Can you answer this question? (If not, your passion is at risk!)

who are you

Over the last fifteen years of helping people find career passion, I have seen two major mistakes that suck people down into work that feels mediocre and uninspired.

One is not getting really clear on what makes them feel energized and alive. The other, if they have that awareness, is a lack of action to align their career with it.

When people feel  bored and uninspired in their work, or when that work feels mundanely “fine” but isn’t hitting their sweet spot, it is almost always because the work they are doing is out of synch with who they are and what is naturally energizing for them.

You can’t fix the second mistake without addressing the first, so that’s what I want to focus on today.

A question of identity

Have you ever known anyone who lost their job and suddenly felt untethered because they didn’t have that title on their business card to identify with? Or someone who recently retired who struggled with finding a post-career identity?

Those are both perfect examples of people who haven’t answered the following question.

“Who am I without my job?”

It seems like a simple question, but the answer just might be harder than you think. And it’s not just important for job seekers and those in the post-career stage of life. In fact, it’s a key question to understand if you want to consciously, continuously create a career you love.

As I have mentioned many times in the past, my definition of passion is “the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.”

It’s a simple, common-sense definition. The more what we’re doing is in synch with what naturally energizes us, the more alive we feel.

Answer the question

“Bringing more of YOU into what you do,” requires clarity. To use “who you are” as a career guidance system, the first step is answering that question – who are you without your job? And I don’t mean just a description of the roles you play in your non-work life. I mean something more fundamental.

You can start to build the answer to this by looking at it from multiple angles, asking questions like:

  • What lights you up? (I suggest starting with identifying your energizers.)
  • What do you care about?
  • What values do you want to embody?
  • What legacy do you want to leave? Why?

It can sometimes be helpful to look at it from the perspective of what feels out of synch and then exploring its opposite. You can ask questions like:

  • What feels like a bur under my saddle? Why does it bother me? What would an ideal alternative be? What does that mean about me and how I’m wired?

Make your work a reflection of you

The more clear you are about what energizes you, when you feel in the groove, and what feels meaningful, the more you can make decisions that help you align with that.

Instead of seeing your career path as something that gives you an identity, you start looking at it as a way to experience who you are. For example, once I help my clients identify their innate energizers, they are able to explore career paths that would allow them to experience them. The work becomes a delivery vehicle for those energizers.

Put another way, when your path is aligned with who you are, your identity isn’t the title on your business card. The title on your business card is a reflection of your identity.

Write it down

I encourage you to build a conscious picture of who you are, and use it to guide your career. Even if you read that and think, “I already know who I am,” I encourage you to write it down. Take it out of your head and out in front of you. It will help both refine it and give you the ability to more readily use the insight as a guidance tool.

Identifying your energizers is a solid first step. You can use those to help you explore where the future could take you, as well as to evaluate career decisions large and small.

So who are you without your work? Is your work a reflection of that? If not, there’s no better time than right now to start taking steps to change that.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

11 career change mistakes that will keep you stuck

11 career change mistakes

For the last fifteen years, I have had a front row seat on people’s desire to make a change in their career. Over the course of that time, I have seen the same mistakes show up repeatedly — mistakes that have either kept people stuck or doomed their previous career change efforts to failure. 

Today, I want to share some of those mistakes. 

If you feel like a career change might be lurking on the horizon, go through each of these mistakes and ask yourself, “Am I making this one?”


Believe it or not, discovering that you’re making any of these mistakes is good news. Why? Because if you’re making it, it’s holding you back whether you’re aware of it or not. Once you’re aware of it, you can start doing something about it. 

Mistake #1 – Saying, “I can’t.”

This is probably the biggest, baddest, ugliest career change mistake I see, with the most negative impact of any of them. The reason it’s so impactful is pretty obvious – if you say you can’t, you won’t. Which means you’re stuck with staying stuck.

If you find yourself pondering a career change and hear “I can’t” in response, I encourage you to question that assessment. Look for a second opinion. If you need to, flat out call bullshit on yourself.

Time and again I have seen people realize that they really can make a change. It might take longer than they want, or take a different track to get there, or even lead to a different outcome than they initially envisioned, but change is possible so much more often than people realize.

Mistake #2 – Taking action without inner clarity

Here’s another huge one. So many people come to me after taking the career-bouncing approach to finding their path. “This one looks good. Nope, it’s not. I think I would love this one. Oops. Never mind. Oh, this one is it! Hmmm…yeah, not so much.”

And almost without exception the trouble is that they aren’t able to clearly articulate what would leave them feeling energized and engaged. They aren’t able to say, “This is what makes me tick. This is what I want to experience in my work.”

Without that inner clarity, any career choice is little more than a crap shoot (small wonder so many people are unhappy in their careers

This blog post on finding your energizers is a good first step. 

Mistake #3 – Taking action without clarity of direction

This one is the other side of the coin of the lack of inner clarity. If you have a change you want to make, stop and ask yourself, “Why?”

If you can’t give yourself a good solid answer that is at largely based on what makes you tick (as opposed to external factors like “it’s a growth opportunity / the pay is good / people will be impressed”), any change you make puts you in danger of yet another “oops, that’s not it” experience.

So it’s not just having direction – you can pull any ol’ job out of a hat and find that. It’s having the right direction, one where you can seriously say, “Yeah, I would find it energizing to do that day in and day out for the next ten years.”

Mistake #4 – Jumping out of the frying pan (and into the fire)

When you’re unhappy with your current work, it can be tempting to solve it by jumping ship. If you haven’t gotten that inner clarity to understand what energizes you, there’s a high risk you’ll just be jumping out of one job that doesn’t work for you into another.  

Mistake #5 – Looking at too short a timeframe

I would love to tell you that I have found the magic wand solution for changing careers that will let you do it easily at the flip of a switch, but as far as I can tell, it doesn’t exist.

Career change isn’t a just-add-water endeavor. It tends to take time. People who make the big dramatic transition are the exception, not the rule.

If you’re looking for the dramatic change, it’s easy to look at shifting careers and think, “It’s not possible.” And in the short run, that might be true. You might not have the experience, knowledge, connections, or financial foundation to make that immediate change.

But if you take a more realistic longer term view, where you identify what needs to be done and start taking steps, you will often find that change is much more feasible.

Mistake #6 – Being impatient

Impatience can have a negative effect in so many ways. It is a key component leading to many of the other mistakes discussed here.

For example, frequently one of the reasons people end up on career paths they don’t like is that they haven’t done the self-exploration required to have a really clear picture of what kind of work would tap into what lights them up (mistake #2).

Or they jump the gun on making a change because taking action is more comfortable than doing the foundational work they need to do in order to make solid choices (mistake #3).

Or they want to make a change and they want to make it now, and when they can’t, that change feels like it’s not possible (mistake #5).

Mistake #7 – Taking a rigid approach

Another mistake I see is being too rigid on what that career change will look like, and/or how it will unfold.

Staying open to the unfolding (you take steps, and that opens doors and yields insights and ideas you could never have seen from the vantage point of where you started) lets you take full advantage of the possibilities as they unfold, not just the ones you see at the beginning.

Mistake #8 – Lack of preparation

Change – especially big change – is seldom a walk in the park. The more you can prepare in advance for making a change, the less it will feel like a terrifying free fall.

That preparation might entail building a nest egg to cushion the financial challenges of making a change. Or it could be spending time cultivating a network ahead of time in your new field. Or it might look like building your knowledge and expertise by taking classes, or creating your own self-study curriculum.

Mistake #9 – Not building inner support

Navigating your life when things go sideways is challenging even in the best of circumstances. Add the uncertainty and turmoil that a major change can bring, and it gets even more stressful. Developing a solid inner foundation to stand on is vital.

The greater your internal stability, the less potential external circumstances have to throw you, and the easier the inevitable bumps and bruises will be to navigate.

You build that inner foundation through practices like meditation, mindfulness, and learning to question the negative stories you tell about your situation.

Basic well-being blocks like a healthy diet and exercise also play a huge role in developing a solid foundation for change.

Mistake #10 – Not building outer support

Think you’re going to do this alone? Think again. The sooner you start consciously building support networks into your life, the better.

That support takes many different forms. It could include things like emotional support, mentoring support, inspiration support (for example, peers who are doing things in the world you find inspiring), healthy habits support, and logistical support.

Mistake #11 – Not starting now

Last but definitely not least, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not starting now. Why? Because not starting now often leads to not starting tomorrow, or next month, or next year. And the next thing you know, you’re looking back at the last twenty years and wishing you had made a change earlier. Don’t believe me? I wish I were making it up, but I hear that story all the time.

Starting now doesn’t mean diving into the deep end with full-on change. It means identifying what steps need to be taken and taking them, one by one.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide


7 ways to feel more juice in your job

Whether you love your job or loathe it, there is always the potential to feel more energized and less stressed.

If you want to feel more juice on the job, one option is changing what you experience (what happens at work). But that’s only one side of the coin. And if that’s all you do, you’re missing out on a lot of the potential for positive change.

The other side of the coin is changing how you relate to what you experience – something you have infinitely more control over.

I have developed a program called “More Juice in Your Job” that integrates both those approaches to changing things for the better. It builds on my fifteen years helping people feel more energized and alive at work and draws deeply from neuroscience and psychology research.

[Check out my More Juice coaching group, starting Tuesday, February 2nd.]

Here are a few ways you can take steps to feel more juice in your job.

Do an energy audit

It all starts with taking a detailed look at your work situation and getting clarity about what’s working for you and what’s not.

Begin with a “personal energy audit.” Ask yourself, “What about my work energizes me? What drains me?” Your goal is to get a detailed view you can start taking action on.

The resulting “energy gain” list gives you defined areas to build on. How can you bring more of each of what energizes you into the picture?

The “energy drain” list gives you specific aspects of your work that you can explore how to reduce or even eliminate.

A decade and a half of experience with this has taught me that jobs frequently have much more malleability than most people realize, especially when you sculpt them with changes over time.

Explore grounding practices

Many people go through their days like a Catherine Wheel firework – spinning around with sparks flying off in all directions.

Developing a grounding practice (like meditation) can give you a more solid foundation to stand on. It can also be a tool you can reach for on the fly when you feel your day getting stressful or irritating.

Meditation has been proven to have many benefits, including decreased stress, reduced anxiety, and greater ability to focus.

Cultivate present-moment presence

Most people spend very little time in the here-and-now. They put a lot of energy into dwelling on things in the post or worrying about things in the future.

Cultivating a present-moment presence through a practice like mindfulness pays off in multiple ways. First, it reduces the stress of ruminating on the past and worrying about the future.

Second, it makes you more aware of what is actually happening, both internally and around you. That in turn can cut the puppet strings of unaware reactivity, letting you guide your actions and reactions more consciously.

Extensive research has shown that a mindfulness practice reduces stress, turns down the volume on anxiety, and improves both your focus and working memory.

Manage your stories

The world you experience isn’t the world as it actually is. It’s simply the world as you perceive it. Two people can have the exact same thing happen and have their experience of it be vastly different. The difference is the story they each tell about it.

We all see the world through our own unique lens. That lens consists of the stories we tell about things. Stories about what’s good, what’s bad. About what should be and what shouldn’t. What we like and don’t like. Stories about what that comment from our boss meant. Or how important it was that you were five minutes late to that meeting this morning. And on and on.

What you see and experience is more a reflection of your stories than a picture of how the world really is. Don’t believe me? Think about how you saw the world in junior high compared to how you see it now. Pretty different, right? It’s not the world that has changed. It’s your lens.

The good news is that, because your stories aren’t cast in stone (even if they might sometimes feel like they are), you can change them. And when you change your story, you change your experience.

Manage your focus

What you focus on impacts what you experience and how you feel. On top of that, because of the way the brain is constantly rewiring itself, your focus lays down the neural track for what you’re likely to experience and feel in the future.

Consciously directing your focus in a positive direction (e.g., through a gratitude practice or a habitual asking, “What’s good here?”) both changes your experience of the here-and-now and builds a framework for a more positive experience in the future.

Take a heart view

Bringing your heart to work isn’t advice you’re likely to get in many career books, but I’m convinced it has a huge impact on feeling more juice in your job.

Research shows that self-compassion leads to reduced stress, greater happiness, increased productivity, and greater resilience (bouncing back from adversity).

Cultivating compassion for others has been shown to make you happier and less stressed. Practices like loving-kindness meditation have been shown to increase a wide range of positive emotions like love, joy, and gratitude. These in turn have an impact on how people see themselves, how they interact with others, even on their physical health.

Wilder still, your physical heart can actually influence your brain. Research from the HeartMath Institute has shown that focusing on your heart while experiencing feelings like love and compassion has an impact on your brain, sending it messages to chill out and relax (that’s the scientific description, I believe).

Go beyond yourself

Getting outside your own personal bubble of self-preoccupation and focusing on something beyond yourself is a great way to feel more energized and inspired.

For example, you can look for opportunities to make a difference. Maybe that is through your work, but it might be as simple as helping a colleague, or even just offering a warm smile. Studies show that doing good is good for you. It makes you happier, reduces stress, and has a positive impact on your health.

In summary, feeling more juice in your job isn’t just a matter of changing your situation. It’s about improving both what you experience and how you relate to what you experience. The more inner resources you can cultivate, the bigger the potential to feel energized and alive, and less stressed, wherever you go.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

Energized & Open: Twin Keys to Unleashing Your Full Potential

For much of the last fifteen years, I have seen the work I do in terms of one single continuum – from drained to energized. My goal has been to help people move up the continuum from feeling drained in their work towards being energized by it.

But more and more I have come to see another continuum as an equally important piece of the puzzle – one running from constricted to open.

Here’s how I picture the two of them together:

Constricted to Open and Drained to Energized

Want the super-nutshell version of how to use this framework? Here it is:

Make choices and take actions that move you toward feeling more energized and more open. Spend as much time as you can in the upper right of this graph.

Couldn’t be simpler, right? Right. Except it’s not a one-and-done approach. It’s something you do every single day.

(And if that feels overwhelming, consider that you are already making choices and taking actions that are sending you in one direction or the other on each of these continuums – this is just about doing it consciously.)

Life in perpetual motion

Your work life is in perpetual motion along both of these continuums.

Sometimes you feel more energized, sometimes more drained. Sometimes you feel more open, other times more constricted. And it happens on multiple time scales.

At a small time scale, you might feel more energized one moment when working on something particularly fun. Another moment you might feel more drained after a donut-induced sugar crash.

One moment you might feel more open as you brainstorm and explore possibilities for achieving a vision that inspires you. Another moment might find you feeling more constricted when that irritating co-worker gets your goat yet again.

On a broader scale, you can feel more energized when you feel like you are doing work you love. Or more drained when you feel like nothing about the work you do makes any real difference.

Similarly, you might feel more constricted if you habitually stress about things, or focus on what’s wrong. And cultivating practices like meditation and mindfulness can help you live more consistently on the open end of the continuum.

Putting it to work

This framework offers you a simple yet effective way to start exploring and making changes, both long-term and in the here-and-now.

Thinking of your life along these two continuums allows you to do a simple check-in, followed by a look at action you can take. You can ask:

  • Where am I on each of those continuums?
  • What would allow me to move in the direction of more energized?
  • What would help me move towards more open?”

You can do that in the big picture, shaping the trajectory of your career towards work that energizes you and cultivating practices (like meditation or mindfulness) that help you feel less constricted and more open.

You can also do it on a day-by-day, even moment-by-moment basis. Make a habit of checking in with yourself on a daily basis and asking where you are on each of those continuums. Follow that up by asking how you could move more towards energized and/or open.

How it improves your career (and your life)

This simple way of looking at things offers a framework that can change your career and your life for the better in multiple ways. It can:

Improve your quality of life

When you are more energized and more open, life feels better. Simple as that.

Energize your success

When you feel more energized, you have more to put into whatever you do. And when you align what you do with what naturally energizes you, it creates an energy loop where what you do gives you energy that you can in turn put back into what you do.

Create space for your success

The less constricted and more open you are, the more space there is for your success to unfold.

Imagine letting go of a constricting factor like habitual worry. What impact would that have? What might that worry be keeping you from? What new opportunities might you be open to in the space that creates? How might you be able to perform better?

Help you have a greater impact on the world

Moving towards the energized and open ends of the continuums increases your ability to have an impact on the world. This runs the full range from the impact you have moment to moment on the people around you to a greater ability to breathe life into your goals and visions.

If you want to make the most of what life has to offer, tap into what energizes you and give that energy space to flow. You’ll enjoy life more. You’ll achieve more. And you’ll have a greater impact on the world around you.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

4 steps to feel more energized and alive at work

fireworks happy new year 2016

Happy New Year!

To start the year off, I want to share a simple four-step approach to feeling more energized and alive at work in the year to come.

Step One

On a scale of 1 – 10, rate how energized and alive you feel at work.

Step Two

Ask yourself, “What could I do to increase that rating?”

Don’t just think about the big leap changes (like how to increase the rating from a 4 to a 9). One of the ways people keep themselves stuck is thinking solely in terms of home run solutions.

The cumulative impact of small positive changes over time can make a surprisingly big difference. So ask yourself as well, “How could I bump this rating up a point?”

Think of the changes you can make in these three time scales:

What can I do right now?

Are there any easy, immediately implementable changes you can make right now? For example, if you feel disjointed because you are always pulled hither and thither at work, could you block out a regular time for a meeting with yourself? A time to reflect, focus, and plan?

What can I do in the medium term?

What positive changes can you set in motion that would take some time to work towards? An example of this might be aiming to take on a new role in your job that would require you to learn new skills.

What can I do in the long term?

Here’s where the home run thinking comes in. Look at your career in the big picture. Where do you want it to go? Are you on the right track? If not, what does the right track look like? Explore what your long-term vision is for your career. Then start looking at the immediate, medium-term, and long-term steps you can take to get you there.
The very fact that you are consciously moving towards an objective that inspires you can be energizing.

Step Three

Ask yourself, “What could I change about myself that would bump that rating up?”

When we think about “career passion,” we tend to think in external terms. The work we do. The goals we’re inspired by.

But the internal picture is a vital component as well. For example, you can have the best job in the world, but if you are so habitually stressed that you can barely see straight, the degree to which you can feel energized by your work is limited.

Some examples of “self changes” include:

• Developing a meditation practice.
• Exploring mindfulness.
• Eating a healthier and more energizing diet.
• Staying well hydrated (this is one of the easiest and least acknowledged ways to feel better that I know of).
• Questioning and changing your negative stories. Is there another interpretation of an experience that might be equally true, more positive, and have less of a negative impact on how you feel?
• Something as simple as pausing a few times throughout your day to focus on your breath for 60 seconds.

In my own life, my big area of focus right now is on what I eat. The better I eat, the more energy I have in my day, the more focused I feel, and the more I enjoy my work. It has a huge impact both on how energized I feel and how well my brain works.

The more you can cultivate a solid internal foundation, the more inner stability you have. The more inner stability you have, the bigger the emotional buffer you have for when things go sideways, and the more ability you have to fully engage and enjoy what’s going right.

Step Four

Focus on one thing per month.

Pick one external change and one internal change, and focus on each of those for one month. When February comes, do that again. Same with March. And Apr…well, you get the idea.

Make the beginning of each month the opportunity for a “New Month’s Resolution.” Not only does this make it more bite-sized and manageable (while still being big enough to have an impact), it builds in regular check points to help bring your focus back to positive change if you have wandered.

So there you have it. Four steps to make the most out of 2016. Good luck!

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

How to be happier at work by making a difference

Over the last few weeks I have been facilitating a coaching group focused on how to feel more energized and alive in your here-and-now at work. In the last session today, we’re focusing in part on how to amplify your feeling of making a difference at work.

Numerous studies have shown that feeling like your work has a positive impact on others improves both satisfaction and productivity. People who engage in giving and being of service to others report feeling more engaged, more motivated, and happier.

Make it your mission to make a difference

First, let’s look at a mindset that can set the stage for all the ideas mentioned below. Rather than just seeing your work in the context of your job description – what you get paid to do – think about the time you spend at work as a vehicle for having a positive impact.

Make it your mission to make a difference. Some of that will be directly related to your job. Other aspects will have no direct connection to the work you do.

Every day is packed with opportunities to make the world a bit better, to help people, to make an impact. Try making an experiment out of noticing and acting on those opportunities. Make it your focus for 30 days, and see what happens.

Recognize the positive impact of your work

Regardless of what your job is, someone, somewhere benefits from the work you do. That might be the end user of your organization’s product or service, or it might be someone within your organization.

Start by taking a look at how your work makes a difference, even in small ways. Does it make someone’s life easier? Does it give a co-worker the information they need to do their job? Does it prevent chaos from taking over?

If possible, connect with the person or people who benefit from your work. Make it personal.

Acknowledge and recognize

One of the easiest and most ubiquitous opportunities to make a difference is through acknowledgment and recognition. You don’t have to be in a position of authority to give recognition. Simply acknowledge people’s contribution. Give someone heartfelt thanks. Look for ways to help people feel valued. Write a gratitude note.

This has several benefits. First, it makes the people around you feel good (who doesn’t love to feel acknowledged?). Second, it feels good to do. And third, the more you notice what’s good about people and express it, the more of that you see.

Share knowledge

Look for opportunities to share your knowledge. It might be mentoring someone at an earlier stage of their career to help them navigate the path and thrive. It might be a particular skill you have that would be beneficial (e.g., how to communicate effectively). Or it might be helping new hires learn the ropes.

Start making a list of what you know that people might find beneficial. Look for opportunities to share it.

Generate and implement ideas

Be on the constant lookout for ways to make things better. That might entail bottom line driven ideas like how to save money or make money, or it could simply be ideas for how to improve the quality of life on the job for the people you work with.

Ask why, and ask it often. Question the status quo. Make it a habit to brainstorm ideas for positive change, challenging yourself to come up with at least one idea a day.

Cultivate community and connection

One way to make work a better place is to help cultivate a sense of community. Wherever you are on the org chart, you can contribute to this. It might be as simple as initiating regular lunch gatherings with the people you work with. If you are in a position of authority, it might involve more formal efforts like team building.

You can also foster that sense of community at the individual level. Start with your immediate work team. Get personal. Be curious. Ask questions. Get to know who they are behind the title on their business card.

Show you care. Bring a personal touch, acknowledging birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Support someone if you know they are having a challenging time, even if it’s as simple as giving them a card.

Share resources. Give recommendations for books to read that had a positive impact on you. Better yet, give someone an actual copy of the book.

Be the change

Ask yourself, “What kind of workplace do I want to experience?” Then make it your mission to embody that. How can you contribute to the environment you want to experience? Some examples of how you can “be the change” include:

  • Look for opportunities for acts of kindness.
  • Be a role model for positive attitude.
  • Refuse to join in on the negative (i.e., bitch-n-moan), and when possible, defuse it when others do.
  • Focus on what’s possible. Be a voice for possibility.

Many of the ideas discussed in some of the other categories above can fall into this category as well.

Look for opportunities to help and serve

Make it a habit to ask the simple question, “How can I help?” Try to make the helping and serving its own reward, rather than looking for acknowledgment.

That might be pitching in to help someone meet a deadline (keeping in mind that you need to take care of your own work balance). Or it might be noticing something that needs to be done (like cleaning the counter in the office kitchen, or making another pot of coffee).

Parting thought

When you make it your mission to make a difference at work, you create a whole new way of thinking about what you’re there to do. Yes, you’ll still do the things that you get paid for. But it also opens up a new way of thinking about what you’re there to do.

The bus driver whose goal is to make passengers smile. The CEO who sees one of her primary objectives as helping her employees thrive. The junior high school janitor who sees the purpose of his work as ensuring a clean environment for students to learn in.

It’s almost as though you are creating a second, parallel role for yourself, one built around a focus that research shows helps you feel more engaged, motivated, and happy.

Make it your mission to make a difference, and see how it feels.

Feel more juice in your job! 9 fundamental principles

More Juice in Your Job!

Would you like to feel more juice in your job? Want to feel more energized and less drained by your work?

Here are nine More Juice Principles I have discovered in the last 14+ years of helping people feel more energized and alive in their careers.

(If you’re feeling the need for more juice in your job, check out the 6-week coaching group I have coming up starting November 10th.)

Principle #1: You have the power to create change.

The first and most fundamental principle is that you have the power to create change. If you don’t buy that (or if you can’t at least stay open to the possibility), you might as well stop reading now.

Far too many people subscribe to a wholesale helplessness that exists nowhere but their minds.

Principle #2: Changing your experience is a more powerful goal than changing your situation.

Usually if people are in a work situation they’re unhappy with, the only possible solution they see is for whatever they’re unhappy with to change. They want the situation to be different.

While that is certainly one option, it’s not the only one.

The changes you can make range from making a wholesale change (like a career change) to changing what you do and how you do it within your current job, to changing how you relate to what you experience.

What’s more, some of the most impactful change you can make often has nothing to do with what’s happening externally in your work. Rather, it has to do with what’s happening right between your ears.

If you reframe your goal from changing the situation to changing your experience of the situation, you open up a treasure trove of possibility.

Principle #3: There is no broad brush.

We have a tendency to see the world at a broad brush level. If we’re feeling dissatisfied with our work, we think, “My job sucks!” If we’re having trouble in a relationship, we paint the entire thing as problematic.

But here’s the basic fact. Nothing you experience in your life – not your job, not your relationships, not your health, nothing – happens at a broad brush level. It’s all the sum total of many smaller things, some negative, and some positive.

When you think at the broad brush level, you’re limited in the positive changes you can make. If your job sucks, you have one option – to make a wholesale change. But if you recognize that your experience at work is actually built of a whole range of smaller positive and negative aspects, you have much more potential to change things for the better.

Principle #4: Think like a sculptor.

The previous principle paves the way for this one. When you identify both the positive and the negative – what energizes and what drains you, what facilitates flow and what blocks it – you can start taking a sculpting approach.

It’s as simple as asking these two questions:

• How do I bring more of what works into the picture?
• How do I reduce or eliminate what doesn’t work?

You can ask these questions as a way to do some first-aid on your current situation if you’re unhappy. You can also apply the sculpting approach over the long term to keep building a positive trajectory, bit-by-bit.

Make it a habit to look at the details of what’s happening in your of work on a regular basis. Ask these questions regularly and consistently make whatever changes you can.

Principle #5: Juice is an inside job.

Feeling more juice in your job isn’t just a matter of making changes in the job itself. It’s also about changing your experience of your job. It’s not just about changing what happens. It’s about changing how you relate to what happens.

In fact, if you only focus on making external changes, you’re missing a huge part of your potential for positive change.

In my work with clients (and in my own life), I have seen repeatedly what a difference internal changes can make, even when nothing external has changed.

And even if you’re in the perfect job, if your internal landscape creates obstacles to experiencing that juice, you’ll be limited in how energized you can really feel.

Principle #6: Your lens creates reality.

There is a saying that, “we don’t see the world as it is, but as we are.”

None of us sees “reality” as it actually is. We see it through the lens of the stories we tell. We don’t just experience, for example, what happens to us – we tell a story about what it means. The stories we tell create the filters of our perception.

If you have ever gotten into a heated debate with someone who doesn’t share your political views, you know what a powerful impact the lens we’re looking through can have on how we see the world. Different stories about “how the world is” create drastically different views.

We are all story-telling creatures. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s how we evolved to make sense of the world around us. The trouble comes when those stories create unnecessary negative experiences and limitations.
This basic fact underlying how we perceive the world offers an opportunity to sculpt our experience for the better. Changing the stories you tell changes your experience.

Principle #7: Your focus shapes your reality.

Just like your stories shape your perceived reality, your focus shapes your experience as well.

It’s not rocket science, really. The more your attention is occupied with positive, uplifting things (like gratitude, or noticing what’s good about your day), the greater percentage of the whole those things occupy.

And the more you focus your mind on the positive, the more you train your brain to notice it. It’s a virtuous circle.

Finally, the more you feed your brain positive input (whether through what you choose to focus on, conversations you have, or even the media you consume), the more it shapes a positive view that is likely to further color how you experience things.

Principle #8: You need a solid foundation.

Imagine yourself standing on one leg, balancing precariously on the edge of a high cliff. How comfortable would you be? Odds are good you would be a hair’s-breadth away from a stressful response to every little shift in the wind.

Now imagine yourself standing with both feet planted firmly on the ground in the middle of a beautiful meadow. You’re crouching slightly so your center of gravity is low and your balance is solid. Do you think you might feel any different in this situation?

That’s what creating a solid foundation (through a good diet, exercises, practices like mindfulness, meditation, breathing practices, etc.) can do for you. Most spend their days teetering on the edge of that cliff, without even realizing it.

Creating a solid foundation both changes how you experience the full range of what your days bring and builds a platform for continued positive growth.

Principle #9: It’s a holistic system.

Finally, recognize that feeling more juice in your job isn’t only influenced by what happens at work. You don’t live in isolated silos (a work silo, a relationship silo, a health silo, etc.). It’s all interconnected.

So if you really want to amp up your ability to feel more juice in your job, take a 360-degree look at your life. Apply Principle #4 (Think like a sculptor) to every aspect of your life.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

14 ways to change your life with a gratitude practice

gratitude note

I often describe gratitude as the well-being wonderdrug. It has a positive impact in multiple ways, from greater happiness, to better health, to reduced stress.

As part of my series on learning to love your life at work, I was initially going to dive deeper into the benefits of gratitude. Then I remembered the mother of all gratitude posts, 31 benefits of gratitude. So I decided to link to that and focus on ideas for developing a gratitude practice.

Most of the ideas here can be applied during your work day. I’m including a wider range of ideas because you don’t live in a work silo. The gratitude habit you develop in your whole life is the gratitude habit you will bring to work.

1. Take stock of the obvious

The first step is just to sit down and take stock of what you’re grateful for. Look around at your life in 360 degrees. What jumps out at you as obvious things you feel grateful for? Start making a list.

2. Keep a gratitude journal

At its simplest, a gratitude journal can entail sitting down before bed each night and writing down three to five things you can feel grateful about that day. Try to really feel the gratitude, as opposed to making it just an intellectual exercise.

If you want to go deeper, you might try something like keeping a Positive Journal.

3. Keep an ongoing gratitude list

Start with the initial list you made in your initial taking stock. Over time, keep adding new things to the list. You could even try doing a one (or more) a day challenge, adding at least one new thing to be grateful about every day.

These two posts on my Ripple Revolution blog have some good questions to ask as gratitude prompts:

17 gratitude-prompting questions for your gratitude journal

17 more gratitude-prompting questions

Pull the ever-growing list out on a regular basis and review the entire list, pausing to let yourself feel the gratitude.

4. Create gratitude reminders

Put up gratitude reminders to help you remember to look for things to be grateful for. Maybe you put up sticky notes where you will regularly see them. Maybe you print out the words “Thank You” and put it in a frame. Play with whatever will help keep gratitude awareness top of mind.

5. Take a gratitude walk

Go out for a walk with the intention of noticing things to feel grateful for. That might be a beautiful sunny day, or the way the rainy day is making the grass so vividly green, or the feeling of your legs moving, or the fact that your body works as well as it does. Once you start looking, you might be amazed at how much there is to feel grateful for.

6. Take a gratitude drive

This is similar to a gratitude walk, except you do it in the car. You can use any ol’ time behind the wheel – your commute, running errands, taking the kids to soccer practice – to practice finding things to be grateful for.

7. Have a gratitude meal

If you sit down with family for a meal on a regular basis, try making one of those meals a gratitude meal on a regular basis. Each person in turn can share something they’re grateful about, maybe even why they’re grateful, and what it means to them.

I love the idea of making this a frequent occurrence, especially with kids. The more our minds know they’re going to be called on with a “gratitude quiz,” the more they start to take note throughout the day. Imagine planting those seeds with your kids!

8. Find a gratitude partner

Just like having a workout partner helps you stay committed to going to the gym, having a gratitude partner can help you stay engaged in your gratitude practice. That might look like, for example, a weekly meeting over coffee where each of you share the main gratitude themes you’re noticing in your lives.

9. Use complaints as gratitude triggers

Want to feel more gratitude, but really feel more like an old crankypants? Fear not! You can use your crankitude as a starting point. When you notice yourself kvetching, use that as a signal to shift your focus. “OK, yeah, that’s irritating. Now, what am I grateful for?”

10. Pick a daily gratitude theme

Try giving each day a daily theme. Maybe one day is “people.” Maybe another day is “visual.” Another day might be “learning.” Brainstorm a list of possible themes, pick one, and look for gratitude opportunities in that theme.

11. Keep a gratitude jar

Find a jar or some other container, and cut up some small slips of paper. Every time you notice yourself feeling grateful about something (even small things), write it down on one of those slips and put it in the jar.

Besides giving you a focus for your gratitude (and the kinesthetic reinforcement of writing it down and physically putting it in the jar), as the contents of the jar grows it gives your a gratitude grab bag of sorts. You can reach in and grab a slip at random for a little gratitude reminder.

12. Practice gratitude in bed

I love this one. When you wake up in the morning, before getting out of bed, lie there and do a gratitude check. Then, when you go to bed at the end of the day, do the same thing. It doesn’t need to take long, but it catches your mind at some of the times when it is most receptive.

13. Do a gratitude meditation

If you’re a meditator, explore making gratitude a central focus on a regular basis. That might focusing on one thing you’re grateful for, or on the feeling of gratitude, or even letting your mind go from gratitude point to gratitude point.

14. Download a gratitude app

Do a search for gratitude apps for your smartphone. There are a lot of them out there.

Make it an experiment

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to this. I encourage you to take these ideas (as well as any others you might come up with), pick something that resonates most, and experiment with it. See how it works. See how you like it, and what effect it has.

From there, you can either continue with it, integrating it more deeply into your habitual mode, or launch another experiment.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

For a more positive work experience, direct your focus

focus marbles

[Part of a series on learning to love your life at work.]

Imagine that the sum total of what you focus on in your life can be boiled down to ten marbles. Each of these marbles can be either black or clear (or whatever colors you prefer). The black marbles represent objects of focus that can be perceived as negative, and the clear ones represent the positive.

Which marbles you focus on, and in what ratio, shapes how you see the world. If your focus is consumed primarily by the black marbles, you’ll see a world filled with negative thoughts, events, people, experiences, and trends.

On the other hand, if you focus primarily on the clear marbles, your world will be filled with more of the positive.

Each time you shift your focus to include a clear marble, a black one drops out of view, and vice versa.

This, in a much more complex and interrelated way, is how your view of the world actually works. The more you focus on the positive, the more positive you see, and the less room there is for the negative. The more you focus on the negative, the less you’ll see the positive.

Use your focus to sculpt your work experience

What you focus on shapes how you see the world. How you see the world shapes what you experience (and what you experience, in turn, shapes both what you focus on and how you see the world).

You can use this idea to start sculpting how you experience your work (and your life in general). You can start with getting in the habit of answering this simple question:

What’s good here?

What can you notice that is good? What is fun? Who do you enjoy? What are you grateful for? What experiences feel good?

Don’t just look for the home run goodness (like doing work you love, or the big raise you just got). Look for the small things too. That might include things like:

  • The satisfaction of finishing a project.
  • An enjoyable conversation with a co-worker.
  • The feel of the sun as it streams in through the window on your face.
  • Any compliments or positive feedback.
  • The feeling of collaborating with a good team of people.
  • The funny banter in a meeting.

Remember, your goal is to fill as much of your view as possible with the positive focus marbles.

Addition by subtraction

It’s not just consciously increasing the amount of positive focus, though. It’s also consciously letting go of any negative focus. Removing the negative from your focus not only reduces the amount of negativity taking up your view, it also makes more room for the positive.

An easy example of this is habitual complaining. When you make a habit of complaining, what you’re really doing is reinforcing a negative focus. “I don’t like this. Why can’t they that?”

And the more of that you reinforce, the more you have a tendency to see. It’s a vicious cycle.

Try this: As always, I encourage you to take this idea and do an experiment with it to see for yourself if the idea has merit. There are actually two experiments here to try.

Focus on the positive

First, make a list of all the things you can think of that are positive during your day. This is just to get you started and to prime the pump for your brain to shift into noticing-the-positive gear.

Then, for the next week, experiment with noticing as much of what’s positive as you can. Put a sticky note on your wall to remind you. Set a notification on your phone. You might even bring a co-worker into your experiment and have a daily discussion about the positive each of you have noticed.

The longer you do this, the more your mind will start to automatically notice the positive, so if you feel inclined to continue after that week, keep on going!

Reduce the negative focus

This one is simple. Stop complaining. Try it for one week. As you do, do your best to minimize your exposure to other people’s complaining as well.

If you want to go whole hog with it, you can try the 21 Day Complaint Free Challenge.

Between the two of these experiments, my guess is you will notice a shift start to occur.

The benefit of this approach comes in two ways. The first is the immediate impact of shifting your focus. And the second is the long-term impact of training your mind both to notice more of the positive and to dwell less on the negative.

The more positive you see, the more positive you’re likely to notice. And the more positive you notice, the more positive your experience.

It’s a virtuous cycle.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

What is mindfulness?

In the most recent post in my series on learning to love your life at work, I talked about how mindfulness can make your work day better.

In that post, I gave a definition of mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the people behind the introduction of mindfulness to the West with his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.

If you want to go beyond a one-sentence definition, here is Kabat-Zinn giving an overview of the concept in a short five-minute video.

If you want to go a little deeper, here is Kabat-Zinn doing a talk and leading a session at Google.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide

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