You might need driving lessons

One of the biggest surprises I’ve had since starting work is the fact that I have to be a driver (drive your career, propel things forward in your desired direction), as in steer my own ship.

In school you do what you’re told and you can’t really defer from what doesn’t interest you in fact it’s discouraged and sanctioned. But in the workplace it’s almost the opposite.

You’re rewarded for going after what you want and if you don’t take the initiative to be a driver, well you’re doomed.

I’m really starting to understand what Godin means when he talks about cogs and Linchpins.

If being a driver isn’t in your nature you might find yourself feeling discontented at work, wondering why you’re career isn’t going as you thought.

The only choice is to change.

Maybe, you don’t know how.

Or maybe you just need to learn how to drive.

And if that’s the case know that driving lessons are available.

It’s just a part of life

Some things are meant to happen but that doesn’t mean they’ll be easy or that they won’t make us sad.

But we often have a way of making these things worse.

We often think that ‘bad’ things or inconvenient things aren’t supposed to happen instead of just acknowledging that they’re apart of life.

Things like heartache, rejection, stress or challenges in life.

I’ve learnt that these situations often end up so much worse because of how we react towards them.

For example you don’t get the job you wanted and you react by thinking that there must be something wrong with you, that it’s hopeless, that you’ll never find a job.

But in reality every human that has ever lived has experienced rejection at some point. People get rejected from jobs all the time because when 10 people are interviewed for one vacancy there can only be one winner.

A good tip is to train yourself to acknowledge these things as a part of life and have a plan for how to manage them. So, maybe the next time you get or feel rejected you can just take it for what it is instead of internalising it.

 

High expectations

Or perhaps the title should read ‘How to be eternally disappointed‘.

I don’t believe in working yourself to the bone (well it’s not for me anyway) however if your expectations are sky high, you might have to.

You can’t sit around passively going through life like a sociological ritualist and expecting the world.

You’ll only end up disappointed.

You can’t be half-hearted either.

You gotta go, go, go with full gusto.

But to avoid burnout you have to be smart about your approach and find ways to be productive and get things done whilst maintaining  your overall well-being.

A few ideas are to have set working times, get at least 7 hours sleep a night and make time to do something relaxing like meditate, get a massage, or go for a walk.

What to do if your manager isn’t helpful

You might feel frustrated but all is not lost.

In a previous post I wrote about job satisfaction and I thought it might be useful to delve into some practical tips. It’s all good and well telling someone what to do but it’s sometimes helpful to tell them how.

So, let’s say you work in an office and your manager is not much help with anything that you need help with. It could be about the work you do or maybe even career progression etc.

What do you do?

It probably gets frustrating but it’s always useful to remember that you always have options.

First up, ask for what you want/need?

Ask confidently, ask a second time.

Don’t be afraid to call people out (politely) when they don’t follow through after assuring you that they’d do xyz.

If you feel like it’s not working, ask someone else.

Chances are even though a manager is their as a main point of call, there’ll be someone else that can help you and someone else that will.

Lastly don’t expect too much from people.

Yes, ask for help when you need it but don’t be reliant on others to drive your ship,¬† they have their own stuff to do too.

Figuring it out as you go

So often we think that we have to have everything worked out.

We convince ourselves that an idea is not enough that we have to have everything mapped out from A to Z and all the steps in between.

But life will never go exactly as you plan, no matter how hard you try to control things.

I’ve learnt that the more you try to control things the less prepared you are for the unexpected. Granted it’s good to have some kind of plan and not just be like a boat with no oars. But you have no control over the flow of the waves.

The optimum circumstance is to be adaptable and often that means being able to figure things out as you go because you can’t plan for every possibility.

 

Other peoples stuff

When you interact with someone that is in a bad mood or is angry you might find at the end of it that you feel bad too.

That’s what happens when you take on other peoples stuff.

It might seem that when someone directs anger and frustration towards you that you have to take it because what else can you do. But you always have options.

If someone asked you if you wanted to feel bad I’m certain the answer would be no. You have to keep that decisiveness when interacting with someone that’s angry.

When you learn to do that you’re not so effected by how the other person feels because that’s not your stuff and you don’t need to take it on.

Changing the rules

In day to day life you might be surprised at how many rules you follow. Things that you are or aren’t supposed to do or say?

Some of them are necessary and help us function well as a society whilst others just restrict us. Some are inflicted by others but some we force upon ourselves.

You make up unhelpful rules that get you off the hook because you cant, you’re not allowed, people don’t do that.

But maybe if something isn’t working out you could take control.

Make the decision to change rules and do something differently.