Uplevel Your Mindset: What You Think About Work Matters

What you think about work determines what type of work you will have.

It also forms the foundation for the relationship you will have with your work.
Let me explain…

Recently, I had a conversation with a former client of mine. It was a check-in call. I wanted to know how she was doing as she continued to refine her business model and get closer to the business she wanted to do.

She said to me: “Yesterday, I had a bad day. At the end of the day, I said to myself, 'You did no work today'.”

“And, then I realized…

I spent the entire day working. It just didn’t look like work.

In the morning, I went to the barn and rode my horse. Since part of what I do these days is teach horseback riding at a very high competitive level, I need to stay connected to that work. Riding is how I keep it real.

Then for lunch, I met with the owner of the riding program where I have been teaching. She and I discussed the goals of the program for next year and my involvement in it.

Finally, I took a walk with my dog on the beach. While walking, I strategized about how I could get the training I need to move to the next level of my profession. I also thought of who I knew and how I could leverage my connections to contribute to my industry.

I didn’t think it was work because it didn’t feel like work. This is who I am and what I do and I’m so passionate that it just feels like it’s what I’m meant to do.”

What about you?

What do you think about work? Do you think it has to happen between 9 to 5, five days a week, with weekends off? Or is it more like 60 hour weeks with catch up over the weekend?

Do you need to be working at a place, like an office? If you are not working at an office, but at home or at Starbucks, does it mean you are not working? Does it mean you are not serious?

I want you to think deeply about work. What do you think about work?

Here’s an exercise. Write down the answers to the following questions:
What does work look like to you?
What were you told work needs to look like in order to be work?
Now, what do you want your work to look like in the future?

The clearer about what you want the faster you’ll be able to create it in your life.

And, as always, if you need help, please reach out to me and we’ll set up a strategy session.

Are You Afraid of “Interim” or Project-Based Work?

Are you afraid of “interim” or project-based work? If so, you are not alone.

The other day I was speaking to a participant in one of my speaking engagements. She confided to me that she had been laid off from her job and was looking for a new job. Then she told me how difficult it was for her to find a full-time position.

She had gotten interviews but was having difficulty making it through the final cut. There was no job offer.

She was starting to get scared, coming to the end of her unemployment benefits and dipping into her savings.

When I asked her whether she had considered looking for “interim,” “temporary,” or “project-based assignments,” she told me, “No. Security is important to me. I want a job.”

I understand. It’s nice to have a steady paycheck.

But, here’s the thing: there are fewer jobs being created these days. Why? Because it’s very expensive for companies to create jobs. Typically a company will pay between 35 – 50% over and above an employee’s baseline salary just to cover benefits. That means companies are slower to bring people onto the books on a full-time basis, which translates into a longer hiring process.

It’s much quicker, easier and cheaper for companies to create shorter-term assignments. In fact, much of the work that is available in the job market today is packaged up in terms of projects. Some say upwards of 50%. (This is happening in companies too, where project-based work is more prevalent than job descriptions.)

If you are like this participant, and can’t find a “job,” you might want to entertain the idea of working on a short-term project or interim assignment. Especially if you  need immediate cash.

It doesn’t mean that you have to spend the rest of your life in a 40 hour a week assignment, with no benefits. You don’t.

But, interim and project-based work is the fastest path to cash.

Consider looking for and accepting a project for 90 days. It’s better than not working at all, and in many cases, these shorter-term projects lead to full-time employment.

The key is to take control of your search for paid work. Don’t look at taking an interim position as needing to compromise. See this option as a wonderful alternative to generating quick cash while you continue your efforts to find, and even create, work you will enjoy, and if it’s important to you, a regular job.

Bottom-line: Don’t be afraid of interim assignments or project-based work. These alternatives can actually create security by guaranteeing an income stream. Use them to create a financial anchor to cover your expenses.

The most important part of any search for work is to ensure that your financial needs are met. Use this strategy to meet your needs.

And, if you need help with this, please reach out to me (click here) and let me know. We’ll set up a strategy session to see how I might be able to help you.

Get Unstuck: Know Your Destination

I’m writing this aboard a flight to Hawaii…

And, I’m very sure of my destination (Kapalua, Hawaii) and why I’m going. My stepson is getting married!

Are you clear about your destination…at work? Where do you want to go next?

You may be unhappy, feeling stuck, overworked, stressed, and just plain bored. You want out. Maybe you want to bring your creativity to the world. Or use your talent differently. With different people. In a different place. On your own terms.

You know you want to do something different but are not sure what that is.

Here’s the thing: it’s hard to create a plan to leave and go somewhere else if you don’t know where you are going.

Pick a destination.

Don’t worry about getting it right the first time. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always shift it, change it, tweak it, or refine it.

The question is: what does your ideal next step look like? What is your destination?
Here are some questions designed to help:

Who do you want to work with?
Doing what?
For whom? With whom?
In what kind of environment?
For what purpose?

Can you describe your destination? If you don’t know, here’s a little exercise. Write down your answers.

Think about what you do in your current job/work.
What do you like? (and would like to do more of?)
What do you hate? (and what would you like to let go of?)
What do you do that could be delegated to someone else?
What would you like to be doing, but don’t do now?
What would you like to learn?
What skills would you like to develop?
What would you like to build, create, bring to life?

Are you getting clearer?

Think of your destination as your “prize” work. If you could do this work, it would be like receiving a “prize.” Now synthesize what you have written to construct a profile of your ideal “prize work.”

Still struggling? Think of it this way: you are planning a trip. In the beginning, you don’t have to know exactly what your destination will be. But, you do need to know generally what you are looking for.

For example, you need to know whether you want to go to the beach, the mountains, the desert, or the city. Or whether it is a deserted, remote place or densely populated, full of glitz and glamour, or “without frills” (as in “roughing it.”) Or anywhere in-between. Hot climate? Cold climate?

What are the characteristics you are looking for? What does the destination look like generally? What is it filled with? Can you describe it? What kind of activities will you want to do when there?

Similarly, what kind of work destination are you looking for? Size of company (solopreneur or multinational?), types of people, state of company (start-up or fully mature?)? What do you want to be doing? How do you want to contribute?

The clearer you are about your destination or your “prize” work, even if you can’t be specific, the faster you will be able to find it. Have fun searching!

PS. And, if you need help moving forward, you might want to pre-order my book TAKE THIS JOB AND S.H.O.V.E. It – 5 Steps to Go From SHOVE It to LOVE It on Amazon. Click here: www.shoveittoloveit.com  (In it, you’ll find more exercises to help you become even more specific about crafting your “prize work” and destination.)