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How to Love Mondays

How to Love Mondays

It’s possible to absolutely love Mondays. It’s possible to love them so much, that when your alarm clock wakes you up before the crack of dawn every Monday morning, that you jump out of bed on fire to start your work day. Now before you think I’ve had too much coffee and have gone totally crazy, I want you to know that I’ve been in your shoes.

I’ve had the Sunday night blues. I’ve had the nervous, dreadful feeling while getting ready for work on Monday morning. I’ve felt trapped in the 9-5 daily grind, hamster-wheel life that I thought I was ‘supposed’ to live. That was before I took massive action, over and over, to find and do work that I absolutely love, and create a career that lights me up.

It takes a lot of work, but it’s possible to do work that ignites your life and makes you feel incredibly on fire. Here’s how to love Mondays:

1. Streamline your life

One reason some people feel stuck and dissatisfied with their lives and careers is that the 9-5 isn’t exactly 9-5. In fact, it’s more like 8-6. Then, after work, it’s the daily responsibilities of life before lying down, exhausted, at the end of the day. And then repeat. Day after day, for 40 years.

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One of the best ways to start making your life more enjoyable is to streamline your life. Start getting rid of the empty activities: those time-sucking activities that don’t add any value to your life. Start making your daily tasks as efficient as possible, and delegate what you can hand off to someone else. When you streamline your daily tasks, you can create more time in your day to do the things you love. By maximizing the time you have to do things that light you up, life feels much more fulfilling and less like a hamster wheel.

2. Become a self-expert

In order to love Mondays, it’s important to have a strong understanding of who you are. When you really know what lights you up, what your innate strengths are, what type of work environment your personality type thrives in, and what kind of work schedule makes you feel energized, then you can choose a career path that aligns with these traits.

On your quest to become a self-expert, it’s important to know that clarity comes from taking action. Experiment with the parts of your work days that you have control over at in your current job. Can you vary your work hours, your work location, the order in which you accomplish your tasks, or who you’re working alongside? Take action and make some little changes in your work days.

Then pay attention to how you feel. Are you more energized, or feeling more drained? The more you take action, the more you’ll understand what type of work environment helps you feel fulfilled.

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3. Do work you’re passionate about

It’s hard to love Mondays if you feel like you’re doing meaningless work. When you’re passionate about your work, however, your job becomes much more than a paycheck. When you feel on fire about the work you do, your career becomes very fulfilling and you can make a big impact. If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, check out this free workbook to help you find your passion.

4. Choose a career that fits into your ideal life

Most people choose a career path, then try to fit their lives around their career. They cram their personal lives into the few hours they have outside of work during evenings and weekends, and this time gets whittled away as they climb the corporate ladder.

I want you to do things differently. I want you to think about your ideal life, and choose a career path that fits well into the lifestyle and schedule you desire. Do you want a flexible schedule, or a set schedule? Do you want to go to work at a big company, surrounded by a lot of interesting people every day, or do you prefer to work somewhere smaller or independently?

Do you want to work at a set location, or do you prefer to travel for work, or even be able to work from anywhere? In your ideal career, do your work duties vary significantly and you work as a jack-of-all-trades, or are you an expert at one specific topic? In your ideal life, how many hours per week are you working?

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When you choose a career that aligns with your overall dreams about your life, Mondays become a lot more awesome.

5. Use each day to become the best possible version of you

Maybe your work isn’t incredibly enjoyable. As you’re working toward an exit plan, use the time at your current job to become the best possible version of you. Do you want to develop your leadership skills? Ask to be in charge of a new initiative, plan an upcoming company party, or become a mentor to a newbie.

Do you want to get in better shape? Start a walking club at lunch with your coworkers. Use that time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and enjoy non work-related conversations. Do you want to improve your communication skills? Practice speaking up during meetings, and work on being an active listener.

When you start focusing on being the best possible version of you during your workdays, you start creating a positive environment, which can affect others around you too. This can lead to better Mondays for not only you, but your coworkers too.

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We spent many hours of the best years of our lives at our jobs. When you follow these strategies, it can help make your Mondays, and your entire weeks, much more enjoyable.

Featured photo credit: Eli DeFaria / www.unsplash.com via hd.unsplash.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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