Monthly Archives: December 2015

Find the Courage to Ask

Six months ago I was miserable at work.  I hated my job and was only staying for the paycheck.

I agonized over the decision to quit.  I wasn’t feeling fulfilled or challenged.  I wanted to do something more with my life.  But I also had plans to leave in a year for grad school.

Would one year be worth it?  Would it be enough time to learn and grow in a different position if I were to leave?  Would it be too long to feel stagnant if I stayed?  I didn’t know what to do and I kept returning to these questions time and time again as the days, weeks, and months slowly went by.

Then, I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) in July.  The speakers were inspiring, the community was supportive, and every person I met there was trying to make the world a better place by doing what they loved.  It was absolutely amazing.

Throughout the summit, I felt so connected, inspired, and creative that I felt like a different person.  I remembered what it was like to feel happy again, and it made me realize just how unhappy I had been lately.

Something needed to change.

WDS gave me the final push to recognize that I couldn’t wait any longer.  I needed to make my life more livable.  I wasn’t getting what I needed out of work and it was time I did something about it.

I approached my boss during one of our weekly one on one meetings, and explained the situation to him.  He already knew I had been considering other opportunities, but this time I let him know that I had made the decision to leave even without having another opportunity lined up first.

We had a long discussion about why and what I wanted, and it came up that I would be willing to work part time, I just couldn’t do 40+ hours per week anymore.  A few weeks later, he came back to me with an offer for a part time position that would allow me to stay on the team but work on training instead of the production work I had been doing before.   It was perfect.  My role changed, my hours decreased significantly, and I got to do work that I actually enjoyed.

Having an open dialogue with my boss was the best action I could have taken.  I am so grateful for his support, flexibility, and willingness to help find a solution that works for both of us.  I was terrified of making the wrong decision before, thinking myself in circles trying to figure it out on my own.  But opening up the discussion with my boss allowed us to find a solution that I had never considered.  The act of asking gave me an entirely new opportunity and that is a lesson I will not soon forget.

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The Book of Life – Choosing Uncertainty

This Is Your Life: If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.

It’s a tough question but one I know the answer to almost immediately: No.  I would not read it.

I’m constantly deliberating over what I should do in the future.   I agonize over it.  I have no idea what will happen one year, let alone five or ten down the road.  And that can be really scary and exhausting sometimes.

But it can also be absolutely exhilarating.  The world is full of possibility.  Anything could happen and I live for that buoyant uncertainty.

Knowing the future would reduce some of the stress and trepidation in life, but with it you would lose your sense of adventure.  You would lose the sense of accomplishment after making it through those uncertain times.  And I fear you would lose the sense that anything  you did could make a difference.

That’s a high price to pay for knowledge.

As I continue to muddle my way through life I know I will continue to worry about the future, to be uncertain about which path to take or how things might turn out.  But it wouldn’t be an adventure without a little fear and in uncertain times it’s nice to know that anything is possible.

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Five Minutes to Happiness

I have a secret.

A tool that I would like to share with you.

Six months ago, I was miserable.  My job seemed to be sucking the life out of me.  Even when I wasn’t at work, I was left stressed, worn out, and depressed.  I didn’t feel like I had the energy to do the things I enjoyed, which left me even more unhappy.  It was not a pleasant time in my life.  But I found tools to help me regain the optimistic and productive outlook I used to hold dear.

One of the tools that helped most was a journal called The Five Minute Journal.  Recommended by Tim Ferris and backed by scientific studies, the journal uses simple exercises to help you practice positivity.

Don’t worry if you aren’t a “journaler”.  I’ve never been able to keep up a consistent journaling habit and this is the perfect “journal” for non-writers.  It’s simple.  All you have to do is answer the questions the journal asks (the same ones every day) and it only takes a few minutes.  It’s made to be the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night before bed (2-3mins each).

The Benefits:

  • Practice Gratitude – the first question is to list what you are grateful for.  Experts from many disciplines, both scientific and spiritual, agree that gratitude is one of the biggest keys to happiness.  When you are thankful for what you have, it’s hard to be unhappy about it at the same time.
  • Begin the day right – this serves as a calming morning ritual as well as a chance to set your intention for the day.  The journal always asks “What would make today great?”  This is your chance to choose how you want your day to go.
  • Reflection – with the constant stimulation of today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to just sit and think but this journal gives you the chance to sit and reflect on every day.  By taking the time to review the day, you can find ways to improve upon things big and small.  This is a great way to both learn about and improve yourself.
  • Build a habit – the journal is a daily practice.  It only takes a few minutes so it’s easy to get started and it’s a beneficial habit to have.  If you feel like you want more discipline or intention in your life I’d encourage you to give it a try.  Once you’re in the habit of using this journal, you can expand upon your routine to add other activities.  Been eyeballing that CEO’s morning ritual?  Just add part of it to your journaling habit.  Exercise, meditation, writing, the possibilities are endless but the key here is to start slow.  Don’t add anything until you really have a strong habit.  I did nothing but the Five Minute Journal for the first 3 months, but it eventually acted like a gateway drug and now my mornings are both productive and fulfilling.

It’s not going to change your life overnight.  All of the benefits I’ve listed above take time.  It’s an incremental process but if you’re at all curious, give it a shot.  I’ve found it to be hugely beneficial.

You can find The Five Minute Journal on Amazon or at fiveminutejournal.com.  Their website has a lot more information and a preview of the first section of the book if you’re curious.

 

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