Fans of the old NBC show “The Office” know that the workplace comedy is not only chock full of unintentional wisdom, but also full of unintentional motivation.
When I asked my client Braden how his relationship with his manager was going since we’d last spoken, there was a long pause.
“Braden, what happened?” I asked.
“He ripped apart a presentation I put together,” he told me, detailing an intense round of criticism. “He said I needed to start over from scratch because it totally missed the mark. I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation all weekend!”
How criticism affects us
Maybe you’ve found yourself in Braden’s shoes, feeling angry, insecure, or demoralized after getting bad feedback. When someone criticizes your work, it can feel like a confirmation of your inner critic saying you’re not good enough. Other times, a single off-handed comment (“you look tired”) launches you into an existential crisis about how you’re too old and have accomplished nothing with your life.
But if you want to do anything important in the world, you’ll inevitably get negative
We recently learned about the virtues of “not to-do” lists. But many of us love our to-do lists. They keep life happy and orderly and logical, even if we don’t always find ourselves crossing everything off.
Studies have shown that even just the act of physically writing down our tasks makes it much easier to commit to doing them.
But just because we’re keeping track of what we need to do doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re freeing up our minds to focus on other things, worry less, or be more creative.
As productivity guru David Allen shows in this video, there is a specific art and science to getting things done. In the video below, he offers 5 tactics to make sure that what you scribble down successfully transitions from a goal to a done deed.
Put it on your list and enjoy!
When your motivation is missing
Find out what’s
I used to be a chronic maker of to-do lists. My lists lived on little scraps of paper, the back on envelopes, and Post-It notes. I would buy planners and fill them up with timely tasks and then never follow through.
Needless to say, when I didn’t always get around to taking care of business, I’d be disappointed in myself. Leftover tasks would pile up like dishes in the sink… which was especially problematic if “do the dishes” was on a to-do list.
Worse yet, I would swear off to-do lists entirely, only to return to them again and
Where do you see yourself in five years? If you’ve ever been caught off-guard by this question in an interview, you’re not alone.
The idea of a five-year plan is so popular because it promises certainty. That if we follow a linear path to success, happiness will follow.
But trying to predict the future is a losing battle. It’s impossible to know what your priorities will be a few years from now, let alone the opportunities you’ll be presented with down the line.
How a five-year plan can get you stuck
It’s great to be goal-oriented. I’m the first to let my Type-A flag fly high! Yet in my coaching practice, I see how a rigid fixation on planning your future can backfire, closing you off from important opportunities to grow.
Many of my clients get so preoccupied trying to perfectly execute the details of their five-year plan that they get
Do any of these three, very sad scenarios sound familiar?
1. It was a perfect day outside and I planned to go for a walk.
2. I needed baby spinach and avocado and had two hours to get them before the grocery store closed.
3. I got invited to a party where friends I never get to see would all be hanging out.
Well, in my case, I never went for my walk, I missed the window to buy ingredients for dinner and ordered something unhealthy instead, and I never made it out to the party. (I didn’t even shower and try to get ready!) And all because I stayed on my couch hooked to my phone. Thankfully, these three episodes didn’t all happen in the course of one weekend, but they easily could have because…well…I am addicted to my phone.
How phone addiction happens
We recently talked about the phenomenon of impostor syndrome — what it actually means, how it manifests itself, and how to talk yourself out of it.
And though it’s difficult to describe a feeling of perceived inadequacy, especially one that often comes from an irrational place, sometimes a shift in perspective helps make everything a little clearer.
We recently stumbled across a story by Mike Kail who, despite being a high-powered tech executive, also battles impostor syndrome. He recently wrote about his struggle through the lens of running, a habit he picked up in college. What we like about his story is that it offers a very tangible metaphor for how impostor syndrome works and, more importantly, shows how it can be defeated (or, maybe in this case, defeeted):
My first race was the St. Patrick’s Day 8k in Saint Paul, and despite running approximately a 6:30 mile, I wasn’t even
We’ve all been in the terrifying and embarrassing situation where the name of someone we’ve met before or someone we’ve just met completely eludes us.
And while it’s a clever workaround, there’s really only so much mileage you can get out of saying “Hey pal…” or “Nice to see you” to sneak yourself out of an awkward moment. (While there’s no science to back this up, some believe that the universe actually knows when you don’t remember someone’s name and will often make a third person appear just so you have to introduce them to each other.)
The true power of remembering names
The truth is that the ability to remember someone’s name will do more than help you survive a social situation. It’s a crucial part of showing respect, making a meaningful connection, and making yourself memorable and liked. Think about a time when someone — a yoga teacher, barista, or someone you
It’s easy to be busy. You’re probably busy right now! And depending how your busyness manifests itself, you might be reading this while eating a piece of a toast or walking down a sidewalk or having a conversation with someone. (If you’re doing all of these things at once, please feel free to stop reading, you are a wizard and we can do nothing for you.)
Busyness can be many things — checking email, looking up next week’s weather, obsessively keeping up with the news, seeing if airfare to Minneapolis has gotten any cheaper yet. Busyness can look like productivity, it can feel like productivity, it might even enable productivity, but busyness can never be productivity. If productivity is a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, then busyness is a generic imitation brand with a name like Allspice Bread Crisps.
The difference between productivity and busyness
The key difference is that busyness is easy
The ugly truth about how society is conditioned to view success — in degrees, dollars, promotions, likes, and favs — is that much of it is external and out of our control.
With hard work and some luck, for example, you might land the prestigious job of your dreams. But what if the industry changes or you end up with a terrible new boss?
This radical dose of reality is exactly what happened to Anthony Tjan. As he details in his book Good People, in the late 1990s, the entrepreneur worked tirelessly to build ZEFER, an internet services company that was poised to earn him tens of millions of dollars when the company went public.
But things didn’t turn out that way. “The day ZEFER intended to go public was the largest NASDAQ drop in its history to date,” he writes, “a slide that would only continue over the next few