Mistakes at Work:
What to Do if You Screw Up

Everything is going along smoothly at the office…until you make a big mistake!

Mistakes at work are part of life. Rather than stressing out and beating yourself up, what if you identified the opportunity in your screw up?


 

Maybe you deleted an important file, crashed the server, or offended a client (or your boss). You instantly feel fear and perhaps even anger. How did you let this happen?

First of all, none of us is perfect. Every single person makes the occasional error. Mistakes at work are part of life.

The way to rectify the situation is to stop beating yourself up and get proactive about the solution. Here’s what to do when you screw up and make mistakes at work.

Mistakes Are Inevitable

The biggest problem I’ve seen when people make mistakes at work is their internal voice starts beating them up. Often, the voice inside your head is your worst critic. You mess up and then spend time ruminating. You replay the moment over and over, long after everyone has moved on.

Now, it’s easy to get stuck in the place of self-criticism. Most of us are much harder on ourselves than anyone else. Most of us would never tolerate a friend talking to us or tearing us apart like our internal voice.

Similarly, most of us wouldn’t talk to a friend as harshly as we speak to ourselves. A quick test to see whether you’re too hard on yourself: say the same words that are playing in your head, but direct them at a close friend. If the thought makes you cringe, then you’re probably stuck on self-critiquing rather than learning. Stop punishing yourself.

When you realize you royally screwed up, what should you do?


You can’t undo a mistake. Hiding it away or trying to cover it up, will only lead to stress, fear, shame, and more self-criticism. You may fix a mistake or come up with a resolution if you’re honest and proactive about it.


Instead of replaying your mistake over in your mind, what if you celebrated mistakes? Does the idea of celebrating sound outlandish? What if you viewed mistakes as an exciting way to learn something new, discover a different strategy, or re-route your approach to a problem?

Learning to make mistakes and celebrate them is an important skill to build. It’s one many people lack because most people won’t put themselves out there. Most won’t allow themselves to keep failing multiple times. They mess up, throw up their hands, and quit.

When this happens, they’re missing out on a powerful opportunity to bring about an even better outcome.

Set Yourself Up for…Mistakes?

You see, we all make mistakes. We all fall at some point. If you look at pro athletes, entrepreneurs, or successful authors, they all have something in common: they’ve all messed up. Most athletes fail constantly. They get injured. They miss the mark. They strikeout. Because they get back up and keep playing, they end up stronger and more successful.

Many successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they had to make many mistakes before they built a successful venture. I often advise those entering the career field to wait and learn before jumping into becoming your own boss. Don’t quit your day job. It’s not because they can’t succeed, but because failures are an inevitable part of the journey.

Authors and other creatives understand rejection and mistakes too. To get a book published, many authors go through brutal edits and rejection after rejection. When we hear about someone’s overnight success, it’s an outlier, not the norm. Most people struggle for years before ever finding success in creative fields. Why do you think so many actors work as bartenders and waitresses? Rejection is part of the game.


The truth of the matter is, we all face moments where we mess up. We might fall behind, send the wrong message, offend someone, or mess up an order. You aren’t perfect, and neither am I. It’s part of being human.


One of the assignments we give our students during their Year of More training is to go out and INTENTIONALLY make mistakes! Wow! Imagine putting yourself out there to screw up? For some people, this prospect is daunting and even terrifying.

But what our students quickly discover is that the world really doesn’t give a shit about the mistakes they make. It’s no big deal. This realization is often a shocking discovery. Most people lead their lives so afraid of disappointing others (or themselves) that they always play it safe.

Big Mistakes Lead to Big Break Throughs

While everyone makes mistakes, most of the world doesn’t make mistakes big enough to change their trajectory. They haven’t screwed up or messed up where they’re forced to learn and grow. Most people create too many internal strategies of self-criticism rather than self-celebration.

You see, growth is often a painful process. Remember, as a child, when you would experience growing pains? Or perhaps you’ve trained for a sporting event, only to feel sore every night as you built new muscle.

Like our bodies, our minds find growth uncomfortable. Many choose to keep the status quo and stay in a comfortable, but stagnant spot. Rather than face the pain of growth, they zone out and stay in a fog.

But if we want to live vibrant lives—lives filled with purpose and meaning—then we need to break out of our comfort zone. So you make a fool of yourself. So you screw up. So you feel embarrassed. So what? Most of the world barely notices anyway.


Your mistake doesn’t happen so you can feel shame and disappointment. Mistakes offer us an opportunity to push ourselves further and learn.


So, the next time you make mistakes, ask yourself, “what is the lesson here?” March forward, take responsibility for your screw up, extract the lesson, and keep moving forward. If you make mistakes at work, ‘fess up. Admit what happened, offer your plan to deal with it. Most importantly, extract the lesson from experience.

You may learn you need to adjust, and course correct. You may discover your current path or situation isn’t serving you. You may need to think about what you want and get honest with yourself about your situation.

The most crucial step is to figure out what you need to do to get back in the game immediately. Don’t wait or sit on the sidelines filled with rumination or regret. Move forward. Get back up, dust yourself off, and learn the lesson.

For more on empowerment, visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. We’re also pleased to announce that many of our courses are now available for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and grow!


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.


Like 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 to Do When You’re
Sick of Dating

Are you sick of dating? It’s time to change your perspective on dating, take the pressure off, and enjoy the dating scene more.

 

Are you sick of dating? Here’s how to change your perspective to take the pressure off and begin enjoying the dating scene more.


I’m sick of dating!

There are no good men out there!

Women are full of drama!

I don’t meet anyone I click with. I can’t find the ONE!

If these complaints sound like you, it’s time to rethink your mindset on dating. Here’s how to start having fun on dates, instead of dreading them.

It’s Not Your Date…It’s You

We’ve all been sold the Hollywood idea of dating. We see romantic comedies where two people find their soulmate. Typically, through a series of mishaps (some ridiculously outlandish), the stars align, and these two lonely people find each other and feel fulfilled.

This very idea of this type of fairytale romance sets us up for failure. In fact, it’s a bunch of bull.


True romance comes from sharing intimacy with another person. It comes from opening up. It doesn’t come from sex, either. It comes from engagement.


Now, I know it may not sound as exciting at first. We want someone who lights our fire and gets us excited. We want someone who stirs up our feelings and piques our interest. But most people are multi-layered individuals. If we’re really working on getting to the heart of who they are, to connect, and to see and listen to them, we will discover everyone is interesting.

That doesn’t mean you’ll experience a romantic connection with every person you date, but you can enjoy a human connection.

The idea of finding “the one” has sent us down a difficult and misleading path. We’re searching for someone who completes us, who fulfills us and makes us feel whole. But you are the only one who can truly make yourself feel whole. It’s not your date’s responsibility, nor is it even in their capacity. You may feel turned on and intrigued, but don’t mistake those feelings for fulfillment.

So, what’s a single person to do? How do you start going on better dates?

If you think dating sucks, you need to take a step back and assess. Has it occurred to you that when you’re on a date, you have all kinds of thoughts you aren’t saying? There are plenty of ideas and judgments going through your head. Maybe he’s a loud chewer. Perhaps you didn’t like what she said. Maybe you aren’t sure what to order because you want to make a good impression. Perhaps you’re wondering if this person has potential as a partner in the long-term.

It’s your cowardice keeping you from saying what you really want. Its fear holding you back from expressing your wants and true yearnings to your date.

Opening Up: What if You Told the Truth on Your Dates

What if you radically told the truth on your next date?

After all, it’s not the other person’s fault you’re noncommunicative (and judgmental). It may sound harsh, but think about it. You’re going into a date assuming the other person won’t be open to your perspective. You’re walking in, figuring they won’t like you for who you are, so you feel like you should put on a false front.

When we’re trying to “seduce” someone, we’re deceiving them in a way. We’re convincing them to go to bed with us (or to love us). What if we thought about it in more honest terms? What if we stopped attempting to charm the pants off our date, and instead we told them how we felt? What if we were intimate with them through honesty?

You may be surprised at what happens when you start to behave honestly and openly on dates. What’s the worst that could happen if you began to call out your dates when they did something you didn’t like? Imagine if you were clear about your expectations, what you wanted, and what you needed from someone else.

Often, we take dating so seriously. This comes back to this delusion that there’s only one person out there for us.


If we’re looking for the ONE, we may believe we only get a single chance with one person. If we blow it, that’s it, and we’ll be alone (and unfulfilled) forever. What a sad scenario—no wonder we put so much weight on our dating experiences!


When we shift our mindset to believe there are plenty of people we could connect with, and some we could even form a partnership with, it takes the pressure off. The pressure is alleviated even further when we realize it’s not up to our date to boost our self-esteem, make us happy, or whole. We find fulfillment and purpose with ourselves.

So, if the pressures off, start letting the truth out! Say what you think. Order what you want to eat. If you think your date’s being a jerk, say so!

View dating like a playground. We get plenty of opportunities to meet new people and connect. We will have fun as we test out engagement in this great big sandbox. We will see what feels genuine, what meets our yearnings, and what satisfies us. Approach dating like a game—not a deception, but an experiment!

Dating is All About Give and Take

Women (and sometimes men) often fall into the role of emotional caretaker on a date. They’re sensitive and open. They listen, rapt (or pretending to be), as their date waxes on about how great he is. They stroke his ego and let them emotionally barf all over them.

Years ago, a mutual friend suggested I start dating Judith. This was after seeing her at a party. I’d watched her talking to a guy spill his guts out on her all evening. She listened but couldn’t seem to get a word in. Judith is a great listener, but she’s often not a big talker.

I said to my friend, “You want to fix me up with Barbara Walters?!”

My friend said, “I think you should tell her that’s what you think of her.”

When we went into our first date, I said, “This is going to be a mutual conversation of give and take. I don’t want you to sit there and listen to me just to feed my ego. I’m not going to be one of those guys who is going to barf his emotional guts out on you like at that party.”

Judith said, “Well, you’re not going to be the asshole that you were at that party, either.”

And that’s how our first date began. We’ve continued to operate in honesty. That means, if one of us doesn’t like what the other person is doing, we don’t tiptoe around it. We say it. We obey the Rules of Engagement as outlined in our book, The Heart of the Fight.


The Rules of Engagement are:

1. Accentuate the positive.

2. Minimize the negative.

3. No one gets more than 50 percent of the blame.

4. You each get 100 percent responsibility for your happiness and satisfaction.

5. Express and agree with the truth, always.

6. Fight for, not against.

7. Assume goodwill.


If you want to get something great out of any relationship, whether you are friends, colleagues, spouses, or dates, you must get honest. You can’t hold back your feelings or sugarcoat your needs for the other person. You want something amazing, but you don’t want to be vulnerable or make the wrong impression. Fight for, not against the relationship, but don’t avoid the big stuff.

Instead, say what you’re really thinking.

If the date ends early, so what?!

You may discover all those bad dates in the past weren’t the result of dating boring people (you might even realize YOU were the boring date). You weren’t engaging and expressing yourself honestly to your dates.

So, if you’re sick of dating, remember, dating should be fun. Think of it like a big game or an experiment. Go in with an open mind and a commitment to be 100% truthful. You may be surprised at how much more interesting and exciting your dates become!

For more on engaging with others, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. We’re also pleased to announce our courses are available for download at a special introductory price. Learn how to strengthen your relationships, hone your leadership skills, and build the life of your dreams!


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.


Like 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.

Why You Need a Casual Network of Friends as an Adult

 

Your Uber driver, your barista, the buddy you meet at a business conference…these relationships may seem fleeting, but the truth is, they’re essential!

Wondering if it’s essential to make friends as an adult? Engaging with your network and building your connections will lead to positive results!


As adults, we’re used to operating within our close social circle. We may not think of those distant connections often or focus on cultivating them. But a lot of positive engagement comes from these lower-stakes relationships. Here’s why it’s crucial to develop a casual network of friends as an adult.

Reaching Out to Your Cluster of Connections

Think of our network like a hub, surrounded by clusters of connections. We’re in the center of the hub, and as we branch out, there are different groups. There are connections at your gym, pals from your church, or groups of people you interact with daily (the security guard, coffee shop waitress, or the person at the bus stop) you don’t even think of as “connections.”

People tend to think you need only high-powered connections to cultivate a great network of friends as an adult. While it’s important to have close friends and allies who push your boundaries, it’s also essential to engage with your peripheral relationships as well.

There are scientific approaches to networking, as well. Earlier this century, the US Army investigated network science to see if it truly fit the definition of social science. They hired a group to interview social scientists, system scientists, and more to see if there was indeed a social system or network and to understand the overlap with communication and technology.

 


Each of us has a vital social network. Each element (a person) is a node and two nodes connected are a link (a relationship). This network surrounds the hub and strengthens it. In fact, sometimes the weaker ties at the periphery are better than the connections at our center.


 

My colleague, Barb, suggested I talk with a woman she was working with in the Year of Transformation program. I found out the two of us had a shared relationship with someone who had passed away. As we started talking, I discovered she was a trust attorney, working in non-profit development. This non-profit had an excellent planned giving program.

As we got talking, she offered to do a seminar at the Wright Foundation on legacy and planned giving. As an attorney and expert in her field, people were thrilled to hear what she had to say about building a trust and security, as well as transgenerational wealth. She was able to educate them and earn the right to bring up the issue of net giving and writing the foundation into bequests.

If Barb hadn’t run into this connection and helped facilitate our meeting, we would have never had the conversation we needed to. She wasn’t someone we necessarily expected to become central to the foundation, but now, thanks to this casual connection, we’re on the road to a whole new step in our philanthropy.

The Importance Cultivating Our Weak Links

The New York Times recently explored this topic in its Smarter Living section. In the article, “Why You Need a Network of Low-Stakes, Casual Friendships,” writer Allie Volpe said:


Think of the parents you see in the drop-off line at school. Your favorite bartender. The other dog owners at the park. The sociologist Mark Granovetter calls these low-stakes relationships “weak ties.” Not only can these connections affect our job prospects, they also can have a positive impact on our well-being by helping us feel more connected to other social groups, according to Dr. Granovetter’s research. Other studies have shown weak ties can offer recommendations (I found my accountant via a weak tie) and empower us to be more empathetic. We’re likely to feel less lonely, too, research shows.
A 2014 study found that the more weak ties a person has (neighbors, a barista at the neighborhood coffee shop or fellow members in a spin class), the happier they feel. Maintaining this network of acquaintances also contributes to one’s sense of belonging to a community, researchers found.

Breakthroughs and changes happen in individual’s lives at what’s called the “weak link.” “Weak link” doesn’t mean these relationships aren’t meaningful or won’t become significant. It merely means the tie hasn’t been cultivated yet. Many of these weak links or causal friendships are excellent connections to have.

Back in the 1980s, I hurt my knee. Being from Chicago, I thought who would know more about knees than the trainer for the Bears? We had a casual connection, so I called up their trainer, who was well-known in Chicago. He shared the name of the Bears top orthopedic surgeon.

While we’d never met before, I now had the right introduction and name to get in. I let them know the Bear’s trainer referred me, and I was immediately ushered into a top spot to get in. When I walked into the appointment, the surgeon said, “Well, you’re not the football player I was expecting!”

He went on to explore the risks. In this case, he told me that even though I wasn’t hoping to get back on the football field, my surgery was high risk and rehab was a better choice. Again, he then referred me to the top rehabilitation people he knew, and I recovered from my knee injury.

Networking is so important, and we must remember change happens at those weak links! Don’t fear that you don’t know someone well enough to engage with them. At the same time, don’t hold back in generosity when you cultivate those weak ties right back.

I encourage people to become net-givers rather than net-takers. This means offer to give more than you take away. When someone needs a favor, help with a connection or a referral, offer it up! You never know how it will come back to you years down the road.

Relating to Your Network and Making Friends as an Adult

Networks are only as secure as their connections. So, become a great connection for your network. As I’ve said before, the most crucial key in relationship building is to become a net giver. Wherever you are, generate value for others. The more value you create, the more others want to create for you.

Yes, there are plenty of net takers in the world. They take, and they don’t give much if anything at all. There are moments when it appears the net takers are the ones who are most adept at getting what they want out of life.

But, in the long run, net takers are easy to identify. After a while, people get just plain sick of accommodating their requests. Net givers, on the other hand, are generating reciprocity. When they need support, everyone around them is willing to give.


If you want to expand and broaden your network, cultivate those relationships that don’t necessarily hold a clear advantage or outcome for you. Every person has value and brings value to our lives.


Sometimes we aren’t sure where the relationship will lead, but we’re creating a chain of goodwill and positive interaction to serve us well in the long run.

This idea of networking is even applicable in the dating world. Although the advent of online dating has expanded the singles network for many people, it’s still necessary we stretch our comfort zone and understand the power of our network in dating.

When I was in college in 1967, the university president said 2/3 of us had met our future spouse already. I remember that statistic was such an eye-opener to me. While I didn’t meet Judith at college, it was a fascinating idea. People got married younger back then, and they tended to meet their spouse during their school years.

Now, the world has changed. People often end up with their partner at an older age, when they find someone with whom they share a lot in common. People aren’t limited to dating within their network anymore, BUT they certainly shouldn’t disregard their network when it comes to finding a match. After all, someone who shares commonalities with you is likely going to overlap in some regions of your network. You may meet through a friend (which is how Judith and I met), through an acquaintance, at an event, or yes, through a dating app.

The idea isn’t that you go out looking for people to build your network, whether your desired outcome is a great date, a new job, or a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. You should go out into the world with the intent to be a net giver. Think of how you will connect and engage with others in your network. How will you get to know people more? How will you build your social circle and your circle of influence?

In this world, whether it’s a job, getting into a school, or finding a service, it’s almost always about who you know. Get to know people and continue to build up your network of friends.

For more ways to build your connections, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where we’ll explore ways to learn more about yourself and those around you. We’re also proud to announce that many of our courses are available for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to learn and grow!


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.


Like 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.

6 Ways to Find Happiness at Work Right Now

 

Finding happiness at work may feel like a tall order.

Wondering how you can find happiness at work? There are a few steps you can take to make absolutely any job better.


We’ve all been in jobs that weren’t satisfying. Heck, we’ve probably all faced work that was downright tedious at times!

The truth is, you can find happiness in absolutely any job. I’ve known trash collectors who were satisfied every single day. I’ve known teachers, law enforcement, and social workers who faced difficult, even dangerous situations with a smile on their face.

There are ways to find happiness at work, even if you’re not in your dream job. If you’re hoping for more satisfaction in the 9-5, here’s how to find it.

1. Let Go of the “One”

I didn’t think of a career when I was growing up. I lived in a town where everyone had jobs; they might work at the bank, as a firefighter, or in a factory. I was working my first job when someone asked me, “what do you want to do for your career?” I remember it was the first time I’d really thought about the difference between a career path I could choose, and a job.

Not everyone has a predetermined career path. Some people don’t know what they want to do for a job until much later in life—well-past their college years. Others waffle back and forth, never feeling fulfilled because they don’t feel settled on their career path.


In many ways, the idea there’s one perfect career out there for us is akin to believing there’s only one ideal soulmate out there for us. It’s a fairytale myth, setting us up for disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.


In reality, there are many jobs and careers we could feel satisfied in. It’s not about the perfect job or the ideal career path, but about the quality of the work you do. You can engage in any task and find satisfaction, meaning, and fulfillment.

If you’re lamenting the idea that you didn’t “follow your passion” or fulfill your dream career, take a pause and think about it. Maybe you’d find creative or intellectual fulfillment in your dream profession, or perhaps you wouldn’t. Maybe the same people and situations that get under your skin at your current job would exist in any setting. It’s not the work, but our approach to the work that makes all the difference.

2. Lead from Where You Are

Many of us covet the corner office. We think if we got the promotion, we’d really show our boss our mettle. We’re waiting for a leadership position to appear so we can finally be in charge.

I’ve seen many entrepreneurs who quit their “day jobs” only to learn they’re in over their heads. This idea that we can’t answer to anyone, so we want to become our own boss, is a falsehood. Even as an entrepreneur, you have a boss—your clients, your customers, and your stakeholders. If you forget about them, you’re not going to find success.

Instead of looking at authority as a situation to buck against, what if we shift to viewing administration as something to model? Instead of feeling bossed around in meetings and shutting down defiantly, what if you spoke up and shared your thoughts?

I’ve seen many of the best ideas come from people in the lowest positions in the company. Often, these people have boots on the ground. They’re in the trenches, and they see what happens in the day-to-day action. If you’re at the bottom rung of the ladder, your voice could still turn the company around and head off major issues, otherwise overlooked.

Look at your boss as a mentor. Dress for your next position. Walk into meetings ready to speak up, engage, and lead. Lead from any position, and you’ll start to move up the ranks.

3. Find Your Purpose

The vital key to happiness at work (and in life) is purpose. Purpose and meaning should drive every interaction.

I’ve worked with plenty of professionals who earn high incomes. They may hold an MBA from an Ivy League school. They may own a big house, luxury cars, and designer clothing, but they’re scratching their heads, wondering why they still aren’t happy.

 


To feel fulfilled and satisfied in any scenario, we must extract our sense of meaning and purpose. Whether it’s finding the purpose in our relationships, in our friendships, the purpose in our parenting, or in our leisure time, purpose is a vital component to happiness.


If we want to find happiness at work, we need to focus on the ways we’re working to be net givers to the world. How are we providing the world with more than we’re gaining? How are we giving to those around us and bringing out the best in our peers?

Purpose is like a switch. Once we discover it, we’re turned on and engaged. Suddenly our burdens become lighter. Work no longer feels like work because it’s meaningful. We know we’re working FOR something, rather than going through the motions.

The truth is happy people are happy people. If you want a great career, focus on being a great person. Be a trustworthy person. Be someone other people count on. As you become the person you want to be, your job and career path will align.

4. Challenge Yourself

You can develop yourself in any environment. People have transformed themselves in dire circumstances. They’ve learned and grown in prison, in concentration camps, and other unthinkable situations. Development comes from rising to the challenges.

If you find your job isn’t sparking your happiness, consider that it might be too easy. When we enter a new job, we feel challenged right away. We’re learning to adapt to a new environment. We’re discovering new ways to carry out tasks. We’re meeting new people and adapting to the situation.

After a few years, we may find we’re not as excited about our job anymore. It feels routine. Instead of going on autopilot and zoning out, this is a sure sign you need to zone in. I was working with a lawyer who was going through these feelings of drudgery. He was even considering a career change because he wasn’t finding his career fulfilling anymore.

I challenged him to prepare for his next case like it was his very first. I told him to go all in—cram in as much information and study as possible. He followed my advice and came back the next week on a high. He said it was the most significant week of work he’d had in a long time.

Humans want new challenges and stimulation. We want to be engaged and turned on to new ideas and activities. If you feel unfulfilled by your job, take on a big challenge. If you can’t think of a challenging project to undertake, ask your boss. I guarantee he or she will offer an idea to push you further.

5. Give to Your Network

We often think of networking as a crucial part of growing our role at work. Our network is how we engage with new clients, new leads, and new customers. But networking over lunch or happy hour isn’t really building our essential connections.

Our connections with others become stronger when we become net givers instead of net takers. Do we give to our network? Do we provide leadership, mentorship, and advice? Do we invite new connections to share, not because we’re waiting to close a deal or warm up a lead, but because we’re genuinely interested in engaging with them as human beings?


It’s amazing how the dynamic shifts when we stop thinking of what people can do for us, and instead, we think of what we can do for them.


Instead of thinking of our customers and clients and people who are there to give us money, what if we thought of them as people who need to receive our service? How will we tell them about a product or service that will change their lives for the better?

We don’t always need to think of giving in tangible ways, either. Offering appreciation, warmth, and encouragement is also part of giving to others. When we engage with others, we’re helping fulfill their yearning to be respected, listened to, to see and be seen. Fulfilling a yearning is powerful stuff that fortifies our connections.

6. Learn from Mistakes

We all make mistakes. Many of us make big, huge, epic mistakes. Some errors feel like the end of the world, and we wonder how we will ever recover. This is especially true when our mistakes affect our work (and even worse when our boss, team, or customers were relying on us).

Mistakes are opportunities for learning. As researcher Angela Duckworth writes in her book, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success:

“…Grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment and learn to tell the difference between low-level goals that should be abandoned quickly and higher-level goals that demand more tenacity. The maturation story is that we develop the capacity for long-term passion and perseverance as we get older.”

In other words, making mistakes and getting rejected helps us determine our path and strengthen our resolve. As we test what approaches work and what approaches don’t work, we narrow our aim. We get better at our job.

It’s tough when we’ve made a blunder. We may have a hard time righting the ship and correcting our path, but when we do, we’re much more aware of the proper direction. In each mistake is an opportunity to refine and home in on our approach.

If we watch kids when they learn, and even when they play, they make mistakes all the time. When a baby falls after taking a few steps, they don’t throw in the towel and give up. They get back up and keep going. Kids are resilient. As adults, we start to question our abilities to bounce back after mistakes.

Instead, keep moving forward and learning. If you want to find happiness at work, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities. Celebrate your mistakes and keep going!

For more on discovering a life of purpose and satisfaction, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformation journey. We’re also offering many of our great courses for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover more about yourself!


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.


Like 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.

Happiness Vs. Satisfaction: Which One Should We Seek?

How many of us would like to feel happier or wish for more happiness in our lives?

In the debate of happiness vs. satisfaction, which is more important? Is it possible to achieve happiness through satisfaction?


Maybe we think if we just had a bigger house, a new car, or a hot date, we’d feel happy. Happiness feels like something we can obtain or own.

We hear the debates on happiness vs. satisfaction, but satisfaction may seem loftier and harder to grasp. Happiness seems immediate and within our reach…but does the endless search for happiness leave us unsatisfied? Are we chasing a feeling? Are we settling for something temporary when we could actually experience more?

Happiness and satisfaction are intertwined. If you position your life trajectory toward more satisfaction, you will experience greater happiness along the way. Here’s how to steady your aim toward a life of meaning.

Why We All Long for More

When we experience a moment of happiness, we often want even more, right? Happiness feels like an itch we can’t quite scratch enough or a bucket we can never fill up.

The answer to getting more happiness is in shifting the way we look at happiness itself. Happiness is a feeling. It’s temporary. It comes and goes. While happiness is joy and pure pleasure, it’s momentary. We may experience happy and transcendent moments, but they pass. Then we shift back to our “regular” state. Some people are happier than others, and every one of us has a happiness set point.

On the other hand, satisfaction is a state of being; it’s lasting and infinite. Satisfaction comes from finding a purpose and embracing our sense of purpose in all aspects of our lives.


Satisfaction is in the here and now, whereas happiness is often something you imagine will be somewhere else.


This concept keeps people from embracing the present and living in the moment. We may miss opportunities in the present because we’re so busy trying to find something we can’t find or chasing something fleeting.

Our levels of happiness re broken down into three states:

  • Hedonic happiness
  • Happiness of engagement
  • Happiness of meaning and purpose

Hedonic happiness is a quick fix. It’s a joke, a treat, or an escape. When we experience hedonic happiness, we’re getting a momentary smile. It’s fun, we feel good, then it passes, and we’re on to the next moment. Many people settle on the concept of hedonic happiness, but it never really scratches their itch for more.

The happiness of engagement is the joy of connecting with others in genuine engagement. If we think of engagement as a continuum, we move across it, having moments of disengagement, mis-engagement, superficial engagement, and deep, intimate connections moving toward the ultimate transformative engagement. The happiness of engagement exists in the deeper end of the spectrum—where we’re genuinely connecting, listening, learning, and working with another person toward something greater than ourselves.

The happiness of meaning and purpose is where satisfaction exists. This is the more profound sense of purpose we get from a life where we’re mindful, engaged, turned on, and tuned in to the world around us. While we may not always feel hedonic happiness, if we’re living a life oriented toward purpose and meaning, our satisfaction will become a greater joy and fulfillment.

Getting in the Flow

Hungarian psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, recognized the concept of flow. The idea of flow is the state of satisfaction and purpose. Csikszentmihalyi tells us a person is capable of happiness or misery regardless of what’s going on around them, through their consciousness and mindset.

Many people think if they could obtain more, they would feel happy. If they had a bigger house, they would feel satisfied. If they got the corner office, an attractive partner, or a book deal, they’d feel fulfilled. The truth is, happiness isn’t a feeling we buy or get from others. It’s not about our achievements or checking a task off our to-do list. Happiness isn’t a promotion, the lottery, or even a hot date.


Satisfaction, or happiness from meaning and purpose, arrives when we’re in the state of flow.


Flow is the moment when nothing else matters over what we’re doing. It’s when we’re concentrating fully on our task, and there’s no room to worry or think about distractions. Flow is where we get lost in the moment. Time seems to fly by and simultaneously stop because we’re so engaged.

In his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csikszentmihalyi points out a lot of people feel like victims at work. They have various degrees of complaints as they go through their daily activities at the office. They think about how they’ll feel happier outside of work, once they’re off for the weekend, away on vacation, or out with friends for the evening.

But when people report on the origins of their satisfaction, it’s often correlated to their job. Work gives people their sense of purpose and meaning. This sense of purpose and meaning gives them the highest level of happiness. It’s often in their work where people experience the state of flow. Flow can also come from building our relationships and connections with others. It’s when we’re really clicking, we’re deeply engaged, and we’re fully immersed in the moment.

Now, satisfaction and flow don’t come from a state of continually doing or from immersing ourselves in busywork. Satisfaction is a state of being. The most satisfied people in the world live with a sense of purpose. They’re living in the here and now, concerning themselves with the greater good and their impact on the world around them. They aren’t busy; they’re engaged.

If you think happiness will come from somewhere else, you’re missing the mark. The idea we can “find happiness” or we should continuously move from opera to opera, seeking happiness out, keeps us from embracing the satisfaction we could discover in the here and now. The opportunities are right in front of us.


Meaning comes from the inside out. We generate meaning from what we do. We find meaning and opportunities to learn in every action we take. It’s these lessons and moments of discovery that bring us insight.


If we want more meaning and satisfaction in our lives, it doesn’t come from treating ourselves or sitting around on the couch, binging on Netflix. Satisfaction comes from challenging ourselves. It’s when we’re engaged, stimulated, and discovering. It comes from tackling the next assignment in our life, and from working toward the next mountain, and then the next.

If we want true happiness, we should seek satisfaction and a state of flow.

For more on bringing greater purpose to your life, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where we’ll discuss new ways to connect and engage with others. Discover more about yourself with our courses, many we now offer online at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this opportunity to 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.


Like 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.

The Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Young professionals believe the world is their oyster.

What are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make? These major missteps may end up derailing your career and stunting your growth.


They get out of grad school and they’re ready to hit the ground running. They expect to do what they want, when they want, and find success.

While this mindset is positive, it’s essential to learn a few practical lessons to avoid getting yourself in over your head. If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to prevent foolish errors that will cost you dearly in the long run.

Here are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make (often at the beginning of their careers). Learn how to shift your mindset to purpose-driven leadership.

The Big, Costly Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

I was talking with author Jack Stack, who wrote and founded the Great Game of Business. We were discussing the young professionals we work with and the common mistakes we see in their career paths. Jack told me every week, he’s approached by young MBAs seeking his help. Often, they went through his program and followed the steps: get an idea, finance the plan, eventually go public.

The entire process breaks down once they’ve mortgaged their home, cashed in their savings, and convinced their parents to mortgage their house as well. Suddenly, they’re stuck with a bunch of financial obligations, but they haven’t really proven they can earn money with their plans.

According to Jack, once they’ve reached this point, it’s already too late to turn back. They’ve missed the mark in the first step by not examining the deeper purpose behind their great idea.

It’s heartbreaking for any of us to see a young professional go through this situation. It’s one of those issues they could avoid if they were aware of the common mistakes many entrepreneurs make.

Mistake #1: They Quit Their Day Job Too Soon

The entrepreneurial spirit is indomitable. Most successful entrepreneurs jump in because they believe in it. They know they have a great idea and it’s a solution to the problems of the world.

But, while jumping in is excellent, you shouldn’t quit your day job right away. While it means long hours and hard work, your regular job is your safety net. So many entrepreneurs have a reactive purpose when they start a business. They don’t want a boss, or they want money, but they don’t realize how much it actually costs to run a business. They may love a challenge where they really grow, and they feel a boss stifles their ability to shine.


It’s important to realize there’s no situation where you won’t have a boss as long as you’re working with other people.


Even as an entrepreneur, your clients and customers become your boss. If you don’t think of them as your boss, you’re adopting the wrong mindset, and you will fail.

If you see money as your road to freedom, you should realize it’s a hollow path. Money becomes a trap in which you’re trading your freedom to earn a little more. You must have a stronger purpose for your business than “be free and earn lots of money.” As you’re working the purpose out, keep working on your day job. Starting a business costs much more than you realize.

Mistake #2: They Finance Without a Timeline

Hand in hand with the idea of quitting your day job is the idea of taking on more than you can reasonably pay off. I’ve seen so many professionals who go out, hustle investors, liquidate their assets, and throw everything into starting their venture.

But when the rubber hits the road, they don’t know how to lead a company to success. As Jack says, they don’t ensure everyone has a stake in the game. They don’t harness the resources at their disposal. Within every company, there are people with brains and hearts—ideas and passion. These people want to become stakeholders. They want to help your business succeed (provided you’ve carefully chosen your team and sufficiently motivated and inspired them through your leadership).

Young entrepreneurs often don’t understand accountability in business. They don’t know how to account for how or why they’re running their business, or where they stand in relation to their future success. They don’t know how to move from where they are to where they want and need to be.

If you don’t have a clear-cut plan and path to pay off your financing, don’t take it on. Find a way to work around it. Slow down your timeline, steady your approach, and focus your efforts. Even if you find an investor or financing opportunity who’s unwise enough to lend you money without a plan for payoff, don’t do it.

Mistake #3 They’re Unprepared for Sales

The first job in any entrepreneurial adventure is sales. If you don’t know how to sell or don’t enjoy sales, entrepreneurial endeavors aren’t your best path.


Even if you don’t see your business as a traditional sales job, you’re going to sell your concept continually. As a business leader, you’re sharing and selling your vision to your team.


You’re motivating your stakeholders to buy into your ideas. You’re selling new ideas to clients. You’re selling your talents and promoting others to invest their trust in your plans.

Perhaps you’re not on the phone closing deals (although, keeping your sales skills sharp is a good practice for any business leader), but you’re still selling daily. As an entrepreneur, you must lead and inspire. You must touch the hearts and minds of your team, your clients, and your investors. You need to reach your people.

If you focus on the service aspect of sales—the way your sales serve the needs of your customers, clients, and even employees—you will find success in sales. Sales is service. How are you meeting the needs of your people? How are you enhancing their lives?

Mistake #4 They Don’t Build their Leadership Skills

Of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make, one of the most critical is failing to lead. Authentic leadership always comes back to purpose. A company mission rings hollow and means nothing if no one relates to it.

As I wrote in my book, Beyond Time Management: Business with a Purpose:


“Purpose refers to a wonderful capacity in each of us to joyously take our place in the progress of humanity and do our part to help all reach full potential. Purpose is the heart of the matter. The ‘why’ behind what we do. It summarizes our reason for doing what we’re doing. A clear life purpose gives meaning to all activities. Life purpose is the container into which we fit our goals. If we think of a projector shining concentrated light through film onto a screen, purpose is the lens through which life flows to project our highest vision.”

In leadership, people often look at a decision or function rather than realizing leadership requires you to bring everyone to the same page and back to an aligned purpose. Leadership is about your capacity to influence the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others.

To that end, anyone can become a leader. You don’t need to wait for a position to justify your leadership; you can lead from behind and still lead well. You can lead as a stealth “ninja” by throwing directions into productive decisions. You can lead by taking risks. You don’t need to wait for someone to open the door and hand you a leadership role.

It’s not the first mover who creates the most significant change. Lots of the first movers take on endeavors that fall flat or never truly launch. It’s the second mover who supports the first mover and brings on collective action who finds success. The power is in the second investor or the second person who leads your groups. Their buy-in shows you’re creating something lasting.

Entrepreneurs often fail to recognize that their ventures come with a great deal of accountability. When a team is relying on you, it’s not just about coming up with a fabulous idea and getting people to give you money to support your dream. Entrepreneurship isn’t even about the freedom of becoming your own boss.


At the end of the day, becoming an entrepreneur is about purpose. It’s about discovering why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s about doing the needed legwork and putting in the time upfront to ensure you have a stable and successful outcome in the long term.


If you’re working toward an entrepreneurial endeavor, I would suggest you check out the Great Game of Business to learn about real accountability. I believe in Jack’s program so strongly because two of our senior staff members are becoming GGOB coaches. We’ve been using overlapping GGOB technology and concepts within our program for the past few years. It’s a great resource.

For more ideas on leadership and success, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for a More Life Training weekend, where you’ll network with others on their path to success. We’re excited to announce that many of our courses and classes are available for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this great opportunity!


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.


Like 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.

How Can You Learn to Argue Constructively?

Today, it often feels as though the art of arguing constructively is a thing of the past.

Would you like to have more productive discussions? Learning to argue constructively will help you build rather than breakdown relationships.


How many of us have been engaged in arguments, whether at work, with our spouse, or even online, where the situation has quickly escalated from civil to an all-out civil war?

It seems we’ve forgotten the important rules of engagement and the nuances of debate. All issues are now black and white—right or wrong. There’s no room for grey area.

Yet so many situations exist in the grey zone. If we want to engage productively—to argue constructively—we can think of engagement as a continuum rather than an on/off or yes/no discussion. Here’s how to argue constructively and productively rather than simply spinning your wheels.

Misunderstandings Are Just That: Failure to Understand

Two students of ours were having dinner recently with their brother-in-law and his wife. Going into the evening, they knew the four of them did NOT agree on politics. In fact, they had doubts about finding any common ground at all.

But rather than starting out on the defensive, they decided to approach the interaction in a more engaged, constructive manner. They set their intention to learn from the interaction. When they went to dinner, the couples ended up interviewing each other on their political positions and the path they took to come into those viewpoints.

Rather than arguing and attempting to convince the “other side” that their stance was simply wrong, they took a step back and listened. Both sides agreed to approach it in the same manner. What unfolded was a very productive conversation. In fact, both couples became enlightened to the valid elements from each position because they were open to hearing one another.


Many of us go into conversations already assuming there will be a disagreement, but if we shift our assumptions, we will experience a much better interaction.


In our book, The Heart of the Fight, Judith and I discuss the importance of following the Rules of Engagement. One of the important rules is to “assume goodwill” from your partner in each interaction.

Assuming goodwill isn’t limited to arguments between couples, however. Assuming goodwill is an important skill to bring into any conversation. The truth is, most people genuinely want to get along. They don’t want to hurt others with their viewpoints, but they want to be heard. In fact, yearning to be seen and heard is universal. As human beings, we all yearn to be respected and listened to by our peers.

When we go into arguments, there are often various degrees of consciousness we display. Many people go in with a pre-recorded message in their heads. They know the point they want to make and assume they know the intent of the other party. There are certain ways they approach the interaction and certain methods to go into the cases they argue about. They’ve already played it out in their minds.

Other people argue on the defense. There’s something about themselves they don’t want to see or learn. They may even know there’s a kernel (or more than a kernel) of truth to the counterargument, but they know they don’t want to acknowledge the differing point-of-view.

Arguments aren’t conversations. They aren’t discussions or even debates. Arguments are often high-pitched battles, where neither side walks away with more knowledge. In fact, arguments aren’t even very interesting, because there’s no conclusion to the conversation. If there’s a legitimate subject on the table to explore, then it becomes a discussion.

Understanding Each Other to Better Understand Ourselves

I have a friend who holds a Ph.D. in economics. We’ve had many debates (and I’ve lost every single one). Through these discussions, my friend has taught me a great deal about global economics, strategy, and new ideas I would have never understood if I mindlessly debated. It’s been interesting to watch him poke holes in my opinions. In many ways, it’s helped me refine my ideas in different ways I would have never thought of, had I simply argued with my buddy.


For better discussions and deeper engagement, we should approach interactions with understanding and a desire to learn from the other person.


As I said earlier, engagement can be thought of as a continuum. Conversations in which we’re disengaged may include avoidance, stonewalling, silent treatment, or simply being zoned out. These forms of engagement are even destructive to our relationships.

There’s also mis-engagement. When we avoid conflict by walking on eggshells, sticking to non-personal conversation topics, or engaging in repetitive, non-productive fights, it may feel like we’re engaged, but we’re not engaged constructively. Actively destructive engagement like criticizing, attacking, insulting, and acting defensive will also destroy our relationships.

Instead, constructive, creative engagement means holding active, meaningful, intimate conversations. We express our feelings. We’re genuine and truthful, but approach topics with the hope of discovery and greater fulfillment. On the highest end of the Engagement Continuum are transformative encounters that benefit the world-at-large.

Unfortunately, many conversations exist on the destructive or neutral end of the Engagement Continuum. We may approach arguments with a simple pro or con perspective. We lose the logic in the discussion and break into full arguments.

Instead, we can listen to both sides of a discussion. This doesn’t mean compromising your values or letting go of your perspective. But if you want to be listened to, you must also learn to listen. It’s the power of listening to others that helps arguments become discussions rather than non-productive spats.

Online Arguments Are Often One-Sided

When thinking about how to argue constructively, one’s mind turns to the internet. Our interactions on social media, in particular, are prime examples of mis-engagement, disengagement, and destructive interactions.

If we look at many of the arguments people are holding online these days, we see how they’ve become one-sided. The internet prevents us from having a conversation. One of the saddest aspects of today’s dialogue is so many people are busy yelling their opinions, as though their opinions matter more than others.


We all want to matter, but the internet allows for a false sense of importance. We rarely carry on a meaningful conversation or productive discussion without being face-to-face.


I’m struck by how many of our students report they’re too busy living life—doing the things that really matter—rather than arguing on the internet and sharing their opinions. It’s not really worth talking about a topic on the internet unless we actually want to change the way people engage in a discussion online.

We’re at an interesting junction in the history of the world and in the way we communicate with each other. There are many everchanging issues to talk about and discuss. Dialogue is important, but we should approach it from an engaged, conscious, responsible place.

Think of your next discussion like an interview, rather than an opportunity to scream your opinions. If you know you disagree with their point of view, interview them. Find out how they came to their current conclusions and why. Use this information to help you discern which areas you are viewing from a limited and mistaken perspective. If we’re not holding a dialogue about our world, we can’t change our world into a conscious, responsible place.

For more ways to engage with others, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training weekend, where you’ll meet others on their journey toward transformation. We also offer many of our courses online for a special introductory price. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about 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.


Like 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.

 

Discover Yourself: How to Become More Self-Aware

Learning how to become more self-aware will help you tap into your fullest potential.

Would you like more power in your life? Learning how to become more self-aware will help you tap into your fullest potential.


Recently, I was reading through the Chicago Tribune, when I came across a headline, “Roseanne Barr Says Former co-star Sara Gilbert Destroyed Her Life.”

Basically, after years of abusive language to others and exhibiting almost zero self-awareness, once again, Roseanne was choosing to shift the blame for her failures (including getting kicked off her TV show for racist language) onto someone else. It struck me that this was a glaring example of what a lack of self-awareness can lead us to.

So why is self-awareness so important anyway? What does self-awareness do for us? What steps should we take to become more self-aware?

The Importance of Self-Awareness

The great philosopher, Socrates, once said life without self-inquiry and discovery isn’t a life worth living.

Socrates lived 2,000+ years ago, but his words still ring true today. If we’re not working to become more self-aware, to discover more about ourselves, and understand ourselves, then we’re not fulfilling our potential. Life without potential doesn’t lead to satisfaction.

Constantly working to become more self-aware is a component of social-emotional intelligence. This exploration of self helps us understand our emotions, our effects on others, and their effect on us. The quality of self-awareness has become more and more critical in today’s world.

People are going into new jobs and situations that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Many didn’t even exist five or 10 years ago either. Consider technology and the impact of our words (or Tweets) on others. We no longer exist in a world where our sphere of influence consists only of people we know or those we see at the office. Today, we have huge amounts of influence on (and are influenced by) people we may never meet face-to-face.

Not only is self-awareness critical for shaping our responses to current events happening in our world today, but self-awareness is critical for our own happiness and satisfaction as well. The more we build our capacity for learning and growth, the more expansive and powerful our influence becomes in the world. We all have the potential to become a force for good, but tapping into our potential requires self-awareness and social and emotional intelligence.

What it Means to Be Self-Aware

The most obvious definition of self-awareness is realizing YOU are a person with control over your situation, your emotions, your thoughts, and actions. In the morning when you get up and look in the mirror, that’s a form of self-awareness. As you straighten your hair, brush your teeth, and put on your clothes properly, you’re exhibiting an awareness of who you are and the choices you wish to make each day.

On a deeper level, without self-awareness, we can’t make the adjustments we need to make to strengthen our relationships with others. This relationship-awareness is called social-emotional intelligence. It’s twofold: how do I become aware of my influence on the world around me (social intelligence) and how do I become aware of what’s going on inside me (emotional intelligence).


Social-emotional intelligence has become the most critical skill in the workplace. Emerging research suggests social-emotional intelligence is vital for leadership, interpersonal relationships, critical thinking, and more. Almost any career path we follow requires strong social-emotional intelligence.


The more we move toward leadership positions in our career, such as C-level positions and upper management, the more responsibility we have, the more our social interactions increase, and the more it becomes critical we have strong self-awareness and social-emotional intelligence. The CEO’s success is almost 80% social-emotional intelligence—knowing how to lead and how to influence people. Technical skills become outmoded as you move up the ladder, as time moves forward, and as innovation advances. Interpersonal skills, on the other hand, NEVER go out of style.

Self-awareness helps us to develop those strong interpersonal skills. We’re aware of what we want to happen in our relationships. We assess situations, identify that what we want to happen isn’t happening, and we assess and discover ways to right the course. Self-awareness is understanding and taking responsibility for how I’m influencing my world.

Self-Awareness Leads Us to a Great Life

At the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, we talk about the quality of leadership. Leadership is the aspect of every human being that influences the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others. Leadership isn’t a position or title, but a quality within each of us. Without self-awareness, we can’t assess the influence we’re having on the world. We can’t make internal changes to get the external results we desire.

So, when we see that a celebrity, in this case, Roseanne Barr, says another person has destroyed their life, we know that’s not very self-aware. How could one person destroy her life while she is still living it? If she assessed the wake of damage to others she’s left in her path, insulting others with little self-awareness, she would realize if anyone had led her to where she is today, it’s her own doing.

Our world too often celebrates drama and victimhood. In fact, if we look at any tabloid in the checkout line, we see the headlines all about who was betrayed or whose life was ruined by someone else.


We listen to people who aren’t at all self-aware, blaming the world for their problems instead of taking a long, hard, internal look at themselves.


The fact is, blame, shame, and justification don’t change circumstances. In the case of Roseanne, blaming her co-star for ruining her life won’t change her situation, nor will it allow her to learn something about herself. When we blame others, we don’t have a chance to look inside and use the opportunity to grow.

If you want to lead a great life, then become a person who takes personal responsibility. Learn what you need to learn in order to become the person you need and want to become.

How to See Ourselves More Clearly

So, is it possible to see ourselves as purely and clearly as others see us? Of course! In fact, if we’re truly being honest with ourselves, we can know ourselves best of all. But it takes an open approach.

To understand how self-awareness develops, it’s useful to understand and realize there are things about you no one else knows. BUT there are also things about you other people see, of which you may not be aware.

Break it down by looking at self-awareness in four zones:

  • What’s known to me but not known to others (self).
  • What’s known to me and known to others (public self).
  • What’s known to others but not seen by me (blind spot).
  • What’s not known to anyone yet (hidden zone).

In order to dig in and understand our blind spots, we need to solicit feedback from others to help us maximize our self-awareness. We should offer them the data to assess us properly and work together.


When we’re open to the feedback of others, we can learn what they see in us and we can begin to see those qualities in ourselves. Together, we can work to uncover the hidden zone and discover even more about ourselves.


When we move into those blind spots and uncover what we didn’t know about ourselves, our public self expands. As we explore, our blind spots are reduced. We become more self-aware. We share more, get more feedback, and start to explore our hidden zone.

As we increase our self-awareness, our capacity to hold greater influence over ourselves and the world expands with our new knowledge. We’ve all heard the words ‘knowledge is power.’ With more knowledge, we tap into our personal power and become stronger leaders, live fuller lives, and unleash our fullest potential.

For more ways to tap into your personal power, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training weekend, where we’ll explore new ways to discover a fulfilling life and reach your untapped potential.


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.


Like 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.

Is Too Much Social Media
Killing Your Social Life?

We all want to feel more alive. We want to live vibrant, socially active lives, where we build connections with others and live with purpose.

Wondering how much is too much social media? Here’s how to tell if you’re using social media to substitute for genuine human interaction (and what to do about it)!


Nowadays, most people are too busy scrolling through their smartphones, using too much social media instead of forming real, face-to-face connections.

How much is too much social media? If you have a problem with too much social media, how do you take back your time and start living a life outside of your newsfeed?

How Social Media Has Changed the Way We Socialize

Social media isn’t really about “being social.” It’s a way to pass time that becomes an addictive activity. It feels good. We receive validation from each “like” or thumbs up. Research shows how we’re addicted to our screens. We have the illusion of social life and illusions of relationships carried around in our handheld devices.

How many friends do you have? When you think of the number, do you count all of the “friends” on your Facebook page?

For most of us, “friends” are people we spend time with and those we share deeply personal connections with. We may have acquaintances, coworkers, and old college buddies, but there are probably a limited number of people we would count as true friends, and even fewer we would count as allies.

That’s because building friendships take time. It requires emotional connections, openness, energy, engagement, and work. Casual relationships, on the other hand, simply require us to click a friend request. Suddenly we’re inundated with the details of someone else’s life. We see what they ate for breakfast, where they go on vacation, and what they did last weekend.


We’re becoming spectators for other people’s lives instead of living our own. Engaging in too much social media masks as social interaction, but it doesn’t really nurture us as true relationships do.


Social media is easily considered a soft addiction. It’s a way we use up time that mimics productivity. We may feel we’re learning new ideas as we read articles, share posts, and like the comments made by our friends. Socializing online may feel like vibrant engagement.

It even lights up the pleasure centers in our brain. We may feel a little rush when someone likes our post or comments on something witty we said. This makes social media a highly rewarding and addicting phenomenon. We become addicted to the power of likes—all the confirmation our friends are passing on to us.

But when all is said and done, are those relationships online really genuine? Chances are, some might be genuine, but most probably aren’t. We may closely follow and use up valuable emotional bandwidth processing comments made by a person we’ve only met once or twice.

It’s one thing to get a like or a comment, it’s quite another to sit across from someone who is empathizing with your challenges with your parents, your partner, or your kids. Having someone understand you and help you to problem solve is nourishing human interaction. Social media simply gives us a format for putting our complaints out there and having someone identify with our complaints. In the end, it’s not doing much but helping you continue to become a complainer.

One phenomenon I discovered on social media and found interesting was that whenever I talked about pain and problems, people were all over it. But when I talked about my victories, no one had anything to say.

Years ago, this would sound ridiculous, but now it’s become the norm. It’s changed the way we view others and the way we view ourselves. Privacy has changed as well. We may share details of our lives with strangers (a swimsuit photograph on the beach, for example, or intimate worries about the ways our daughter is parenting our grandchild) we would never share with most people in the past.

FOMO—When Too Much Social Media Hurts Our Self-Image

Judith’s first book was called There Must Be More Than This, because what she discovered in her research was that people were engaged in addictive activities leaving them feeling empty. These activities didn’t bring fulfillment and satisfaction like other, more meaningful activities.

Meaningful activities, like supporting friends in their career or relationship or offering difficult feedback to allow them to change directions in life, brings us nourishment. We learn and grow; we’re engaged and fully experiencing each moment. There’s not a screen between us.

But with social media, we’re putting up a screen that only allows us to see the superficial. Sure, it’s nice to stay in contact with friends from high school, but how many of them are we really meaningfully connected with? How many of them are going anywhere in life? On the other side, how many of them present a polished, glossy picture we compare ourselves to?


The phenomenon dubbed FOMO (fear of missing out) has become common in the age of social media. Many of us view the lives of others online and worry ours don’t measure up. We may even carefully curate experiences to ensure they’re “Instagrammable” and photo worthy.


I recently saw a headline, “The Most Instagrammable Spots in New Zealand.” Now, can you imagine visiting a location, not to experience the culture or take in the beautiful sights, but simply because it was great to share on social media? Our experiences in our real lives are becoming less important than curating a certain image online for our followers.

What does this all mean?

Well, in short, it may mean we need to put down the phone and start engaging in real life. It’s difficult to conduct in-depth discussions when you’re limited by the characters of a Tweet or only using photos on Instagram to express your point. How do you share and connect with others in real and genuine ways?

I was president of my senior class in high school and I recently led the effort toward my 50th reunion. It sure was fun to see people again. One of the beautiful observations I had about this group was, although they may use social media to stay in touch, they also engage in other, more direct ways. Many of my classmates enjoy frequent phone calls, meet for face-to-face coffees, or get together with their grandchildren. Social media can be used as a vehicle for social engagement, but we can’t leave our engagement up to social media alone.

Do a gut check—are you replacing a social life with social media or are you facilitating a deeper social life?

Come up with an answer you’re not happy about? Read on.

Breaking the Social Media Soft Addiction

As I discovered about my classmates—you can use social media to facilitate deeper engagement. If you only post about your children or grandchildren, like, and share, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s nice to see happy photos, sure, but what do you really get out of it other than a distraction from the areas of life where you aren’t so happy? After all, it’s easier to brag about your kids or grandkids than it is to talk about the challenges of your marriage, singlehood, relationships with children, and more.


If you find you’re using social media as an escape, a soft addiction, or a tool to substitute for genuine engagement, it may be time for a social media fast.


One of our suggestions to break social media addiction is to turn off social media for a while. Try an hour, then go for a whole evening. Feeling brave? Turn it off for a day. Could you even make it a week? A month!?

As Judith explains in The Soft Addiction Solution, we can’t simply swap one soft addiction for another. If we quit social media without exploring the underlying cause of our addiction, chances are high we’ll replace it with something else instead.

Think about what it’s like to stop an addiction. Why do you feel drawn to social media? The real goal is to get to the root of our social media fixation. What are we not gaining from our real life and how do we get it from our everyday interactions instead of seeking it out online? What are you really looking for in your connections with others? Is your engagement deep or simply shallow?

Most of the activities on social media are meaningless. People that get the most out of it are engaging from a deeper place, meeting a deeper yearning, and at the highest level, working through their life purpose. While sharing about your children and grandchildren is fine, you should look at the purpose beyond it. Think of social media as hollow calories—it’s like eating cake and never getting nourished. Sure, it’s delicious and enjoyable for a moment, even appropriate at times, but ultimately it doesn’t bring you what you need, and it doesn’t contribute to your greater purpose.

Each person has a purpose. You’re an important piece of humanity. Will you become as much as you can become, or will you use social media as a weigh station and a stall from what you need to do in your life?

So, try a social media fast. Many people can’t go beyond a day. Can you go further? How serious are you in really having a nourishing social life? Start with a day, then challenge yourself to a week.

It may mean beginning to face the emptiness you could instead fill with meaning rather than the distraction and social “illusion” of social media. As a matter of fact, there are people at the Wright Foundation who are living extremely meaningful lives and find they simply don’t have time for social media. They’re too busy living vibrantly.

So, if you’re ready to live with more purpose and more attention, give social media a break and opt for real social interaction! You may be surprised at how little you miss social media once you aren’t focused on it.

For more ways to live with purpose, visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training weekend, where you’ll learn to instill more meaning, more engagement, and more satisfaction into your life each day!


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.


Like 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.

 

Why Following Your Passion is a Formula for Failure

Do you love your job? Do you wish you loved your job more but don’t? Do you worry that you’re not in your dream job or on your dream career path?

Do you feel like your career was the right choice? Here’s why following your passion isn’t necessarily the answer to success.


Most people go through life being told they should follow their passion and live out their dream. The truth is, following your passion isn’t the best advice for happiness.

It may sound unbelievable at first (especially since “following your passion” has been drilled into us—particularly the younger generations—since elementary school), but there’s more to life and your career than simply following your bliss.

Here’s why following your passion isn’t the answer to success or career fulfillment.

Does a Job Need to Be Creative to Have Meaning?

We’ve been told that people need to follow their passion to hold a great job.

Did you always dream of being a rock star? Quit your job as an attorney and join a band.
Did you love art as a child? Give up your career as a CEO and take up illustration.
Love writing? Why not quit your job as a medical professional to write full-time?

On the surface, the idea of following our passion sounds ideal, doesn’t it? We’d like to believe part of the reason we’re unfulfilled in our current job is that it’s not the right “fit” for our creative side. Plus, this notion is reinforced by tales of people who left their careers to become YouTube sensations or jumped careers to pursue their true passion.

Of course, this sounds tempting…like those who believe a fairytale romance is out there waiting to “complete” them. We all like to believe there’s a perfect person; someone out there who will change our life or a job that would make all our problems melt away.


Time and time again, I’ve met with people who are looking for a magic answer to satisfaction and our society is busy selling them this concept that there IS a perfect solution. If we haven’t discovered the ONE, we need to look harder.


A brilliant attorney came to me and said, “I hate the law!” As we started discussing why he hated his career, the real truth came out.

I said to him, “Why don’t you tell me how it’s going at your office?”

He said, “Well, a bitchy senior partner is chewing me out on my briefs all the time. Everyone is super uptight. I feel criticized and attacked. I keep thinking, growing up, I always wanted to become a poet, a novelist, or a politician. I’m wondering if I went into the wrong field.”

The truth was, he had stopped stretching for the meaning in his work. Yes, he was smart and had secured a great job at a major firm, but because he was smart enough to get by and to carry himself, he’d never had to really stretch or push himself in the career.

I said, “Do me a favor before you quit your job and go off to write the next Great American Novel. Prepare like crazy for your next meeting. I want you to go all out. Prepare as you’ve never prepared before. Research the topic until you own it. Push yourself.”

Well, low and behold, he returned the next week with a big grin on his face. I asked him how it went, and he told me, “You know what? I had a lot of fun! I knew more than everyone else in the meeting and I ran the entire thing. It was actually really great!”

After a few months of this interesting experiment of applying himself, he ended up excelling so far at his firm, he was offered the position of Chief Information Officer at an even bigger firm. The position developed into him becoming the COO and he’s now developing a new line of contextual law.

He didn’t end up on the NY Times Best Seller list, but he ended up finding more purpose and satisfaction in his job than he previously believed possible. He discovered a renewed zest for what he was doing.

People don’t realize that to love your job and find satisfaction in your job, you must get engaged in your career. It’s not simply about getting paid to do something you enjoy, but about fully immersing yourself in the company. It’s about taking ownership of your role in the success of the business.

Loving Your Job vs. Following Your Passion

People who love their jobs have worked hard. They’ve broken through barriers. They’ve overcome obstacles, made mistakes, faced setbacks, and forged ahead.

You don’t love your job because you’ve followed your passion and it was easy. You don’t love something because you possess an innate talent or natural aptitude. You love it because you’ve disciplined yourself to become excellent. The meaningfulness of your career comes from the growth you experience as you become excellent…and the learning that comes along with striving to become even better.

When people tell me they’re bored with their job, it’s often that they’re doing “good enough to earn a living” but they aren’t striving for excellence. They haven’t decided where they want to go with their job or they’re chasing a false idea of what happiness looks like.


Happiness isn’t the absence of struggle. Happiness comes from working through—and overcoming—challenges. Our happiness and satisfaction in our job stem from our ability to do the job better and better.


Many people’s inner artist says, “I must be creative.” So, they look for a creative field that’s straightforward with the opportunity to express themselves. When they don’t break into a creative field (and sometimes even when they do), they’re left disappointed and full of regret.

What they don’t understand is life itself is creative. It’s actually harder, more stimulating, and more challenging than drawing or creating something. If you want to be the artist of your life, you have work to do. Nothing that comes automatically will ultimately feel satisfying.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with creative expression. There’s nothing wrong with people becoming an artist, a musician, a writer. It’s not that you shouldn’t pursue a creative career. But you will only feel satisfied and fulfilled if you are continuously striving and working toward your next goal. So, if you want to be an artist, push yourself to be in the top of your field. Don’t only create what comes naturally, create what comes unnaturally. Choose the path with the most challenges.

Most people want to feel fulfilled, but they don’t want to be challenged and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you frame it) the key to fulfillment is in overcoming obstacles.

Finding the FLOW

Your job is part of a larger picture. If you aren’t providing something of value to others, then it’s pretty hard to earn a living. There’s true meaning in our role in the fabric of society. Look at the jobs we may write off—street-cleaning, trash collecting, or janitorial services, for example. Without these extremely valuable services, our entire society would fall apart. Every job has a purpose and plays a part in the larger world. To think your job only has value because it’s your passion…well, that’s not how the game works.

Hungarian Philosopher, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discussed the concept of flow and satisfaction in his TED talk. After witnessing WWII as a child, he became curious about the idea of satisfaction and happiness. What was it that brought people happiness, even in dire circumstances or poverty?


What Csikszentmihalyi found was most people don’t have a greater sense of purpose in their work because they don’t have meaning and purpose in their everyday life.


Happiness doesn’t come from money, it doesn’t come from self-expression, it doesn’t even come from doing what we enjoy. Happiness is derived from a sense of “flow.” Flow is the feeling we get when we’re challenged. When we’re turned on, engaged, and working toward a goal. The happiest people, regardless of their job or life circumstances, found meaning in what they were doing.

Just Because It’s Easy Doesn’t Mean It’s Worth It

People think things should be easy, and that includes jobs. However, things that are worthwhile require us to stretch and engage. It’s part of embracing a growth mindset.

Our gut tells us we should look for something easy, but easy jobs are never as satisfying. I was leading a seminar one morning and I was talking about how I wasn’t the best person in my training groups and how difficult it was. Someone said, “Well, why don’t you quit?”

Honestly, I’d never even considered quitting. My way has always been to go forward to the next place. I said, “Well I guess I’m not a quitter.” It hadn’t even occurred to me. I didn’t think about it.

The blessing in my life has been that as I’ve addressed what’s in front of me and use these opportunities to learn and grow, new opportunities continue to open up every step of the way. People miss what it means to complete what you’re doing. They want to break out or escape. If they aren’t winning, they want to walk away

But if you feel like you’re ready to throw in the towel, I would challenge you to become MORE engaged with your work. Go to your boss and say, “What should I do to learn and grow? What else in my job can I master?” If your boss can’t tell you, then you need to become the boss or move somewhere else. But in most cases, your boss will give you plenty of ideas as to what areas you need to work on.

People look to get into the “right” career, but they don’t look into the ways they can become the “right” person for the job. Talk to any employer and they’ll tell you employees who initiate and step into responsibility are critically hard to find.

Now, that means chances are if you’re reading this, you may not be the most desirable employee on the planet either. You might think you are, but what would your boss say? Ask yourself what you could do to become better.


It all comes back to the fact that people who find the purpose, meaning, and challenge in what they’re doing are the happiest, most satisfied people—and the best employees.


We had a 15,000-piece mailing campaign we were putting out. We hired a young man who was doing odd jobs and two temps from an agency. The two temps thought the work of stuffing envelopes was tedious. They put on music and spent the day complaining, and b.s.ing.

The young man who had been doing odd jobs simply got to work. He made a game of it. He challenged himself to see how many he could do, how quickly he could get it done, and how it could make it interesting. He ended up getting more accomplished than both of the temps combined and he enjoyed it. Today he’s a respected entrepreneur in Milwaukee!

Learn to love what you’re doing, and your passion will find you. Love life and create experiences in yourself and in others, no matter what pursuit you’re on. Live as an artistic creator of a creative human being (yourself) who takes responsibility for your life.

For more on living a life of purpose, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training weekend, where you’ll learn to get more satisfaction, more joy, and more meaning out of life, every single day. 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.


Like 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.