are easy to think and we find evidence for them constantly, but they are thoughts and thoughts are optional. So if a belief is optional, why do we choose to believe so many things that don’t service us?

I think the first hurdle is being aware of what our beliefs are and recognizing that they are in fact thoughts and not facts. Once we can really come to terms with that, we can chose to think whatever we want out our jobs. Some people say this is delusional, but it’s no more delusional than what you believe right now.

As human’s we have the ability to be conscious of our thoughts and this is a superpower if you use it. Start by writing down what you currently believe and then start practicing different thoughts you also believe, but that service you better. Practice is key because a belief is thought over time, so keep practicing.

Here are a few thoughts I’m practicing. Feel free to steal any of them and leave a comment with your suggestions.

  • There’s plenty of time
  • Love is always an option
  • Everything happens FOR me
  • I’m only responsible for how I think and feel
  • It’s none of my business what other people think of me
  • People are allowed to behave the way they want. I’m allowed to react the way I want.
  • It’s not what we do, it’s who we are.
  • Worry serves no purpose.
  • What you look for, you will find.

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This is always the answer

I’ve had a big project on my to do list for about 2 months. I know it needs to get done and it should help reach out goals, but its around building an email program through another team and it literally has 30 steps for each email and I need to create over 150 emails.

Emails at my company are no small task. They are super manual and take so much longer than they should. It’s safe to say I HATE EMAIL projects at work. I always have. I’ve worked really hard to be past the email execution part of my career. I’m all in around the strategy and testing plans, but pushing all the email buttons makes me want to poke my eyes out.

This project landed on my plate because the person who owns email is out on leave. They will come back and I’ll gladly hand it all back to them, but for the next few months, it’s all me.

This project has been looming over my head for 2 months and is seriuosly stressing me about. I know it has to get done, but I don’t want to do it. Then last week in a big team meeting they called me out and asked for a project plan update. I knew it would happen sooner than later, but it just doubled the stress.

I thought a lot about this and asked myself, who do I want to be? How do I want to show up at work? Am I the type of person that has integrity and honesty or do I focus more on looking good and giving people what they want? I knew the answer so when I decided to show up from integrity I simply told the truth.

I send an updated project plan to my manager, but also sent the most honest email of my career. I admitted that I dropped the ball and owned up to it, but also told him why. I admitted to hating email, but knew that I still had to do it.

It felt so amazing to just be honest and own up to it. I’ve been stewing and trying to hid that I’ve not worked on it for weeks. Today I just told the truth and while I still have to do the work I feel so much better. Showing up as your genuine self is always the best way to show up because what other option do you really have.

My manager has not responded yet and it might backfire on me, but I believe honesty is always the right answer.

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Go big and want more

I dare you to make a list of 50 things you want. It sounds easy, but just give it a try.

Usually the first handful of items are easy to come up with, but then you have to tell you brain to keep going and ask it, what else, what else. This is where the good stuff happens.

See, your brain just wants to feel good and be as efficient as possible so it won’t tell you your big dreams unless you purposefully ask it and go big. When you ask yourself, “what else” it gives your brain permission to safely come up with some fun wants.

Then your rational brain kicks back in and tries to tell you that will never happen because you don’t know how or it has never worked in the past, but remember you brain is just trying to protect you and feel good.

Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds, but you keep thinking how it’s never worked in the past and you don’t know how.

Or maybe you want to work for a non-profit and still maintain your lifestyle but you keep thinking that’s impossible because non-profits don’t pay well.

Instead of focusing on the HOW part of your wants, you actually should be focused on the feeling part of your wants. How you feel drives your actions which will determine if you get your wants or not. We all naturally focus on the HOW and let our brains tell us we don’t know or that’s impossible, but when we are willing to feel a negative emotion, there is nothing stopping us from getting what we want.

Say you want to lose 20 pounds because you want to live a longer life to be with your family. If you are willing to feel some discomfort today and not eat junk food when you are stressed or worried, then there’s no reason you can’t lose the weight. The only thing stopping you is a negative feeling.

Or you want to work for a non-profit and keep your lifestyle because you believe in helping others and living the life you want. If you are willing to try new things and possibly fail, there’s no reason you could not make this happen.

Image what you could do if you were willing to fail. Failing just means you have more info on what does not work and are one step closer to finding what does work.

I say, dream big. Push yourself to want things that seem impossible and then be willing to feel any emotion necessary to reach that goal. I’ve got some HUGE wants that feel impossible because I have no clue how to make them happen, but I’m all in for the good and bad and won’t stop until I’ve got what I want. You should too.

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What you look for is what you will find

I worked with some amazing people that have taught me so much and become true friends. I’ve worked with some people that love the drama and politics. I’ve also worked with people that I’m pretty sure are completely miserable because they are pretty miserable to work with.

I don’t think this is unique to my employer. I’m pretty sure you could find similar groups of people at any company, church group, neighborhood, community, etc.

As someone who’s obsessed with self help, I’m constantly evaluating why I separate people into the “good” or “bad” bucket and what I’ve learned is it all boils down to me. Sounds pretty selfish right…hold on.

My first manager at my current employer was amazing. He made me feel safe asking dumb questions, taught but did not tell me how to do thing, and had an amazing way of making things fun even when they were super stressful. I’ll never forget the day we were on revision 723 of a 6 page document and about to lose our minds when he started emailing me memes from the Facebook group “classy ladies who say F a lot.” We both cried laughing so hard multiple times. I even followed him to a different team because I wanted him to stay my manager.

Then there’s the coworker who’s lived an extremely privileged life and never had a true want. He came to me after a employee (that neither of us knew) tried to commit suicide saying he hoped the company did not have to pay for their medical bills because the person should have know better. Yes, the multi-billion dollar company should not pay for the human being that was struggling so much they thought the best option was to die.

So how does this all boil down to me? My views on these people had everything to do with my thoughts about them. They are just people. They are not good or bad, they are just people. I am the one that thinks differently about both of them.

My first manager ended up leaving the company and dealing with some pretty big personal things that most people would take issue with, yet I only saw the good things I liked about him.

My coworker spends a lot of time and money volunteering with the homeless, but I only saw his privilege.

I’m not saying I will ever agree with my coworker’s stance because I choose to believe love is ALWAYS the right answer, but what I do take ownership of is my feelings about him. I’m the one choosing to think he was dispicable for siding with the company versus a person. I own that choice and want to hold onto it, but he is just a neutral person. I can chose to see the good or the bad in him. It’s all up to me.

Moral of the story, what you tell you brain to look for is what you will see. If you believe people are drama and into politics, you will find proof of it. So if you can choose, why would you not choose to see love in everyone? It’s not always an easy thing, but I promise you it is possible.

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Believe on purpose

I teach a group of 12-13 year olds at my church and today as i was preparing my lesson, some of the research I was doing change a belief I’ve had for a very long time and it kind of rocked my world in an exciting way.

A thought is two neurons connect. Put more simply, it’s a sentence in your brain. A belief is a thought you’ve had multiple time over a period of time. Beliefs often feel like facts, but are just easy to think, thoughts. If thoughts are optional, so are beliefs.

There are many things I choose to believe because they serve me well. For example I choose to believe that Diet Coke is best from a fountain, my family is awesome, I’m really good at my job, physical and mental abuse is wrong, and love is always the right answer.

A belief can be changed two different ways. The first is when you receive new information that is so jarring it changes your thought right away. For example people use to think the world was flat, but once people started sailing all the way around and never getting to the edge, that belief quickly changed for people.

The other way is when you actively practice thinking a different thought over and over to create a new belief. Say you have the belief that your manager is an idiot. If you practice thinking the thought, my manager is human or my manager is doing their best, after enough time you will genuinely believe these thoughts.

A great exercise is to write down your beliefs about your job, your company, yourself, money, your past, your future, anything really. Then start to evaluate if those thoughts are serving you and if you want to keep them. If not, try finding a new thought you already believe and practice thinking that thought.

Here’s a list of a few thoughts I’m practicing believing. Leave a comment and let me know what’s on your new thought list.

  • I’m 100% valuable exactly as I am
  • There’s enough time
  • Money is easy
  • They are doing their best
  • It’s none of your business what other people think about you
  • The worse thing that can happen to me is a negative feeling
  • Feelings don’t hurt
  • My body is strong
  • I’m doing my best
  • Of course I want to eat flower and sugar, but I’m not going to
  • It’s okay

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When you hit your breaking point

Today was NOT my day. Have you ever had one of those days where everything that could go wrong just seems to go wrong? I’ve tried all day to fight it and pretend it was not there, but it’s not going away and pretending it’s not there has just made it worse.

I finally hit my breaking point and had myself a good cry and am FINALLY feeling some relief.
It’s crazy to me that we spend so much effort trying not to feel bad, but when we actually just feel it, it starts to go away. A feeling is only a vibration in your body and it won’t kill you. It’s not always pleasant, but the worst thing that could happy is a vibration in your body.

One of our brain’s main jobs is to seek pleasure, but if we don’t ever feel sad and lonely and overwhelmed we will never know what excited and connected and fulfilled feel like. We often get this logically, but in practice it’s sometimes more challenging to accept.

All day today I keep trying to convince myself not to think thoughts that were making me feel frustrated, but I could not get out of the funk. Once I finally came to terms with reality that I was just feeling frustrated, I ACTUALLY STARTED TO FEEL WHAT FRUSTRATED REALLY FELT LIKE.

I feel frustration in my shoulders and upper chest. it feels dark blue and green and like sludge that’s swashing back and forth between my shoulders in my chest. Frustration is heavy and bubbles sometimes. I image it smells horrible. Frustration makes my shoulders feel like weights, but my shoulders are always tense trying to hold the weight up. When i’m frustrated, my heart beat feels intense, but not any faster than normal, just a strong pounding. And sometimes my eyeballs water a lot as well. 🙂

It’s not the most pleasant feeling, but it’s also not the worst. And the most amazing part is, now that I’ve actually felt it, it’s gone. I already feel lighter and better. I’m more focused on the great night of sleep I’ll get and how much fun this weekend is going to be.

So the next time you feel like it’s just not your day and nothing is going right, try actually FEELING your negative emotions. I promise it won’t hurt.

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Kindness only costs $1.16

Every morning I get up, get the kids ready for the day, take them to daycare/school, and swing by the gas station on my way home for a jumbo Diet Coke. Judge all you want, it’s what works for me right now.

I’ve become friends with the people that work there and I love it. Bruce works the night shift and is always happy because he’s close to going home. Karen is always cranky but smiles through her eye rolls and under her breath comments about people.

Today there was a person checking out at the register next to me and her card we declined. She tried it as credit and again declined. She put half of her items back and paid cash. You could see the embarrassment and worry in her eyes.

I told Bruce to put the rest of her stuff on my tab. The girl gave me a big hug and was so grateful.
Bruce was shocked and in return gave me my drink for free. Everyone was winning.

I don’t tell you this story to brag or claim I’m a saint because I’m FAR from it. I also don’t tell you this story because of the girl’s reaction.

I tell you this story because of Bruce. He could not get over the fact that someone would willingly pay for someone else. Her other items total $1.16. You guys, KINDNESS only cost $1.16 today.

I asked Bruce why he was so shocked. He explained that in his 8 years working there, no one had ever done that. I asked him why and he sat there and thought for a few minutes. He looked up and said, I honestly don’t know. I’m just sad I did not think to pay for her.

It made me grateful that I know who I am. I know what kind of a person I want to be, and everyday I’m being her. I’m glad I’ve found these tools that help be grow and stretch as a person. I’m glad I get to focus on managing my own mind so that I can show up in the world from unconditional love. I’m glad I thought to pay for her. I’m glad my brain showed me a way to give action to what I believe.

Most of all, I’m beyond grateful that I get to share it all with you. Everyone needs these tools. We are all human beings doing our best and this work can take our best to amazing.

Making a list is not productive

I LOVE a good list. There’s something so satisfying about sitting down, focusing on all my to-do’s and putting it on paper. It’s like I have permission to stop trying to remembering it once I’ve written it down.

I’ve created all sorts of crazy list systems and am always on the hunt for new and better tools. Bullet journals? I’m all in. Work to do’s broken down by step and added to my calendar? Sign me up. Color coded personal to-do’s? Pass the markers. I won’t even go into how many planners I have and keep buying. I just love being organized and having a clear list.

However, recently I realized that while I told myself lists were helping me be productive, in reality they were the least productive thing I could do.

I was using list making as a way to buffer. Buffering is when we use external things to feel better. It’s avoiding and procrastinating because we don’t want to feel negative emotions.

I would review my calendar and projects and feel overwhelmed. Lists were my perfect solution. They make me so happy. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with making lists, but when you make them to avoid actually doing the work, they are not really helping.

If you are feeling overwhelmed because you are thinking about all the things you need to do, the more productive thing is not to organize all the things to do, but to ACTUALLY DO THE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO.

So next time you go to make a list, ask yourself if it’s really helping or if it’s just a fun way to procrastinate and put things off. If it’s a fun way to procrastinate, try skipping the list and getting to work.

3 ways to be THE top performer

Whenever a new employee joins the team, part of their on-boarding is to meet with key stakeholders and ask the typical questions around goals, projects, priorities, and tips or tricks.

I know they would love if I had a secret recipe of success that gave step by step directions on how to do their job, but I also know a recipe would not actually set them up for success. That would just make them a robot and my company is quickly developing those to take over all the button pushing parts of work.

What I tell them is that I’ve become and stayed a top performer by focusing on the following 3 things.

Be Curious George My littles are obsessed with the cartoon Curious George. I have a lot of concerns about a grown man that only wears yellow, talks to a monkey, and continues to let said monkey destroy everything it touches time after time, but that’s beside the point.

George is curious about everything. He does not take anything for face value and genuinely wants to know how things work. He’s constantly aware of his surroundings and always trying new things, even when it seems scary and unknown.

Approaching every project with curiosity will set you apart from your coworkers. I don’t mean asking questions so you know how to prioritize or manage the project up, I’m talking about honest curiosity and quick action. Start looking at things from other angels and asking how it could be different and give it a try. Actions speak louder than words so trying 10 different things out of curiosity will get you the desired results a million times faster than 10 revisions of a 6 pager document.

For example, I was asked to figure out a way to drive engagement with my teams app. My companies’ standard practice is to write a 6-page document outlining your strategy, get approval on the document and then move forward. But I became curious and tested multiple different tactics in the span of about 2 weeks so when I went to present the doc, I have over 10 experiments that drove my strategy and eliminated room for churn due to differing opinions.

This leads me to my next point.

Have a failure goal. WHAT??? Yes, have a goal that specifically says how many times you are going to fail. This feels counter intuitive because top performers are not failures, but if we never fail, we never succeed. When we are so worried about failing that we never try, we have already failed. We just do it ahead of time.

Failing at something does not mean it’s a complete loss. It means you now have more data and information about what does not work and are one step closer to figuring out what does work. If you were a manager, would you rather have an employee that tried 20 different things that resulted in 1 small win or an employee that tried 1 thing that resulted in 1 small win? Which one is driving more data to influence the overall goal? Which one is more likely to find the thing that will make a large impact? When you are willing to fail, you will become invaluable to your team.

Lastly, mind your own business.
One of my favorite mantras is, “It’s none of your business what other people think about you.” What others think about you has way more to do about them than you. The bad and the good. Sure, we all love a fan base, but you know what really draws people to you? True confidence and having your own back.

When we are truly confident, we love and appreciate all the part of us. I’m not talking about the fake confidence most people at work try to portray (more on this in a different post), but I’m talking about really owning your good and not so good and telling yourself at the end of the day “it’s okay.” It’s working from integrity and when you screw up and fail, still being proud that you showed up and did your best.

Think about some of the people you respect most. Are they perfect? Are they confident? When you are willing to show people your good and not so good side without being defensive and still have skin in the game, nothing can hold you back.

My first manager at my company was a great example of this. She had accidently typed in the wrong price of an item and we quickly blew through all of our inventory and lost a ton of money. This error was called out during our weekly business review and had to be addressed with senior leaders. My manager owned up to the mistake and moved on. She did not make it mean she was horrible at her job or never going to succeed. She just stated the facts and worked to improve the process to remove room for human error. She has since gone on to be promoted multiple times and continues to be a top performer.

There you have it folks. The way to be a top performer is simply to be you.

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I don’t know is a lie

One of the biggest lies we all tell ourselves is “I don’t know.”

We say it like it’s just a fact and move on, but “I don’t know” is not a fact. It’s a thought and remember those are optional.

I don’t know what to do. My manager said they would put me up for promotion, but they keep changing the timeline.

I want a new job, but I don’t know what I want to do.

I have an offer with another company, but I don’t know what to do.

When your brain hears I don’t know, it stops looking for ways to know or even take a guess. It keeps you stuck and from moving forward. Your brain is the most powerful tool in your tool box, but like any tool you have to learn how to use it correctly.

We are all masters at thinking I don’t know so when your brain easily feeds you that though, you have to start consciously replacing it with a different thought like:

What if I did know?

Guess.

How could I know?

While a bit extreme, something what really helps me is to image someone has a gun to my head and that I only have 1 minute to come up with any answer. Every single time I’ve tried this, I’ve come up with an answer. It’s not always the right answer, but it’s an answer and guess what I DO KNOW.

Sometimes we think I don’t know as an easy excuse and to let ourselves off the hook. Like, I don’t know why I can’t lose weight and keep it off. In reality we know exactly why, but it’s so much easier to play dumb.

What would your life be like if “I don’t know” was not an option? Think of all the things you would start doing.

Try going 48 hours without saying or thinking “I don’t know.” Tell yourself to guess and see what your brain offers you.

If you want to find out how this applies to your specific situation, sign up for free coaching here and let’s jump on the phone and get you in the know.