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Why You Should Be Making A Life Instead of Making A Living

Why You Should Be Making A Life Instead of Making A Living

“If you think your life is about DOINGNESS, you do not understand what you are about. Your soul doesn’t care what you do for a living and when your life is over, neither will you. Your soul cares only about what you’re BEING while you’re doing whatever you’re doing. It is a state of BEINGNESS the soul is after, not a state of doingness.”
– Neale Donald Walsch

I have never been great at making a living and for a longtime I struggled trying to figure out why I wasn’t that great at it. I would compare myself to my friends and peers who through the years have consistently turned up to work, had great careers and made a really good living . It is only recently that I have discovered that I was truly happy when I was  living my  life doing what I wanted to do – writing, speaking and coaching. . For years I was choosing to make a living doing what I “could do” but not what I ‘wanted to do”. Now in hindsight, if I knew 25 years ago what I know now, I could have had both a lot sooner – living a life and making  living doing what I loved.

The Purpose of Work

“In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.”
– John Ruskin

Work is essential as it brings us a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction to our lives. Work puts our creative energies to use, it stimulates us and can bring us huge successes BUT when it takes over our lives to a point where we no longer find the satisfaction in what we do or we become slaves to our jobs – then that is when WORK infiltrates our lives in a negative way. We find ourselves in a place where we are “existing rather than living’ and we are choosing to live a life of mediocrity rather than a life filled with happiness, joy and success.

Work is not our enemy, it only becomes the enemy when we allow work to take over our lives and our sense of self. When we asked are the question “who are you?” and we reply ” I am an accountant, lawyer, policeman, CEO…”, it is a sign that our self worth and our identity is based on the economic value of the job we do!

So why is it important that you should be making a life instead of making a living?

“When you’re following your energy and doing what you want all the time, the distinction between work and play dissolves.”
– Shakti Gawain

Today modern society’s definition of success is based on the concepts of money, fame and power.  I think many of us become trapped in the mindset of focusing on making a living for survival and working really hard to  make lots of  money so that we are seen to be successful. The words happiness, fulfilment, passion and joy do not appear to be associated with the concept of making a living – this is why it is important that you should be focusing on making a life where your definition of success is built on the foundation of words such as happiness, joy, love, passion and fulfilment. If you are doing what you want to do, then work is a JOY and if you are doing what you dont want to do than work is a CHORE.

There is Hope if you use the Power of Choice

“The person who does not know how to live while they are making a living is a poorer person after their wealth is won when they started.”
– Josiah Gilbert Holland

Do not give up hope as there are things you can do that will enable you to live your life earning a living doing what you love to do. You have the power of choice. and all you have to do is to make the choice that you want to change from living a life where you are just existing making a living to living a life where you are happy, fulfilled and doing what you love.

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” Making money isn’t hard in itself…What is hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one’s life to.”
– Carols Ruitz Zafon

A word of caution, to take on this challenge to find what makes you happy and how you can make a life doing what you love, is HARD WORK.  It is hard to step out and be courageous. It is hard not to worry about what others think. It is hard to follow your dreams, to define your life purpose and to figure out what makes you happy. Making a living is much easier  to do. It is so much easier to exist rather than live a full life,  to procrastinate, to make excuses, and to accept that your life is what it is.

So if you do chose to Make a Life you love, here are 10 important steps to help you get started.

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  1. Accept that this journey is going to be hard and that there is no better time than right now to take action and COMMIT
  2. Once you have done this, start to explore ways to define your Life Purpose – what are you passionate  about and what makes you happy?  When you have clarity about your purpose and your passions, then put a PLAN in place outlining the steps you need to take to get you to where you want to be in your life. Defining your life purpose in some ways is easy – defining the pathway to fulfilling your life purpose is the hard part and will require courage, focus and commitment. Remember that the reward for you, will be a life filled with happiness and success.
  3. Figure out how you will deal with your fears, your insecurities, your excuses or any blocks that you will use to stop you or distract you from going on this journey. Get to know them and be ready when they take action because if you are not focused, do not have self belief or  you are not really committed to the journey then you will give up.
  4. Do not worry about others and what they are doing or achieving. Stop comparing yourself to others and start working on you and your belief in YOU.
  5. Be prepared to work hard and focus on delivering results. Set achievable goals, sort out your finances, get support and just start doing what you need to do – happiness will follow.
  6. Become Resilient – you need to learn how to bounce back and step up. Life will throw you some curve balls, you will make mistakes and you will feel at times very sorry for yourself. You need to overcome the low points toughen up and bounce back. It is just the way it is.
  7. Find your Courage – you will need it when you step out of your comfort zone
  8. Practice Gratitude daily, be generous and help others – this is one of the easiest things to do on this journey so do lots if it. The more grateful you are, the more generous you are and the more you help people, the happpier you will be.
  9. Enjoy the journey –  live in the moment, make time to have fun and celebrate often. You will find that the more you do this the happier you will be and the closer you will be to making a living doing what you love
  10. Be Realistic about your ideal life – you may not have it all but you can have enough to be very happy. Focus on the top 3-4 priorities in your life that will bring your happiness and joy.

Despite the hard work required to find happiness and success in your life, it is so worth it. The 10 action steps if you choose to follow them will create the opportunity for you to make a great life.

Life is too short to spend time making a living where you just exist. Life is more than just living  with mediocrity. You deserve more and you are entitled to live a life of joy and happiness. It is not too late to live your ideal life. I know that you need to factor in the economics of earning money – it is important to have in our lives. However, you can make a living while making a life, people all over the world are doing it – So why cant you be one of these people?

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are hear in order to enable the world to live more amply,with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.”
 Woodrow Wilson

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilence Coach who is passionate about thriving and growing in a complex world

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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