Overcoming Obstacles To Reach Your Goals: Stop Should-ing Yourself to Death

What Do You Want?

The Common Shoulds of Society

We’ve already covered several common obstacles to reaching your goals, including those pesky negative thoughts and having a lack mindset. Today, we will address how to stop “should-ing yourself.” We live in a society driven by “shoulds.” Finance websites are more than happy to tell you what you should be doing with your money—save for retirement, invest in bitcoin, flip real estate, etc. Well-meaning friends and parents also have a multitude of opinions of what you should be doing with your life—get a stable job (“Be an accountant”), get married, buy a home, have children. I’m not saying that those things like having kids or buying a home are bad things—I’ve happily done both of those—I’m just encouraging you to take in all of the information and make your own informed decisions based on what’s best for YOU!

I can’t tell you how many clients sit in my office and ponder whether they “should” make a certain decision based on a variety of factors. They’ll ask me: “Do you think I should (insert “should” here: change jobs, go for the promotion and so on)?” and then wait expectantly for my answer. I often answer them with a simple question of my own: “Do you want to?” They sometimes stare at me as though I’ve asked a question in a foreign language. More often than not, I get a response along the lines of “I never thought about it.” They’ll go on to tell me they’ve been trained in a certain job field and figured it was logical to continue in that industry even though they dreaded going to work every day, or felt they would let their parents/friends/partner down if they left a stable or highly-regarded industry (have I mentioned how many lawyers I’ve had as clients?), or they felt stuck because they valued their salary even though they felt the job was crushing their soul.

Why Should is a Red Flag Word

Whenever you feel that you should do something, take a closer look because the word should usually indicates that it’s coming from somewhere (or someone) outside of yourself. For instance, a client told me he felt he should take a promotion in his company even though he couldn’t stand the job. When asked why he felt he should do that, he acknowledged that the people around him, including his parents, would view him as a success if he accepted a promotion. When I asked “Do you want to take the promotion?” it became crystal clear to him that he did not want it.

I point out that if I tell clients what I think they should do, they’ve again given their power away to an external source rather than empowering themselves. It shouldn’t matter what I think they should do; it only matters what they want for themselves. My job is to help them step into that power, discover what they want, and then help them to achieve it. Here’s the thing: nobody is more of an expert about you than you. Yes, in my role as a career coach, I help clients to unlock their potential, clarify their goals, and then break those goals down into achievable steps, but I would never presume to tell someone what those goals should be.

Is Should Always a Bad Thing?

No. For instance, you should pay your taxes because that’s part of being in a society, even though it’s not necessarily something you want to do. Let’s look at another common should. It’s common knowledge that exercise is good for you and has lots of benefits so you should do it. But it’s what you tell yourself that matters (remember the power of words we addressed in the negative thoughts post), so I encourage you to reframe those shoulds into wants if they are areas you want to improve. Figure out the want that is behind the should. Look at the following two sentences:

I should exercise more and lose some weight.

I want to be healthy and have lots of energy to care for myself and those around me.

Which of those statements is more positive and attaches personal empowerment to it? See the difference between the should statement versus the want? Let’s try one related to finances:

I should save more money for retirement.

I want to be financially independent in order to pursue my dreams and provide for my family.

Try saying the two statements out loud. Which statement is more motivating to you? In another post, we will look at the importance of the WHY behind your goals, but for now, we will look at how to focus on what you want rather than what you should do.

Here’s a quick exercise where you will reframe two should statements into want statements. Pick two areas in your life that you want to improve (not an area where others think you should improve) and write a should and want statement for each one.

  1. I should _________________________________________________________.
  2. I want ___________________________________________________________.
  1. I should _________________________________________________________.
  2. I want ___________________________________________________________.

2 Quick Steps to Refocus Your Shoulds

Step 1: Catch yourself whenever the word comes out of your mouth or pops into your head

Step 2: Stop and ask yourself, “What do I want?”

You will be surprised how quickly your real truth comes out when you pause to ask yourself that question. Next week, we will address the common obstacle known as “perfectionism.” Have a great week!

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Overcoming Obstacles to Reach Your Goals: The “Lack” Mindset

This series of posts addresses common obstacles that people encounter when trying to reach their desired goals. Last week, we addressed how to overcome negative thinking. This time, we will talk about the common perceived obstacle of “lack.”

When people have difficulty reaching their personal and professional goals, they often point to a lack of something as a reason. Lack of time. Lack of money. Lack of energy. Lack of knowledge. Lack of skills. Lack of resources. And so on. This obstacle is common because if reaching goals were easy, everyone would do it. If your common lack belief is something along the lines of “lack of smarts” or “lack of being good enough,” then I encourage you to go back and read the first post in this series about negative beliefs. Also, what you tell yourself matters, so if you tell yourself that you can’t succeed because of some “lack,” then that will be the case (see above quote). For the rest of you, here are some tips for 3 of the most common “lacks.”

  1. Lack of time. I can’t tell you how often I hear this one from my life coaching and career coaching clients (hint: it’s a lot.) Here’s the thing. Everyone has 24 hours in a day: you, your boss, your friends, and even Bill Gates, and Beyonce. Whenever someone begins describing this lack to me, it becomes evident that the issue is actually “lack of time management” rather than time. I will do an entire post on time management in the future but people take great pride in listing off all of their responsibilities and things they do in their day and why they can’t possibly find time for anything extra. You don’t find time. You make time. If something is important enough to you, you will make the time. One quick tip: schedule that thing in your calendar and you are way more likely to do it. I am also a published sci-fi author, and someone once said to me, “I wish I had time to fritter away to write a book.” As though the magical time fairy sprinkled me with extra time that she didn’t have. I get up at 4:30a on weekdays before my kids get ready for school so that I can make time for writing before my other work. Make time for what matters to you.
  2. Lack of money. Unless you are the aforementioned Bill Gates or Beyonce, you likely have some limitations with your money. I tell clients that the quickest way to determine what they really value in life is to look at every penny they spent in the past month that wasn’t for a roof over their heads and electricity. Then, look for any areas where you could shift even a few dollars toward your goal. There are a ton of posts out there on ways to save more money (a google search is great for this), but start a fund for that goal, no matter how small it is. Online accounts even let you name the account whatever you want so make it your goal name or something fun, such as Trip to Ireland account, Start My Own Catering Business account, Freedom from Corporate Enslavement account, etc. In the meantime, be creative. What can you do with the funds you have now? I guarantee you can start somewhere, even if it’s a small step. All big things start with smaller things that add up. I know someone who sold their blood plasma to pay for editing of their first book. How badly do you want that goal?
  3. Lack of knowledge. Most of us are knowledgeable in certain areas but we may have goals that stretch beyond our expertise. I encourage this because I strongly believe that all growth happens outside our comfort zones. I’ve had clients want to shift jobs into entirely new fields, clients who wanted to remodel a room in their home, and even one who wanted to build a motorcycle even though they’d never done it before. Luckily, we live in an age where a plethora of information is literally at our fingertips. I’ve had clients take online classes through places like Harvard X to learn new information, look up YouTube videos on how to install/repair/remodel various things, and send out the word on social media and email that they were interested in a new career field. Remember: knowledge can always be obtained. Plus, being a life-long learner is the key to continued growth and evolving as a human.

In Summary: Those are the top 3 “lacks” that I hear from clients though there are obviously more. I’ve said this before but if you try to view challenges more as “opportunities in disguise,” you will become more creative to your approach in solving them and future challenges won’t seem as daunting. You can absolutely achieve your goals. The key is believing it.

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Life Coaching Worksheet: Year End Goal Assessment

I have to admit that I love this time of year! Not just because of all the cooking, family time, and snuggling with my dogs by the fireplace. I love that it’s a perfect time to take stock of the year and then make plans for the next one. Whether or not you reached all of your career goals, personal goals, or other goals, it’s so important to focus your energy ahead on what you want rather than dwell on your perceived shortcoming. Give yourself credit for every win you had, no matter how small you think it is. One of my favorite quotes by Wayne Dyer is: “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

It’s your choice whether to see the glass as half-full versus half-empty! Did you have a goal to lose 10 pounds but “only” lost 5 pounds? Rejoice in losing 5 pounds. Have a goal to meditate daily or increase your income by a certain amount but didn’t quite reach it? Celebrate meditating at least several times a week or increasing your income at all. Then make a plan for 2020 where you set actionable and specific goals. Make the overall end of year goal big but make your daily action steps small and doable–even a marathon is only accomplished step by step.

Later, I will share a sheet for setting your monthly goals to set you up for success in 2020, but for now, here is a free year-end worksheet for you to download so you can take stock of 2019 (download below). I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing holiday season!! Love and light, Kristi

5 Benefits of Online Career Coaching

Years ago, I began my career as a Clinical Psychologist doing traditional therapy face-to-face with clients who had issues such as depression and anxiety. The in-office setting made the most sense for me at that time and it was important for me to physically be present with them and to offer support (and tissues!) as needed. However, once I obtained my professional coaching certification, I began to specialize in life and career coaching which drew different types of clients to me. While they expressed some transient anxiety or depressive feelings about not being in their dream career or living their best life (which would be expected), they did not have those symptoms at a clinical level. My coaching clients also were well-versed in mindfulness and the law of attraction which fit well with my own style and I felt an intuitive nudge to try something different.

Back when I first made the switch to distance coaching, either by phone or online, I have to admit that I was initially hesitant about meeting with people that way. Would we still be able to establish a strong working relationship? Would the sessions be as helpful as in-person? Would it be awkward looking at a camera or talking on the phone with someone instead of being face-to-face with them? Now that I’ve been doing online and phone coaching for years, I’ve seen some great benefits to this method:

  1. I can help way more people! Whereas I used to be limited to serving clients who happened to live in my general proximity (Denver), I now have clients all over the U.S. and the world—including Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. Working with such a diverse population of clientele is not only incredibly rewarding but has greatly enriched my knowledge of other cultures which allows me to be a well-rounded coach. It’s amazing how similar people are in terms of wanting to live their best possible life!
  2. It’s convenient. I’ve had people do sessions in their office on their lunch break, outside on a street in Dubai, at an airport terminal while waiting for a flight, from their car (parked of course!) and in their living room while their kiddo was napping. You can do it (almost) anywhere.
  3. It takes less time. Whereas an in-person session means the client also has to allot time for traffic time with driving to and from the appointment, parking the car, checking in with the receptionist, finding a baby sitter, etc., online coaching is easier to fit into a packed schedule—and my clients are very busy people.
  4. It’s flexible. Sometimes, my clients want to see my smiling face so we do Skype or Zoom; while other times, they may be traveling and so phone works better on certain weeks. Or technology blips happen (because life) and we just switch from one mode to another.
  5. It’s effective (which I think is the most important factor for my clients). Developing a strong working relationship has been just as easy, and I’ve even found the session time to be more effective because we are laser-focused during those 45 minutes. I had multiple local clients whom I initially saw in my office who decided to switch to online coaching due to their busy schedules. An interesting outcome of that was that most ended up preferring the phone even over Skype/Zoom. Why? Many told me that they can better process ideas and think more while they walk around, so the phone allows them to do that during our session.

If you’ve never given online or phone coaching a try, I think you will find the process engaging and rewarding. Changing your life for the better is definitely an investment of your time, energy, and resources but living your best life is worth it!

Make sure to check out plenty of other tips on the blog such as 5 Questions to Help You Determine Your Ideal Career.  Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Career Coaching Insights: 5 Questions to Help Determine Your Ideal Career

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

The difference between a job and a career

While a job is something that one does solely for the money involved, a career involves a chosen occupation which often has room for progression in that specific field. Delivering pizzas for extra pocket money would be an example of a job, while teaching or medicine are possible career paths. If you work a typical 40-hours per week, that is 2,080 hours each year that you are spending at work, and a career often spans decades of a person’s life. Decades. That is a lot of hours devoted to one’s career and why it is so important to make sure you are doing what you love. The goal should be that you wake up excited by what you get to do each day—that you are thriving, not just surviving. While it’s never too late to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, the sooner you’re able to identify your ideal career, the more time you’ll have being happy and energized at work.

Here are 5 mindful questions to help determine your ideal career:

#1: What are your values?

In general, people are happiest when what they do in life matches their values. Examples of values can be things such as family, relationships, health, nature, travel, honesty, financial freedom, spirituality, success, and knowledge. There are many other values as well, but the key is that your day is spent in line with at least some of your core values. For instance, if two of your core values were social justice and equality, you would likely be miserable in a job on Wall Street, but might thrive in a non-profit setting.

There’s no right or wrong regarding values; just be honest in what yours are. If you aren’t sure what your top values are, the fastest way to figure it out is to ask yourself this question: where do you spend your 1) free time and your 2) money? People with family as their top value tend to spend their time and money on family activities, or someone who values the outdoors might go hiking or biking every weekend. List your values and then determine if your current career lines up with any of your top ones.

#2: When are you in the flow where you lose track of time?

The goal of mindfulness is to live as much as possible in the present moment, which is where all of the good stuff in life happens. When you are so absorbed in something that you lose track of time, you are fully immersed in the present. For many people, this state of flow occurs when they are involved in a favorite hobby. The definition of a hobby is: an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. It’s something done due to the love of doing it, rather than for a secondary gain such as money. Some potential responses could be: when you’re gardening, taking photos, building model cars, skiing, rock climbing, jewelry-making, writing, woodworking, or playing with your children. You get the idea. When answering this question, you will probably come up with more than one answer, which is great so think of all incidents where you lose track of time.

A fun extension of this question is: as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? No matter how far-fetched the answer might be, it often highlights what excited you as a child, and we often lose touch with that inner child as we grow. When you identify when you are most in the flow, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that your answer means you should make that hobby a career. Some people worry that making something they love into a job will cause them to lose their passion for it, whereas others would be thrilled to get to do their hobby full-time. The key is just to tap into those things that excite you, because you can use that passion to determine what is missing from your current career.

#3: What skills do you have that are unique?

Everyone has a combination of strengths, personality traits, and life experiences that make them unique. When you identify the things that make you stand out, you can better explore how to use those strengths. This could be having an amazing aptitude with numbers, whipping up an amazing meal without a recipe, or being someone who easily makes new friends.

If this question is hard for you, think about the last time you received a compliment. Has someone told you that you’re great at solving puzzles, a great cook or that they admire your homemade curtains? Did someone ask you where you got that awesome table or bookcase only to find out that you made it? NOTE: Don’t discount a skill based on not liking an aspect of it. For instance, if you are great with numbers, but didn’t enjoy being an accountant, it doesn’t mean there isn’t another great fit for you, such as data analysis or forecast modeling.

#4: What does your ideal work day look like?

You can try a fun visualization exercise before answering this one. Try closing your eyes and visualize what an ideal day at work would look like, and more importantly, feel like, for you. Don’t focus on what the actual job involves. What type of co-workers do you have in this ideal job, e.g. motivated, collaborative, creative, or independent? Or do you not picture co-workers at all, and see yourself working mostly alone? What is the management style of your dream boss, such as detail-oriented or more unstructured but supportive? Or are you the boss or business owner? What does the environment look like, e.g. bright open space, private office with door, your own house, or frequent traveling to different cities or countries?

When you feel excited and happy in the visualization, like it almost seems real, then you’ve succeeded in tricking your brain, so now you can open your eyes. Jot down everything you experienced in this visualization. Notice how close or far this ideal work day is from your current work experience. Also, keep in mind, that your ideal work day may look very different than your friends or family’s version, and that’s okay—own your vision and don’t let peer pressure talk you out of it.

#5: What would you be doing right now if money was no object?

What would you be doing if money did not matter at all to you? Even if your first inclination is to say “nothing,” think past the initial period of lounging on the couch playing video games or binge-watching Game of Thrones. People thrive when they feel they are living up to their full potential. Would you start your own charitable foundation? Your own business? Would you travel the world and experience new cultures? Move closer to family or loved ones?  Hint: Answering this question also helps you identify your true values in life.

Begin the Journey Toward Your New Career

Your new career starts now.

Too often people stay stuck in careers that aren’t satisfying to them, many times to fears or limiting beliefs about what they think is possible for them. So many of our challenges in life are mental, rather than physical, so use these questions as a starting point. Read through all your responses and notice any common themes, words, or ideas. These repetitions give clues as to potential career ideas. Keep in mind that there is usually not one perfect job out there for you, just like there’s not one perfect partner, so you’re just opening yourself up to possibilities at this point. Use your answers as food for thought in your journey toward a new career, and take the first step today. Did you notice any similarities in your responses to these questions? Did any of your answers surprise you? What step will you take next?

Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., C.P.C., is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified professional life and career coach who works with clients all over the world via the magic of Skype. Contact Dr. Kristi to set up a free coaching consultation at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com.

Life Coaching Insights: 2019 Mid-Year Goal Check

I can’t believe half of 2019 is over already! Mid-year is a great time to take a few minutes and assess how you’re doing so far with your goals for this year. If you’re on track to meet your personal and professional goals, that’s awesome! *throws confetti* You’re doing great and should be proud so take a moment to celebrate and then keep on truckin’ along. However, if instead you are feeling like you blinked and the year is already half-over and you haven’t accomplished anywhere near what you wanted to by this point—don’t despair. You still have time. Six months, in fact. You still have half the year to focus on making 2019 a success for you.

Ready?

Step 1) Assess where you are now. What is the personal or professional goal you wanted to accomplish? What steps did you accomplish so far? What held you back or got in your way? Examine the goal itself—is it a specific enough goal with small attainable steps? Write down the goal below and make sure it is specific to what you have control over. For example, instead of “lose 10 pounds,” you would write something like “exercise 30 minutes per day.” Instead of “make more money,” you would have something specific like “work “x” hours per week on my side hustle” or “make 5 sales calls per day.” You get the idea.

GOAL: ____________________________________________________

Step 2) Break the goal down into smaller steps. Over the next 6 months, if you even take one small step per day or complete one action item, imagine where you’ll be in half a year. You can only climb a mountain one step at a time so instead of being overwhelmed and paralyzed by the sheer size of your goal, just take one step today. And then another one tomorrow. Movement creates movement, so even small steps will motivate and energize you.

What is one thing you can do today to get you on your next step to your bigger goal? Examples might include: set up a savings account, go for a walk with a friend, organize one drawer, create a profile on a dating app, make a website, etc.

Your one thing for today: _______________________________________

Step 3) Set aside a few minutes per week to review progress and determine steps for the next week. Many of my career coaching and life coaching clients tell me they prefer to do this on Sunday evening because it gives them focus for the coming week but you do you and see what works best. Assess your completed items for the past week and decide what you need to put on your daily list for the following week. Note: Only assign 1 task per day. You can always do more than one thing which is bonus but you want to set yourself up to succeed. A common mistake is when people put 20 things on their daily task list, and being that they’re human, they don’t complete them and then feel like a failure—plus, when you re-write the same unfinished tasks over and over each day, it makes them lose their impact.

Weekly goal for upcoming week:___________________________________

Then, just rinse and repeat each week. The prior week’s tasks will help determine your next steps. When a certain task feels larger than others, break that down into smaller ones that seem doable. For instance, if you’re decluttering your entire house and this week’s overall goal is the garage which is so crammed with things that you want to cry thinking about it, break that one task down into manageable pieces, e.g. Monday: the shelves by the door, Tuesday: the box of holiday decorations, etc. One of my clients who started her own business broke things down into different days and: set up her LLC, obtained liability insurance, got a logo design, created her tagline and designed her website by picking one thing per day to do. You can do anything if you break it down into small enough steps!

Here is wishing you a successful second half of 2019 and that you finish this year amazed at all that you accomplished!

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you’re ready to change careers or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

Career Coaching Insights: 5 Reasons People Stay in Jobs They Don’t Love

If you’ve read my prior post on determining whether your job is a good energetic fit for you or not, and you also believe that life is short (because it is), then you may wonder why on Earth someone would choose to stay in a job they don’t love? Everyone knows that one person who complains endlessly about their job yet never does anything about it. Why would they do that? There are actually multiple reasons why people stay too long in unsatisfactory jobs and there are even valid reasons for doing so. If you’re a single parent with six children to feed and put through school, it’s risky to chuck your day job to pursue your dream of becoming a slam poet. Also, in general, people don’t love change—it’s uncomfortable. But as I’ve said before, all true growth happens outside of your comfort zone and you can use mindfulness to help you through the process of change.

Here are the top 5 reasons I’ve heard from my career coaching clients for staying in jobs they don’t love:

  1. Fear of the Unknown. This is commonly known as “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t” excuse. Your job may have exhausting demands that involve over-time and having to skip your child’s ballgame or you may have the boss from hell but at least you know what to expect…and what if the next job/boss/commute is even worse?   
  2. Fear of Starting Over/Change. Even if you know you absolutely do not want to keep doing the job you are doing, you’ve been doing it for enough time that you are making decent money at it; therefore, starting in a new field could involve taking lower pay or having to start at a more entry level job. Also, who wants to hire someone [whatever age you are]? I’ve had clients think they were “too old” for a new job at 35! Though ageism in our society is unfortunately a real thing, I’ve had clients successfully change careers well in their 60’s.
  3. Fear of Stepping Outside the Box. This one has to do with societal norms and I hear this one from people who are thinking of starting their own business rather than finding another traditional job. Things like a steady paycheck, 401K match, and paid vacation days are not generally associated with being an entrepreneur and therefore more risk is involved. Some people are naturally more risk-averse than others, which is totally okay, and you just need to know where you fall on this spectrum. Not everyone wants to own their own business.
  4. Fear of Who You Are If You Aren’t [This] Job. This is usually the ego talking. For instance, if someone has been in corporate finance for decades, you may attach your identity to your career and wonder who you would be if you weren’t “Bob from accounting.” Or maybe you’ve invested a ton of money and time into becoming “Sally the lawyer.” (Side note: it’s interesting to me how many lawyers I’ve had as clients!) Sometimes, pressure comes from society, friends, or family to be in a certain job due to perceived benefits such as pay, status, or credibility. The key is to tap into what you want because it’s you, not them, doing that job every day.
  5. Fear of What You Would Do Instead. Sometimes people come to me for career coaching because they know they don’t want to do their current job but they have no idea what they want to do instead. Sometimes, they aren’t even sure what their true strengths or passions are. There are many exercises you can do to figure this out but it’s still scary when you don’t know exactly what you want to do next.

What do these all have in common?  FEAR. All of these are fear-based responses. Does that mean the fears are unrealistic? No, some of them are very real, hence why many people stay stuck in jobs they don’t like. But overall, people are happiest in life when they make decisions based on what they want rather than what they fear. I’m going to repeat that in a different way because it’s so important. When you live your life as much as possible focused on what you want rather than what you don’t want, you are placing your energy on the good instead of the negative—and wherever you place your energy grows. Some call this the law of attraction but it’s really a law of energy. You can be realistic about mitigating the concerns and fears you have while still taking steps toward your dream career. Too often, people use their fears as a reason to stand still and take no steps at all. It’s easier to by overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear than to break through it and take small action steps.

Now what?

Do any of these fears sound familiar to you? Which one resonated most with you? Are there other reasons you have stayed in a job you didn’t like? Usually, there is a tipping point for my clients—they reach out to me when their desire for change is greater than their fears. Notice that I didn’t say the fears magically disappear—but they have decided to take steps despite those fears, which is always the fastest way to overcome them and create a more fulfilling life. This quote by George Eliot sums it up pretty well:

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.”

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you’re ready to change careers or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

Career Coaching Question: Is Your Job an Energetic Match for You?

          Does your office environment fit you?

People tend to be happiest when their job is a match for them in several key areas. I’ve talked before about the importance of your job matching at least some of your core values. What’s also important to career happiness is that your job feels like a vibrational, or energetic, match for you. When your job is a good fit, you tend to feel more excited, content, satisfied, and rewarded by your work. And by energy, I don’t mean the physical kind, though obviously if your job involves say, shepherding people up a steep mountain, you do need to have the physical stamina to match your job duties. 😉 If you’re not even sure what type of job may be ideal for you, then go back and start with my earlier post on 5 Mindful Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Determine Your Ideal Career.

In terms of a good vibrational match, if you are more introverted, an open and loud office might feel overwhelming to you yet doing the same exact job in a quiet and peaceful space may feel entirely different. An emergency room doctor who thrives in a chaotic environment is going to have a different vibrational set-point than a scientist or researcher who prefers working alone in a lab, so the key is just figuring out your personal energy and whether what you’re doing for work fits that energy well.

The best way to assess the energy or vibration of a job is how you feel both when you are there and when you leave at the end of the day. When you walk out the door, do you feel happy and content? Or tired, but rewarded, like you made a difference that day? Or do you just feel drained when you’re there and when you leave, like all you want is to lay on the couch and binge-watch Netflix?

Do negative thoughts about work overshadow your personal time when you are with your family or doing social activities, even on the weekends? For many of my career coaching clients, this is the point at which they reach out for coaching because they feel their important relationships are being impacted by their dissatisfaction with work. Pay attention to what is causing the negative feelings in you and try journaling those things to gain clarity. Some clients realize they love the job itself, but it’s their co-workers or the actual environment and/or building itself that is not a good energetic match. For instance, they may work in a dark space without much light or windows, or they walk away from a meeting with their supervisor feeling unheard rather than supported. Or conversely, they love their co-workers and feel great energy with them but realize the corporate culture or the organization is not a great fit. I had a client who loved sales and her co-workers but realized the energetic disconnect was that she did not believe in the specific product she was required to sell and felt she was “scamming” people which also goes back to the values exercise I recommended previously.

Energetic Fit Exercise:

When you begin your job tomorrow (whether it’s in an office, at home, on the road, etc.) pay attention to how you feel when you begin the workday and notice the emotions that arise during the day. When you get home, how do you feel? Jot down notes around specifics, including a) feelings about the job tasks you completed (or started) that day, b) the people: your co-workers, your clients, your supervisor(s), c) the workspace itself from the parking lot to the office to the break room, etc. and d) anything else that struck you as important. Now, which things made you feel good or happy? Which things made you feel drained or stressed?

Now What?

If you have a match with multiple things on your list, yay, you’re likely fairly satisfied with your job. But if you notice that you only love one thing, such as your office window or that one co-worker who brings in donuts every week, you might not be in the best possible fit for you. If you realize you have more negative feelings about your job than positive ones, it might be worth exploring a change. Whether you pursue a career change on your own or want to try online career coaching, take a step today. Life is too short to spend it doing a job you don’t love.

Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., CPC is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Life Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you would like more help reaching your goals or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

The Power of Words

 

The words you use matter. Not just words that are spoken out loud, but your written words and thoughts as well. I can’t tell you how many times a client has said something to me, like, “I’m terrible at….” or “I’ll never be able to…” Words are more powerful that most people know which is why it’s important to put some energy into choosing your words wisely. As humans, we tend to be amazing at the self-fulfilling prophecy thing, meaning we are masterful creators of our reality. Whatever we speak, write and think on a daily basis has immense power to become real. In the course of a career or life coaching session, I will often point out a client’s word choice around certain issues because it reveals a lot about where they are stuck. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  1. “I’m Awful/Terrible/No Good/Very Bad at…” No, I’m not talking about the amazing picture book based on Alexander and his not-so-great day, though that book perfectly highlights the snowball effect that bad thoughts can have. It’s why bad days tend to stay bad–because we put our energy on the negative rather than what we want. Instead, practice speaking, writing, and thinking what you are good at. What if there is something that you want to better at but don’t feel you are there yet? That’s okay. Just choose different words. The fix: Instead of “I’m terrible at dating.” “I’m awful at numbers.” “I can’t lose the weight.”  Say this: “I’m getting better at dating.” “I’m learning better budgeting.” “I’m working on a healthy body.”                
  2. “Should” versus “Want”: We all get advice and suggestions from others, whether that is our spouse, parents, friends, or co-workers. Though that advice is often well-meaning in intent, the challenge comes in determining whether it is right for YOU. Too often, I see people who chose career field because of influence by others (parents telling them it would be a secure field, friends telling them it’s a money-making job, etc.) rather than them following their own passions. The word “should” is a huge red flag, because it usually means the influence is external rather than coming from inside yourself. For instance, “I should go into accounting because there are tons of jobs open.” “I should marry this person because they have many good qualities.” “I should get my Master’s Degree because it will open more opportunities for me.”  The fastest way to discover if that thing is right for you is to substitute the word “want” instead. The fix: Replace the word “should” with “want” and ask it as a question: “Do I want to go into accounting?” “Do I want to marry this person?” “Do I want to invest my time and energy into a Master’s Degree?”
  3. “Someday I will…” “Once I do/have/become this, then…” Too often, we are not living in the present moment which is where all the good stuff happens. We delay our ultimate happiness by saying that once we attain something (a great career/relationship/perfect health), we will be satisfied. By all means, have goals for yourself but whenever possible, frame them in the context of the present moment. If in each moment, you choose things that are healthy, happy, and moving toward your goal, you will get there faster than by staying 10 steps ahead in your mind. When you are always thinking 10 steps ahead, you aren’t enjoying where you are and life is all about the journey. If you’re not happy now, you won’t be happy 10 steps ahead either. The fix: Use present tense language to keep yourself grounded in the moment. Think thoughts in line with this, such as: “I am excited to exercise today to be healthy.” “I love playing this game with my children.” “I’m feeling great about this work project I’m completing.”

Bonus Tip: Whenever possible, use language in your thoughts and speech that generate more of what you want in life. Use words like “excited” “passionate” “love,” etc. If you know any negative Nellie’s in your life (the ones who find the down side of absolutely everything), pay attention to the language they use–their energy is about finding more of those negative things, and there will always be more to find if that’s where your focus is. Think of your energy as akin to plants or a garden–the things you focus on will grow by where you put your attention (water). Water your thoughts with good feelings and energy to create more of that in your life.

Remember: Like attracts like. Challenge yourself for the next week in terms of the words you say out loud and think to yourself. Focus your energy on what you want to create. Then you will have a book more similar to Alexander and the Wonderful, Amazingly Awesome, Very Good Day. 🙂

 

 

What’s Mindfulness Got to Do With Life/Career Coaching?

Whether people come to see me for life coaching if they want to change or improve an aspect of themselves, or reach a personal goal such as run a marathon or write a book, or if they see me for career coaching because they want to find a different career path, I do one thing consistently with all my clients: I incorporate mindfulness (awareness of the present moment) into the work we do together. Why? Great question. Here’s why.

  1. It decreases stress. When we are constantly running around from one thing to the next, we tend to get overwhelmed, which causes a rise in the stress hormones in the body. Over time, this can lead to physical problems, such as high blood pressure, decreased immune functioning, and physical illnesses (including cancers), as well as to emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. When people are in a job they don’t love or they are feeling like they haven’t reached a goal they would like to attain, they often experience chronic stress. Teaching some simple mindfulness techniques makes it easier to relax, which causes positive changes in many areas from work to parenting to relationships. It also improves the quality of your sleep at night, which is the foundation of everything else you do. Improving your sleep is the quickest way to cause positive changes in the rest of your life.
  2. It makes your brain work better. Studies have shown that meditation causes improvement in brain cognition, included increased mental focus. Also, when you are in the present moment and clear-headed, you tend to make better decisions. When you are stressed, you tend to breathe more rapidly and shallowly, which means less oxygen is going to your brain because it’s going to your extremities to prepare for the fight-or-flight response. This is great if a bear is chasing you, but otherwise, it’s not helping you decide what’s best for you. A few simple breathing exercises help you to draw in more air, oxygenate more of your brain, and think more clearly.
  3. It can cause physical changes as well. There’s definitely something to the mind over matter idea. One study found that hospital patients who had a view of nature healed faster from surgery and required less pain medication than other patients. Being relaxed allows your body’s natural healing abilities to take over, which is why more and more research is being done on the impact of mindfulness on illnesses. Another mind-blowing study showed how a guided meditation caused measurable physical changes in the body simply by thinking about working out. This type of research is guiding some professional sports teams in their use of virtual reality to improve one’s game without the risk of injuries. This is one of the areas I find most exciting in the power of mindfulness techniques.
  4. It helps you identify “wants” versus “shoulds.” When you are in the present moment, it’s way easier to decide what you actually want, versus what you think others think you should do. It quiets the monkey chatter of self-doubt, fears, and second-guessing yourself. One of my clients was offered a substantial promotion in terms of pay and job title, but did not appear happy or excited about it. Upon exploration, she realized she did not want the promotion as she had no desire to manage other people, but felt she “should” do it, as others would view her as being more successful. Once she identified this, she turned the job down and felt a huge sense of relief. Anytime, the word “should” pops into your head around a decision, it means it’s time to use some mindfulness to dig a little deeper.
  5. It increases your intuition.  The more clear-headed you are, the more you are fully able to access the information around you. When you are trying to think five steps ahead or are worrying, you are not able to allow that information to come to you easily. Instead, your constant thoughts of “what should I do?” are actually blocking the answer from coming to you. If you are quiet, you can tap into your subconscious and find that you had many of the answers all along. One of my clients who owns several multi-million dollar businesses told me that due to our mindfulness work, he can now tell almost instantly which clients he should take on and which he should turn down, based on his intuition. Billion-dollar U.S. hedge fund manager, Ray Dahlio, was asked how he has been so successful over the years, and he said the number one reason for him was daily meditation.

Mindfulness impacts every single area of your life. All of the good things in your life happen in the present moment; not when you are worrying or stressed, so it makes sense to live in the present as much as possible. Need more mindfulness in your life? Try a free app, such as Calm or Insight Timer, and spend more time outside in nature. Want to dive deeper? My favorite meditations (the ones I do every night myself) are the ones through Brainsync where you can choose meditations for topics ranging from confidence to anxiety to prosperity (this is an affiliate link). Brainsync even has binaural meditations which induce deeper brainwaves and are amazing! Whatever you choose, take the first step toward mindfulness and notice the difference in how you feel. Many of my clients have said that mindfulness is hands down the most life-changing of the work they do in coaching.

Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., C.P.C., is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified professional life and career coach who works with clients all over the world via Skype, or locally in her Denver office. Contact Dr. Kristi to set up a free coaching consultation at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com.