Did you know there are a million ways to build a fulfilling, rewarding work life?
There is no “one right way” to do it, and it really depends on how you operate.
Example: For years, I racked my brain about why I didn’t enjoy my work in any way.
I worked in advertising, and I felt so lazy compared to my colleagues, who could work late nights without getting bored or frustrated.
I felt exhausted working 9 am – 6 pm every day. After my hour-plus commute every day, I couldn’t function!
Hearing about my colleagues going to concerts after work (or even cooking themselves dinner after work) made me feel like they were heroes. I was passed out on the couch watching Law & Order every night.
These days, I accept that I simply can’t work a lot of hours every day. That I don’t function “like that.” That I need my down time in order to be productive.
And I’ve built my work life around this fact.
(And if you think "no one WANTS to operate like that, but life is tough, so just keep working" you're wrong. Some people actually love working for hours and hours and hours.)
There is so much advice out there about what you “need to do” to create a rewarding career. This can make it hard to stand in your power and remember that you can succeed in your way, based on your personality and preferences.
Today, I wanted to take a stand for accepting who we are at our core and building a productive work life based on that.
My mom is someone who does everything by herself. She runs a nursery out of her home, and raised 4 kids (my siblings and I) in the same home. She cleans the entire house herself and makes food for her family and the kids in her nursery.
Growing up with my mom, I felt so guilty for not having the “Energizer Bunny” energy to work and cook and clean all day.
In recent years, I learned that since I live in *society*, I can have other people do tasks for me so I can focus on my work.
I realized that I’m not built like my mom and use my energy differently.
And that there’s no moral superiority to doing everything yourself if it makes you miserable.
Are you a DIY-er or do you outsource tasks that make you miserable?
If you are miserable and still doing things yourself, why?
I want you to have a pleasurable career. I want you to get up every day and enjoy your work, feel like you’re toiling away like a little elf, and then go home and relax.
I don’t want you to be yelled at by clients, be low-balled by your bosses, or feel stressed about an inbox with thousands of emails. I don’t want that horrible stress for you.
BUUUUUT I also want to say: stress is not why you’re unhappy at your job.
I repeat, stress is not why you’re unhappy at your job.
*Gasp* But isn’t stress the root of all evil? Aren’t you supposed to de-stress by doing 100 meditations throughout the day and smell lavender so that you don’t flip out on your asshole colleague in the breakroom?
When we make it our goal to have a “stress-free and enjoyable workday”, we’re missing out on a big piece of what makes humans tick:
When your life is “smooth” and “enjoyable” but lacks purpose, ennui sets in.
I always think of it this way – if I was relaxing under a million soft blankets, watching all the TV I wanted, with lots of money and no job in sight – at some point I’d get bored and want to do something. (It might take a few weeks, but still.)
All the comfort in the world does not happiness make. That’s why trust-fund kids are always creating companies and philanthropy projects even though they don’t have to.
If you tackle your work problems simply by minimizing stress, you might be more comfortable, but you won’t be happy.
Instead, consider these two types of stress:
If you are dealing with assholes and tight deadlines all day on a project that doesn’t feel aligned with your life purpose, that is sad stress. It’s stress that is compounded by the fact that you technically have no reason to be in this stressful situation, except you need to pay your bills.
If you are working toward a purposeful career (even if your career goal is 5-10-20 years away), stress is recontextualized as a purposeful obstacle to go through, like you’re on a cool obstacle course. This is beneficial stress.
It is true that people take on waaay more stress than they need to. It’s true that self-care and boundaries in the workplace are essential.
But please don’t neglect your life purpose. Please don’t settle for a career that is “not stressful” and that’s about it.
Knowing the answers to these questions will make every workday more fulfilling, no essential oils or chanting required.
As I was gearing up for my recent challenge "Reclaim Your Power At Work" I did some reflecting on my work history in an illuminating session with baller coach Chelsea Quint.
That conversation reaffirmed how much I have given NO FUCKS about rules in my 15+ years of employment, and how much I want to encourage women to do the same.
Maybe it's because I'm an immigrant; maybe it's because my parents grew up in a kibbutz (commune) and didn't work for $; maybe it's because my grandparents were refugees and Holocaust survivors and their "professional success" was wiped away when their livelihoods and lives were taken from them -- who knows.
But my background has led me to completely **throw the rule book out the window** while succeeding at work and feeling like a badass kween.
I know that to achieve professional fulfillment:
**You don't need to suck up to supervisors for recommendations.
**You don't need to apply to lots of jobs.
**You don't need to work long hours to "prove yourself."
**You don't need to change your "problematic" personality.
**You don't need to be nice. In fact, you can be a biiiiitch.
**You don't need to be "productive."
You can really be whatever you want to be and still meet your profesh goals!
And that's what I help my clients to do. I'm not going to teach you how to gain power by accommodating yourself to the workplace. In fact, I will teach you how to make the workplace accommodate to YOU.
💪 💪 💪 💪
Does Someone At Work Piss You Off?
Do you have a boss / client / coworker who pisses you off?
Can you not stop thinking about them and how angry they make you?
I wanted to share my favorite way for dealing with a person who makes me angry, and it may seem counterintuitive.
I do a quick meditation focusing on the person's:
It may feel difficult to imagine this annoying person as "whole" and "resourceful," but try it out. What is possible when you notice these qualities in the person?
For me, I find that this meditation helps me disengage from "fixing" other people.
While I may still confront them about their behaviors, I am less attached to the outcome. I am also less focused on my ego, and on thinking that I know the "right way" this person should behave.
What does this bring up for you?
PS If you are ready to reclaim your power a work in a big way, click here to join me for a 5-day free online challenge "Reclaim Your Power at Work" starting on October 16, noon EST.
Making a habit "stick"
Everyone has a habit they are trying to "make stick" at work. For example, you want to stop apologizing for colleagues for things that aren't your fault. You want to get to inbox zero. You want to take your lunch hour every day. And inevitably, you don't do it.
I want to start by saying that I personally hate habits. I am way too much of a Rebel (according to my Rubin Tendency -- yes, I did a quiz to figure out that I'm a "rebel"). I love not doing what I'm "supposed to" and seeing if I can "get away with it." I always want you to question whether you really need to build a new habit, or whether you just feel like you "should."
With that said, my favorite way to make a habit stick is to make it as easy as possible to follow through. Our ego is often tempted by making a habit hard to master, so we can feel like we conquered a big obstacle when we finally figure it out.
But how about setting up your life so that following through with this habit is easy? What systems can you set up to make it easy to get to inbox zero? To make it easy to take a full lunch hour?
I challenge you to brainstorm for 10 minutes, right now, about how to set up your life to easily make the new habit a reality. Put alarms on your phone. Create a "busy" time on your calendar. Get your spouse, friends, and colleagues on board. Set everything up the night before. Etc. etc.
There are no dragons to slay. There is no hill to climb. This isn't a grand tale of conquering your demons. This new habit is easy for you, and you will set up your life so it can glide right in.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Reclaiming your power at work
Many of the women I talk to who feel powerless at work are actually giving away their power willingly. We often think that we "can't" ask for what we want at work. We believe we'll be denied and fired. But this fear is exactly what keeps us from getting what we want. After all, if you don't try to go for it, you will surely fail.
Instead, you can reclaim your power by actually trying to get what you want from your job (and yes, this works even if your employer is yourself). This is integral for you to feel your sense of personal power.
Ask yourself, what am I yearning for more than anything at my job? Get clear on the one thing that would make you happier now.
There are many ways to get what you want: getting a raise, asking for more time off (even if unpaid), volunteering for an additional project to build your skills, or even (gasp!) quitting.
But for now, I want to leave you with a simple step: imagine what it would feel like to have your wish to be granted. Imagine yourself getting a call saying your wish was approved. Where are you? What are you wearing? Who is with you?
For example, before I quit my last job, I imagined the relief I would feel after I quit. I imagined myself telling my husband I quit, and the hug he would give me. I imagined him telling him he's proud of me.
The first step to reclaiming your power at work is simply to remember that you are a powerful woman with powerful desires, and that those desires can be granted. Your imagination and visioning is integral to that reclaiming.
Before you create your strategy for asking for what you want, remember to sit with your desire, and to imagine the outcome.
I'm not "too good."
I realized recently how much of a habit I have in making myself smaller in order not to seem like a "show off." During days when I look really good, I try to "mess up" part of my look since I can't handle it. I slump my shoulders. I have a confused look on my face in public so that I don't look like "I have it all together." (WTF?)
Not every woman does what I do to seem "less good at things," but many of us take actions to self-sabotage our success.
For women, looking really good physically, or being really successful professionally, can feel dangerous. In the past, I have wanted not to call attention to myself because I associated "looking good" and "doing good" with others feeling resentful and angry at me. I associated it with danger.
Do you relate?
This month, my goal is to undo some of this self-sabotage, and I'm starting with how I show up in public. When I go out in the city, I want to walk around with my head held high. I want to look assured and like "I know where I'm going." Because I do know where I'm going. So it's time to look like it.
I'll let you know how it goes.
I hear it all the time. “I’m working on my own business. Once I launch it, I’ll finally do meaningful work.” “Once I leave my day job, I’ll finally be doing meaningful work.” “Once I move to a different city, my job will finally be meaningful.”
I believe you can start doing meaningful work right now. Before you officially leave your job. Before you sell all your belongings and buy a one-way ticket to Bangkok. Before you even figure out what your “passions” are.
We can all think of one thing we enjoy doing to serve our community, whether it's cooking, event planning, general problem-solving, or even listening. One of my friends helps people revamp her resumes for fun (and profit). Another friend loves meal-planning and grocery shopping. My husband helps people plan their weddings.
Today I ask you:
What activities give you purpose, and make you feel like your life has meaning?
Which of these activities can you start doing today?
How can this be your meaningful work?
I urge you to start riiiiiight now. Dooooo it.
"I can't stop second-guessing myself." This is a sentence my clients can't stop saying to me.
Many of my clients suffer from "on the other hand" syndrome. When trying to make a decision, like whether to confront a friend for being flaky, they tell me, "on the one hand, I feel like I should talk to her. But on the other hand, I feel scared. And on the other hand, isn't it good to confront people? But then again, why make a big deal out of it?" And that's just the beginning of their "on the other hand" internal discussion.
How can we shorten our time going through "on the other hand" syndrome, and spend more time actually making decisions?
One option is to get out of your head, and instead feel the options in your body:
Do the same for the other option, and any other options that come up.
Don't think of making the decision. Simply do the body work and see what comes up. You may be surprised by what your body tells you.
If you're neurotic like me, interrupting your thoughts and going into the body can be immensely illuminating.
Try this and let me know in the comments what this brings up for you.