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Think Your Work Sucks? 7 Ways to Deal with It

Think Your Work Sucks? 7 Ways to Deal with It
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Society as a whole is gradually becoming more open to the concept of seeking out work that you truly enjoy and embracing those opportunities but, for many, work sucks; it may be a place of dissatisfaction rather than one of pure joy.

This can be due to any number of reasons. Perhaps you are in a position solely for the money rather than for the work that you are doing on a daily basis. Maybe you are in an entry-level position that serves as a placeholder until you can get the job that you want. You may even be in a job simply because it was the only option available to you in the moment.

Regardless of why you are in a job you may not be in love with, the truth is that this position is going to remain your reality until you are able to carve another path for yourself.

Ultimately, it is up to you to shape your reality. Would you prefer to show up to work every day with a negative attitude or be present each day with a positive one?

If you have chosen the latter option, here are 7 ways that you can deal with your work situation and change the course of your professional outlook.

1. Figure out Where the Source of Discontent Is Coming From

A lot of people can say that they are not in love with their jobs but not a lot of people can truly tell you why they are unhappy in detail. The problem with this is that you may only be unhappy with a couple of things but, since you are choosing to say that you are unhappy with your job as a whole, you could be missing out on the wonderful parts of your position that make it worthwhile.

Take some time to sit down and hash out where this discontent is coming from. Are you unhappy with the amount of money you are making? Are there people in your workplace who are making your professional life miserable? Are you spending too much time getting to and from your workplace? Are you working too much and are able to properly take care of yourself and other aspects of your life?

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Whatever the issue may be, it is important to take note of these problems as this will help you determine where you are not satisfied in your job, and will give you something to work off of so that you don’t blame your job as a whole for your dissatisfaction. [1]

2. Focus on the Positive Aspects of Your Job

No matter how bleak your current outlook of your job is, the truth is that there are always positive aspects to every professional role, even if you have to look a little bit harder to find them.

These positives can be found in almost any part of the workday and it is up to you to frame them the right way so that you can look forward to them rather than dread them. Some positive aspects may include…

  • A long lunch break and several small breaks that give you time to re-energize.
  • Being close to your house so that you don’t have to stress about extensive travel in the mornings or evenings.
  • A larger salary that allows you to lead the lifestyle you want.
  • Positive employees who pump you up and make you feel ready to tackle the workday.
  • Being able to indirectly help people through the job or service that you are performing.

Although these examples may or may not apply to your own professional life, they serve as a reminder that you can always find great parts of your job if you are looking for them.

Once you find the parts that make you happy, make sure to focus on those throughout your work day to improve your mood and your overall take on work.

3. Discover a Greater Purpose in Your Job

A job is never just a job. Is a job a service that is performed so as to achieve a certain purpose for other people who are willing to pay for it. This means that whatever you are doing is helping someone else with their own needs and to help them improve their own quality of life.

That’s not to say that every job holds the same level of quality in terms of purpose but, your work does matter and it does contribute to something. If you are having trouble finding what this something is, consider the purpose of the company that you work with.

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Perhaps you work for a fast food establishment and you are not able to see your immediate impact based on your role. If this is the case, for example, you could choose to take a look at some of the impact your organization is making and frame it in such a way that your work is helping them to reach those goals.

Purpose allows people to feel more motivated and positive about going to work. There is always an underlying purpose to what it is you’re doing. Find it and work with that purpose in mind!

4. Make the Rest of Your Life More Enjoyable

If you are relatively unhappy with your life and you are going into a job each day that you don’t necessarily enjoy either, your move and your perspective on life isn’t going to improve any time soon. Remaining miserable with your life conditions is no way to live.

While you may not be able to change your situation, you are in control of your life and your attitude. You can make adjustments in your personal life that will help to make your work life more bearable.

Think about what it is that you want out of life and what you can do to increase your current quality of life. Are there goals that you want to reach? Are there things that you want to do more of that you haven’t been pursuing lately? More often than not, our professional life can shift our focus away from our personal lives and, we will lose track of fulfillment in this area.

Changing the way that you live your life can greatly improve your mindset towards your current work situation.[2]

5. Learn More About What You Would Like to Be Doing

People will often think about the fact that they would rather not be doing their jobs but, they don’t often think about what they would be doing instead. If you don’t like your job, it can be proactive to learn more about what your alternative career path would look like.

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If you weren’t working this job, what would your new and improved job look like? What would your position be? What responsibilities would you have? What impact would you make? How much money would you be making? Why would you want this job over your previous one and how it would it improve your current situation?

Don’t just fantasize about your current situation. Figure out what you would rather be doing so that you can take your first step towards a new life when the opportunity presents itself.

6. Create a Plan That Will Help You Reach Your New Career Goals

If you do have a better career path in mind and you simply need to get out of your job and into one that you would prefer, you will need to create a plan that you can work towards regularly — one that will be successful in landing you that new professional role.

Based on the questions you asked yourself in the previous point, find out what it will take to reach the career of your dreams. Do you need any further education to get there? Are there any requirements that you have to meet beforehand? What obstacles do you need to clear along the way?

Take a look at this guide and get more inspirations about how to set carer goals: How to Set Ambitious and Achievable Career Goals (With Examples)

Your plan will vary widely depending upon the difference between your dream job and your current position but, you will get there in time if you work towards these goals every day and take the necessary steps needed to make the transition seamless.

Figure out what you need to do, make a plan and a timeline, and crush your goals!

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7. Take Control of Your Work in the Meantime

Part of making your work suck less is learning the art of acceptance. You cannot change everything about your job overnight and, you need to accept that you will be in your current position until you are able to shift into a position that you truly enjoy.

However, this does not mean that you can’t make your current job more easily acceptable at the moment. Take control of the situation and take control of your work while you still have the job that you are in. Whether this means making the changes in the things you do not like (if you can) or taking control of the work that you are given, changes can be made to better suit your needs.

Get organized, grab your job by the horns, and guide it towards a better tomorrow. After all, this is your reality!

The Bottom Line

While your job cannot change at a moment’s notice, your outlook can and the most valuable tool you have at your disposal is yourself. Use that mighty brain to your advantage and cultivate a better mindset as you plan for the future that you want, rather than choosing to remain negative about your work life.

More Tips for Finding Fulfillment at Work

Featured photo credit: Helloquence via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Jo Green Coaching: What to Do When Work Sucks
[2] The Art of Charm: What to Do When Your Job Sucks

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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