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Tag Archives: success

Here’s Why We Remain Stuck In Careers We Hate – 8 Essential Reasons

 

Speaking with people every day who are in careers or jobs they hate, I’ve asked myself, “How did we get here?  How has it happened that so many thousands of people have become despondent, angry and lost about what they do for a living?”

Clearly, there are many factors at play here, including the rise of technology – that makes setting boundaries around our professional lives virtually impossible.  Further, in the past 30 years, we’ve become slaves to the almighty dollar, addicted to acquiring things we can’t afford, which keeps us working longer and harder just to break even.  And, the cost of living is so high for so many, that just making ends meet is tough.  Additionally, many people have jumped into jobs or fields early in their careers, only to discover 10 or 20 years later that they can’t break free.

But I believe there are even deeper reasons for this epidemic of people hating what they do each day for their living.  These reasons touch on underlying emotional, spiritual and behavioral conditions, and reveal a deep disconnection to what it means to live joyfully, authentically, and meaningfully.

By the way, I’m fully prepared to receive comments on this post that debunk it, such as: “Yeah sure, Kathy, you can talk about having a meaningful career, but I’m a single parent with two kids and can’t afford the luxury of liking my work.”

Or:

“This is nonsense – work is work, and you should change your expectations if you think you’re going to love it.”

I’ve heard these types of comments by the hundreds.

I learned as a therapist that when people feel completely stuck, they get angry and defensive – like a caged animal.  They experience themselves as victimized and backed into a tight, dark corner.  They just can’t see a way out.  But from my vantage point (and after reinventing my career from miserable corporate VP to supremely fulfilled coach, consultant and business owner), there is always a way out; there are always new options and solutions but often we just can’t see them.  Anyone and everyone can make their lives better, more satisfying, more enjoyable, but only if you believe that having more fulfillment or joy in your life or career is a goal worth trying for and within your reach (eventually).

Based on feedback I’ve received from thousands of professionals here and abroad, I’ve observed the following eight core reasons why people remain stuck in careers they hate.  As I share these, please know I’m not sitting in judgment of any of these; in fact, I’ve lived through each and every one of these conditions.

1. You don’t know yourself deeply enough

The vast majority of people I see in the workplace just don’t know themselves at all.  When asked, “What’s your top priority in life and in your career?  What would you give up anything for?” or “When you’re 90 looking back, what do you want to have done, been, and left behind? ” I get blank stares and mouths hanging open.  People don’t know themselves well or deeply today.  Why?  Perhaps we don’t make time in our lives to get to know ourselves – we’re just too over-the-top busy.  Or perhaps the process of knowing oneself deeply is intimidating and scary.  Whatever the reason – if you don’t know who you are, at your core, and what you stand for and care about, how can you lead a life that aligns with your needs, values, and interests? (My free Career Path Self-Assessment will help you get to know yourself better.)

2. You know yourself, but you make yourself wrong

I’ve seen that women in particular might know themselves and identify what they want, but they make themselves wrong about it.  They tell themselves, “Yeah, I want to change, but I’m wrong or foolish (or selfish) to feel that way.”  Or “I’m lucky to have a job, so I shouldn’t rock the boat” or “I have so much – I should just feel blessed and not complain.”  So many people (women in particular) doubt the validity of their feelings or repress their deepest longings because they think they’re wrong to have them.  Until you can make yourself “right” about what you feel, you won’t find peace or joy.

3. You’ve lost the courage to act

For many who know what they want, they’ve lost the courage to take BOLD action.  We’ve been seduced by some misguided concept that life should always be easy.  Where did we get that idea?  Making change is never easy (it’s scary and threatens the status quo), but it’s so worth it, especially if you hate where you are today. It takes courage, grit, and commitment to bring about lasting change, and you can do it, but only if you decide to connect to your own internal power, courage and fortitude.  (Check out my book Breakdown Breakthrough for real-life stories of courageous women who’ve transformed their lives and careers.)

4. You’ve prioritized outer “rewards” (or other people’s needs) over your own happiness

This reason is yours if you can answer “Yes” to this question: “Are you staying in a career that makes you miserable solely because you think it’s the only one that will keep paying you what you want?”  If money is keeping you stuck, it’s time you think about prioritizing your happiness over your checkbook.  How much money do you truly need?  Is your current lifestyle so important to you that you’d trade it over your health, happiness, relationship, and your well-being?  Of course you have to pay your bills and meet your financial obligations – I’m not suggesting for a minute that you don’t.  I am however recommending that you revisit how you live and what you truly need.  Meeting your financial obligations doesn’t have to mean that you have to be angry, thwarted, unhappy and sick for the rest of your life.

5. You’ve been brainwashed by the myth that you’ll go broke if you pursue work you love

There’s a prevalent myth in the U.S. today that if you pursue your passions and do rewarding work, you’ll go broke. Another version of this damaging myth is that work is supposed to be grueling, challenging and unsatisfying.  We look at people who love their work and we hate them.  We say, “Yeah, she’s doing what she wants to, but that’s because she was (lucky, born into it, inherited money, beautiful, privileged, etc.)  And I can’t do that because ___.”  We give ourselves thousands of reasons why loving what we do professionally just isn’t in the cards for us.  We do that because it’s too painful for us to watch other people thrive and adore their work.  We want it to be impossible because it seems so unattainable and so far away from us.

6. Your emotional overwhelm sabotages you

Every day I see individuals who are highly competent, smart, achievement oriented and outwardly successful, but are in terrible emotional overwhelm – they’re gripped by anxiety, fear, feeling victimized, and they lack the ability to speak up authoritatively or with command.  They’re in a constant state of paralyzing emotional overwhelm.  The emotionality of their lives keeps them from reasoning through effective solutions and strategies, or finding the physical energy to make a change.

7. Your shame and vulnerability keep you from getting help

One of my favorite author/speakers – Brene Brown – is a shame and vulnerability researcher (don’t miss her great TED Talk here.)  She shares her findings that vulnerability is at the heart of living life full out.  If we’re afraid of appearing and feeling vulnerable, then we blunt all of the other experiences/emotions we desperately long for, including happiness, connection, empathy, love and more. Further, if you need to appear the “expert” and won’t admit your flaws, foibles, or “gaps,” you’ll never get the help you need to make life change.  As Einstein has said, “You can’t solve a problem on the level of consciousness that created it.”

8. You’ve forgotten what career bliss, and true happiness, feel like

Finally, the most depressing reason of all is that you’ve simply forgotten what it feels like to be happy and joyful in your work.  You can’t remember the last time you said about your work, “That was a great day well spent!”  or “What a joy to do this work!” We all strive so hard to achieve, win, or survive – and we’re so beaten down by it — that many have lost touch with what true joy feels and looks like, and we’ve forgotten to want it.

If any of these reasons resonate for you, there’s only one choice to make – stay put in your misery or make a bold change. It’s truly that simple – not easy, certainly, but simple.

What choice will you make – a career you hate or something better?

(To build a successful, rewarding career you love, join me today in my Amazing Career Project career transformation program.)

What Is Powerfully Positive Thought Leadership To You?

 

I’m active on LinkedIn group discussions, and I find that sharing ideas, dialogue and conversation there is a powerfully enriching experience because of the diversity of thought that LinkedIn members offer. With 330+ million members, LinkedIn gives us all a global worldview that opens our eyes, minds and hearts to different ways to understand the world and our lives.

Just today, an individual asked a question in one of my discussions that made me stop in my tracks.  He asked, “What IS thought leadership?”

The term “thought leadership” is bantered around a million times a day online, but do we all know what we mean by it? I’ve been honored and thrilled to highlight the work of what I believe are top thought leaders in our world today, through my various blogs on Forbes, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, and this blog.  But I realized this morning that I’ve never sat down and actually defined for myself what I believe great “thought leadership” is, and what I see as the highest form of it.  So I took a stab.

Here’s my definition of the highest version of a thought leader:

“Thought leaders are informed opinion leaders and go-to experts in their field of expertise. Their perspectives, work and ideas move the understanding, implications and applications of their topic forward. They are trusted sources who — with integrity, authenticity and passion — move, educate, enliven and inspire people with innovative ideas that motivate positive change.  They help turn ideas into reality, and have done the work to develop a teachable point of view that shares with others how to replicate their success. They are motivated not by being “right” but by helping and being of service.”

I believe that the best thought leaders also possess the 9 core traits of people who positively impact the world:

But I’m interested in your interpretations and definitions of a thought leader.  How would you describe the best of the best thought leaders in the world? What do they do, inspire, and create for us? How do they impact the world in a positive way?

Please share your definitions below!

I know that putting a stake in the ground and defining the best thought leadership helps me create a vision for what I want to strive to offer and become. How about you?

(For more about developing your own authentic thought leadership, visit my new coaching program Build Your Authentic Thought Leadership.)

How To Be Generous Without Feeling Used

 

If you’re like me, you want to be generous to others, and give help in an abundant, loving way to those who need it. You also want to feel like you’re making a difference, that you aren’t stingy with your heart, time and knowledge. But if you’re like me, working in a helping profession or support capacity as your livelihood, that can be really difficult at times.

I hear from hundreds of people each month who are deeply longing for assistance with their lives, work and businesses, and I can find myself frustrated and exhausted, feeling disappointed that, as one person, I’m just not enough. And sometimes, I stretch myself too thin, and then feel resentful.

Every year, I’ll have a period of time where this conflict – feeling generous vs. feeling used – comes up for me in a new way that makes me stop in my tracks. This month, I had an experience once again that prompted me to rethink the issue once more.

After reading the powerful book The Diamond Cutter, by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally (a powerful, thought-provoking book – check it out!), I was led to recognize once again just how potent our thoughts are, and how they impact our reality. The book helped me see that, while I long to be generous with others, and give the help they need and want, without an appropriate boundary and a more positive mindset that I must continually nurture, people will cross into the realm of being extremely needy, demanding and grasping. Or that’s how I perceive it, anyway.

I’ve found that thinking through these three powerful questions helps me feel more generous and helpful in my life and work. They prompt me to give more freely, while at the same time preserving and protecting my life energy, time and well-being.

Perhaps these three questions will help you too:

1. What does “generous” and “giving” really mean to you?

It’s critical to think about how you personally define “generosity” and “giving” and to assess if your personal definition is working for you in your life.

So, when you think of being “generous,” does it mean you are obligated to say “yes” to every request that comes to you? Does it mean that you have to catch every single ball that’s thrown at you? Which requests make your heart sing to fulfill, and which make you cringe? Do you put parameters on the types of people you are happy to help, versus those you may need to walk away from?

I’ve found that when I think a bit more deeply about how I want to be generous in the world, and dimensionalize that more clearly with specifics that make sense in my life, the road becomes smoother in terms of my giving in ways that fill me up rather than deplete me. And once I become clearer about the types of help I want to give, and those I don’t, I begin to experience less of what is undesirable in my life.

2. Is your inability to say “no” – your lack of boundaries — making you feel resentful when you help?

To me, being generous doesn’t mean that you can’t say “no” to anyone. It also doesn’t mean that, if your work involves offering a helping service, that you can’t ask for payment for what you do. If you are besieged with endless requests for free help, think about how you feel about asking for money and charging appropriately for the help you’re giving. If you can’t do it, or if you feel reluctant, ashamed or confused about when and how to ask for money, there’s a critical issue you have to work out.

For me, I’ll stop, breathe, and ask myself, “What feels right here to do?” And I’ll go with my gut and my heart. If I’m simply unable to offer any kind of help, I will do my best to point them in a direction that will be of assistance. I’ve also found that having a range of high-quality free and low-cost programs, support, and materials is a wonderful way to offer help to the thousands of people who may not be able to afford working with me directly. Or directing them to another high-quality source of help, or another individual who might have the resources they need, is a great form of support.

Opening just one door for another is generosity in action. Help doesn’t have to take hours and hours, and drain you to the point of exhaustion.

The key is to look at what is underneath your resentment and conflict around offering help. If it’s a reluctance to charge enough money or be fairly compensated for the service you’re offering, heal that reluctance (here’s more about changing your wealth programming.)  If it’s about not having any other way to help people than to charge them, brainstorm some new ways to be helpful. And finally, if it’s about your needing some help yourself, go out and ask for it today.

3. Are your negative thoughts about receiving requests for help coloring everything?

Finally, take a look at your chronic pattern of thought when it comes to people asking for help. When they come to you, do you immediately go to the negative place, thinking “Oh, no – not this again!” or “Can’t she just help herself for once?,” or “How dare he keep asking for help when I just gave it.” Perhaps as a child you were influenced by how your parents thought about people who asked for help.  Or maybe you were taught that asking for help means you’re weak and lazy. Examine how your negative thoughts about these requests may in fact be coloring your entire work-life experience.

Every time a request for help comes in, stop, breathe, and consciously make a decision about how you want to feel about it, and address it. Our thoughts shape what happens in our lives, and how we experience our work, so it’s important to gain awareness of them, and choose to think and feel the way we want to.

I’ve found that when we engage in this simple process – stop, breathe, and choose — not only do we feel better in the process of giving, but we set up the conditions to receive more respect, appreciation and gratitude for what we’re doing in the world.  We lose the resentment and the struggle, and that’s critical if we want more success and happiness.  If you’re angry and resentful about people reaching  out to you, then you’ll push away the positive as well as the negative.  Once we decide to consciously choose our reactions instead, life changes for the better. That, in turn, fills us up to be of greater help in ways that nourish and enliven us all along the way.

Are you feeling beleaguered by constant requests for free help?

5 Strategies For Staying Mentally Strong In the Midst of Emotional Challenge

 

In late 2013, I was intrigued to watch a friend’s article on Forbes.com begin to balloon and reach millions. Cheryl Snapp Conner’s post featuring psychologist Amy Morin’s insights on Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid, hit an international nerve and is now one of the most read post on Forbes.com.

Interested to learn more from Amy about the back story of this piece, and how she identified these 13 critical ways mentally strong people stay resilient and retain their strength, I asked Amy to share her events that led up to this tremendous hit. Now an internationally recognized expert on mental strength, Amy is a psychotherapist, speaker, college psychology instructor and the author of the great new book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.

Amy shared this:
In the Fall of 2013, I found myself in a surreal situation. Celebrities were tweeting my work, national figures were talking about me on the radio, and I was being interviewed by major media outlets across the world.

A mere 600 words, written just weeks earlier, had launched me into the midst of a viral super storm. Within hours of being published to the web, my work was read and shared millions of times. Just a few days later the list was reprinted on Forbes, where it reached nearly 10 million more readers.

It seemed like everyone in the media had the same question – “How did you come up with your list of the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do?” I always responded by explaining the concepts were based on my training, education, and experiences as a therapist. While that was true, it certainly wasn’t the whole story. But, I wasn’t ready to reveal the painful situation that was still unfolding around me on national television. Now I am.

In 2003, my mother passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Then, on the three year anniversary of her death, my 26-year-old husband passed away from a heart attack. While publicly helping others deal with their emotional pain as a therapist, I’d spent years privately working through my grief. It was hard work but I made slow but steady progress.

A few years later, I was fortunate enough to find love again and I got remarried. Just as I felt grateful for my fresh start however, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I found myself thinking, “I don’t want to go through this all over again.” But just as quickly as I began to feel sorry for myself, I was reminded that self-pity would only make things worse.

I sat down and created my list of the unhealthy habits I needed to avoid if I wanted to stay strong while facing my inevitable circumstances. When I was done, I had a list of 13 thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that would hold me back from facing my circumstances with strength and courage. Although the list was meant to be a letter to myself, I published it online in hopes someone else may find it helpful. I never imagined millions of people would read it.

Throughout my painful experiences, there were five critical strategies that helped me personally stay mentally strong during my time of emotional trauma and pain:

1. Exchanging self-pity for gratitude
When life became difficult, I was tempted to exaggerate my own despair. Losing my loved ones was certainly terrible, but I still had much to feel grateful about.After all, I had a job, a roof over my head, and food to eat.

Whenever I’d begin feeling sorry for myself, I’d create a list of all the things I had to be grateful for. It wouldn’t take long to recognize all the loving, supportive people I still had in my life. And it served as a wonderful reminder, that although some of my loved ones were no longer here, I was fortunate to have had them in my life.

2. Focusing on what I could control
The repeated losses in my life served as a reminder that there are many things I didn’t have any control over. Wasting energy focusing on all those things however, wouldn’t be helpful. Instead, I needed to focus all my energy on the things I could control.

And no matter what, the one thing I could always control was my attitude. I could choose to allow my difficult circumstances to turn me into an angry, bitter person or I could choose to remain a hopeful, positive person with a desire to become better. Focusing on all that I could control – whether it was helping a family member with a practical task or making a decision about my finances – helped me recognize that I wasn’t simply a victim of my circumstances. Instead, I was able to create a wonderful life for myself by making the most of every day.

3. Living in the present
The loss of my loved ones tempted me to dwell on the past. After all, the past was where my loved ones were still alive. And I feared that if I didn’t constantly think about the past, or if I moved forward, I’d somehow be doing them a disservice.

It takes courage to make the conscious decision to live fully present in each moment, rather than ruminate on how life used to be. But once I was able to shift my focus to honoring my loved one’s memory – rather than trying to prevent life from moving forward – I was able to begin fully enjoying life again.

4. Retaining my personal power
When I was going through tough times, everyone had an opinion about what was best for me. Although their intentions were well-meaning, doing things simply because others advised me to wouldn’t be helpful.

I had to deal with my grief in my own way and I needed to create my own plan for how I was going to move forward in life. Taking ownership meant I couldn’t blame anyone else. Instead, I had to accept personal responsibility for my thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.

5. Embracing change
My world changed drastically over the course of a few years. And, although it was tempting to dig in my heels and try to prevent my world from changing, it wasn’t going to be helpful. I had to embrace change – whether or not it was welcomed.

I had to create a new sense of normalcy without my loved ones present. Often, that meant giving up certain goals or activities that were no longer meaningful and searching for new opportunities that would give me purpose. Embracing those changes allowed me to move forward and create a fulfilling life for myself.

* * * * * *
Amy’s advice is both powerful and empowering. As holocaust survivor and renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl shared in his life-changing book Man’s Search for Meaning, “…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Check out Amy’s new book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, and learn more about her work at http://amymorinlcsw.com.

(To build a more successful and rewarding career, visit kathycaprino.com and take my 6-day Amazing Career Challenge.)

How To Tell In 60 Seconds If You’re In Denial About Money

In the past eight years, I’ve spoken with or consulted for hundreds of entrepreneurs, mid- to high-level executives, consultants, private practitioners or small business owners who are, as I was at one time, in complete denial about their money situation.  They know they’re not earning nearly enough or they’re spending too much, and money is slipping through their hands, but that’s as far as their understanding of the problem goes.

In short, their heads are deep in the sand about their money relationship.  They’re working hard to ignore the obvious – that they’re heading towards a dangerous precipice unless they change directions fast.

Helping people who are facing denial about money is very important work to me, because I was there.  Years ago, after I left corporate life and became a therapist and a coach, I hung out my shingle and thought “I’m a good therapist and coach – it’ll all work out fine.”  Truly, I had a “Build It And They Will Come” mentality. The problem was, I built and they didn’t come. At least, in sufficient numbers for me to make the living I needed and wanted.

I struggled for years, trying everything I could think of to improve my financial situation and my business’s return. But nothing worked.

Slowly, step by step, inch by inch, I started to figure things out. I learned that how I dealt with, and approached, money was based on what I learned as a child in my family. And these teachings were no longer serving me.  I learned that my own sense of worthiness in the world needed to be revised. I had “debt and goal trauma” that kept me locked in fear.  I learned that my business model was deeply flawed – and that how I was earning my living wasn’t sustainable (or enjoyable, for that matter).  And I learned that I had to change personally, before my professional life and business could improve.

But before things began to shift for me, I remained far too long in denial, and didn’t want to see reality.

If this resonates with you, and I hope you’ll stop in your tracks, and gain greater awareness of your situation and what it’s trying to tell you.

How can you determine if you’re in denial about your money situation?

Here are 8 glaring signs that you need to change your money course:

1. You can’t pay your monthly mortgage or your rent without tapping into savings, retirement, home equity loans or other funds.

2. You are using your credit cards each month to buy essentials such as food, clothes, and gas.

3. Your small business, consultancy or private practice is losing money each and every month, and despite your valiant efforts, nothing you do is changing that fact.

4. All the ways you’ve made money in the past are not working now.

5. You don’t have a Plan B in the event your Plan A fails, and you don’t have the necessary benchmarks and signposts to tell you it’s time to change course.

6. You’re hanging on by a thread to your “Build it and They Will Come” mentality, but they’re not coming.

7. Someone you love and respect has been telling you over and over that you’re in denial and things must change, but you’ve ignored them or argued against them bitterly.

8. Finally, when you get quiet (and very honest) with yourself and ask, “What can I personally do to change this situation?” your mind goes completely blank.

If these signs sound familiar, it’s time to do something dramatically different from what you’ve done before.  Your money situation cannot improve unless you begin to take new steps that will help you change your course.

What should you do differently?

I’ve found that there are six vital steps that will help you go from “I’m broke and overwhelmed” to “I know what I want, and I know how to get it.”

For more about these critical steps, CLICK HERE to read my latest post on Forbes. 

I hope these steps are helpful and move you in a more positive, rewarding direction.  Please share your thoughts below.  Are you struggling with money, and can you answer the question “What can I do personally today to change my money course today?”

(For help to build a more rewarding career or business, visit my Prosperity Marketing programs.)

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