Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: How to Get Past a Fear of Success

Most of us have experienced imposter syndrome at one point or another. We might have success in our career or receive accolades from our boss, and in creeps the sneaking suspicion that we really don’t “deserve this.”



Overcoming imposter syndrome isn’t easy. It’s based on self-doubt, untruths that we tell ourselves, and feelings of inadequacy that we may have been building for years. So how do we do it? How do we kick imposter syndrome once and for all and accept the kudos and compliments that we’ve earned without feeling like a phony?

What is Imposter Syndrome Anyway?

Many of us get the feeling that we’re about to be “found out.” We might feel like our success is a mistake. When we do something right, we assume we’ve managed to “trick” others into believing that we’re actually good at what we’re doing. We’ve deceived everyone into believing that we’re great salespeople, an incredible CEO, fantastic artists, or talented writers. We think, “if they only knew the truth,” or we dread the day we’re found out.

When we experience these thoughts and self-doubts, they’re symptoms of what’s known as imposter syndrome. What is imposter syndrome, and where does it come from?

The term “imposter phenomenon” was coined by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in 1978. For many, the term resonated with feelings that they’d long held. It was used to describe the feeling that many successful individuals get. Despite plenty of contrary evidence, many successful people feel like “frauds,” or as though they don’t deserve the success they experience in their chosen profession. Even when these individuals were shown proof of their success, they dismissed it as good fortune or suggested they deceived others into believing they were competent. What’s more, they often feared being discovered or found out.

This may sound familiar to many of us. Why do we feel this way? Why do we experience imposter syndrome?


The reality is that many of us have some type of underlying anxiety and fear. We all feel worried from time to time. Sometimes our worries are reasonable given the circumstances. Sometimes they aren’t.


Many of us may experience worries about our health, finances, social lives, loved ones, and more. We may wonder if other people like us; we may feel lonely and disconnected; we may worry about how we can take care of others in our lives.

A little bit of fear, worry, or even anxiety is a natural part of being human. Most successful people are driven in one way or another by their sense of discontent and uneasiness. They’re driven by a need to do well and may have anxiety about success.

However, a healthy amount of worry can spiral out of control when we encounter foundational ideas in our heads known as limiting beliefs. Some of these beliefs are good. They keep us safe. They may keep us from quitting our job and running off to join the circus. They may prevent us from hurting ourselves or from hurting those around us.

But our limiting beliefs can also prevent us from trusting ourselves. Many of these beliefs aren’t accurate. They keep us from reaching our potential and fully developing ourselves. We may find that we’re holding back because we want to stay nice and cozy in our perceived “safe zone,” even if we aren’t reaching our maximum satisfaction. Our limiting beliefs can keep us from fully living our best lives.

Understanding the Origins of Our Limiting Beliefs to Beat Imposter Syndrome

We might not be able to beat our imposter syndrome right away. It’s not something that can be wished or reasoned away with the snap of our fingers. Instead, we have to examine where our limiting beliefs originate. They’re part of our very core, and the first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to dig down and look at them. These beliefs were typically formed very early in our childhood, and while some of them may have applied to our world at the time, they’re often untrue, especially in adulthood. If we don’t pinpoint them and work through them, they can hold us back from reaching our fullest potential.

We may hear limiting beliefs in our head, and they make us have thoughts like:

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “I am too much. I overwhelm people.”
  • “I’m too sensitive. I’m too needy.”
  • “I’m not intellectual.”
  • “I’m a follower, not a leader.”

When we say these beliefs aloud, we may even think they sound a little unreasonable, but they tend to follow us around. These beliefs can haunt us. Sometimes we don’t realize our limiting beliefs because they’ve been buried and intertwined so deeply within our subconscious. We might be blind to them, but they shape many of our choices and our confidence. These limiting beliefs may steer our decisions toward or away from things we may otherwise want.


So how deep are these beliefs? Most of our limiting beliefs were formed before we were even aware of them. They may have originated from our interactions with our parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, caretakers, or even friends.


Much of our social and emotional makeup is formed by the time we reach age six or seven. We carry that with us for the rest of our lives, using it to form the basis of the way we see ourselves and our world. We tap into it when we make choices.

Why One Person Felt Like an Imposter

I was coaching a very successful young man. He had references and accolades from many respected people within his industry. He had recently received a promotion to a higher position where he earned more money and had a chance to manage a global network of team members. By all accounts, he was doing extremely well.

But despite his evident success, he was still haunted by the fact that he didn’t have a college degree. He flunked out of his program. Not because he couldn’t keep up, but because (at the time) he didn’t care. He was more interested in sports in his younger years. He went out and partied. He’d since turned his life around and found great success, but in the back of his mind, he felt like he was just waiting to be found out.

He believed that he was an imposter. Now, he’d been very upfront with his bosses and let them know that he didn’t hold a degree. Yet, he still was promoted and did very well in his position. He relied on his life experience and personality to drive him to success. He built a strong rapport with his clientele and coworkers. He had innate leadership skills. But the idea that he wasn’t good enough still kept coming up until it was tainting the joy of his success.

As we worked together, we learned that it all went back to his relationship with his parents when he was a child. He was living out a self-fulfilling prophecy that he would never be good enough. His mom was a higher performer, while his dad was less so. This experience led him to believe that as a man, he was inherently lazy. He didn’t even live up to his father’s standard—especially after his grades went downhill in college.

In his head, he was still hearing all these doubts. He had a desire to rebel against others’ performance standards and had a hard time with authority. Despite the money, promotions, and success, he was still holding onto those early childhood limitations.

How to Let Go of those Limiting Beliefs and Ditch Your Inner Imposter

To become really successful and take our lives to the next level, we have to shake up those limiting beliefs. Discovering them is the first step, but we also have to realize that we need to let them go at a certain point, or they will always hold us back.


So how do we let go of imposter syndrome? We have to challenge what we think about ourselves. If we feel like we don’t deserve our success, we can examine why we have that belief. Where does it come from? How can we challenge it? Test the waters to see what happens when we choose not to believe it anymore. Challenge it!


Every step we take away from our limiting beliefs is huge. It builds momentum, and with each new success, we start to rebuild our confidence and acknowledge that these beliefs don’t apply to us anymore. We can tell ourselves that we’re embracing our best lives and deserve what we have. When we are working toward living up to our fullest potential, we can and will make it happen.

Educational Theorist Lev Vygotsky taught Social Development Theory. It is the idea that kids develop by playing and through social interactions. It’s how they learn about the world. Kids first pretend something, and throughout their cognitive development, the play turns into real-life social interactions. Anyone who’s watched kids play house has probably observed some very elaborate social interactions planned and then carried out. Kids imagine different scenarios and then play out their reactions to the scenarios. They become what they first pretend.

Like kids, we can try to “fake it, ‘til we make it.” We can acknowledge that our limiting beliefs are there and hold us back, but we’re going to move forward anyway. We can know that we can achieve whatever we want by working on our skills and continuously challenging ourselves.

If we’re in a constant state of growth, challenging ourselves and being honest, authentic, and intentional, we can become what we want to be. It doesn’t matter our age or our situation. There is very little that is out of our reach. It’s not about deserving success or fitting a certain mold. It’s not even about being lucky. It’s about having integrity, dedication, and intention. If we work to create the best and bring out the best for those around us, they will reciprocate because they will also want the best for us.

So the next time that doubt creeps in, let go of the idea that you don’t really deserve your success. Instead, savor the way it feels good and embrace it!

For more ideas about living your best life, don’t miss the resources we offer at Wright Now. We have many courses and materials available for download. Check it out today so you can start to get the life you want!

 


About the Author

Bob-300x250

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 

Life’s Too Good to Be Bored: How to Cure Boredom for Good

Do you ever feel bored with life? Boredom and work or home isn’t uncommon. But when you forget how truly good life can be, it’s time to learn how to cure boredom for good.


Yes, I know. How can life be good if we’re still wearing masks? When there’s still great racial inequality and discrimination? When we have a climate crisis and a political divide so wide, we can’t even see the other side let alone hear it?

The challenges in the world right now might dissuade you from saying “life is good.”

But I want you to know this: life is good because YOU’RE IN IT, living it, right now. And, it’s impossible to feel your aliveness and be bored at the same time.

BORED, BORED, BORED

No, this is NOT all there is. Were you wondering?

But you’re bored. Bored, bored, bored. Bored at work. Bored at home. Bored in your relationship. Bored with YOU.

Is there a cure for boredom?

As a human being, you’re hardwired toward growth and adaptation. You WANT to learn, explore, and expand. Like your ancestors who forged new frontiers, you want to move forward, achieve, and discover. You’re constantly driven to interact, engage, explore, and transform.


Sometimes this desire for change might be loud and obvious. But sometimes, it manifests itself as a vague sense of dissatisfaction. A subtle nagging that your life as it is not “enough.”


As Psychology Today tells us, this condition is related to the “French ennui, an existential perception of life’s futility—a consequence of unfulfilled aspirations.”*

So perhaps you can thank boredom! You have unfulfilled aspirations that you might not have become aware of otherwise.

Welcome boredom as a warning signal. Recognize it as your mind’s alert system telling you that you’re not finding purpose in what you’re currently doing, so you’d better switch things up. The sooner, the better.

Boredom is like fear: No one likes feeling fear, just as no one likes feeling bored. But both give you crucial information. Fear pushes you away from harm. Boredom pushes you toward meaning.

Maybe it’s time to stop, listen, and learn how to cure boredom for good.

What’s the Point? Purpose

Purpose is the heart of the matter. It’s the “why” behind everything you do, whether you’re conscious of it or not.

Without it, you’ll never find satisfaction, no matter how fun, delicious, or pleasurable what you’re doing is. The moment it’s experienced, watched, ordered, or consumed, you return to the nagging sense of emptiness. Without purpose, you’re stuck in infinite “ennui.”

So then, how do you find it?


“Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself.”
– Soren Kierkegaard


To find your purpose, you must understand yourself. And to do that, you must learn and explore your yearnings—your innermost desires and deep emotional longings of your heart. Perhaps you yearn to love and be loved or to touch and be touched. Perhaps you yearn to matter, to make a difference, to fulfill your purpose on this planet. Perhaps you long to create, connect, or serve.

Yearnings are universal, and they are the key to unlocking the mystery of the uniquely amazing being that is YOU. No one like you has ever existed before now, and no one like you will ever exist after.

Once you begin to believe that and act accordingly, you’ll see boredom backing off as aliveness starts filling up your days.

Is this easy? NO. And learning your longings isn’t a quick fix to boredom. But it’s a sustaining one. A transformative one. And the only one that ultimately matters.

Besides, you’re already familiar with the quick fix—soft addictions. Those seemingly harmless habits that distract you from your boredom long enough to make you think your life is thriving.

Twenty-five more episodes to watch? What a full evening of entertainment! Three new outfits on the way? How fun it will be to wake up and wear each of them! A new full bag of cookies? You deserve it after my long week of work. Zoning out on social media? What a great way to keep “in touch” with all your friends.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

But what’s more likely is what all of these have might have in common: pseudo satisfaction. A temporary high/buzz/thrill that comes and then goes, and before you know it, you’re left once again asking yourself, “Is this all there is?”

What’s a completely-bored-of-boredom human like you to do?

Forget Pseudo. Go for Authentic

The dictionary definition of authenticity is “genuineness; undisputed credibility; one who is worthy of belief.”

The existential philosophers defined authenticity as being true to who you could become, instead of being true to who you are—a view that suggests authenticity is being faithful to yourself internally as opposed to conforming to external ideas or norms.


Here’s MY definition of authenticity: forget what everyone else says and wears, reads, eats, and watches (take THAT social media) and find out what makes YOU tick.


How do you find that kind of sense of authenticity? Like Dorothy in Oz, you need to discover the answer has been inside of you all along. As you explore yourself and get to know yourself better, you’ll start to see glimpses and signs of who you really are. You begin “engaging.”

“It is the moment-by-moment practice of engaging that helps you become more spontaneous and more present in each moment. You step outside your comfort zone, try new things, take risks, and turn your life from a routine into an adventure…

…Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So, when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind and soul. We’re asking if you are so intimately connected to a given task that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to get it done right. We’re asking if you’re taking risks and stretching yourself in ways that might feel uncomfortable but also provide you with such a spark that you feel as if you could set the world on fire with a touch of your hand.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Enter whatever you’re doing, intending to be involved heart, mind, and soul. Then you can connect with truly being alive. Once you do that, you may never be bored again.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University. Follow Dr. Bob Wright on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more updates.


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

F**ck Up at Work? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Hide Mistakes at Work

Have you made mistakes at work? We’ve all made mistakes, and often the first impulse is to try to hide them under the rug. Here’s why you should admit to mistakes and make amends.

We've all made mistakes at work, and often try to hide them under the rug. Here's why you should admit to mistakes and make amends.


Ah, the hot potato of mistakes! I’ve had more freedom to make mistakes than most people I know – so I have a lot of experience f**cking things up.

One of the blessings I’ve had in my life is the freedom to be the age I am (and at 73, I still feel a little immature). To mess up and live to see another day. To be around long enough to know that I’ve learned MORE from messing up than I ever would have from not messing up.


How can we live a successful life unless we embrace failure? How can we learn without being allowed to make mistakes along the way?


We live in a blame culture. We’re quick to point the finger at someone or something as “the problem,” falsely thinking that if we fix that one thing, everything else will fall into place and be just fine.

But pointing a finger IS the primary mistake we make instead of understanding that we are in a complex system. And hopefully, one we can learn from sooner rather than later.

Mistakes Can Break Us OR Make Us

Whatever the mistake is, we ALL have a part of it. We each have some degree of responsibility.

We had a pile-up of trucks on a hill on our campus last night. With a quarter-inch of ice on everything, the Amazon truck got almost to the top then slid back down into a tree. The pizza delivery guy came over the hill to go down while the Amazon guy was walking up the hill to keep anyone else from coming down. Unfortunately, the pizza guy was going too fast and slid down into the tree next to the Amazon truck. And the tow truck only had 50 feet of cable, and he needed 100 feet to pull them up the hill.

I’m grateful to the Amazon truck guy for bringing our stuff, but he wasn’t going fast enough to get up the hill, and he didn’t understand he could have gone over to the side to get his tires onto the grass for more traction. Instead, he stayed in the center of the road and slid down. So, was this his fault?

The pizza guy was going too fast, and he didn’t follow the sign at the top of the hill that said, “Keep Right.” It says “Keep Right” to guide you into a turnout so you can look down the hill to see if anyone’s coming BEFORE heading down yourself. So, was it the pizza guy’s fault?

Well, my sign did NOT say, “Keep Right so you’ll be guided into a turnout so you can look down the hill to see if anyone’s coming BEFORE heading down yourself.” My sign just said, “Keep Right.” So my sign wasn’t good enough. And I had an ice-covered hill! Was it my fault?

Yes, yes, and yes. We were all part of the mistake.

I then paid $400 to have the entire driveway salted. Why wasn’t it salted before last evening? Our salt machine wasn’t working, and our caretaker was having surgery. The truth is, I could make any number of excuses, but if we take a good hard look at it, we can see there’s any number of problem points that could have kept what happened last night from happening.

Mistakes are simply a symptom of how a system needs to function better. That’s it.

Instead of pointing a finger, what if we looked instead at what each of us could have done better?

Shifting from a Blame Culture to a Problem-Solving Culture

One of the greatest tools we have RIGHT NOW to help us shift from a blame mindset to a problem-solving mindset is social and emotional intelligence. Social and emotional intelligence invites conversation rather than encouraging blame. It allows us to be with what is, instead of what we think should be or could be or once was or may never be.


We all have acceptable aspects of ourselves and unacceptable aspects for ourselves—for me, fear and hurt are those zones.


As the one who carried the anger in our family, I was very comfortable being mad. I picked a lot of fights (some might say I do still!) But what I wasn’t comfortable with and failed to look at growing up was my fear, hurt, and sadness.

Ideally, we’re all like giant love sponges that get filled up with positive affirmations. Then, when we’re full, we spill over onto others, offering affirmations to them and, when needed, problem-solving.

But we all have dry parts of our sponge where the positive affirmation never gets into. Those dry parts are what Freud refers to as our false selves.

Our false selves are based on certain beliefs we take on to fit into our world better. For example, if we’re pretty, we’ll be more likable. If we have a lot of money, we’ll be successful. If I work hard/achieve more, we’ll have more value.

The blame culture needs our false selves to thrive.

At the Wright Foundation, we practice what we call the assignment way of living to help put cracks into our false selves. Each day our students embrace a new assignment to challenge their limiting beliefs and mistaken perceptions—for example, thinking we won’t be valuable/accepted/loved if we make a mistake.

The more we crack that façade, the more our sponge can get filled with love, and the more we can contribute to a world that works for everyone.

See the Flaws, SAY the Flaws, Be the Flaws

This post has gotten me more likes than most. Why? I imagine those pink socks give us all permission to take pleasure in who we are – the parts of ourselves we usually hide under our pant cuffs.

I also imagine those pink socks could easily have been a mistake—perhaps I didn’t pack enough dark ones? Maybe it was dark when I got dressed and grabbed the wrong ones? Who knows? But I owned them in that photograph. I let them lead me into pleasure instead of shame. They became my success instead of my mistake.

That’s why we should embrace our mistakes instead of hiding them or hiding from them. When we make excuses, we don’t learn and grow. AND we miss out on potential joy and connection.

Don’t let your false self run the show. Let the anxiety of making mistakes at work go. Put on a pair of pink socks and start looking for the solution instead of the culprit. Let your mistakes make you, not break you.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University. Follow Dr. Bob Wright on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more updates.


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Here’s How to Ask Your Partner for More Intimacy

Got intimacy? If you’re wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy and closeness, it’s important to explore what you’re really looking for.

Wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy? Here’s how to connect with your partner to get the closeness you want and deserve.


Relationships are an adventure in intimacy and navigating our connections with others, but understanding how to get the intimacy we want can be confusing. What are we really looking for? Deeper conversations? More sex? A more attentive partner?

Here’s how to ask your partner for more intimacy and get the connection you crave.

Embark on An Adventure in Intimacy

Intimacy. It’s an often-misunderstood term. We may think intimacy refers to our physical connection. We may think of intimacy are romance, closeness, or sharing a deep conversation. Real intimacy is all these things and more.

Intimacy is about learning and growing together to fulfill our fullest potential. When we’re working on our best selves, relationships can be both a womb and a crucible. They form us and forge us into our best selves. So while it’s important that our relationships are nurturing, it’s also crucial to recognize that growth can also be a painful process.

When a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, it must go through the struggle to build up strength. If we “help” the butterfly before it is ready, the wings will fail to develop the proper strength, and the butterfly won’t be able to fly. Similarly, when we emerge and grow into our potential, we must go through difficult challenges to increase our strength. While our relationship can support us through the lessons, our partner can’t take away our difficulties or “fix” us. In fact, our partnership is strengthened when our partner is an ally—pushing us toward our best self.


If our relationship isn’t challenging us and pushing us to grow, then it’s just a pacifier. We need the conflict to continue to evolve. Conflict is where growth and change really happen.


In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss the many ways that love and intimacy are messy. It’s about embracing our roles in the relationship and working on ourselves to live extraordinary lives together. One partner may be a great parent, and one might have a great career. Relationships and intimacy are about bringing those strengths together to become transformational agents, engaged fully and intimately together, bringing out our best selves and the best in others.

Great relationships are all about engaging in the adventure of life together as partners and allies.

Yearnings and Understanding the Nature of Conflict

Our yearnings drive us. As human beings, we constantly try to fulfill our yearnings and listen to them. At times, we may deny our yearnings, but that becomes painful. We find ourselves shifting blame and being dishonest about what we want. This can cause resentments to build as we disengage from the relationship.

The truth is that many of us fall out of touch with our yearnings. We aren’t sure how to get what we truly want because we don’t know what it is. Yearnings are the deeper longings of our heart—to be loved, to be connected, to feel respected. Many of us mistake wants for yearnings. We think that we want to lose weight. We want a bigger house. We want to have fashionable clothes.

We may think that we want our partner to clean up around the house more often. We want them to take us out on a date. We want them to buy us gifts. However, the underlying yearnings go deeper than that. We want our partner to pick up the house because we yearn for the security that comes from an orderly space. We want our partner to take us out on a date because we yearn for intimacy and connection. We want our partners to buy us gifts because we yearn for love or admiration and connection.

When we confuse our wants for yearnings, we fall into a pattern of miss-wanting. We get what we thought we wanted, only to find that we’re still left unfulfilled and unsatisfied. We still long for more. We may even feel resentful or disengaged because our partner isn’t fulfilling the fairytale notion of giving us “happily ever after.”


Conflict helps us reengage with each other. It’s impossible to work for something—even a fulfilling relationship—without at least a little struggle and fight.


Think of any goal. We have to train and sweat for months if we want to run a marathon. If we want to get a promotion at work, we have to learn new tasks and work hard to get there. When we want something big, hard work is required. It’s likely going to be painful and even unpleasant at times. We can’t skip out the door one day and win a gold medal.

Most of us don’t enjoy fighting (and if we do, that can be detrimental too). Maybe we were raised to believe fighting wasn’t beneficial or that fighting would push others away. We call these types of situations “conflict-avoidant.” If we grew up in a conflict-avoidant household, it could be hard to see the merits and productivity of conflict. It’s difficult to let go of our limiting beliefs about conflict. We might feel like we shouldn’t express our yearnings or ask for what we need in a relationship.

Feeling conflicted isn’t wrong or bad. Engaging in conflict doesn’t make us mean or negative people. On the contrary, it can actually bring us closer together by moving us toward what we really want and need in the situation.

The skill in conflict is taking responsibility for our own satisfaction and then working together toward that satisfaction with a partner. People become so skilled at avoiding conflict that they avoid themselves right out of their relationship. When we avoid confrontation and conflict, we disengage. We become distant and disconnected. We might even resent our partner for not reading our minds or understanding why we’re upset.

Instead, rock the boat! Ask for more intimacy! When couples learn the rules of engagement, they learn to express their desires responsibly. They realize that conflict arises because they’re working for, not against, their relationship. Conflict is a means to strengthen our relationships and make our yearnings known.

Intimacy is Engagement

Intimacy is synonymous with engagement. If we want more intimacy, it’s not just that we want to have more sex (although physical intimacy can be an added benefit of reconnecting with our partner). It’s not that we want our partner to be more affectionate. That may be part of it, but we really want more engagement. We want our partner to connect with us, to see us, hear us, and know us.

If we think we’re moving toward our yearnings but expect our partner to get us there, we aren’t taking 100% responsibility for our own satisfaction. We are each responsible for getting satisfaction, and no one else can hand it to us. We must be learning and growing on our own, AND together.


We can get there by expressing what we want to our partner. We can tell them our expectations and share our yearnings. What would happen if we just asked? What is it that we want from our partners?


Ultimately, intimacy is about connection—loving each other and being close. It’s about wanting to have more of each other and gain a deeper understanding of the other person. Over time couples can become like systems engineers—working through the daily tasks of running a home, going to work, raising the kids. But within this scenario, intimacy is lost. We become two people bumping into each other and existing together. It requires deliberate action to get on the same page with a vision and connection. If we want it, we have to stop going through the motions and start doing the work. (It’s worth it!)

How To Get Your Partner Engaged in Your Relationship

What happens when one partner is ready to engage and get more intimacy, and the other partner is on the fence? What do we do when we tell our partner we want to build a deeper connection, and we get an eye roll because they think it sounds like B.S.?

First of all, this happens quite often. Change can be difficult and frightening, especially when we haven’t had time to process it. Our partner might be perfectly comfortable with the status quo because we’ve made them very comfortable. We’ve allowed them to ignore our yearnings and to be oblivious to our feelings. We can’t expect them to read our minds—they need to be uncomfortable too.

Too often, we get bogged down in a state where we feel sorry for ourselves and use it as an excuse for inaction. We think, “I’d love to work on myself and grow, but my partner isn’t into it. So it’s their fault that I can’t.” In reality, this is a lie.


We are each 100% responsible for our own satisfaction. If we’re learning, growing, and working to bring out our best selves, our partner must rise to the occasion. If we’re expressing our yearnings and acknowledging the truth in what our partner says, being open and honest, we will be a force to be reckoned with.


When we’re following the rules of engagement and engaging in conflict responsibly and honestly, it becomes uncomfortable for our partner to ignore our personal power and energy. They will engage with you because they have to.

It’s all about using conflict to get to the heart of what we really want. Just because one time we threw out, “I’d like to work on this,” and got shot down, we shouldn’t give up. Go for a different approach. Learn the rules of engagement and start engaging. Follow along in the book. We can get our partner to read the book with us, and if they won’t, we can start using the skills and following the rules. Eventually, our partners get curious about what we’re doing, and they will want to know more (even if they don’t admit it at first).

Relationships are beautiful and messy platforms to help us grow and change. When we’re working on our personal power, a healthy relationship is a launchpad for bringing out our next best self.

To learn more about living your best life and enjoying stronger relationships, don’t miss our courses at Wright Now. We have resources to help you discover more about yourself, your partner, your career, and your world. Get MORE today!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

What is Life Coaching?
Do I Need a Life Coach?

Maybe you’ve reached a crossroads in your life. Perhaps you’re at a stuck point in your career or relationship. Maybe you’re not sure what you want to do next. You find yourself asking, “Do I need a life coach?”


Before you decide to engage with a life coach, it’s important to understand what life coaches do (and what they don’t). Life coaches can be instrumental at certain points in life, especially when you’re in the right place to fully use their services.

So what is life coaching? What should you expect out of coaching?

What is Life Coaching?

What is life coaching? If you’re asking yourself, “do I need a life coach,” you may be looking in the wrong direction. Life coaching isn’t something that emerges from a need. You don’t NEED life coaching. It comes from desire—a desire to get MORE out of life and be your best.


If you think you need life coaching to fix your problems, chances are you may actually need a therapist or counselor.


Just like an athlete needs a physical therapist to work an injured area of their body, a therapist helps you work on the areas of your mind and emotions you need help with.

A coach, whether sports coach or life coach, helps you bring out your best, so you can perform at your optimum level. Coaches help you improve your life by focusing your efforts on what’s already working. Coaches help you get to what you want to accomplish and achieve. A career coach coaches you on your professional goals; a relationship coach or marital coach coaches you on your relationships, just like a basketball coach helps your team reach the championship.

As with any sport, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to coach yourself to the top. We’d laugh if a professional team showed up and said, “We’re just going to coach ourselves this year.” Yeah right!

If fans heard that, they’d sell their season tickets and expect the team to fall apart. Similarly, we can look at Olympic athletes. If they have an athletic talent or skill that they want to refine to make their way to a gold medal, they need a coach. In fact, when it comes to Olympic dreams, athletes need the very best coach that they can find.

If we want Olympic-level lives, we need the same level of coaching. Succeeding and getting the most out of life requires the mastery of many skills—social, emotional, and physical. For an Olympic quality life, we need a coach in our corner. Even the most talented athlete can’t coach themselves to a championship, so why would we expect to coach ourselves to a championship life? A good life coach will help us discover what we need to do to unlock the door to a win.

What Does a Life Coach Do?

So how does a life coach help us unlock those big wins? Is it accountability or something else? If we have strong relationships with our friends, do we still need an outside life coach too?


A professional life coach helps in many ways beyond simple goal setting, accountability, and achievement. Life coaching isn’t only about checking in regularly or receiving advice. A good life coach doesn’t give advice at all.


An excellent life coach helps clients explore how they feel about their world and how they feel about themselves. More importantly, a great life coach won’t simply tell clients the answer or solve their problems—instead, they help clients evolve and work through their problems, empowering them to find their own solutions. In life coaching, we understand that the best answer is one someone discovers for themselves.

A professional life coach will help clients build on their strengths and identify their paths. A life coach won’t lay out the path for their clients and hand them a map, but instead, they help them find their own road along their journey. A life coach isn’t someone who gives advice or tells people what to do. Instead, they help people examine what they want and where they want to go with their life. A great coach will help their clients engage and fully live their life.

Who Does Life Coaching Help?

While life coaching doesn’t replace therapy or counseling, life coaching is for everyone. Yes, it can be most effective at discovering and playing up strengths, but coaching can work at any time. Often when we try a new endeavor like taking a class or reading a book, we apply a few of the ideas for a while. Then, when we don’t get lasting transformation and change, we think to ourselves, “Well, I tried, and it didn’t work.”

Instead, it can be helpful for us to reframe the thought pattern of “it didn’t work” to look at what we can learn and take away from the experience. We can examine the results that the experience did bring about, and those results can help us extract more from our other life experiences. Everything we read, try, and work on gives us more knowledge and ultimately brings about a result. It may not always be the result we want, but we always get a result.

Perhaps we’ve been through some life changes or reached a make-or-break point in our career. Or maybe we need to resuscitate our social lives because we’ve become “all work and no play.” Perhaps we’re entering back into the dating game after a divorce or a breakup. Or maybe we want to work on our relationship with our spouse because we feel it’s become strained or lost the “spark.” A life coach can help us navigate through all these struggles.

A relationship coach guides us through conflict and helps us figure out the real heart of the fight. (Hint: conflict isn’t always a negative sign—it can actually mean engagement and growth!) A relationship coach can help us discover more intimacy and a greater connection with our partner to regain that magic and take it to the next level.

We might be the most successful person in our workplace. We might be at the top of our game. We might have a great marriage, a wonderful connection with our kids, and fulfilling social life, but we might still be nagged by the feeling that there could be MORE.

Life coaching can help us discover how to extract even MORE goodness out of the good things in our lives. It can help us level up and get even better.

How Does Life Coaching Work?

So, how does life coaching work? What should we expect when we engage with a life coach? Do we look up coaching online and go with it?

If we feel like we’re going through the motions—wondering if this really is all there is—it may be time to investigate work with a life coach. A coach helps us get more out of life. They can help us focus on our vision and work toward a path of greater meaning and purpose.


Getting started with a coach means finding someone who is professional, experienced, and who understands us. At the Wright Foundation, our students work with our Chicago-based life coaches one-on-one.


They also do peer-to-peer work in small groups. Our approach to life coaching is based on neuroscience. We explore how our brains process and experience different interactions and use that exploration to reframe and change our mindset. Through mindfulness—not just awareness, but deep, intentional engagement—we can all live life more fully. We can start engaging at the speed of life.

Our approach also offers a way for our students to engage with others at the top of their careers, trying to take it to the next level. Like a professional sports team plays together, relying on their individual strengths to help each other move towards a goal, our Chicago life coaches and peers help each other maximize their potential. Our students discover untapped resources and social and emotional strengths that help them find success in their career, sales, marriage, and life in general.

Working with a life coach can help us bring out the best in all areas of our lives. A great coach helps us reflect on past experiences and look beyond our current circumstances to find the next mountain to climb and the next beyond that. Working with a life coach helps us get better and better. Whether we work in sales, we’re an entrepreneur, work in tech, accounting, or education—anyone can benefit from transformational thinking. It’s all about learning to think beyond ourselves, transform ourselves, and reach out to transform and bring out the best in others.

If you’re ready to take the next steps toward living your best life, explore our coaching resources. You can learn about our Chicago-based life coaches and discover more about our workshops and educational offerings. We offer courses for download at Wright Now, so don’t miss the opportunity to get ahead in your career, relationships, and life.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

How to Get What You Want in Life: Engage!

Are you wondering how to get what you want in life? Do you really know what you want?

Wondering how to get what you want in life? If you want a life filled with more satisfaction and joy, it’s time to engage and go for it.


It’s not uncommon to feel like we want more out of life but to feel uncertain about what a life of more really looks like. We might feel like something is missing, but we can’t really put our finger on it.

If this sounds all too familiar, here’s how to figure it out and get what you want in life. By making a few shifts in your mindset, you can discover a life of greater fulfillment, more satisfaction, and joy!

Not Sure What You Want in Life: Does this Sound Familiar?

In our career: We may be working hard at our job, climbing the ranks, and yet still feel beaten down. We might be the top salesperson or the head of our department but find that we’re still miserable at work (or at least dissatisfied). Maybe we’re missing that “high” we used to feel when we closed a deal. Still, we show up each day, do our job, and go through the motions. We don’t feel the joy, but it’s not enough to push us to leave.

In our relationships: Maybe we hear every word our partner says, we make eye contact, and nod in agreement. Maybe we can even repeat every word right back to them, but yet we still keep hearing, “I feel like you’re not listening to me.” Perhaps things have become routine, even a little boring. Between managing our household, daily tasks, and lives, we feel like two ships passing in the night. We’d love to get that spark back, but we aren’t sure how.

In our social lives: Maybe we have a great group of friends and acquaintances in our social lives. We enjoy going out to dinners, watching sports, hosting a game night, or meeting up with our buddy for a weekly trail run. We have conversations, and it’s nice, polite, and pleasant. But yet, we still feel disconnected. Our friendships don’t offer that same exhilaration we used to feel in college when we met new people that really challenged us and helped us grow.

In our free time: What free time? We’re all busy. Most of the time, we don’t sleep enough; perhaps we indulge a little too often with wine, food, and other soft addictions. Our pastimes feel like they’re all we have the capacity for, but they leave us feeling hollow. We go to the gym, and it’s the same routine—20 minutes on the treadmill, a few rounds on the weight machines, shower, return to work. We’re healthy, but we’re not where we used to be. Is it just part of getting older, or is it something else?

What’s missing in all of these areas of life? How can we get what we want in life?

Engagement!

What Does it Mean to Engage?

Many of us have heard about the importance of employee engagement at work. We may have taken a course on building intimacy in our relationships. We know engagement is a crucial part of friendship but is engagement just a buzzword? What does it really mean to engage in life?

At the Wright Foundation, we talk a great deal about engaging. Transformation and personal growth require engagement and action, but without understanding engagement, it can be hard to “get it back.” We all know when it’s missing from our lives, but recapturing those feelings of being turned on and tuned in can be an elusive task.


At the core, engagement is aliveness. When we’re engaged, we feel a sense of flow.


Most of us have felt flow at one point or another in our lives. We reach a flow state when we’re doing a job well, and we know we’re doing it well, or when we’re connected to our significant other and we’re simpatico. We experience flow when we love our hobbies and personal pursuits, and we find ourselves losing track of time and the outside world because we’re so engaged. We might feel the engagement when our conversations with friends are stimulating and enlightening. We feel aliveness when taking care of our physical body, finding ways to keep ourselves healthy, nourished, and strong. Flow happens when everything seems to be working. We feel on top of our game and on top of the world.

The hum, the buzz, the flow that we feel is engagement. We’re fully present in the moment, and we’re emotionally and physically encompassed in what we’re doing. When we’re engaged, we’re growing and learning; we’re striving and thriving. So even if we aren’t at our destination, we are on the way!

But then we peak. We reach that point where we close the big sale. We land our dream position. We have a beautiful wedding and say, “I do.” We run the 10K and cross the finish line. Once we’ve hit a goal, we might shrug and say, “Well, I guess that’s it.” Even though we accomplished something, we quickly go back to where we were before. We might wonder why or what’s wrong. Does life become less fulfilling as with experience? Is that all there is?

We need the new!

Our brains are hardwired to crave change and challenges. Even though we may think that the easy route sounds ideal or that we prefer to keep everything at status quo, our brains say otherwise. We’re designed to derive pleasure from engagement with discoveries and connections. We need new experiences to facilitate our brain’s plasticity and growth.

Neuroscience shows that it is only by engaging—being aware, paying attention, and intentionally doing new things—that we learn, grow and ultimately transform into someone doing something that would have been unimaginable without full engagement.  –Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

In other words, if we aren’t growing, we can’t engage. If we aren’t engaging, we’re definitely not going to get what we want in life. We’re not reaching our full potential and accomplishing the great things we could be doing with our lives. Instead, we’re going through the motions.

Seeking New Challenges to Get What You Want in Life

Each of us must seek out new challenges and new experiences to keep our minds engaged and alive. While routine can feel comforting (and can help us feel organized), we disengage when we fall into the same pattern of gym, work, dinner, and Netflix each day. We’re not getting what we want in life.


We all have desires and yearnings. Our yearnings are deep longings of the heart. If we think of what we truly want the most—acknowledgment, being respected, being loved, being seen and heard—those are the things that drive us toward our goals.


Our yearnings keep us striving toward the next peak. Many of us climb to the first summit, thinking we’ve met our goal, and we still feel unfulfilled. It’s only by climbing to the next peak and the next beyond that we can continue to find fulfillment.

To meet our goals, we need to be fully engaged. That means being present, focused, and tuned into our yearnings and emotions. When we understand our yearnings, they become our guiding star, leading us towards discoveries about ourselves and others. When we follow our yearnings and engage, we will start to feel the satisfaction of getting what we want out of life.

How Do I Know If I’m Engaging?

We might think that this all sounds well and good, but how do we really know if we’re engaging in life? Engagement isn’t simply about taking action. It’s not about listening or even about attention. We might pay attention to a movie, but often that doesn’t mean we’re fully engaged (we may even be using a film to escape from engaging in the real world).

Most of us are extremely busy, but multitasking and checking the next thing on the to-do list doesn’t mean we’re engaged either. Taking on more tasks doesn’t necessarily mean we’re engaged at work. Likewise, enjoying time with our friends or spouse—going out and being social—doesn’t mean we’re engaging in our relationships.

Instead of engaging, we might actually be suppressing our underlying wants and desires. We might be using activity to mask connections or as distractions. Engagement is emotional and visceral. It means challenging and pushing ourselves. It can mean conflict and passion. Engagement is more than filling up your calendar with activities.

Engaging with life also doesn’t mean overhauling everything or making sweeping changes. Divorcing a spouse, quitting a job, enrolling in a Ph.D. program, or going out and adopting a St. Bernard, doesn’t necessarily make us more engaged. We might still be the same person we were before. We might still feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied, but now with more debt and a dog to take care of.


Motivation for engagement shouldn’t come from a place of avoidance. Engaging means getting into things, not getting away from them. It doesn’t mean we swap out one relationship for another or seek a different career path.


Instead, engagement means we learn how to grow and transform, getting fully involved where we are. It means rather than avoiding, we roll up our sleeves and start to work on the things in front of us, rather than jumping from one ship to the next.

Engagement also isn’t limited to working hard or throwing ourselves into a single-minded task. It’s about having the grit and wherewithal to stick to something. It’s about perseverance and learning, and growing in each experience as part of a well-rounded life.

When we make mistakes, we can learn from them and build on what we’ve learned. Celebrate mistakes as a chance to grow and a sign that you’re taking risks and getting involved. Seek out new experiences and people who challenge and push you to be your best. Each experience is a chance to learn more about who we are and to uncover deeper aspects of ourselves.

Engagement is about doing things we aren’t successful at, over and over, until we get better at them. When the horse bucks us off, we dust off and get back on. We don’t just pack up our spurs and go home. Don’t rest at the summit and forget that there’s another peak to reach (and another beyond that).

To discover more ways to get what you want out of life, don’t miss our courses and resources available at Wright Now. You’ll find new ways to bring out your best in your career, your relationships, and your personal growth. So live the life you’ve always wanted—a life of more.


About the Author

Bob-300x250

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Come Home to Yourself: The Benefits of Mantra Meditation

If you’re looking for a simple way to calm yourself and refocus your attention anytime and anywhere, mantra meditation is an excellent tool.

 

Looking for a way to feel calm and refreshed? The benefits of mantra meditation are endless. Here's how to use this simple meditation tool.


What if I told you there’s a simple tool you can use to foster calm and peace at any moment of your life? A tool that will help you sleep better at night and be more productive during your waking hours?

And will cost you absolutely nothing?

Because there is. It’s called mantra meditation.

You’re welcome.

If you haven’t tried meditation before, or even if you’ve stuck your little toe in, you might be wondering if it lives up to the hype or if it’s some mystical practice that’s a little too “woo-woo.”

You’re not alone. But don’t let a little woo-woo talk you out of something as powerful as the benefits of mantra meditation.

The truth is, meditation has gotten pretty mainstream over the years, and even the skeptics are starting to come around.

My 50-Year Meditation Practice

I’ve been practicing meditation for 50 years. (I know, I know,  I’m old, right?) But each time I practice meditation, I feel like a beginner—young, enthusiastic, open-minded.

I’ve trained in many different styles of meditation—pranayama, Tibetan, and various hybrid approaches. When I found mantra meditation, I knew I had found my path to inner and outer peace.


When I meditate, my goal is to interrupt my mind and get out of my head.


This is different from trying to “stop” my mind. There are plenty of meditation disciplines where the objective is to stop your thoughts, but that creates a tension that doesn’t work for me. It feels like I’m trying to stop a freight train, and I become distracted from my practice rather than engaged.

I’m a pragmatist. Those who know me know that I prefer practical applications with a payoff. I meditate to bring myself a sense of calm. I meditate for creativity. I meditate to get away for a few moments and refresh my mind.

Honestly, it’s like a mini-vacation I give myself.

The benefits of mantra meditation are many, and that’s one of them. Here’s a couple more:

You are Getting Sleepy: The Abundant Benefits of Mantra Meditation

When I use mantra meditation, I sleep better, my moods are steadier, and I’m more creative. I’ll often do some right before bed, or even while in bed, to help me relax and drift off to sleep.

Sometimes I use meditation instead of sleep.

There have been times our team has worked with us, and we’ve needed to work through the night. To do that, we take a cue from sailors who travel around the world—they wait until they reach a clear zone and take a 20-minute nap. Twenty minutes is enough time to refresh your mind and give yourself a needed rest.

So, when we’d start to get foggy in our writing or find ourselves nodding off, we’d take a few minutes to practice mantra meditation. Then, I’d set the alarm, go into a quiet room and repeat a mantra several times, first loud and then softening, rhythmically. Many times, I’d find myself awakened by the alarm after a refreshing 20-minute sleep.

Why does this work?

Our brains have different waves—Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta:

  • Beta is when you’re fully awake, engaged, and ready to go.
  • Alpha is when you’re relaxed but aware—you may not be fully attentive, but you’re listening.
  • Theta is the hypnagogic state that you reach right before sleep—when you start to drift off but are aware of thoughts right below the surface.
  • Delta is your deepest state of sleep.

Occasionally, during mantra meditation sessions, you may drop into Delta sleep, but your awareness will hover in Theta most of the time. This state allows you to return refreshed and aware, without that grogginess that can come with a longer nap.

Other benefits of mantra meditation?


Because I use mantra meditation as a tool to refresh myself body and mind, I often experience powerful creative insights and a renewed sense of focus once I complete a mantra meditation.


Another benefit of mantra meditation is that my practice helps me become a more focused leader, who approaches situations with a more even temper.

Truthfully? For me, the meditation practice is often about survival. I tend to operate under enormous pressure, so learning to defuse that stress that and escape with mantra meditation has been a game-changer for me.

Want to try it?

You Can’t Do It Wrong! How to Practice Mantra Meditation

Ever heard of “monkey mind?” This is the busyness that occasionally happens in your mind. It happens in everyone’s mind, and it ALWAYS shows up when you sit down to meditate. Suddenly, all the things you need to do, ask, fix, find or be, line themselves up to distract you.

As you begin to practice mantra meditation, it’s essential to let yourself carry it out however you see fit. If you have an itch, go ahead and scratch. If you’re uncomfortable, shift your posture. If you attempt to ignore or override these distractions, they tend to become more intense and disturbing.


Remind yourself there’s no “best” way to meditate. You can’t do it wrong, AND you won’t get an award for doing it right.


Meditation is simply about refreshing your mind and allowing yourself to escape for a few moments:

  1.     Set aside 20 minutes in a quiet space
  2.     Get comfortable (sit, stand, lie down, walk)
  3.     Close your eyes
  4.     Repeat a mantra, loudly at first, then getting softer and softer

When I follow these steps, eventually, I will find myself reaching a state of relaxation. Until my monkey mind takes over, and I lose it for a minute, chasing another thought, another insight, another hurt, or concern.

The moment that happens, I interrupt my mind by repeating my mantra.

Sometimes there’s a higher self that allows new wisdom and insight to come in. How that works is way beyond me. But, wherever it comes from and whatever it is, I never cease to enjoy the vacation.

How Do You Choose a Mantra?

You may have heard the Buddhist “Om” repeated during meditation. Some of our Jewish students use “Aleph,” the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Some Christians prefer to repeat “Hallelujah,” “I Am,” or another meaningful word or phrase. You could pick a letter or any word for your mantra.

I repeat the mantra “Akal” in my meditation.

However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret—your mantra doesn’t matter. It can be a sound. It can be a word you like. It can be anything. As long as it resonates with you, simply allow the sound of the repeating rhythm to bring you to that peaceful-relaxed state of mind.

So, what are you waiting for?

It’s easy to get intimidated by the formality and nuance of meditation. It seems so ancient and mysterious. But it’s simple: a mantra replaces the 10,000 different thoughts in your mind with one powerful, clear, conscious engaged thought.

What’s not to love about that?

Want more ideas and opportunities to learn? Check out our upcoming events. You can also explore our webinars and presentations on leadership, relationships, self-discovery, and more on Wright Now. We offer an array of classes to help you get ahead in your career, boost your relationships, and discover yourself. Learn more today, so you can go forth and ignite your world!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

4 Reasons You’re Miserable at Work…and What to Do About It

Do you hate your job? Are you miserable at work? Do you get the “Sunday scaries” and dread the office on Monday? Are you wondering if it’s time to throw in the towel?

Miserable at work? Don't give up hope! Here are four reasons why your job makes you miserable and what you can do to turn it around.

 


 

Many of us are looking at our job satisfaction and wondering if we shouldn’t be getting more out of our work. We may think of moving on but feel afraid of the career and financial consequences. So we trudge in each day, accepting that we’re doomed to feel miserable at work.

If you’re unhappy at work, there are a few points to examine. Here’s why you might be so dissatisfied with your job.

Is It Me or Is it the Job?

As a coach, I often hear people complain about their job situation. Many people have told me that they’re miserable at work. But what does that really mean?


Underneath that misery could often be feelings of frustration, anger, hurt, and even boredom. It turns out we feel more satisfied when we’re challenged.


When we’re just going through the motions, trying to make it through the day, it might be time for a step back.

The first question is—does work have to be miserable? After all, it’s called work, not fun, right? Absolutely not! I’ve worked with hundreds of people who were satisfied, stimulated, and purpose-driven in their work. They had fulfilling job experiences, whether they were a CEO, an entry-level intern, or serving up coffee behind a counter.

4 Reasons Why We’re Miserable at Work

When we look at our mindset, we can often turn those feelings of being miserable at work into feelings of fulfillment, growth, and betterment. Are we getting in the way of our career satisfaction? Here are a few reasons we might feel miserable at work.

1. You’re Not Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Own Happiness

We are all responsible for our own actions. But what does personal responsibility at work mean?

Taking personal responsibility is the act of declaring: “I determine how I react to the world. I am responsible for my own self-care. I don’t expect others to take care of me, AND I take responsibility for my emotional responses.” In our work life, we could also add, “I’m personally responsible for giving work my all, every day.”


When we feel miserable at work, we should ask ourselves if we’re really pushing ourselves. Have we become stagnant in our work? Are we learning and growing with new challenges? If not, how can we take personal responsibility to ask for more challenging, engaging tasks?


When we don’t take personal responsibility, we enter a state of victimhood. We get stuck in a drama triangle, where we’re the helpless victim. We stop analyzing our situation and making choices to become more effective and happier. Instead, we are disempowered, in a hole of our own unhappiness. We’re blaming others for our problems without doing our part to improve our situation.

It turns out that people who are unhappy at work are often the same people with the least to do. Boredom is anger turned inward. When people take that attitude to work, they aren’t set up for success. They’re spinning their tires on the ice rather than moving forward and accomplishing tasks. When we face challenges and complete a task for the day, we feel accomplished and excited. These achievements lead to pride, joy, and job satisfaction.

Personal responsibility is about understanding that we each own our emotions and reactions at all times. We can make work a fun game or see it as drudgery. For example, I once hired an acquaintance and two temps to help with an envelope-stuffing project. The work was monotonous, but the acquaintance would stuff 300 envelopes at a time. When he finished his goal, he’d reward himself with a quick walk outside or a snack. Then he’d come back a get right back to work.

On the other hand, the temps viewed the task as dull and frustrating. My acquaintance ended up stuffing more envelopes than the two temps combined. He was much happier too. He didn’t complain or blame the task. Instead, he got to work and turned it into a game.

If we want more satisfaction at work, we must start to shift our perspective about what’s “fun.” How can we set a goal and work towards it? Setting a timer, creating a milestone, or seeing how efficiently we can complete a task can make the time pass quickly and leave us feeling satisfied.

2. You Have Authority Issues

When we were kids, we may have heard that we had a problem with authority. It happens to many people, me included. Like many of our childhood memories and ideas, our pushback and rebellious streak can continue to manifest in adulthood.


But just because our boss is bossy (or even a jerk—and they are out there), it doesn’t mean we need to be unhappy. We need to look at how we’re reacting and get honest with ourselves.


If we have issues with authority (if we’ve had similar feelings whenever someone else is in charge), we’ll probably react to any boss, supervisor, or manager in a volatile way. Whether that means we shut down and withdraw or resist and defend, we’re likely to face continuous conflict unless we explore our feelings.

There are two steps we can take to get a handle on our authority issues:

First Step: We can deal with our unfinished business. All of us carry unfinished business with us. These issues are often unresolved from our childhood (even if we had happy childhoods), and they can come up when we experience feelings of powerlessness or frustration.

Yes, our “jerk boss” might be overly aggressive or even a bully because he’s unhappy with himself. But we don’t have control over that. We can only control our actions and reactions. Some folks can really struggle with this area, and it’s essential to get to the root of the problem. It could stem from residual childhood issues with authority. Perhaps our boss brings up negative feelings we had about someone in our past (an older sibling, a teacher). Becoming aware of these emotions and projections helps us get on the right path to control our reactions and make confrontations constructive.

Second Step: Deal with it. It may sound harsh, but sometimes we face people who are just jerks. If we’ve done work to become conscious of our projections and emotional reaction, but our boss is still a problematic bully, then the real question is—is it worth it? Can we deal with it? Can we put aside the feelings and work with this person productively?


When we focus on effectively doing our job rather than the emotional ups and downs of the day, we might find a greater sense of empowerment and control.


We can ask about our performance and spark a conversation with our boss down the road. This presents a less-heated opportunity to confront our boss about their attitude honestly and openly.

How will the boss react? They may respond positively or negatively, but when we’ve honestly expressed our feelings in a responsible manner, we own them. Our boss may not listen, and they may not change, but these opportunities can teach us powerful lessons about our inner strength, skillset, and even how to do a better job. If the situation is genuinely unworkable, then it may be time to liberate ourselves from the job and find something that’s a better fit.

3. You Aren’t Recognizing and Honoring Emotions

Sometimes our misery at work doesn’t stem from our boss or the drudgery of the job. Sometimes we feel miserable at work because we aren’t connecting with others—customers, vendors, and coworkers. We’re letting our emotions take over without examining their origins.

Take, for example, if we feel really angry at a coworker. When we engage our emotional intelligence, we own, examine, and understand our emotions. We explore where our anger comes from, and we own our part in it. As a result, we can engage in productive, honest conflict with the other person and find a proactive way to resolve the situation. We can learn and grow from every interaction, thus nourishing our emotional and social intelligence.

Where do these emotions and projections come from? Childhood lessons and values can project onto our adult selves and influence our interactions with others. People often become their childhood selves while interacting with those who remind them of certain family members or friends. One person may stir feelings of comfort and happiness—like a favorite aunt. Another person may evoke feelings of inadequacy, like our demanding dad.

When we examine everyone we have issues with at work, we might discover some distinct familiarities with our relatives and friends from the past. Examine these issues to determine what we might be projecting onto others, whether good or bad. Recognizing our emotions can help those emotional intelligence skills grow.

4. You Don’t Have Social Intelligence Skills

Social and emotional intelligence skills help us understand people’s emotions and reactions. Social intelligence is the ability to understand what other people are feeling, then learning to influence them positively and productively.

If we want to explore our social intelligence skills, we can ask ourselves questions like:

  • Am I a contributing team member?
  • Do I ensure my colleagues are working effectively?
  • Do I support the team?
  • Am I helping everyone win by contributing?
  • Am I open and honest in communications with everyone at the company?
  • Do I try to better both my work and myself?

Some people lack social intelligence skills because they lack emotional intelligence too. They don’t understand their emotions and reactions. One leads to the other, and both skills are essential for happiness and satisfaction in work and life.

For example, if we feel like we’re on a team that drags us down, we can turn it around and ask, “What have I done to lift my team today?” That’s part of that social and emotional intelligence in practice. If we take responsibility for ourselves, even when others are not, we can be socially aware and carefully, responsibly, and clearly communicate our feelings. We can start to understand our colleagues and how they might react and then engage with them accordingly.

How to Stop Being Miserable at Work

All these reasons go hand-in-hand with why we might feel miserable at work. I’m not interested in just helping people be “happier” at work. I’m interested in helping them have a wildly successful career of fulfillment and satisfaction. Most of us won’t be happy every day with every task, but we can shift our mindset to find purpose in every task.

The 4 reasons for being miserable at work are in a very specific order for a reason. The first step is taking responsibility for ourselves. Then we must deal with our authority issues, increase our emotional awareness, and build our social and emotional intelligence.

Learning these social and emotional intelligence skills allows us to create joyous work, practice gratitude, learn and grow in an adventuresome way. We will discover more about ourselves, others, and our world every day.

To build up your career satisfaction, don’t miss the courses available at Wright Now. We have insightful resources to help you increase your satisfaction in your relationships, career, and with yourself. Don’t miss the opportunity to live a life of more!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Learn more about Wright Living’s Career & Leadership Coaching in Chicago & Career Coaching Courses in Chicago.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

A Growth Mindset Turns Adversity into an Ally

Want to get past a challenge? You don’t need to avoid challenges. Instead, try embracing them with a growth mindset to become stronger and more resilient.

 

Want to get past a challenge? You don't need to avoid challenges--instead, try embracing them with a growth mindset to become stronger and more resilient.


Challenges give us two choices: 

  1. We can give up
  2. We can embrace them and move forward

One is a fixed mindset, and the other is a growth mindset. Guess which gives you a better life? Let’s talk about the difference between the two.

A Growth Mindset vs. A Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset means we steer clear of anything—challenges, activities, situations—that pushes us outside our comfort zone. As Carol Dweck explained, we do this because we believe we’re making our lives safer and easier.

But the truth is avoiding challenges and staying in tight-fitting comfort zones can leave us feeling empty, directionless, and bored.

A growth mindset does the opposite. 

It drives us forward and inspires us to seek out challenges. It helps us to embrace challenges as an opportunity to get stronger and learn something new. It encourages us to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Here’s another difference—a fixed mindset makes excuses:

“Now isn’t the right time for that.”

“I might upset the apple cart.”

“I’m too tired.”

“I’m not the kind of person that can do that.”

“My parents never taught me how to do it.”

“It’s too hard. I’m not smart enough.”


We all have our own “excuse lists,” but the result is the same. We hold back. We stay stuck. We rely on power blockers like blame and justification. We deny our autonomy over our lives.


A growth mindset doesn’t look for excuses or make-up reasons for certain behaviors. Instead, it lets us take responsibility for our actions, rather than justify our bad behavior by blaming external factors—like traffic, our mother, or our salary.

We can toss that list, step up and move on more powerfully when we…

Ditch the Excuses and Listen

I remember walking into my office 10 minutes late for a session with a client. I’d been in heavy Chicago traffic; I felt rushed and annoyed. I looked at my client and said, “I got stuck in traffic. Come on, let’s go.”

He just sat there. He folded his arms across his chest and looked me in the eye. He said, “No.”

I was confused for a moment, and I began offering up a litany of excuses and explanations. “Traffic was unbelievable. I missed a light, and it was gridlocked.”

He looked at me and said, “If I was the president of the United States, would you have been late to this appointment? It’s not that you were late because of traffic. You didn’t leave earlier because I wasn’t important enough to you.”

It stopped me dead in my tracks. He was right. I wasn’t late because of traffic. I could have left my house fifteen minutes earlier. I could have planned appropriately.

I was late because I didn’t prioritize him.

Running late may not seem like a big deal to many of us. We all know people who are perpetually running late. Maybe we’re even one of them. But if we want something bad enough, we will show up ready and on time.

When we set our priorities with a growth mindset, we don’t need to make excuses. 

What do we need to do?

Drop the Defenses and Learn

When someone calls us out on our bad behavior, do we get defensive, or do we listen? A growth mindset allows us to listen to the feedback of others.

To embrace growth, we need to learn from criticism. We need to seek it out. An honest critique is a gift. It gives us feedback on where we can improve. A growth mindset lets us drop our defenses and understand the criticism so it can make us better. It can help us learn.

And we can learn from anyone. Even babies!

How?

Practice Persistence

When we fall, do we stay down, or do we get back up?

Think of babies learning to walk. What if a baby said, “I’m just not good at walking. It’s too hard. I’m going to keep crawling instead!” Imagine what she would look like going to school or trying to get a job? It’s a silly picture, but it proves the point.


When we face adversity and challenges, we can either crawl until we learn how to walk or spend the rest of our lives crawling.


With a growth mindset, a setback is simply a chance to practice persistence.

But sometimes, that fixed mindset won’t budge. It’s been a part of us for a while, after all. But as we become more aware of it, we can look for more ways to bypass it.

Like this:

Jilt the Jealousy and Be Inspired Instead

When we look at someone’s win and say, “I could never do that,” we’re shaming ourselves. We’re making excuses (there’s that list again!) We’re seeking justification. We’re shifting the blame on circumstances beyond our control. We’re comparing ourselves:

They were able to succeed because they went to an Ivy League school. 

They were able to win because they had more time to train. 

They were able to get sales because the boss likes them better. 

They came from money, so they have an advantage.

What if we looked at someone’s success as a source of inspiration? What if we learned from their mastery? What if we explored how they overcome their obstacles so the next time, we can do the same? Because the reality is, obstacles keep us strong. They teach us to think on our feet and come up with new solutions.

Look at all we’ve learned over the past year and a half. The pandemic has taught us a greater appreciation for others, how to reconfigure our approach to work, how to get along with others, and many other things. These will serve us well beyond these immediate challenges.

There are always great lessons if we can just let ourselves step back and reframe. When we do that, we will no longer find ourselves asking…

Is That All There Is?

An attorney came to see me. He said, “I think I want to quit law.” He explained he was feeling miserable. It was boring. He wasn’t enjoying his work, and every day felt like drudgery. “I dread every day I go to the office. It’s not bringing me any joy.”

I said, “Do me a favor tonight. Do you have a case tomorrow?”

“Yes, but it’s nothing special. Another energy law case. I’m pretty much already prepared.”

I told him, “I want you to go home and prepare for tomorrow as you’ve never prepared before. Even if you know this stuff inside and out, I want you to make tomorrow’s case your best case ever.”

He agreed and went home. The next day I got a call.

“Guess what! I did what you said. I went home and prepared like crazy. I presented the case today, and I was on fire! I dominated the meeting; everyone listened to me. I felt alive again! It was amazing!” He was radiant, and I could hear the enthusiasm return to his voice.

I told him to repeat the preparation and to keep pushing himself past complacency. Every step of his career fell in line after that; he started rapidly moving ahead. Today, he’s pioneering a whole new type of law because he developed a growth mindset. He leaned into his life.

Lean into Life

So back to our two choices that show up with every challenge—do we give up, or do we embrace it and move forward? Here’s the thing: It’s not the right job that makes us happy. It’s not the right school, or the right social circle, or an easy life.


It’s choosing to face and embrace each challenge. When we meet each moment with a growth mindset, we discover a powerful sense of purpose and satisfaction.


Start today. When the next challenging situation or conversation comes along, and it will, lean in. 

Grow your mind, and your life will follow.

Want more ideas and opportunities to learn? Check out our upcoming events. You can also explore our webinars and presentations on leadership, relationships, self-discovery, and more on Wright Now. We offer an array of classes to help you get ahead in your career, boost your relationships, and discover yourself. Learn more today, so you can go forth and ignite your world!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

What’s More Hopeful Than Living with Optimism? Living with Intention

Hope and optimism aren’t enough to get us through difficult times. Here’s why living with intention is so crucial. 

Hope and optimism aren't enough to get us through difficult times. Here's why living with intention is so crucial.


Admiral James B. Stockdale was tortured and starved in Hanoi for eight years as a POW. After his experience, reporters asked him how he survived: “I can’t tell you exactly how I survived, but I can tell you that the people who didn’t survive were the optimists.”

It was the people who thought they’d be saved by Christmas, then spring, then summer, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas again, always hoping for their rescue, that became broken down by disappointment. As Stockdale said, “They died of a broken heart.”

So how do we live without optimism in challenging times?

We live with intention instead.

The difference? Mindset and approach—we keep the end game present at all times.

Never Lose Faith in the End of the Story

In his book, From Good to Great, author James Collins writes about the Stockdale paradox, explaining that:


“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”


Suppose you think facing the brutal facts means being resigned to what’s going on. In that case, the Stockdale paradox reveals that it’s the opposite. Even in the direst of situations, we can find a sense of purpose IF that is our mindset.

Clinging to the idea that one moment, one person, or one outcome can complete us is a sure way to lose faith in the end of the story. We must find the meaning within ourselves.

Even in the worst of circumstances, we can be led to growth. We can choose this moment. And then the next. And the next. And the next.

Until, before you know it, we’re living with intention.

What’s So Great About Living with Intention?

Living with intention requires us to take risks. It requires that we be present with our lives in new ways. As a result, it drives results in our career, our relationships, and more.

Living with intention means we understand the power of our “No” as well as our “Yes.” Saying “No” tells us that we’re willing to stand up for ourselves. To do what’s right for us, even in the face of rejection.

But just how difficult can it be to speak your truth in the moment? Read on.

We All Just Want to Belong

In 1951, Solomon Asch conducted a well-known conformity experiment. He told the participants it was a “visual perception test.” The participants didn’t know that the other participants they were taking the test with were actors.

The test? Visually assess lines to see which two matched in length. The correct answer was obvious, and the rest of the responses were wrong.

When presented with the first few lines, everyone would choose the obvious answer. However, after a few turns, the actors began to select the wrong answer. At first, the participants would go against the crowd and choose the correct answer. But as the experiment went on, their resolve waned.

Eventually, 75% WOULD CHANGE THEIR RESPONSE to match what the rest of the room said—even though they knew it was wrong. Even more shockingly, half of the 75% would eventually perceive the wrong answer as correct—they would actually see the wrong line length!

THAT’S how difficult it can be to speak your truth in the moment.


We all want to belong. We all want to please others. But when we compromise our deeper truths for the sake of conformity, it has a high cost. 


Expanding our social and emotional intelligence, helps us learn to get along—without needing to agree with everyone in all situations. To respectfully disagree AND express our true feelings.

Living with the intention to become the fullest, most authentic version of ourselves lets us belong and connect. It lets us live satisfied and successful lives without compromise. It lets us contribute to a world that works for everyone.

But Will You Still Like Me?

Deep within us lies a fear of rejection. So much so that we spend more time avoiding rejection, than choosing our true intention. And while that fear of rejection helps us learn to interact socially—we also have to learn to make choices that are authentic to our lives.


“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.”

– James Collins


If we want success, we have to become like Admiral Stockdale. We have to choose to live with the intention of not only surviving but thriving. 

In the Year of More, we challenge our students to start asking for things with the intent to get them. Our students are often amazed at how setting the intention that they WILL get what they ask for can really drive the results. Once they realize the power of intention, they often start asking for bigger and bigger things!

Take a few minutes today to look at how YOU can live with intention in every moment. Approach tough situations with a sense of purpose. Look at each challenge as an opportunity.

Instead of asking “How am I going to get through this?” ask: “What do I need to do to make this the best experience that’s ever happened to me?”

And then watch yourself THRIVE.

Want more ideas and opportunities to learn? Check out our upcoming events. You can also explore our webinars and presentations on leadership, relationships, self-discovery, and more on Wright Now. We offer an array of classes to help you get ahead in your career, boost your relationships, and discover yourself. Learn more today, so you can go forth and ignite your world!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.