Contentment or Complacency?

Is it possible to be content and want more? Does it make you greedy to be driven and desire to gain more out of life? Too often we think that contentment excludes drive, or we mistake complacency for contentment, and being driven for being greedy. We think that somehow if we want to be more than we are, or have more than we do, that we are selfish, greedy, materialistic, or arrogant. Often we use the excuse of not wanting to think too much of ourselves to get out of growing and to remain complacent, stagnant, and just generally lazy and drifting.

It is easier to criticize someone who has accomplished something and label them than it is to actually challenge ourselves to achieve something better.

Here is something to consider. It is generally thought that if you are driven you are greedy. And if you are greedy, you can’t be humble and are therefore a snob labeled as only out for themselves. Greed is greed. Drive is drive. Someone who is driven but not greedy can actually show great humility. Here is how: If they are always striving to be more, they have recognized that they have more to offer people, more to give, more to be, and they are dedicated to the pursuit of being that better person. They realize that they have been given a greatness that they are responsible for developing. Some people look at this idea of having greatness as being stuck up, but I feel that if someone can understand that they are made for more than they are right now, and that life is not about them keeping everything for themselves, but rather to be more so they can be more for others, that sounds like a very not stuck up person to me.

I try every day to be content. That is, to know and be comfortable with who I am. It is being comfortable with who I am that allows me to be more. You see, if I am not comfortable in my own skin, I will spend my life trying to make others happy. The problem with this? I will never be good at being them and achieving the things they think are the most important. And vice versa. I shouldn’t try to achieve all their goals. They shouldn’t try to achieve my goals. So I should be content being me, and that will allow me to be comfortable making myself a better version of who I am. So you see, being content isn’t mutually exclusive to wanting more, and wanting more does not make you a self-centered arrogant person with no regard for others. Quite the opposite may be true.

We should all want to be more, and when we see others who have achieved greatness, instead of ridiculing them out of jealousy, why not be inspired by them? Usually when we find fault with someone who is successful, it can be traced to wanting what they have, but not wanting to work for it. It’s easy to shrug off what you want and don’t have and label the person who has it as too ambitious or greedy. Wouldn’t it be better if we spent time trying to find our own greatness? You can have things that other people have, but you have to be willing to work for it. This starts with knowing that you don’t have to try to be them, or to be someone else that you’re not. Next, you need to be okay with saying “I have awesome in me, and I want to bring it out.” That statement is neither selfish nor arrogant. Then, you have to recognize that who you are is good (contentment), and being okay with that, you can work at making your talent a skill, a habit, or a tool (drive).

There is a vicious cycle that happens that tends to kill the whole ‘being better’ thing. It starts with our fictional character Marvin. Marvin grows up in a house being told he can have or be anything he puts his mind to. As Marvin gets older he works hard and sometimes gets the things he wants, and sometimes doesn’t. When he sees his friend down the street get a new car from his parents, he decides that he wants one too, but knowing his parents can’t afford it, he gets a summer job saving every penny he earns. For awhile. Then it begins to get hard. There are other smaller items to buy that he has money for. His motivation begins to fade, and not many people are around to help motivate him. His friend is already driving the dream car. Marvin’s parents tell him it is good for him to value what he gets so he should keep working. But no one helps him set up a timeline, game plan, or any other milestone for that matter. Then the point is reached where he is either inspired by something to finish, or he gives up. If he doesn’t reach his goal, he is left if not properly encouraged or coached to reach one of two conclusions: 1) he failed and is a failure, which doesn’t help his self worth at all, or 2) he reasons in his head that somehow he was cheated, and that it isn’t fair that the other kid got the car with apparently no effort. Rarely would someone at this point say to themselves “Cheerio, better luck next time.” On the other hand, in the scenario where he gets the car, he becomes the target of criticism from people jealous or insecure. Often in the first circumstance the idea of resentment begins to form, and out of seemingly nowhere, the idea begins that those with things that we have not been able to achieve either cheated, rode on the backs of others, or brown-nosed their way to the top. The reality is that most of the time this isn’t even close to being true. It takes hard work to achieve success, and even if you inherit success in the form of a family business, or fortune of some sort, it still takes work to maintain it. In the second circumstance, the path of success can become hard and lonely and may make young people who have succeeded in an area belittle their own achievements in an attempt to regain the approval of less successful peers.

To have more you have to expand your thinking to include more. You have to be open to contentment going hand in hand with improvement and drive. You have to know the difference between greed and motivation. And you have to understand that sharing success is not arrogance. It is inspiration. To be humble is not to resign yourself to mediocrity, but rather to recognize your potential for more, and be prepared to grow where needed.

With all of this out there, do yourself a favor. Be okay with being you. Be okay with becoming awesome. Share your success. Encourage and be inspired! Don’t be jealous, or hold grudges against success. Find someone who has become what you want to become, and do what they did. You can’t control what people think of you. It’s up to them if they choose to be inspired by your achievements, or choose to be jealous of what you have accomplished. Continue to share so that those needing a beacon of hope can see that light, and swim out of the ocean of mediocrity. Own it! Do it! Be Better!

Do you want to be more comfortable in your own skin? Do you want to have tools to be more? Do you want to learn more about yourself to better prepare for your future? Then subscribe here to take my FREE course 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams.

Investing in Yourself: Why You Owe it to Others to be a Little Selfish

Investing in yourself is essential to success. Taking time to do the things that you need and want to do is often viewed as selfishness, but it can become the deciding difference between mediocrity and prosperity.

If I am not careful, I will start sounding like a cheesy self-help author looking for another sale, hyping you up about yourself, only for you to drop off the artificial high with no long-lasting life change. That model doesn’t work. It’s based more on emotion than improvement and measurable success. On making you feel better rather than driving you to BE better.

Instead, I’m here to talk about real self investment. The kind that you make when you pay for a membership at a gym, or when you pay for budgeting help, or pay for personal coaching. It’s the investment that says “I want something different than I have, and I am willing to put in my time, money, AND energy to achieve it.” There are two things that drive people to make these kinds of investments: guilt and a sense of self-worth. The ones who feel guilty are the ones who invest in themselves because they think that if they achieve a certain goal, then they will have value. The ones who invest because they already believe themselves to have self-worth are the ones who say “I am worth this time, money, and energy.” Who do you think gets better results? And who do you think is going to get burnt out sooner?

Think about the people you know. What ones are more attractive to you? More than likely, the ones who are comfortable in their own skin, who aren’t comparing themselves to others standards of measurement, but seem driven for more. These people have little room for jealousy, but instead choose to be inspired by the success of others. Now think about someone you know who spends time on themselves to create a sense of self-worth. Are they afraid of what people think of them? Are they secure or insecure? Do they stick with activities if they don’t see a change in how people view them? Do they get negative if they don’t feel better about themselves?

Then there’s a third group of people. The ones who don’t invest in themselves. There are a lot of those out there, and, at risk of being too general, this high percentage of the population rarely accomplishes anything notable. Talent isn’t worth anything unless it is practiced and used. Someone like that may have huge amounts of talent and achieve small amounts of success, but they have no work ethic; they will not amount to anything.

One last concept before I tie everything together. If you are going to bring water to, say, your dog, you can’t pour water into his bowl from an empty pitcher, right? You have to fill the pitcher at the sink, and then fill up the water dish. People are the same way. You can’t give anyone what you don’t have. Do you want to be known as someone who is outgoing, has energy, is generous with your time efforts, or even your money? Then you first have to have those things. Have you ever felt tired and drained at the end of a day? You are just that. Drained. You gave all day and didn’t get filled back up. In order to give like you want, you have to first put those things into yourself.

You have to believe that you cannot give what you don’t have. And you can’t achieve results where you haven’t put in effort. Successful athletes, business owners, entrepreneurs, all have one thing in common. They have spent time, money, and effort getting coaches, marketers, or business analysts to “pour” into their efforts, and have brought out the success that we see on the news, at sporting events, or while buying their products and wishing we had their success. If you want it, you have to invest in it. Which means investing in yourself first. Think about it. We invest in better clubs to play better golf, we invest in better funds to have a better retirement, in a better car to get more use or enjoyment out of it. We invest in our kids, or our spouse, or our work, or our career. Don’t you think it would be okay if you spent some time investing in yourself? Don’t you think you kids and spouse would gain from you being a better version of yourself? Or your job from you being more relaxed and confident? You will thank yourself if you take the time to put back into you the things you want to give to others. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you to become the best possible version of you! And just watch, you will achieve far beyond any limits you think are holding you back!!

 

 

If you are interested the ideas presented here and want to get started making a better you, take advantage of my  Free 14 day course to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams by following this link: http://stephenandrewcoaching.com/free-course/

 

Knowing What You Have to Offer: Why Companies Will Hire You if You Tell Them What You’re Bad At.

Do you want to know a secret? Well, here is a secret about people interviewing you: we want to know how much you know about yourself.

I have interviewed hundreds of people for lots of different jobs. One thing that is important is for you to know what you are doing with your life, and what you are going to add to the team. But believe it or not, I would also love it if you told me what you were not good at! Really! Most people know how to brag about themselves, or how to tell an interviewer all about the best things that they have to offer. But additionally, an employer would be thrilled to know what they can help you with, or what kinds of things you are not good at for a few reasons. One is that if you do not tell them about something that is a problem and they find out later, it doesn’t do a lot for the work relationship. It’s hard to recover from a loss of trust. Two is that someone who knows their weaknesses is someone who is self-aware. They know their limits, and this usually means they will either find ways to work around them, or they will communicate better when they are having difficulty. Third, someone who can admit that they have a weakness is most likely someone who will be easy to manage.

Honesty and integrity are things that have been put on the back burner in people’s desire to promote themselves. I am not advocating telling a potential employer why you think that you’re a bad idea to hire. What I am advocating is transparency. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, I would rather you tell me that in an interview or very early on, than have to write you up for being late. Being honest will ultimately result in win/win situations. The employer knows what they are getting, and you are more likely to get the support you need.

You will find that the most successful people know their limitations. Success isn’t based on being able to do everything perfectly, it is based on being able to use the resources within your reach to achieve things. In order for people to be willing to help you, they have to trust you. Something that you can do to be more aware of yourself is to find several people that you really trust and ask them to give you a list of what your strengths are. And then to also give you a list of your weaknesses. Knowing is half the battle, as they say. If you want to increase your strengths, then you can look at your list of weaknesses and begin to work on these areas of opportunity. A word of warning though, you will rarely turn a weakness into a forte. Your time is almost always best spent finding solutions to your areas of opportunity, than spending all your time trying to reverse your natural tendencies. You have talents. Be awesome at those, and be aware of your opportunities!

If you do this, you will dramatically increase the success of the interviews you have! It will make you a more attractive candidate to a potential employer, and it will help you win in the long run. If you can identify your weaknesses, then you actually are in a stronger position. Someone who doesn’t know what to watch out for is much more likely to fall into the pit of their own shortcomings. Be aware, be honest, and you will increase your chances of getting a job you enjoy!! Good luck!!

 

If you are interested in being better at knowing your strengths and areas of opportunity, or just want to get to your goals more quickly take my FREE course 14 days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams at the following link: http://stephenandrewcoaching.com/free-course/ Here you will learn how to be honest with yourself, how to manage your time, to set and achieve goals and more!

Avoiding the Kid Stigma: 5 Ways to Integrate Successfully into the Adult Professional World

How do I get the world to take me seriously? How do I make more than minimum wage? How do I actually get a job? Why won’t they promote me at work?

As someone who has been a leader and manager for multiple companies and in volunteer organizations I am often asked these questions. I am a young professional that has had to go through challenges around this topic. I have also interviewed hundreds of young people for jobs, been in charge of recruiting, training, promoting, and managing key positions in multiple companies and organizations, and I wanted to share some thoughts with young people about this issue.

If you are looking for an article that tells you that the world is out to get you and that they owe it to you to hear your opinion, you should read a different article. If you want me to tell you that if they would just give you a chance, you could show them, then you may have difficulty with this article. On the other hand, if you want to know how to get noticed, how to get hired, how to make more money, then I ask you to consider the contents of article.

First impressions – First impressions are huge! Don’t underestimate the impression you make in the first 15 seconds of interaction at a potential new job. I have interviewed hundreds of employees but have hired many less than that. While you want to have individuality and be ‘cool,’ you need to think about how you look, sound, and carry yourself. If you get a phone screening for a job and they tell you on the phone that appearance standards require you to be clean shaven with no facial piercings or visible tattoos, but then you show up to a face-to-face interview with a goatee, earrings, and a ghetto chain around your neck, I am going to wonder how serious you are about getting this job. Ladies, wear clothing that is tasteful and doesn’t reveal everything. 

Plain and simple, like it or not. How you dress is huge. The millennial generation and generation X individuals that I have interviewed have shown up in everything from shirt and tie, to a skirt slit up to the hip, to torn jeans and an oversize t-shirt that looked like it hadn’t been washed in three days and said “Ask me if I care.”

Next, make eye contact, firmly shake a hand that is offered, and speak clearly. You don’t impress me when you fidget in your seat, won’t look at me, and don’t know how to answer basic questions clearly. If you don’t want to be viewed and treated like a kid, don’t act like one. If you want to act like one, then don’t be surprised when your results reflect you attitude – mediocre. On the other hand, if you show up to an organization meeting, interview, or to meet with someone you wish to work for, dress neatly in clean, pressed, professional clothes, shake hands firmly like you mean it, make eye contact, and don’t mumble, you set yourself so high above the crowd that your chances of getting what you came for increase exponentially.

Achievement – You need to have achieved something for me to be interested in you as a prospect for anything. If you can’t achieve anything on your own initiative, then what does that tell me about your initiative at work or in this organization?  Actually achieve something in your life and know what it is, and how to talk about it. If you are 18 or 19 and your greatest achievement is that you helped your mom with chores on the weekends, or that you got a summer job, once, a couple years ago, I will probably write off your accomplishment as not valuable. On the other hand, if you bought your grades up at school through hard work, or you placed well in a sport, or you made a new personal best score in a sporting event or other type of activity that was a personal goal you made, then I will see you as someone who can set a goal and achieve it.

Want to work – This sounds crazy, right? Who WANTS to work? People who see that hard work produces good results. People like that don’t dread work for two reasons. One, they have probably found or are looking for something they enjoy doing. Two, they know that without work they will never have more than the success, time freedom, or money than they have now. Work can be a means to an end. It can also be an enjoyable activity. You need to find something about your job that you like and keeps you coming back. If you can’t find anything, then you must get a new job because you are cheating yourself, and will end up cheating the company out of your effort. Additionally, if you are in an interview and your reason for applying and interviewing for this job is “My  mom wants me to have a job,” then I know that you will not be invested and will probably put forth very little effort for me. Companies are in business to make a profit and if they don’t think you will produce for them, why should they hire you? If that sounds like evil company talk, then just remember that if companies didn’t make money, there would be no companies, and there would be no jobs. No jobs equals no money to pay you anything at all.

Once you have been hired and are working at a company, don’t complain about how much you are making, or ask for more, or complain about the work you are doing, unless you have a really good reason for why things should be different. “Because you think so” is not really a good reason. Put yourself in the seat of the company. Would you hire someone that you didn’t think would care when they came to work? Would you keep someone who hated working for you even though you are paying them a wage they agreed to work for? Would you promote someone because they complain about how little they make? Or would you promote someone because they go above and beyond on what you are currently paying them? Now, think about how your employer sees you and ask yourself why it matters whether you want to work. It matters to you because the less you want to work, the higher you are on the list of people to get rid of. So do yourself a favor and actually care about doing what you are getting paid for. And remember that at the end of the day, you agreed to the terms of the job. So it is actually your integrity that’s on the line!

Give 110% – It is really important that you work at work. That you put effort into what you do. Even if not everything you do is something you enjoy, people notice a good work ethic. Put yourself into the employer chair again. Even if you knew someone didn’t love what they had to do every day, but they worked hard anyway, would you give them a recommendation to another job? Would you consider paying them more? Would you be more likely to listen when they had comments about the job or environment? Now again consider how your employer looks at you. Are you coming into work ready to work? Are you showing up ready to do whatever the job demands? Or, when asked to do something, are you doing it grudgingly? Are you saying things like “I am not doing that for what I am getting paid”? As an employer I am not likely to hire or promote someone who is a complainer, hard to manage, or has to be told to work while at work.

Conduct yourself professionally – I often hear from young people that they wonder why they are not considered for management opportunities or promotions. But when you look at their conduct, they do things like tell stories about customers in the hearing of other customers, talk about drinking, getting drunk or other things not appropriate to a professional environment, or use bad language. On top of that, they are inconsiderate. Let me explain this one. If one of your managers comes to you and asks you not to talk about something, or to put your phone away, or addresses another behavior, and you respond with “Well, I don’t see why this is a problem,” you are showing your lack of listening, understanding, and an inability to handle authority. It is inconsiderate when you don’t consider others, and assume that everyone else should be okay with you talking about your night last night, how you got drunk over the weekend, or how hot you thought a customer was. Just because you don’t see the problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

When you are at work, don’t goof around, talk about questionable subjects, or let your dress get sloppy because you think it shouldn’t matter. You need to be able to take feedback, accept authority without constant challenging, and uphold the standards you agreed to uphold when you were hired. If you cannot do these things, you will not be given the authority to manage others under the same set of guidelines you so blatantly ignore.

These may sound harsh to some, and like no-brainer material to others, but if you want to hear it from someone who comes from among your generation, then take it from me. I am an example of someone who has been given a lot of responsibility at a very young age, and I do it by applying these principles at work and in life. Because of this, I manage many people my age and older, and a lot of people just barely younger. If you apply these concepts, you will light a rocket toward success.

 

If you are interested in more ways to be taken seriously, achieve more, and be more of a candidate for the jobs you want, then take my FREE course 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams by clicking here!