Getting Through the Work Day Struggles

People sometimes get stuck in a job due to a lack of education or because of a bad economy, but that doesn’t mean that their work day needs to be a painful experience. With a little innovation and imagination, it is easy to make the best of a “bad” job. Here are some ideas that may help.

• Work on your job skills. Imagining yourself in your dream job, you might see yourself as an excellent leader – highly confident and supremely organized. Why not work on these skills in your present job?

• Develop your own project. Take on a project that can motivate you and give you a sense of control. Start small, such as organizing a work-related celebration, before moving on to larger goals. Working on something you care about can boost your confidence.

• Stay busy. Having too much free time may leave you with too much time to think about what’s wrong with your job.

Stay Positive

Change the way you view your job by challenging your thinking to be positive. Changing your attitude about work doesn’t happen overnight. But if you remain alert to ways your view of work brings you down, you may eventually replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. Here are a few techniques:

• Stop negative thoughts. Pay attention to the messages you give yourself. When you catch yourself thinking your job is terrible, stop the thought in its tracks. Awareness is the first step to this step and is achieved by learning how to “read” your thoughts like you would a book. Learning to view the content of your thinking is very valuable.

• Put things in perspective. Remember, everyone encounters good days and bad days on the job. That doesn’t mean that you should pretend to be excited that you are having a bad day. It just means that you choose to accept it as part of the professional experience. If everything was always good, then we wouldn’t know it because we wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. Experiencing a bad day will make a good one that much better.

• Look for the silver lining. “Reframing” can help you find the good in a bad situation. For example, you receive a less than perfect performance appraisal and your boss warns you to improve or move to another job. Instead of taking it personally or looking for another job right away, look for the silver lining. Depending on where you work, the silver lining may be attending continuing education classes, working closely with a performance coach and having the satisfaction of showing your boss you’re capable of change. Being proactive means that we are in control of our destiny, versus being a victim to it.

• Learn from your mistakes. Failure is one of the greatest learning tools, but many people let failure defeat them. When you make a mistake at work, learn from it and try again. The reality is, we fail as much, if not more, than we succeed.

• Be grateful. Gratitude can help you focus on what’s positive about your job. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for at work today?” If it’s only that you’re having lunch with a trusted co-worker, that’s OK. But find at least one thing you’re grateful for and cherish it. When all is said and done, a positive experience begins with a heartfelt appreciation for what we have and what we are doing.

Posted in Balance & Flow, Being Fully Engaged, Career and Job, Fulfillment, Job Satisfaction, Managing Stress, Motivation, Struggle | Leave a comment

Transference and Projection

Let’s continue our discussion on effective communication by addressing two very interesting concepts: Transference and Projection. These are two concepts that exist in the realm of psychology or psychotherapy, but I will address them as essential to creating effective communication. Let’s begin with a clear explanation of both Transference and Projection. Following these explanations, I will discuss how these concepts can negatively effect communication and how to create harmonious dialogue when they occur.

Transference occurs when an individual associates something that is said or done with a past experience and so relives the emotions of that past experience in the present. When this happens, an adult may relive an emotional trauma from childhood within a situation that does not resemble the childhood situation at all. Let’s use an extreme example for clarity purposes. Let’s say someone had been sexually molested as a child and had blocked most of the experience from their memory. If someone looked at this person in a similar way that they were looked at during the childhood molestation, it could trigger the same emotions from childhood. And so, this person would be having an emotional experience of being molested while having a conversation at a cocktail party. The emotions of the past have been transferred to the present. This can all be a conscious or unconscious experience. If it is an unconscious experience, then the adults may act out in an adult way to protect themselves from being molested even though they are in no danger at all. If conscious, then the adults can allow themselves to feel the traumatic feelings and make new healthier choices, which enable them to heal the emotional trauma.

Now let’s get a better understanding of what Projection means. In this case, a person projects his/her own feelings, emotions or motivations onto another person without realizing that their reaction is really more about them than it is about the other person. For example, a person may have had a history of lying and deceiving their past romantic partner and had never forgiven themselves for doing it. In their current relationship, they would often insinuate that the person they are currently dating is always deceiving them. This accusation isn’t real but is projected onto the “other” to create a perceived equal footing. If their partner lies also, then they feel less guilty about the deceptions of their past. The projection part has to do with the fact that the person doing the pointing does not acknowledge that they feel bad about their past deception. Another example would be if a person who desperately wants to have a meaningful romantic relationship decides that they are going to spend the rest of their life with someone they just met without taking the time to really get to know them. Again, a profound initial romantic connection may have in fact occurred, but to project the result they are seeking (committed romantic partner) right away is projecting the qualities they seek in a romantic partner onto someone that they don’t even know. There is no interest in getting to know another human being, but to shape them to preconceived ideas that they want them to be. Needless to say, this is a very controlling and delusional way of going about things!

Okay, so now we need to understand how these two concepts are related to effective communication. First of all, if individuals are caught in one of these two situations then they will be engaging in the communication of false truths as I explained above. This will naturally result in conflict between the two individuals as each try to defend their point of view. The best way to manage this type of situation is to connect to your feelings when it is happening rather than just trying to prove your point. By connecting to one’s feelings during the transference situation a person will be able to make the distinction that even though they are feeling “attacked,” it is obvious that there is no real threat going on at the cocktail party. Without connecting to and identifying one’s feeling, they will simply be reactive to them and unable to clearly distinguish between the feelings of their past trauma and their current adult reality. The same holds true with the projection scenario. By connecting and identifying the feelings that are being felt, the person doing the projecting will be able to realize that they still feel guilty about what they did in the past and begin the process of forgiving themselves for it. The communicative technique is to begin the dialogue with, “I am feeling…” versus “you are doing…” “I am feeling” connects the person to themselves versus focusing on the other person with the “you are doing” comment. When this happens, they will, over time, be able to distinguish between blaming someone else and taking ownership of something they are doing. A final communicative note. If you find that you are totally angry or frustrated at something someone is doing, then that means that it is something that you tend to do. Total anger or frustration equates to a lack of empathy and compassion. And it is with empathy and compassion that individuals can create a harmonious dialogue. Remember, when you find yourself being overly critical and judgment of another then you are unconsciously masking a tendency that you yourself do! The ego behaves in this way, while our humanity would never be so negative.

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Finding Meaning In Your Job and at Work

We all have to work, but some of us are able to play at work by finding and then committing to our dream job where we’re motivated, inspired, respected and well paid. Unfortunately, many individuals settle for something that falls a bit short of the ideal. Maybe they began with their dream job and loved it for awhile, but ended up viewing it as troublesome and boring.

Lack of job satisfaction is a huge source of stress. Reasons why you may not be completely satisfied with your job include:

• Conflict between co-workers
• Conflict with your supervisor
• Not having the necessary equipment or resources to be successful
• Not being paid well for what you do
• Lack of opportunities for promotion
• Not having a say in decisions that affect you
• Fear of losing your job because of downsizing

The bottom line is that every job has elements that are great and elements that are awful. It is worth taking some time to think about what motivates and inspires you and then sort through some strategies to get you through your workday.

Understanding Your Approach To Work
People tend to approach work from three perspectives. They view work as a job, a career or a calling. Usually all three perspectives are important, but one or the other is the priority. In recognizing your approach to work, it is important to understand that one approach isn’t better than the others. This reflection will help you get back your initial passion and excitement of why you initially took the job.

• Job. If you approach work as a job, you focus primarily on the financial rewards. In fact, the nature of the work may hold little interest for you. What’s important is the wage. If a job with more pay comes your way, you’ll likely move on.

• Career. If you approach work as a career, you’re interested in advancement. You want to climb the corporate ladder as far as possible or be the most highly regarded professional in your field. You’re motivated by the status, prestige and power that come with the job.

• Calling. If you approach work as a calling, you focus on the work itself. You work not for financial gain or career advancement, but instead for the fulfillment the work brings you.

Posted in Balance & Flow, Career and Job, Finding Purpose, Fulfillment, Job Satisfaction, Motivation, Success | Leave a comment

Idealist Themes – 4

This theme has four personality types associated with it: Foreseer Developer, Harmonizer Clarifier, Envisioner Mentor, & Discoverer Advocate.

Discoverer Advocate: These individuals view life as a process of inspiring and assisting others, enabling them to reach their highest potential. They are able to look “into” a person’s core, see their unspoken goodness and help him/her discover their higher purpose. Exploring different perceptions and sharing deep emotional content is enjoyable for this personality type. It is essential that they develop ideal relationships where they are able to “connect” deeply. Their thought processes seem random, but in reality they are very connective and relational. Mediating differences and conflict comes easy to them and they have an uncanny knack for keeping communication channels open. They are able to make things happen without always knowing how they do it, which makes them seem “magical” as they respond courageously to their insights. It is easy for them to put their own needs and wants on hold when they are helping others. When they first meet someone, they either like that person or they don’t. Discovering a definitive direction for themselves is essential, and they can find themselves restless if the “magical” moment does not last.

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Idealist Themes 3

This theme has four personality types associated with it: Foreseer Developer, Harmonizer Clarifier, Envisioner Mentor, & Discoverer Advocate.

Envisioner Mentor: This personality type considers life’s meaning to be about succeeding at relationships to foster mutual growth. The creative process brings them joy, allowing them to bring a bright view and enthusiasm to the projects that they work on. Realizing their own dreams and helping other to the same is what sparks them to get up each day; a life without the process of manifesting one’s dreams is deemed worthless. Interpersonal relationships are fostered through logical explanations that can lead to development and a purposeful life. They are well aware of the occasional painful experience that comes with focusing so much attention on interpersonal relationships. In order to help people find their life vision, they use a thought process entailing integrative and global thinking. It is tremendously important to heed the call to one’s life mission and they are always available to help others’ discover their own. Their ease in connecting with others can become a hindrance to their own well-being as they can lose sight of their own identity by focusing to much on another person’s life. This can also make it difficult for them to live in the moment, as they spend much of their thinking energy on futuristic planning.

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Idealist Themes – 2

This theme has four personality types associated with it: Foreseer Developer, Harmonizer Clarifier, Envisioner Mentor, & Discoverer Advocate.

Harmonizer Clarifier: These individuals like to uncover the mysteries of life, personal values, and meaning in general. Learning about people and why they do things is pleasurable for this personality type, as is relating to others on a deep level and resolving issues with them. If they are to feel comfortable with their relationships, they need to understand what people’s intentions are. They find it fascinating to delve into what is right or wrong, the battle between good and evil, and what it means to have a sense of congruence with one’s own values. Facilitating listening and knowing the meaning behind what people say is their strong suite, as is their ability to help others enjoy who they are, accept and believe in themselves. At times, it is difficult for them to turn of the deep listening. They are constantly living in paradoxes and balancing opposites, while juggling the playful and serious sides of their personality. By relating to others through stories and metaphors they are able to connect differences, provide soft encouragement, and tap into the world without words that is the source of wisdom.

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Idealist Themes 1

This theme has four personality types associated with it: Foreseer Developer, Harmonizer Clarifier, Envisioner Mentor, & Discoverer Advocate.

Foreseer Developer: These individuals consider a worthy life as a process towards their own and others’ personal growth. If something does not create personal growth, then it is not worth engaging in. When something does generate personal growth, then all the efforts necessary to make that growth happen are worthwhile. They find it pleasurable to engage in problem solving in order to maintain the vision of what is possible and who we can become. Their lives are devoted to honoring the personal strengths of others, helping them discover what those strengths are and how to develop them. It is essential for them to explore all relevant issues and to navigate through all the emotions that are associate with those issues. Finding the most meaningful and creative approach to life gives them the inner-strength to allow others the space to be themselves and make their own choices. The difficulty comes when others don’t want to hear all the insights that they can give. Their senses of purpose is so profound, that they can be seen as overly task-oriented that can conflict with their more idealistic side. This often causes them a lot of stress, which can result in them withdrawing from others to seek some sort of relief and revitalization.

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