The Power of the Present Moment

I don’t know aboutzen-509371_1280 you, but I tend to focus on the future.  Let me rephrase that:  I am always worrying about the future.  Can I pay my bills?  Do we save enough for retirement?  Should I have another baby?  Are we going to have to move again?  Should I advance in my career field or try something new?  The trouble with this is, by focusing on the future, I am missing out on what is right in front of me.  Because in reality, all we have is the present moment.  Worrying about the future or focusing on regrets of the past only hold us down and keep us from truly living and enjoying life.  We have to accept the present moment as it is, right now.  Right this very moment.  We have to let go of any judgment and just let it be.  Accept each moment as if it were supposed to unfold exactly this way.  If we don’t do this, we miss out on life.  If we worry about the past or the future we will literally live our entire lives without having lived.  I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t want that.  So what can we do about it?

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you will ever have.” – Eckhart Tolle


I have a few things that have helped me focus on the present moment and the more I utilize them the happier and more peaceful I become.  I think it is certainly worth your time to explore some of them and if you do, let me know what you think.

  • Slow down

That’s right. Stop rushing through life because you are missing it!  Slow down, enjoy, and embrace each moment.  Watch your kids play.  Smell the flowers.  Relax with a glass of wine and watch the sunset.  These are the things that bring moments of joy into our lives.  Life is built on moments.  But we have to slow down in order to fully experience them.

  • Meditate

There are a few simple meditations I like to do first thing in the morning to set my mind in the right  place for the day and I will share them with you here.  First, is a simple breathing exercise.  Sit comfortably and focus on your breath.  Breathe in and out slowly and deeply.  As thoughts enter your head imagine yourself letting them out of your body with your breath.  Do this until your mind is still.  Or 5 minutes.  I mean, come on, we don’t have all day to do nothing.  I get it.

The other one I love to do is a grounding meditation.  First close your eyes and sit comfortably.  Breathe in and out and as you breathe out imagine that roots are growing from the bottom of your feet into the ground like a tree.  Then imagine they grow deeper into the earth with each breath.  If you want to go further with this, sometimes I imagine that my breath is helping to grow grass, plants and flowers spreading from my feet through my yard, the neighborhood, my beautiful state of Arizona, my country and eventually through the world.  This meditation helps ground you and connect you to the earth.  Don’t go crazy with this one:  5 – 10 minutes is plenty.

  • Try yoga

There are all kinds of yoga styles.  Find a style that suits you.  For those of you that think sitting down with your thoughts (ie meditation) sounds horrible, you might enjoy something more active like this.  Try yoga for 20 or 30 minutes in the morning each day and see how you feel.  Get a guided exercise on your phone or buy a DVD.  There’s no need to go to a studio (but if you want to, by all means go for it!)

  • Start your gratefulness practice

I love this and I do it every single day.  I have found that it pretty much eliminates my negative thinking.  Try waking up each morning and thinking of 3 things you are grateful for:  1 in your personal life, 1 in your business or career, and 1 about yourself.  For example, I might say, “I am grateful for my amazing family, my flexible job where I can help others and my empathy towards people I meet.”  Hit all 3 points everyday and the perspective of your entire life will change.  Want an extra challenge?  Think of 3 things in each area each day and write them down in a journal.  Then later when you are feeling low read the journal to remind yourself of how great you have it.

  • Take deep breaths

Every time you feel anxious or rushed, slow down and take a few breaths.  Before driving.  Before eating.  Before running errands or dropping off your kids at school.  Use some classic deep belly breathing to reset your frame of mind and focus on the now.

Simple enough right?  And not too much of a time suck I hope.  The key is to enjoy the present moment.  I’ve given a few suggestions that have helped me but you may not need any of these.  Just focusing your attention on it may be enough.  Always remember, right now is a gift.  Each moment is over in a flash and if we don’t embrace it, we are missing it.

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”  – James Lanchard (…but more frequently & wrongly attributed to the Dalai Lama)

So today I challenge you to focus on today’s experiences and truly LIVE.  Life is so short.  Don’t let it pass you by.

XOXO,

Liz

 

Originality

 

What does it mean to be an original?

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This is what I have been pondering lately thanks to my new audio-book “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.”  I can’t help but wonder: In business and in life, how do we stop following the crowd and start thinking for ourselves?  Why do we always take the easy road and avoid risk and independent thinking?

Well, because it’s scary.  And we hate rejection.

So we stay safe inside our cave that someone else carved out for us.  But we forget something important when we do this.  We become the sheep.  We follow the herd.  We lose our originality and our independent thought even though that is exactly what we all crave: the deepest truest expression of ourselves.

Now I want you to ask yourself a few questions.  And be honest.  No one is judging you.

  • Do you want to sell multi-level marketing products or do you want to create them?
  • Do you want to be a teacher or do you want to build a unique school that fills in the gaps in our current school system?
  • Are you the kind of person that SHARES regurgitated posts on Facebook or CREATES unique content?
  • Do you want to fit in or stand out?
  • Do you have unique thoughts or do you just vouch for others ideas?

If you find yourself with the same political ideas as your parents, sharing posts on Facebook that are not uniquely your own, browsing magazines for the latest fashion styles, keeping quiet in a staff meeting because you are afraid your idea won’t be accepted, or selling a product that you didn’t create… well, let me say this nicely,  you aren’t original.  Not even close.

Because let’s face the facts.  If you want to be an individual you have to get used to NOT being liked.  You also have to get used to taking risks.  Remember, the sheep are liked by the herd.  The individuals are disliked.  Even rejected.  New ideas and new thoughts are always scary, challenged, and rarely accepted at first. There is a large research study that shows we don’t like something until we hear it at least 5 times.  So new ideas aren’t popular.  If you want to be a true individual, your first step is to develop the originality within yourself by giving up the desire to be accepted by others.  Because if you want to be “popular” you will never be a pioneer.  You will never be an original.  Originals, by nature, stand out from the crowd.  They go against conformity.  So start loving yourself and stop looking for approval elsewhere.  This doesn’t mean you will be hated, but it does mean that you can stand it if you are.  (Of course there are ways to present new ideas so they have a greater  chance of being accepted, but that is a conversation for another time.)

What else?

Well, did you know that original thinkers tend to be last born children?  Look at the best most unique comics of our time.  Take, for example, Chelsea Handler or Stephen Colbert.  They are the youngsters in their families.  In fact, you are 85% more likely to be a comedian if you are a last born child than a 1st born child.  First born children are rarely independent thinkers.  Why is that?  Because their parents were harder on them and more rigid in their rules while raising them.  They basically unknowingly squash their unique ideas.  I remember telling my dad once that I wanted to own a horse stables or I wanted to be an actress.  He quickly squashed that dream. “That’s not responsible” he said.  “It’s much better if you become something practical like an engineer.”  So I went to college as a chemical engineer and lasted exactly 3 months.  Why?  Because it wasn’t me.  I rebelled.  I changed schools a dozen times eventually graduating with a business degree that was mostly meaningless.  I am a creative that has been molded my entire life to be unoriginal.  My hobbies were drama club and speech and debate.  I loved drawing.  I hated team sports and spent most of my free time riding my horses or reading books.  Yet I was pushed into a “safe” career that I am sure I would have hated.  And it wasn’t just my parents.  I certainly don’t blame them.  It was also my community.  The school I went to.  The subjects I was taught.  The rigid and single-minded educational system that I went through.  There was very little thought into fostering individual creativity.  I bounced around my 20’s not knowing WTF I wanted to do with my life.  And sadly, I still don’t.  I’ve had several different jobs.  Right now I am a nurse.  It’s a job.  Maybe one day I will find a way to use my love for public speaking, helping others and writing in a way that actually makes money.  But until then, I will foster my originality in other ways.

So how do I stack up to my own criticisms?  I’m certainly not immune to them.  I am a 1st born child.  I have plenty of MLM products.  I also have a traditional job.  I let go of what everyone thinks of me which is one of the most freeing things I have done for myself.  I despise regurgitated content on Facebook and I am working to find my own voice and originality.  Those that know me would say I already have. I am definitely an individual but I think I hold back on my ideas for fear of failure.  I tend to want to stay inside my comfort zone and I’m working on this.

I am also working to encourage my daughter Penelope to be her own person.  I am trying to offer reasonable discipline without breaking her spirit.  It’s a challenging job.  My goals as a parent are to foster her unique qualities instead of trying to make her conform to be like everyone else.  I have no idea if I will be successful with this (ask me again in 20 years).

How about you?  How are you going to foster your uniqueness?

XOXO,

Liz

 

The 3 F’s to Wealth & Happiness

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As most of you know, in this quest for happiness, I have decided to start my own business.  Since I have never owned a business before, I’m realizing a few things during this process:

 

1. I am going through a steep learning curve and it is much slower than I anticipated.

2. My business degree didn’t teach me anything useful.

3. Without sales, your business fails.  Period.  No exception.

Considering I have very little experience with selling, I thought this might be my Achilles heel.  So I decided to start reading.  And I read.  And read.  And read.  Okay, I didn’t really read that much but I listened to many hours on audible and that totally counts.  Now, to be perfectly honest with you, I’m getting sick of listening to all of these sales strategies. Selling products.  Selling your company.  Selling yourself.  Negotiating.  Closing the sale.  Blah blah blah.  What I didn’t realize was that, in one of these very books, I was going to find the most simplified answer to wealth and happiness that I had ever heard.  It certainly wasn’t in the most predictable place, but I think it’s worth discussing here.

Now this may not be revolutionary, but it certainly made me stop and think.  It’s a concept by MJ DeMarco called the 3F’s to wealth and they go something like this: Family, Fitness, & Freedom.

That’s it.  That’s the secret to wealth and happiness according to MJ.  While this may be overly simplified, I really think he’s on to something.  I have read dozens of psychology books, skimmed hundreds of articles, and worked with thousands of patients and I couldn’t help but think, “Could it really be that simple?”

Family

We all want success in family.  What does that mean?  It means strong interpersonal relationships.  It means true friendships, love, family bonds, and being able to spend time with the people that matter to us most.  Relationships give us connection and meaning to the world around us.  Don’t underestimate them.  They’re important.

Fitness

This symbolizes  health.  Let’s say today you are diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I imagine it’s not going to be the happiest moment of your life.  Now, I know what you are thinking “So and so had cancer and they are happy.”  Sure, I know cancer survivors that are happy too.  Hell, they are happier than most of us because they have fought a battle and have come out on the other end:  alive.  They live life to the fullest and they see the reality of what is important in their lives because they know what it’s like to fight death.

But dying or chronically ill people have a really hard time with happiness, especially in the moment (hence why a life changing diagnosis usually comes with a prompt prescription for an anti-depressant).  Having your health taken away from you is a big factor in many people’s unhappiness.  In fact, in my current practice, this is the main reason why I see older people become depressed: they loose their health.  With a new diagnoses, the loss of independent functioning or an increase in pain levels can suck their mental health right down the drain.  What’s the 2nd most common reason my elderly patients get depressed?  They loose their loved ones (from distance, death, or strained relationships).  This further justifies why MJ’s concepts of “Fitness”  and “Family” are included in the foundation of happiness.  We should value our health and make it a priority.  So the next time you are tempted to skip a workout remember this:  being our best physically can also help us be our best mentally.  Plus you produce endorphins (aka “a morphine-like substance originating from the body”).  So yea.  There’s that.

Freedom

This is a big one.  Freedom is being able to do what we want, when we want.  It means we aren’t slaves to jobs we hate, we can afford that $6 latte we love, we can travel to the places we want to go.  It means we get to choose how we work and when we work.  We get to choose how we live and where we live.  Sometimes, when we make more money it means that we have to sacrifice this freedom.  That $25,000 raise comes with extra responsibilities.  Long hours at the office.  Or maybe a long commute home.  We might loose time to workout, prepare healthy meals or spend time with our loved ones.  Our health and our relationships might suffer.

On the flip side, sometimes more money can offer us the flexibility and freedom to do the things we love.  Taking an exotic vacation.  Investing in a hobby.  Or giving back to our local community.  For me, having the financial freedom to finally be able to afford to keep my 2 horses in my backyard is priceless.  I find immense joy from this.  If we have a job we love with the flexibility we crave, we can increase our income and our freedom.  And remember, more freedom = more happiness.  So it really depends on how you get the money and the sacrifices you have to make to get it.

Sometimes income is not the problem.  Over-consumerism is the problem.  We buy big houses we can’t afford so we are indentured to a job we hate.  Then we buy new cars so we can “keep up with the Joneses” when we are secretly swimming in debt.  We are living in a modern day slavery and we are an epidemic of undisciplined spenders and consumers.  Most of us are 1 crisis away from bankruptcy.  1 cancer diagnoses away from being broke.  It’s true, money has the power to increase personal freedom, but only if consumerism and our obligations to “stuff” don’t condemn us first.  Yet, somehow we find ourselves working more, just to buy more, and then we don’t even have time to enjoy the stuff we just bought.  It’s crazy.  Sometimes we have to stop and think about the things that matter to us most and ask ourselves, “Do I have the freedom to live the life I desire?”  And if the answer is no, figure out what you have to do to get there.

You might be asking, “Okay, I get it.  But where do I start?”

I would start with this: Value your family and friends, prioritize your health and stop buying bullshit you don’t need.

It might not be everything.  And it might be overly simplified.  But it’s a damn good start.

 

XOXO,

Liz

 

Words Can Inspire, But Only Action Can Create Change

… a follow up post to my Fulfillment at Work series…

So this piggybacks on my last blog post when I said, “Stop complaining and start making the changes you want to see in your company, your life and the world.”  I think it deserves a second look.

Because, I believe so many of us are talkers, thinkers, and writers.  But how many of us are action-takers?  Because in the end, all that really matters is the massive action we take to make a difference in our own life and in those around us.  In this infinite universe, we are such a tiny part.  A drop of water amidst an entire ocean.  We have to step up big time if we want to make lasting changes in this world.  We owe it to ourselves and to our children to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.

Meet Simon Sinek.  He created a program called “Learn Your Why” to help people discover why they do what they do.  He develops leaders.  Visionaries.  Thinkers.  But also do-ers.  (Love his TED talk about how to love your work.)

Or take a peak at another guy I ran into, Scott Dinsmore.  He has a program called “Live your Legend” which helps people find the work that they love. (He also has a Ted Talk if you’re interested).

I believe life is an experiment.  I love to try new things, tweak things in my life, and measure the outcomes.  I hate feeling stagnant and I strive for improvement (hence my obsession with personal development).  I am reading 2 books per week.  When I’m not reading, I’m listening to Audible in my car.  Some are inspiring.  Some aren’t worth a crap.  But I keep reading.  I keep learning.  Because, if you want to improve your life you have to INVEST IN YOURSELF.  You have to grow.  You have to change.

I love my life.  But I want more.  I’m not satisfied because I know it can be so much more.

So, what am I doing to improve my life?  My job?  My passion?  For one, I decided to start a home based business.  I am tired of working for people who don’t have their shit together.  Yet, I’m not passionate enough about nursing to get involved and overtake the whole system.  So I decided to start a side business with the intention of leaving the healthcare industry once it takes off.  Of course,  I’m still in the early stages of this as I have absolutely no experience in start ups.  I do, however, have passion and courage.  I don’t have fear.  I’ve pushed it aside.  I don’t worry about if the business will fail; I only focus on the efforts I need to take to make it succeed.  I have been pouring my heart and soul into learning as much as I can as fast as I can.  I have opened my pocketbook, invested in a new set of skills, and pushed my social life aside.  Sometimes when I go to bed my head is brimming with ideas and I get too excited to sleep.  Now THAT is a good sign.  My passion is back in my work-life.  I encourage you to find yours.

I hope this inspires you to find your why and take action.  You have nothing to loose and everything to gain.  Push your fears aside, gather your confidence, and go in the direction of your dreams!

XOXO,

Liz

P.S. (I appreciate you guys so much.  Please comment below.  Like my post.  Share it or contact me.)

Why We Hate Our Jobs & What To Do About It, Part 2

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So we’ve established some of the reasons why we are all unfulfilled at work.  In case you missed it, read Part 1 of this series here.

But really, there’s nothing worse than people complaining about their jobs without actually doing anything about it.  So let’s stop with the whining and get on with it, shall we?

There’s 2 parts to the solution:

  1. Evaluate
  2. Take Action

That’s it.  No, really.  I’m serious.

Step 1: Evaluate

First, let’s really look at the problem.  A Harvard Business study found more fulfillment at work is related to 4 things:  the opportunity to renew and recharge at work, feeling valued and appreciated, the ability to choose when and how we work, and feeling connected to a higher power at work.  Let’s dive a little deeper.

Research has proven that engaged, fulfilled employees increase company performance.  Employees who have more supportive supervisors are 1.3x as likely to stay at their organization and are 67% more engaged.  If they are allowed to focus on 1 task at a time, they are 50% more engaged.  If they find their work meaningful, they are 3x more likely to stay with their jobs.  So, fulfillment matters.  Engagement matters.  Not just to you but also to your company.  But how much do they invest in meeting those needs?  If you hate your job I’m going to take a guess and say, “not much.”

So now we know what the research has to say about it.  What exactly can WE DO about it?

Well, first I suggest you become a self-expert (more on this later).  You need to know what makes you tick.  Do you really have a good grasp of your strengths and weaknesses?  You might start by taking this free online personality test and see how your strengths align with your current job position (it’s pretty eye opening): 16Personalities Quiz

Or, you might start by asking yourself some very simple questions:

  • What exactly do you need to make you happy at your job? (Ideas:  independence, flexibility, innovating, risk taking, ect)
  • What’s missing in your work life that you need to make you feel fulfilled?
  • Do you feel safe and supported at work?
  • Do you take appropriate breaks to recharge?
  • What beliefs are you passionate about?
  • What do others thank you for?
  • What are you ridiculously good at? (Don’t know?  What do your friends say?  Start getting in touch with your natural talents.)
  • What inspires you and makes you come alive?
  • What do you do that makes you feel invincible?

Start taking a hard look at yourself.  Start doing the internal work you need to do to change your life.  Stop this culture of entitlement.  No one owes you shit.  Stop complaining.  Stop the whole “the grass is always greener on the other side” mentality.  Sometimes it’s not greener at all; you just need to wake up and improve what you have.  You need to know who you are and what you want.  Empower yourself!  Wait, that’s step 2.

Step 2: Take Action!

No, this doesn’t mean go run out and quit your job or flip off your boss (although I have honestly considered both).

Find your meaning.  Find your why.  What’s meaningful in your life?  Why do you do what you do?  Find your highest expression of talent and passion and take action in your workplace to align these passions with your job.  Have a crappy boss?  BE THE LEADER YOU CRAVE!  Stop waiting for things to change around you and go change them yourself.  Feel stressed out to the point that it’s bleeding into your personal life?  Put pressure on the hemorrhage.  Stop the bleeding.  Start prioritizing time to recharge and renew your spirit.  GO GET INSPIRED.  Only you can stop yourself from going down that burnout-drain.  Do your duties at work make you feel uncomfortable?  FIND YOUR CONFIDENCE!  Then go help others find theirs.  If you help others realize their strengths, you will start changing your life and the lives of those around you.  But don’t stop there.  Go even further: help others in small ways every day.  Start changing your workplace.  Start changing your karma.  Trust me, your life will start changing for the better and doors will open where you thought there were walls.

Stop making excuses.  “Poor me!  I never get a raise.  I’m stuck with this crappy job.  I’m so unlucky!  I’m too old to change.” I call bullshit.  I say “Take action!”  Ask for that raise.  Find a second job.  Invest in yourself.  Increase your value in the workplace.  Start increasing your skills and competence. Read.  Get inspired.  Be the leader your company needs.  Get that job you’ve always wanted.  Move outside your comfort zone.  Stop procrastinating.  Stop using your kids as a shield to your success.  Stop deluding yourself.  Stop using fear to keep you from what you want in your life.  Go get it!  If you want something better, the first step is to stop blaming others and start taking responsibility for it.  Only YOU can change your life.  So take responsibility and get to work!

Some people tell me they can’t change their workplace into something positive even though they’ve tried.  First, I would say really get off your ass and try harder.  Bring meaning to work!  If you’ve exhausted your efforts, you realize you aren’t in the right field of work, or you have been settling for something far different than what you imagine for yourself, then go get a new job.  Or a new career.  Or maybe you should just create the meaningful work you desire.  Start a business.  Start a side business.  Start improving other areas of your life that you’ve neglected (a topic for another time.)  Start making the changes that you want to see in yourself, your workplace and the world.

Because really, what’s stopping you?

Thanks for reading.  Comment below!  Like my post!  Share it!  Subscribe by entering your email on the left-hand-side of this webpage.  I love to hear from you guys.

XOXO,

Liz

Why We Hate Our Jobs & What To Do About It, Part 1

 

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Sometimes I wake up in the morning before work and think to myself,

“Is this what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life?  Really?”

and I’m not alone.

Statistics show 80% of people are unhappy with their jobs.  It seems that in this country we either have great fulfilling careers or we have high stress blood sucking soul destroying jobs and not much in between.  We are becoming an epidemic of people living in quiet desperation.  But WHY?

According to a 2013 Gallup survey, only 13% of employees feel engaged at work.  High levels of burnout are rampant, even with senior level executives.  3 in 4 employees report stress at work is bleeding into their private lives.  Research shows that parent’s who come home from jobs they hate have children who are more like likely to be bullies.  Our work is draining us.  Our relationships are suffering.  Our kids are suffering. But it gets worse…

Did you know if you have a high stress demanding job your have a 23% increased risk of a heart attack?  An increased risk for diabetes, accelerated aging, depression, and death?  OUR JOBS ARE KILLING US.

But WHY?

Well, my own personal dissatisfaction with work and disengagement with my job has led me on a quest to answer this very question.  For myself.  For you.  For our world that is quietly suffering at work.

So let’s cut to the chase.  Here are the most common reasons I’ve found:

  1. We don’t feel safe, supported or appreciated at work.

We would put ourselves at great risk for our companies if they put themselves at great risk for us.  But they don’t.  And we don’t.  – Simon Sinek

 

The United States is terrible at creating leaders.  Sure, we have lots of managers.  Managers that can look at the bottom line and micro-manage the hell out of their employees.  Managers that will reprimand, threaten and terminate employees if they don’t do their jobs exactly as outlined.  But we are greatly lacking in leaders: people with strong social skills who can INSPIRE others to do outstanding work.  Think of what our jobs would be like if we were surrounded by leaders instead of managers?

If you aren’t supported at work, you may feel like your job is unstable.  You might fear being “let go” or worry that you will never get a promotion.  It’s a relevant fear.  You aren’t alone.  It’s common and it’s real.  Our managers want us to work long hours with little or no breaks.  They want us to conform to their idea of a work day instead of allowing us the flexibility we crave.  They put little to no emphasis on social connections which really is what helps us feel connected and satisfied at work.  They focus on the bottom line and as a result their bottom line is suffering.

2. You are working for the wrong reasons

This is most commonly found when you are working just for the paycheck.  I’s good money.  You need it to support your family.  Well that is a noble reason to keep chugging along but it’s the same as living with a roommate you don’t like:  it’s tolerable for a few months but not the rest of your life.

This also happens when you feel stuck.  You chose (or fell into) a career when you were young and after several years you feel locked in.  You feel stuck.  You’ve put in too many years to start over with something you’d love to do.  You don’t feel like you are in control of your life or career anymore.  Of course this will make you unhappy.

Or maybe your job just doesn’t fit you.  Are the skills required to do your job difficult or uncomfortable for you?  Maybe it’s not the best fit.  It might not be playing into your strengths.  Did you know settling for a job you hate is more stressful that being  unemployed?  Shocking, right?  So start thinking about WHY you do what you do.  And do it now.  It’s important (more on that later).

3. Your job lacks meaning

So you have a job.  So it gives you a paycheck.  But you sense you are made for something more meaningful and exciting.  You long to do something that makes a difference in the lives of others.  You crave using your talents to foster your creativity but you have no idea how to do that.

Consider this genius point from Simon Sinek

In the military they sacrifice themselves so that others may gain,

but in business we are willing to give bonuses to people who sacrifice others so that we may gain.

We have it backwards.

Our businesses have the wrong philosophy.  They have it backwards.  We are cut-throat and dog-eat-dog and it is not fostering meaning in our work and in our lives.  It is hurting us greatly.

4. We work too much

Working 8, 9, 10, or even 14 hour days?  Working the weekends and putting in overtime to try to get ahead at work?  This leads to chronic stress and burnout.  But I don’t have to tell you that do I?  We all know this.  So many of us don’t have hobbies or interests outside of work and it’s really hurting us.  Do you live your job?  So many of us feel obligated to work long hours.  So many of us forget about work life balance.  We forget to pursue our hobbies or we put them off for another day.  But there really is no other day.  There is only the present moment.  Don’t forget to do the stuff you love.

5. We lack perspective

Now this is a big one and is comes from the culture of entitlement in our country. We expect to all be successful millionaires.  We expect to live a perfect life.  We are Americans.  But compare your life to that of someone in a 3rd world country.  Compare your life and your freedom to one full of systemic oppression.  It doesn’t seem that bad now does it?  Some of us just need to open our eyes to the fact that we have it better than most of the world.  And we need to be grateful for that.  We need to be thankful.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Because really, we have it SO good.

Another area we lack perspective is our false belief that if we work hard we will be successful.  That is not true.  Lot’s of people work hard and never become successful.  We only become successful if we increase our value in the marketplace.  Period.  We also have this false belief that success = happiness.  Well if you read my previous post, you know that is not really true.  Money won’t buy you happiness.  I know you’ve heard it.  Now absorb it.  Stop looking for success to fill your emptiness.  We buy more things.  Drive in expensive cars.  Buy bigger houses.  But there is still a strange hole inside of us and we are trying to fill it with the wrong things.  Stop tying your success to your happiness.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Wake up and look at the glorious life you have in front of you.  Stop searching for meaning in empty places.

Okay.  So that’s the bad news.  We are an unhappy overworked bunch.  But there is also good news:  we can change it.  Each and every one of us has the power to change our lives.  Change our jobs.  Change our environment.  Change our perspective.  Change ourselves.

So now we know some of the main reasons why we are unhappy at work.  Stay tuned next week for Part 2 in my work fulfillment series:  What to do about it.

Are you unhappy at work or do you love your job?  Why?  I want to hear about it!

If you liked this post, share it!  Like it!  Subscribe to it by email!  Comment below!  I appreciate your support so much.

xoxo,

Liz

P.S. (Some interesting stuff for your review)

How Your Job is Killing You

Simon Sinek: Love Your Work (LOVE this guy!)

 

Why Winning the Lottery will not Increase your Happiness

 

lottery-174132_1280

I had an interesting conversation with my hairdresser yesterday.  We were talking about what we would do if we won the lottery…

I told him, “I would promptly quit my job and never work again!”

He replied, “Yea, I might take a month off.”

“Wait.  Hold the phone.  A month?!”

“Well, I would get bored at home and I like the social interaction with different people here.”

Talk about making you stop and think.  Really?  Was he serious?

Two things immediately came to mind.  He really found the perfect career for him.  And I really didn’t.

So I went home a little disheartened and did what I always do:  research.

First, science makes it apparent that an increase in income (particularly in 1 big lump sum of money) does not increase your happiness.  There was a study of 18,000 adults over 9 years that showed that an increase in income didn’t increase life satisfaction at all, but a decrease in income resulted in decreased life satisfaction.  This of course implies that financial stability may be more important than financial gain.  Another study demonstrated that individualism is a much stronger predictor of happiness than wealth.  A third study stated once you have enough money to meet your basic needs, more money doesn’t increase your well-being.  A 4th study showed as you increase your work hours (to pursue financial gain), your happiness decreases simultaneously (even if you make more money). In fact, when compared with an increase in wealth, individualism and personality growth performed way better on the happiness scale.  Turns out, you are much better off fostering personality growth rather than monetary growth.

So that fancy car and mansion on the beach won’t give you happiness?  Nope.

Winning the lottery and pursuing expensive hobbies and traveling across the world won’t make you happy?  Nope.

Fuck.

I have a job.  A job I do for money.  Some people have careers:  a job they do for advancement and achievement.  Some people have a calling:  something they would do even if they didn’t get paid.

I have a job.

My hairdresser has a calling.

Fuck.

I might need to re-think this nurse thing (and this playing-the-lottery thing). Life is too short to spend all your time doing something you “tolerate.”  Going back to my favorite life motto:

Do more of what you love,

Less of what you tolerate,

and none of what you hate.

I might need to take some of my own advice on this one.  What about you?  What do you think about money & happiness?  Do you agree with what the research suggests?  Do you work for a paycheck or for a passion?  Are you still going to buy lottery tickets?  Do you think millions of dollars would increase your happiness?

I am interested to hear your thoughts.

xoxo,

Liz

P.S. (A few articles for your review)

Happiness not linked to increase in income:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160310111843.htm

Happiness linked to positive personality changes:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305081412.htm

Individualism is a stronger predictor of well being than wealth:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614100521.htm

 

Beginnings

I am on a journey to find extraordinary happiness.  And I hope you will join me on this happiness blog!  But before we get to the good stuff, let’s take a step back and see how I got here.

As a psychiatric RN, I have treated thousands of patients with mental illnesses.  I noticed, throughout the years, that helping people overcome depression, anxiety, and other uncomfortable feelings was ultimately not resulting in my patient’s happiness.  Not even close.

At the same time, I also started noticing how many of my friends and family members were also not living in happiness.  Seemingly “happy” people were also suffering from apathy, feelings of emptiness, and a lack of fulfillment in their lives.

Statistics say 1 in 2 people will be depressed at some point in their lifetime.  If that is true, how many more people are simply not happy? Apathetic? Stagnant? Empty? Lonely? Unfulfilled?

After much thought, I realized that decades of efforts and research has been dedicated toward filling mental deficits.  In other words, bringing someone from a -10 to a 0.  But a 0 doesn’t = happiness.  How do we bring someone from a 0 to a +10?  Now, that’s a question that I ponder often.  Realize that it has only been in the past decade or so that some of the focus has shifted into this idea of happiness and resiliency.  It’s the new frontier and they are calling it “positive psychology.”

So I put myself to the test and I decided to take a happiness questionnaire myself:  The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire.  Now, I consider myself to be a pretty happy person: I scored a 4 out of 6.  That didn’t sound too bad until I read the average American scores a 4.  What?!  Considering anti-depressants are the 3rd most prescribed drugs in the US (we are a depressed bunch!), it became apparent I had some serious work to do.  So, I will be very honest with you:  I am not looking for the simple pleasures in life.  I have those.  I am looking for life changing soul shattering happiness.  And if you are really honest with yourself, aren’t you too?

For all of these reasons, I decided to start dedicating time to helping people on a broader scale.  And by “helping people” I am including myself.  Consider me your happiness guinea pig and work horse in one.

The Extra Happi Blog is going to be an accumulation of my personal experiences, scientific research, inspirational messages and practical strategies to help everyday people like yourself become increasingly happy.  My ultimate goal is to help each of you reach extraordinary happiness:  a life full of passion, energy, wellness, fulfillment and meaning.  The ride might be bumpy but I promise it will be worth it.

What’s your path to extraordinary happiness?Me & P

xoxo,

Liz