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Tag Archives: Margaret Smith Minneapolis career coach

From a young age, we’re conditioned to always strive for more. We try to earn top grades in school or become the best athlete. We try to become first chair in the band or the lead singer in the school musical.

And that inclination doesn’t leave us as adults. At work, we try to earn accolades, climb the ladder, or gain recognition from our peers. In our personal lives, we think we’ll be happier if we buy a bigger house, purchase a certain car, join a certain club, or modify our appearances to look a certain way.

Where does it end? When do you actually achieve satisfaction?

Arthur Brooks, author of From Strength to Strength, asked the Dalai Lama this very question. To me, the answer was enlightening. The Dalai Lama said that to find “stable happiness,” we need to “stop striving to have what we want and start wanting what we have.”

If we’re constantly striving for more, we forget to be grateful for what is right in front of us—what we already have. Yes, ambition and motivation are important, but there’s a limit. If you’re always wanting more, more, more, you will forget to pause and enjoy life.

Today, I fear we’re all moving at a pace that is unsustainable and, frankly, unhealthy. What if we were to slow down? What if we were to pause each and every day to think about what we have instead of dwelling on what we lack? How might your worldview change? How might your sense of self-worth and happiness change?

Let’s start small. This week, I challenge you to set aside 5 minutes every day to journal about your gratitude. Jot down whatever comes to mind.

Consider these questions:

  • What are you grateful for right now?
  • What gives you a spark of joy?
  • What do you have that you often take for granted?
  • Who has helped you along the way?
  • What small act of kindness or helpfulness aided you today?

Focusing on what you have (whether tangible items, reliable people, or kind gestures/actions of others) is an important step toward becoming a generally satisfied person. Of course, you’ll probably have moments when you’ll want more of something or desire some kind of change in your life, but let those moments spur productive motivation instead of greed. As long as you keep gratitude at your center, you’ll empower yourself to become more content and satisfied with life. And isn’t that the ultimate dream?

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE.

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It’s no secret that our nation (and world) is going through some tough times right now. We are dealing with deep political divides, spiking violent crimes, wildfires and other natural disasters, and a pandemic that doesn’t seem to quit. Though these events are no laughing matter, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your humor entirely. The opposite is true, in fact. Humor has the power to uplift us and carry us through our days, no matter how grim things seem.

Psychology Today reports that, “Science shows that dwelling on worry, disappointment, and loss only increases unpleasant feelings. What you focus on expands.” That’s absolutely true. If you dwell on difficulties, you’ll find yourself being sucked in and overwhelmed by them. If, on the other hand, you choose to divert your attention to life’s little bright spots and humorous moments, you will be better equipped to trek through tough times.

Additionally, when your attitude is better and you’re feeling better, you will be in a healthier frame of mind to problem solve (and potentially work toward a solution for some of life’s troubles). Naomi Bagdonas, co-author of Humor, Seriously, says, “Studies show [laughter] makes us more resilient, creative and resourceful.”

How can you incorporate a good dose of humor in your day? Try these 4 methods:

Look for the funny side

Maybe the cat walked across your keyboard and switched off an important Zoom meeting. Perhaps your briefcase broke and you were forced to walk into a meeting carry all your things in a plastic bag. Or your young child found some scissors and decided to give themselves a haircut.

All of these moments might be stressful or embarrassing in the short-term, but when we look at them in retrospect, we tend to laugh. When we have a terrible day or experience an awful stroke of luck, look for the bits of humor that bubble up. And, if you can’t find any humor, at least look for ways to be grateful (that car may have sideswiped me, but at least I’m not hurt; I’m sick, but at least I have the means to pay for healthcare). Gratitude can be just as powerful as humor.

Seek out comedy

Instead of turning on another true crime episode or a drama show, seek out a comedy show or movie, or watch a bit of standup. You could also try out a humorous podcast while you’re at the gym or pick up a funny book to read.

Intentionally incorporating bits of humor into your life can make you feel a little lighter and improve your mood. Use comedy entertainment as a way to escape and to fortify yourself to face upcoming difficulties.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Too often, we take ourselves too seriously. Life would take on a different tone if we learned to laugh at silly mistakes, if we didn’t feel the need to constantly prove ourselves, and if we put things into perspective. If your brain blanks out during a team meeting, it’s not the end of the world! Laugh about for a moment, and move on.

Find a humor partner

Laughter is better when shared. Go to a comedy show with a friend, watch a funny movie with your significant other, or swap funny social media posts with your sister. Find bits of humor and pass them on. Together, we can bring some levity to the world and, hopefully, become better equipped to face life’s difficult moments.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Quick-thinking and the ability to command attention in a crowd–it’s no surprise that when people mentally assign roles in the workplace, they often place extroverts at the top. Introverts, however, have their own set of unique strengths that can allow them to become exceptional leaders, their natural listening and observation skills offering a peaceful and inclusive environment. Despite the positives of the introverted personality, sometimes the line between the “quiet-listener” and the “disinterested and imperceptive wallflower” can become blurred in the eyes of colleagues, so here are a few tips to remain at the top of your game as you excel in your field.

SCHEDULE ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS

Large meetings with multiple voices can feel overwhelming for many introverts, but workplace leaders need to ensure they’re actively building genuine, solid relationships with each member of their team. Consider scheduling semi-regular, individual meetings with colleagues to affirm that you’ve heard, processed, and had time to reflect on their ideas while preparing feedback and new ideas to share with them in a more casual, relaxed environment.

PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME

Whether it’s an all-staff meeting or an important presentation, advanced preparation can make a huge difference in the way you come across to your audience. Asking for the meeting agenda in advance can allow you time to gather your thoughts and write them down! Introverts tend to struggle with on-the-spot thinking, so going into engagements with key points already established can help to ease the anxiety you may feel with being the center of attention.

BE ACCESSIBLE AND APPROACHABLE

While it may be tempting to retreat to your office and shut your door after a particularly taxing meeting, finding a balance between accessibility and personal time is necessary. With leadership comes the necessity for open lines of communication between you and other members of staff, so finding a healthy balance is important. Try communicating about when your door is open and when you’ll be unavailable.

EMBRACE YOUR STRENGTHS

There are many positive traits introverted leaders possess. Insightful and empathetic, introverts have the ability to stay calm and step up and gain control in a crisis situation. The observant and introspective nature of introverts allow them to be great problem-solvers when needed and creates space in group discussions for all voices to be heard.

BROADEN YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Stepping outside your comfort zone can be difficult and uncomfortable, but there is value in challenging yourself to expand your skills. In most leadership positions, public speaking and managing conflict are largely unavoidable, so lean into them! Set a goal to speak up at least one time during team meetings or finesse your public speaking prowess by taking courses designed specifically to help people in your shoes; best of all, you’ll likely learn alongside people with similar struggles and find that you’re hardly alone.

SELF CARE IS KEY

Commit to setting personal and professional boundaries to maintain your physical and emotional health. Block out some space in your calendar throughout your week where you’re unavailable to take meetings and phone calls, and focus instead on recharging and getting your work done. Remember to leave work at work; maintaining a strong work/life balance and practicing self-care rituals will make a world of difference.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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