Do You Know Why You Get up in the Morning?

Why do you live life? What drives you? Do you live just trying to make it to tomorrow? Do you live only thinking that if you make it to tomorrow maybe life will be better? Do you live in the past thinking that best has already come and gone and now life is misery until it ends?

These are questions that I think we have to ask ourselves if we ever intend to make real change in our lives, or have any real joy. Think about it. When someone becomes a Christian their focus changes to living a life of obedience to Christ and a hope of eternal life. When a great athlete such as Lou Gehrig, or recently Tom Brady, plays, they are playing from passion, either for the game, or for someone they care about. It drives them. When someone starts a new small business they put in a lot of effort and really pour their energy into it. If you were to talk to these people right after change took place, or while they were getting started, or while they were working hard at being the best, I would bet that you would see someone who gets up in the morning learning from the past to shape the future.

I have worked with hundreds of young people over the last few years, and want to share two examples. There is a young man I know of 28 who does not have plans for the future. When he comes to work, his life consists of trying to make enough money to pay bills. He is working for tips. This leads to stress and a great deal of job dissatisfaction that comes out almost daily. He gets upset about how much people underneath him make. He gets upset about how much other positions in his workplace make. He complains about the hours. And yet, he is not actively looking to change his position by leaving his current job and getting a different one that is a better fit, pays more, or just “appreciates him more,” like he claims to want. Why? Because he has trapped himself. He has a four year degree, workplace experience, and a great mind. But he won’t think bigger picture.

On the other end of the spectrum is a young man working at the same place, same pay, same workplace responsibilities. But he wants more out of life. He hasn’t even fully formulated what that looks like, but he knows that for anything to be different he has to want it first. To look for it. To seek what his different and better looks like. In the time I have known him he has gained control of his money, begun to resolve some relationship issues with his parents, and gained leadership experience that will help him for the rest of his life.

The difference between these two young men? Perspective. Purpose. Wanting something more. And, interestingly enough, you have to not be so self-centered that you don’t take care of yourself. The first young man is so focused on how he feels he is being wronged at work, that he is letting time and opportunity pass him by. The second young man is more focused on being his best self and helping others in a way that he will have unlimited opportunities open to him.

If you want a different life you need to think beyond the problems of today. You need to put something in front of you that you’re passionate about and meant to live for. When you do that, it’s a whole lot easier to get up early, to work hard, to stay focused, to say ‘no’ to distractions. You can be a lot more fulfilled and happy when you know that each day you get up is a day that matters. A day to help someone, a day to make yourself the best version of you yet, or a day to inch closer to a realized dream. When you’re just living to get through the day, it’s a sign of insecurity, dare I say selfishness, and an unwillingness to let go of your problems long enough to grasp something better. It may sound harsh, but often misery is self inflicted. Living for something that gives you purpose, looking to be better, makes the here and now matter more. It’s easier to be content when you know that life isn’t about surviving another moment. It’s about making your moments count. What are YOU living for?

 

If you want to begin the journey towards discovering your purpose, click here to take my FREE course, 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams.

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!