1. Is Your Work A Job, Career, or Calling? Here’s the Difference

    Many of us find ourselves trapped in jobs that we do not particularly enjoy or connect with on any level. Maybe you followed the rest of your family into medical or legal careers when what you really wanted to launch your own business or to work in the arts. Or perhaps you took a role because it sounded like a “logical” choice. Whatever the case, it can be disappointing to feel like your job does little other than provide a paycheck.

    Most of the coaching clients I work with seek the ultimate dream job. They want a role that is not only emotionally and financially satisfying, but one where they can also have an impact. In other words, they want to find their calling.

    Meaningful work is important to almost everyone, regardless of what that work entails. Luckily, research suggests that experiencing your work as a calling instead of “just a job” largely comes down to changing your perspective.

    If you find yourself unsatisfied with your work-life, here’s how you can move toward the meaningful experience you crave.

    Job, Career or Calling – What’s the Difference?

    Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor at Yale School of Management, has spent her career researching how individuals identify with their work. She has established three different, defined contexts of work: job, career and calling.

    • Job: A job provides you with pay, benefits and perhaps some social perks. It’s primarily about earning that paycheck. People in this category are typically more invested in their lives outside of the office.
  2. New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work. Try This Instead.

    January is right around the corner and right now you’re probably mapping out what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Whether you’re resolving to get a promotion, start on side projects you’ve put off, or finally making six-figures, one fact remains: change is hard.

    No where is this more apparent than in the high failure rate of New Year’s resolutions. Nearly one-half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent follow-through and accomplish their goals.

    Why? Humans are creatures of habit. We make excuses as to why we can’t take action, saying we’re too busy, don’t have enough money, or lack the right network. Imposter Syndrome creeps in when we set our ambitions sky high (“Who am I to think I can raise my prices?).

    Turn Resolutions into Questolutions

    Psychology offers a way to short-circuit excuses and mental resistance on the way to accomplishing your goals: Turn your resolution into a “questolution.”  That is, make your goal into a puzzle that your brain will inherently want to solve by turning it into a question. For example, “I will make six-figures this year” becomes “How might I make six-figures this year?”

    It’s a subtle shift, but a powerful one. Research shows that asking people a question about performing a target behavior (a goal) positively influences future performance of that behavior by as much as 25 to 28 percent.

    Why does this question-behavior effect work? “If you question a person about performing a future behavior, the likelihood of that behavior happening will change,” says David Sprott, senior dean of the Carson College Business, Washington State University.

  3. Communicate Beautifully: How To Present Your Ideas Powerfully and Inspire Your Audience to Action

    A few weeks ago, I ran a reader survey. One of the top concerns I heard from my readers were fears about getting your ideas across clearly and powerfully. Many of you said you struggle with speaking up and communicating well.

    You said things like…

    • “Clear, straightforward communication of ideas and information is a challenge for me.”
    • “I’m growing into a leadership role and need to level up in my communication.”
    • “I run on my own business which involves a lot of presentations. But I have fear around that.”

    If this sounds like you, then you’re not alone.

    In this post, you’re going to learn proven psychology techniques to connect with your audience, drive conversations forward, and influence people to come around to your way of thinking.

    But first, you’re probably reading this post because you’ve tried to improve your communication skills in the past and not been successful. Maybe you lacked the know-how or perhaps you faced many concerns that held you back from making meaningful progress.

    Whatever it is–you’re probably wondering why you should be focusing on learning to communicate better if you’ve already tried and failed?

    The truth is, no matter who you, powerful communication matters. If you have great ideas, you have to know how to articulate and share them in order to get ahead. That goes for whether you’re selling a product or service or trying to get your boss and colleagues to buy into a new idea.

  4. Why Email Makes You So Stressed (And 3 Fixes For Overwhelm)

    When I’m doing email triage, I often feel as if I’ve fallen into a trance. Every so often, I’ll look up from the screen and think, Whoa—was I even breathing just now?

    It turns out that I have email apnea—a term coined by former tech executive Linda Stone that refers to the habit of interrupted breathing while checking email. In observing others informally, Stone noticed that a lot of people unintentionally hold their breath or breathe shallowly when starring at a screen.

    If that’s not a good indication of contemporary society’s unhealthy relationship with email, I don’t know what is. But there are steps we can all take to reduce our body’s stressed-out reactions to a full inbox.

    The psychology of inbox stress

    The theory of operant conditioning describes how our behavior is shaped by rewards and punishments. If I’m a lab rat, and every time I press a button in my cage I receive an electric shock, guess what? I’ll learn to stop pressing that button. Likewise, if I get a treat when I press the button, I’m more likely to do it again and again.

    One of the most surprising findings of this theory is that if you want to train an animal, rewarding them consistently for the correct behavior is not the best way to do it. What’s more effective is to only give the animal a reward sometimes, at random intervals—a principle known as intermittent reinforcement.

  5. 3 Shifts To Free Yourself From Perfectionism

    In the real world there are no gold stars for effort or report cards to gauge your progress. Yet a common mistake is treating work like school. As CEO and author, Sallie Krawcheck points out:

    Let’s not confuse what made us successful in school for what can make us successful in our careers.

    While an honor roll mindset can translate into a drive to succeed that lands you deals and accolades, it can easily lead to workaholism and burnout. The industriousness that served you well in school may now be what’s actually hindering your productivity and professional progress.

    That’s because when you hold yourself to exacting standards — as many high-achievers do — you can get caught in the trap of perfectionism.

    The result? Feeling perpetually frustrated, stressed, unacknowledged, or like you never measure up.

    Here’s some signs an Honor Student Hangover might be costing you:

    You beat yourself up when you make a mistake.

    For you, a goof is really hard for you to rebound from — even if it doesn’t have a larger effect on your career standing.

    Perfectionists experience shame, as opposed to guilt, over screwing up. Shame says “I am bad” (which suggests a character flaw) whereas guilt says, “I did something wrong” (which suggests it’s in your control to fix or improve).

    If something isn’t perfect, it’s not good enough.

    You insist on dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” on every single task, or else it just doesn’t sit right with you.

  6. 4 Things I Learned About You from My 2018 Reader Survey

    Recently, I asked you (my readers!) to take a survey so I can learn more about what you struggle with when it comes to mentally and emotionally thriving in your career. I like to do this because it’s one of the best ways to get real, helpful feedback from the people I care about serving the most: you.

    This year I decided to do things a little differently. Instead of asking you boring, surface-level demographic questions about your age and gender, I wanted to get to know you on a deeper level. The survey dug into your biggest challenges, most ambitious goals, and aspirations for the future.

    For the past few days, I have been pouring over the results. Your responses were varied and fascinating. Some topics I expected, others surprised me. The results gave me so many ideas about how I can help you achieve the success you want (without going crazy) and craft a career that’s aligned with who you are.

    To the hundreds of you who completed the survey, thank you! Your responses shape the direction of the content I create for you in the months to come. The feedback you provide help me serve you better and ensure you get what you need (and the results you want to see) from my blog, free trainings, and other resources I provide.

    So what did I discover? Here are a few of the key themes that emerged, and more importantly, what you can expect from me in response:


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