Aliveatwork's Blog


L-O-V-E: What You Do …

A survey of nearly 11,000 employees by Blessings White showed that only 31% of those surveyed stated they were engaged at work.

That means 69% are not engaged and when you’re not engaged you probably don’t like what you do!

If employee engagement and job satisfaction are directly linked to profitability you would think that most leaders in an organization would have a plan in place to improve it and they would be held accountable for implementing it and yet …

A survey of leaders showed that 75% of them had no engagement plan or strategy, even though 90% said engagement impacts business success. (ACCOR)

The Truth …

If you don’t like your job … it is NOT the responsibility of your boss, your company, or anyone else to make you happy … it is up to you!

The way I see it … if you don’t love what you do you have 3 options:

  1. You could quit, walk away, throw in the towel, surrender, give in, and find a position that is better suited for you, your values, and your needs.
  2. You could stay put stay where you are and keep focusing on what you don’t like, what’s wrong, and what other folks should be doing so you can be happier at work.
  3. You could shift your perspective and what you believe about your work.

Want to be a little happier at work?

7 things that you could do to improve your happiness level @ work:.

  1. Focus on what works and what is good about your job.
  2. Make a list of all the things you are able to buy with your paycheck for you and your family.
  3. List all the reasons you’re a good fit for this job.
  4. When you are at work … work … and when you are at home, be home and focus on your family, friends, and the other things that make you happy.
  5. Answer this question: If I was giving a 110% effort at work what would I be doing … and then do it!
  6. Set a target productivity level, a sales goal, or a promotion, and then focus all of your energy on achieving that target.
  7. Set a realistic time frame to accomplish your target. And when you hit them, one of 3 things will happen: a) You will be rewarded for your achievements. b) You will be happier simply because you were more focused and more productive. c) You will be crystal clear that you need find a position and a company that works better for you.

Russian dramatist Maxim Gorky said, “When work is a pleasure, life is joy! When work is a duty, life is slavery.”

When it is all said and done, nobody is responsible for your happiness at work.

The decision to love what you do is up to you … so choose wisely and choose often.



What If … ?

You, you may say, I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

John Lennon

Years ago there were a series of Hewlett Packard commercials whose tag line were “What If …”

Since then a number of folks have done similar “What if” campaigns, Nike and Michael Jordan, the NHL, even the Cleveland Indians (now that’s a real what if!)

The idea is to get people to imagine something beyond what is in front of them.  To imagine something more than what they are currently experiencing or to ignite their hope for the possibility of something better. Especially if things are not going too well at the present time ( i.e. the Cleveland Indians haven’t won a world series since 1954).

As I thought about how powerful the “what if” question is, I realized that for many people the “what if” question actually has the opposite effect. In fact for some folks the “what if” question can actually suck the power right out of their idea or worse yet … themselves!

How many times have you had a truly great idea until you started asking yourself the “what if” question. What if things go wrong, what if I fail, what if I lose, what if I make a mistake, etc.

So that got me to thinking … IMAGINE if for the next 10 days you looked at every decision or situation from a more positive perspective?

I am not saying you should ignore glaring negatives and forge ahead blindly. However, I am challenging you to look at the possibility of what is good, possible, and true.

Below is a list of  10 Positive “What If” questions  to ask yourself the next time you have an idea, are stuck trying to make a decision, or just not sure what to do:

  1. What if I succeed beyond my wildest dreams?
  2. What if this is the perfect decision?
  3. What if I already have the perfect partner for me?
  4. What if I wasn’t afraid?
  5. What if I believed I was enough … more than enough … in fact way more than enough!
  6. What if I loved my spouse, my kids, my brother, neighbor, sister, as much as I love myself? (yes the golden rule)
  7. What if I knew I was brilliant, smart, and amazing?
  8. What if I knew I couldn’t fail?
  9. What if I trusted myself?
  10. What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? (Yeah, I know but it’s worth repeating!)

So there you have it!

Use this list for the next 10 days every time you have a decision to make or dilemma on your hands and just watch what happens to your life.

You just might find … “It’s easy if you try …. and It isn’t hard to do!”



When I Grow Up … Making Your Dreams Come True!

Do you remember when you were a kid and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up?

“I want to be a … fireman, policeman, a nurse, a superhero, etc.”

So what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was 7-years-old I wanted to be an entertainer, a stand-up comic. My parents and I would listen to Pat Cooper albums and we would laugh hysterically.

Pat’s real name was Pasquale Caputo and he would talk about growing up in an Italian Family. It didn’t matter if I understood the jokes or not … if Mom and Dad were laughing, I was laughing too.

When I was 16-years-old, I wanted to be the drummer for Van Halen. It didn’t matter that I didn’t play the drums, I dreamed of getting an emergency phone call from Eddie Van Halen telling me that Alex got sick and they desperately needed me!

What is it about children and dreams?

When you’re a kid your dreams and ideas are unlimited, you don’t care if it’s realistic or not, you simply believe you can be anything you want to be.

When a group 5-year-olds were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, the number one response … a super-hero.

What is it about adults and dreams?

At some point most adults give up on their dreams and end up settling. The excitement and aliveness that once filled them seems to fade away each year that passes. Almost as if time is slowly erasing the image of their dreams they painted so many years ago.

A recent Salary.com survey found that only 16% of the people surveyed said they were living their childhood dreams. They went on to say that 60% of those surveyed still wished they could fulfill their dreams!

So what about you?

Maybe your dream to be a ballerina or a policeman changed over the years. The core question here isn’t whether you actually became a super-hero or not … the real questions are:

  1. Are you happy?
  2. Do you love what you do?
  3. Do you love the person you’ve become?
If the answer to any of those question is “no” or “maybe” here are 7 steps that will help you:

7 Steps to Realizing Your Dreams:

  1. Ask yourself: What did I want to be when I grew up?
  2. Look for any correlations between what you wanted to be and who you are today.
  3. Write down on a sheet of paper 10 things you love to do?
  4. Look for any gaps between who you wanted to be and who you are.
  5. Look for any gaps between what you do and what you love to do?
  6. Write down one action you can and will take today to close that gap (make a phone call, an appointment, or put on a cape and run around the house).
  7. Commit to doing one of the things you love to do once a week for one month and watch what happens to your happiness meter.

No, I never became a stand-up comic or the drummer for Van Halen and yet … I love what I do … I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Sometimes I get chills thinking that I get paid to be a professional speaker and to help other realize their potential. It’s like I’m living a dream!

Oh and one last thing … I have a drum set in my living room that I play whenever I want to feel like a rock star …

I’m sure Eddie will call … eventually!



20 Things You Can Do To Be More Grateful …

Do you sometimes find it difficult to stay focused on the things that make you happy?

Do you ever find yourself forgetting about all of the things that you have …  and instead focusing on the things that you don’t?

If you should find your thoughts headed out into the ocean of “don’t haves,”  here are 20 things you can make a list of that will help you turn the ship back around to the port of happiness and gratitude.

Make a list of:

  1. All the things you bought with your last paycheck that you couldn’t have if you weren’t getting one.
  2. The 3 best lessons you learned from the 3 biggest mistakes you’ve made in your life.
  3. 3 people that you could do something nice for this month.
  4. 3 things you can do for those 3 people (at this point you might as well do them).
  5. Your 3 favorite movies.
  6. All of the freedoms you have because you live in the United States of America (or wherever you live).
  7. The 3 best things that you smell when you walk into your favorite restaurant or bakery or just your 3 favorite smells.
  8. The 2 best things that ever happened to you.
  9. Your 3 favorite songs and the first time you heard them.
  10. The best concert you’ve ever been to in your life.
  11. The 5 things you love most about your children, spouse, partner, or friend.
  12. The first time you kissed your first love.
  13. 3 activities that make you extraordinarily happy.
  14. 10 things you CAN do right now with the body you HAVE right now.
  15. 5 people who impacted you in a positive way at some time in your life.
  16. 3 nice things you can do for 3 complete strangers you meet in the next 3 days (it wouldn’t hurt to do them).
  17. 5 things you can see when you look outside the window that you couldn’t if you were visually impaired.
  18. 3 different sounds you can hear that you couldn’t if you were deaf.
  19. 3 teachers that had the greatest impact on your life.
  20. The total number of items you wrote down on the previous 19 lists that you are grateful for!

Remember that you choose your attitude based on what you focus your thoughts on. You can choose to be grateful or you can choose to be unhappy because you’re focusing on what you don’t have … it’s really up to you!

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder said this about gratitude, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

According to Thornton … focusing on what we have (our treasures) is a matter of  life or death.

For some reason this one seems like a no-brainer … and for that my friends … I am grateful!



Multiplying Your Talents …

Yesterday we talked about the difference between talents and skills.

We said that getting clear about your talents, strengths, and gifts, will lead you to your purpose.

Well maybe that got you thinking … how will I know if I’m getting close to my purpose?

Here’s how you know you’re getting close …

Answer this question: “Is my purpose about serving me, or is it about serving others?”

You see when you utilize your strengths and talents to serve others you accomplish 2 things:

  1. You have a greater sense of fulfillment and joy in your life.
  2. You will be multiplying your talents by inspiring others to work and live from theirs!

Marianne Williamson in her famous “Words To Live By” says it so eloquently …

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine as children do.

And as we let our own light (talents) shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”

Think about that … living and working from your talents actually inspire others to live from theirs.

And THAT my friends … is a powerful multiplier of your talents.

I think this may be the first time I can truthfully say that I like math!



Talents, Skills, and Being Extraordinary!

People seem to use the words talents and skills interchangeably, almost as if they had the same meaning.

I believe that talents and skills are different.

Talents encompass your strengths, your brilliance, and your genius.

And by genius, I mean in its original form found in the word – genie which mean magic … specifically, your magic!

Talents also include your God-given gifts and when you’re aligned and utilizing your talents in your work … it doesn’t feel like work.

Skills are a little different, skills are the things that you work on, learn, develop, and continue to work so that you can become an extraordinary lawyer, parent, teacher, leader, etc.

It is in the blending of your talents and skills that 2 of the 4 ingredients for greatness are found.

Michael Jordan was probably one of the most naturally gifted basketball players who ever played the game. One of the components that made him so extraordinary was his commitment to constantly sharpen his skills.

Even after winning 6 NBA Championships, if he missed foul shots during a game he would go out on the court after the arena was empty … and practice free throws.

So that got me thinking …

3 Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. Are you conscious and aware of your natural strengths, gifts, and talents?
  2. Are you utilizing them in your work?
  3. What are you working on (reading, learning, growing) today that is enriching your skills as a leader, as a sales person, as a teacher. etc?

Every single person on this earth has a unique set of talents and gifts. Identifying them and incorporating them into your work/life will bring you happiness and set you on a course towards discovering your purpose.

Additionally, if you continue to develop your skills by learning, growing, and constantly increasing  your skill base … you will be on a path to being extraordinary!

So are you on your path to being extraordinary?



Forgiveness … Who is it good for?

I normally wouldn’t blog on the same topic twice in a row.

However, the topic of forgiveness is a prickly one and I received various comments from others on my most recent post, so I felt compelled to write about it … one more time.

It seems that for some folks, there are situations in life that they believe are unforgivable.

Regardless of whether you agree or not, I think it begs the question:

Who is forgiveness truly for … the victim or the offender?

When we hold onto wrongs done to us, it damages us … not the offender.

Each and every one of us needs to make our own decisions about how we choose to live our lives.

And we are free to choose whatever meaning we apply to the events (both good and bad) that unfold in our lives.

A friend of mine once said that holding onto resentment is like taking a poisonous pill and waiting for the other person to die …

Resentment can kill you from the inside out.

Maybe someone out there feels justified in holding onto a past event or circumstance. That’s okay… obviously they are where they need to be … I am not judging anyone.

In some way, by holding on, it is filling a need.

For myself … I want to be free from all of the old beliefs, past events, and any poor decisions that I or anyone else made that impacted me in a negative way.

I may feel that those events may have taken something from me at that moment in time … way back when.

I’m just not sure that I am willing to let anyone or anything steal away one more second of my precious time here on earth.

On the other hand, that past event may have helped me to decide who I am today … I’m just not willing to allow it to define who I am today.

It was an event … it isn’t who I am.

Yes, forgiveness can be a prickly topic and at some point it’s best to put it down and let it go.

So as Forrest Gump would say, “And that’s all I have to say about thaaaaaat!”