You want to have a great career and for everyone to know who you are because of what you do for a living. You pretend you don’t want it, but let’s face it, you do.
Imagining this dream in your mind helps you to get to sleep at night knowing that one day you’ll be happy with your career. Then you go to the office the next day and see another one of your colleagues leaving because their side hustle has now become their full-time gig.
Next up, you see that Tim guy walking down the corridor towards the lift wearing his nicely kept suit and very expensive rainbow tie. You think to yourself, “Who is that douche bag and why is he so happy with his career?” You also hear yourself saying, “He earns twice what I do yet I’m just as good as him.”
Well, I know why you are not happy with your career.
Want to know how? Because I was that miserable son of a gun who was pissed off at the world and had a career that made me unhappy. I’ve been exactly where you are right now. I know how it feels and it feels terrible. That feeling can destroy your life if you don’t do something about it.
“I was that stupid person that chased significance and did whatever I could to make money so I could have more flashy stuff to impress people that didn’t matter”
Now I’d rather impress myself. Now I’m not going to lie to you – the problem with your career is not the people you work with or the company you spend your days adding value to – the problem is you.
Didn’t expect that did you now? It’s easy to blame everything other than yourself and it feels spectacular. We’re all so smart in our head and we all know so much about business. Then when we fail, we blame it on the “other guy,” the stock market, the customer or even our product.
So bottom line, here’s why you’re not happy with your miserable career:
1. You don’t do “valuable” work
Doing work is not the same as doing valuable work. There are lots of people that sit behind a computer screen all day and look busy. They’re busy doing what they’re told to do and continuing to drive the company into the ground. Valuable work is creative, it’s hard, it’s disruptive and it’s innovative.
Valuable work can take two hours to complete and completely change the direction of a company. Valuable work is done by game changers who think differently and are not afraid. Fear is what cripples your career and it’s why you choose mediocre instead.
Anyone can follow orders and do stuff the way it’s always been done. That’s work. Not everyone can come up with the idea that was right in front of everybody’s noses, but no one ever took five minutes out of their day to stop and think about. It’s the conscious doing and creativity that creates valuable work.
2. You watch Netflix instead of going out and networking
Your career will not progress to the level you want it to without a quality network around you. This takes time to build and part of the process is getting off the couch and going to events, functions, seminars, bars, etc, where human beings hang out.
“Those humans that you watch on Netflix are not adding any value to your career. They’re sucking time out of your life and making you dumber by the minute”
3. You don’t hustle hard enough
Being happy in your career is hard work. You get more no’s than yes’s. Creating yes’s is hard work and you have to hustle harder than your competitors. When you don’t work hard enough, you end up with poor results. These poor results translate into unhappiness because you don’t get the satisfaction of having achieved something that your happy colleagues get.
4. You’re not well liked
Getting that big promotion or starting a company of your own is not only about taking action. People have to love you and want to work for you, or with you. That means you have to be liked by the majority (not everyone).
If you run around swearing at everyone and spend more time on the negative parts of your work life rather than the positive, people will pick up on that. Without realizing, your colleagues will gravitate away from you and you’ll become unlikeable.
Happy, healthy colleagues that I’ve observed are generally well liked. People say nice stuff about them and they’re fun to be around. Who wants to hang around an unhappy, negative, draining loser?
5. You don’t understand it takes years
There is no magic number, although as a starting point, I reckon five years is a good place to start. Been doing it six months? Yep, you have a long way to go. You’re not happy with your career because you want it to take off in a short amount of time.
If your children didn’t succeed taking their first steps as a toddler, would you stop them from trying to walk? No, you would keep encouraging them until they walked. Why is your career any different?
A career encompasses many elements that are like small hidden treasures that are spread out across a treasure map that takes years to work through. Every year in your career, you pick up another couple of pieces of treasure. Before long, you have all the tools needed to create your ideal career.
Wanting things too quickly will make you unhappy in your career. Don’t fall for this venus fly trap.
6. You don’t engage in personal development
The way you think and your skills have stayed the same for the last two years. You must develop yourself every day. Not once a year at some rah-rah leaders conference, not at the weekly team huddle, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Aim for one small advancement in your career each day. Follow this one step and you will see your career happiness increase tenfold over the course of a year. Growing as a person and in your career is directly tied to your happiness.
7. You don’t understand “good enough”
Still at work at 9 pm on a Friday night trying to finalize that presentation for next week? You’re probably over-thinking it. Perfection in your career will kill your happiness like drugs kill brain cells.
“The key skill of people that are happy in their careers is that they get on with the job”
They know that not everything they touch will turn to gold. As long as a few things turn to gold and then focus your time on these precious nuggets, the rest will fall into place. Perfection causes you to waste time in your career looking for the magic cure.
8. You don’t give it a go
You’re always trying to second-guess everything. You spend days thinking about all the possibilities and the scenarios that could play out based on a certain action. All of this thinking holds you back from trying new things.
It’s the new things you try in your career that will give you the fulfillment and variety you need to be happy with how your career is going.
9. Your personal life is out of control
When you think about your personal life, you tell yourself that you’re happy, happy, happy with how things are going. Stop lying to yourself. What happens outside of your career has more of a significant effect than anything else.
If you are unhappy at home, then you’ll take out your frustration during work hours. If your partner cheats on you and then lies about it, you’ll think of your colleagues in the same way.
As for me, I’m guilty your honor. Lock me up and throw away the key. That’s right this is one I’ve indulged in over and over. A year ago, though, I told myself that enough is enough. You should do the same. Sort your personal life out and stop letting it ruin your career.
Take some time off if you must, but just handle that mess once and for all. Then, watch your career skyrocket. The shackles will be removed and suddenly your career will feel entirely different.
10. You don’t give to people that need your help
People ask for your help every day. Help some of them. Notice how I didn’t say all?
The strange thing about your career is that if it’s all about you, it feel’s rather boring and unfulfilling. The way to get out of this downward spiral is to help people who need it. Give your opinion, share contacts or maybe even be a mentor. Do something that helps someone other than you.
11. You’re not trustworthy
Could you be trusted with a company secret? Can you resist bragging about how much money you made last year even though you’re not supposed to say? Can you stop yourself from talking about that big new client you signed last week?
Trust is everything. When people don’t trust you, they rarely tell you. Instead, you have a whole bunch of opportunities that disappear and the worst part is that no one tells you. Getting your dream career that makes you happy requires lots of opportunities to be thrown your way.
Increase the odds in your favor by being honest. It’s harder than you think but worth it.
12. All the answers stay in your head
That’s why I do this blogging thing that many of you criticize me for. I want the answers that are in my head – which I’ve learned from multiple failed businesses, broken relationships, severe health issues and near death experiences – to go beyond only being able to assist me in my life.
Everyone can benefit from what I’ve learned. Everyone can benefit from what you have learned. Think about that one little fact for a minute.
13. You settle for comfortable
Instead of being on time this morning, you got that coffee because you told yourself you needed it. Coffee makes you comfortable. Instead of finishing that project on Friday you chose to go to drinks with your colleagues. Alcohol makes you comfortable.
Instead of giving that speech to your leadership team you chose to say no because you don’t like public speaking. It’s not comfortable.
“Comfortable decisions lead to results that make you unhappy in your career. Get used to being uncomfortable if you want to be happy with your career”
14. Happiness is a state of mind
You’re not happy with your career because you haven’t decided to be. Sure you might not be in the ideal job right now but it’s all part of the journey.
One day that call center job will feel awesome because it will have helped you to get where you want to go. Why not feel that way right now? Who says you have to wait to be happy with your career?
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed
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