How You View Your Work Matters
Ep. 183
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This week I want to talk to you about how you view your work and why it matters. If you’ve been around for a bit, you know that life is always 50/50 and that’s true about work too. Your thoughts create your reality and impact your experience. So many of us are adding to our own unhappiness simply because of our own expectations. Today we dive into why that is and what we can do about it.

Show Transcript
It's not like I'm like I just sit here and I coach all day and it's so fabulous. No. And if I was under the impression that like oh, if I started my business I would love working every day, I would be in for a really rude awakening. And that's why I think a lot of people end up quitting their side hustles or their businesses because they're like well, this isn't great either, might as well work for someone else and not have all the stress.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. Happy New Year! I am so excited you guys are here. We're here ringing in 2022 together. I'm fired up. Y'all, I am fired up about 2022. And not in maybe the way that you might think. I mean, I am fired up for myself um for my business, all that stuff but I have so many ideas for this podcast. I want to change the way that you view your life full stop. I want to change the way that you view your work. I want to change the way that you view your relationships with people at work, at home, wherever. I want to stop the endless, needless suffering that so many of us just heap onto ourselves, right? Like life is already hard enough. We're gonna have the 50/50 and it's gonna be good and bad. We don't have to add all this extra drama that our brains love to indulge in. I wanna help you stop that. And I wanna help you go after the biggest life possible. I want you to stop playing small and believing these lies about yourself and believing the limitations that you've just chosen to put on yourself. And I want you to go after the biggest life that you want, whatever that means by the way, that doesn't necessarily mean like in business or money or anything in that sense, it means just whatever it means to you. And I have so many ideas. I was, as I mentioned in my wrap-up, like my year in review episode, I'm doing this project and it's requiring me to schedule out my days and have focus time. Turns out when you're not distracted uh you can get a lot more done. So that's been interesting for me but I've always told myself, I mean, I've typically been very bad at batching content. For you guys that may not know what that means it's just, you know, doing a bunch of content at once. So like doing everything for social media or the podcast for January like today or mapping out, you know, podcast episodes, whatnot. So you get the point. I have typically just been a person that kind of does it as it comes. And I sat down to do like batch the podcast episodes for this month for January. I was like okay, let's figure out what we're gonna talk about for these four weeks, which already is a step for me. I don't normally do that. So I'm like look at me being so proactive and organized. Y'all, I scheduled out the next six months until June. I have every podcast episode. I was like what is happening right now? I don't even know who I am anymore. And it was so incredible but there was so many ideas I had for podcast episodes and things I wanna cover and things I want you guys to understand and start living into. So that's what I mean by I'm fired up. There's so much good stuff to come. I can't wait for this year to explore so many new topics and really try to help you guys in the best way possible and have some fun things up my sleeve. So that's just a nice little intro into me in 2022. I hope you guys have also had a wonderful couple of first days of the year and you're ready to go. Today's episode, I wanna talk about how we view our work and our life and our happiness and why the way we view it is a little problematic and how we're gonna start changing that together. Okay. I wanna reframe it basically for you because I think we don't realize that we get stuck in a certain lens. We just think like oh, it's objective. I'm just looking at the world as it truly is. And that's why I think and feel this way. There's no other way to think and feel. And if you've been here for more than two seconds you know that that's absolutely not true. And so part of what I think my job is is to help you see maybe another way of looking at it, maybe reframing it in a way that you hadn't looked at it before. And so if you do follow me and you are here from, you know, social media or anywhere that you know the work that I do, you know that I espouse like your thoughts are what create your reality, right? Like we don't just see the world as it is, we see the world as we are. And I wanna explore how your view, like what you're seeing of your work, impacts your experience with it and then impacts obviously the rest of your life. Cause work just takes up such a large portion of our life. So let's talk about it. Before we get into like what we think about work. Let's talk a little bit about how we determine our happiness, right? Like what makes us happy? Because one of the biggest findings that they've found in studying happiness is that it's not what we have, right? It's not the objective circumstance. And we all know this because we know there are people who are, you know, millionaires, rich and famous that are miserable. And then there's people who may not have a lot of material things that are extremely happy, right? Like so intellectually, we all understand this that like it's not the more things you have that makes you happy. So what they have found is that it's your circumstances plus your subjective expectation, right? What you expect to have is what informs your happiness which makes sense. Because if your goal let's say in life was to make $50,000 and you get a job and you're making $80,000, you're stoked, right? Like you are living the life. You are super happy about it, right? And now let's say everybody around you also only makes $50,000, right? You live in a town where everybody's making around 40 or 50K, your family only ever made 40 or 50K. That's what you sort of expected. I mean, you are sitting pretty, you are pretty excited about your life, right? It's easier to drum up emotions that make you happy. Now, if you make $80,000 and your best friend is making $120,000, you just start thinking like well, I'm not making enough, right? Like I don't have the extra disposable income. She gets to do X, Y, and Z and I don't get to do it. We start this like compare and despair, which by the way, is on the list of episodes I'm gonna do this year. And then that influences your happiness. It's not the $50,000 or the $80,000 like that doesn't matter. Now I'm not saying money doesn't matter. And you know, I've talked a lot about like I want you to make as much money as you want. I think money can be extremely important in our lives. And it can also be very fun. I'm not against making money. What I'm saying is that they've done like the happiness set point after a certain amount of money like more money doesn't actually add to your happiness in that sense. Obviously before that, if you can't take care of your needs, yes, it does affect it. But what I'm saying is that like just as you know a marker of what we're talking about, you can insert anything. If you're your house isn’t big enough. If your car isn’t a certain brand, if you don't have the family that you think you should have had, whatever it is. And in the age of social media, obviously this makes it much harder because there's a lot more to compare and have a subjective expectation to, it's not as though we live in a time where we are in a city or a town and all you have knowledge of is the people in that town. And so you compare yourself to them. And oftentimes if you're at, you know, that level or maybe above then you're happy, right? We are now in a place where even if the people around us have a certain way of life, we can also have access to all these other ways of life. And that can change our subjective expectation. Right? And so if happiness depended on the objective conditions of like wealth and health and social relations, then we'd all be happier than anybody in history, right? Cause objectively things are better. Life expectancy is better. Child mortality is down. We don't have mass famines. We're actually, it's like the least violent time in history. By all objective measures, we're doing a lot better, right? We have a lot easier lives. And if you look at the way jobs used to be, right, when you think about our jobs and what we complain about and we think about like all the regulation now that there is and unions that came about and you know, the fact that you're not allowed to like work people into the ground and people aren't expected to work seven days a week and children aren't working and we're not working in mines or factories or you know what I mean? It's the way that our jobs are compared to a hundred years ago, 200 years ago, whenever, is objectively better by measurements that you can measure. And yet I think if you guys look around, we're not a lot much happier, right. And there's people that probably had have a lot tougher jobs than maybe a lot of us have that are a lot happier. Now this isn't a post to be like you should be more grateful. Right? I'm not trying to say that. I'm I genuinely I'm curious and was like why are we so miserable? And if it's not the objective standard, if it's not like we're all being exploited or in really harsh work environments or whatever it is, like what is it that makes us so unhappy? And the thing is is like when our expectations are of ease and pleasure and we become more intolerant to inconvenience and discomfort, which has increased as our lives have become easier. We actually suffer more than people in maybe worse circumstances because our expectation is that our lives should be easy and grand and wonderful. Right? And again, going back to social media, it doesn't help. Like while obviously I'm even part of this ill like I think that self-help on social media can help in a lot of ways because it helps show you that you're not alone. It helps you see things in different ways. It helps you start learning more about your mind and the control that you have and the things that you can do. I think what it also can do is create maybe a false sense of what life should be. Right. You know and I talk a lot about the 50/50 and the fact that you should go after your dreams but once you get there it's not rainbows and butterflies. But that's not what's portrayed, you know, whether through movies or social media or whatever. It's like keep hustling, keep working, keep getting to this place. That life should just be easy. It should just be happy all the time. You can get to a place where you're living the lap of luxury and you wake up, you know, just ecstatic all day. And so we kind of buy into that where it's like if I'm not happy every day at work, there's something wrong. I'm not doing what I'm passionate about. I'm not feeling fulfilled. I'm not whatever. And and our expectation of what we should be doing grows. And so we inadvertently lower how happy we can be at the place that we're at. And now looking at another example that I think is really fascinating. And I was actually reading, if you haven't read the book, Sapiens, I highly recommend it. One of the best books I read this year. It's a brief history of mankind. And it's so fascinating to look at where we have come from, how we've evolved, what has happened in our society. 10 outta 10 would recommend. Anyways, one part of it that was so fascinating to me. And I was, as I was thinking about this topic, I was reading about that was if you think about parenting and child rearing and we think about happiness and how much happiness parenting gives us. For all those parents out there or how much happiness our children give us. Right. And if you look at it objectively, objectively having children not fun and games, my friends. Anybody that has children will tell you that most of the time actually, like it's not even a close. It's not like yeah, 50/50 is amazing. Right? It's like the vast majority of time is hard. It's just the drudgery of having children, right. It's constant work. And then there's like moments of complete bliss, right? There's moments of like the love that you feel from these children is I read an article once that compared it to really a high like a drug high. But otherwise, it's a lot of crying, tantrums, diapers, feedings, fighting, worrying, sleepless nights, loss of freedom, right? Like for the most part, if you round out everything that you have to do in order to have children… not looking so good. And yet most of us love parenthood, right? We tout it. We ask people why they don't have kids. We tell them it's the most meaningful thing you can do. We put it on this pedestals like one of the best things that you can do in your life. We derive so much meaning from it. And that's why it brings up so much happiness for us, right? It's not the actual day to day. It's not the actual work. It's our thoughts about it. Our thoughts about our children. And going back to what we're talking about with history, again, if you compare this in context to history, this is the only time really where we have placed kids on this type of pedestal the way that we do like our culture has changed with respect to how we view children. I think that child rearing and parenting has always been something that was touted mostly because you, you know, needed additional help on the farm. Like you needed more kids because kids died. And so you had to have 10 because three or four of them weren't gonna make it. I mean, it sounds crass as I say it but it's like that's just the way it was. And it wasn't this like we have children to have this like deep, you know, bond with our offspring and whatever it is that we do now. And so it's interesting to just look at it because we take it as like of course, you know, everybody's always adored and loved their children. And like that's why, you know, parenting is like such an important part of our culture. Well, it is an important part but not because of the reasons that we do it now. Right. And it's just interesting to see. It's just interesting to look at the thoughts that we have that takes something that is a lot of work and a lot of negative emotions associated with it and how much we revere it, how much we love it, how much happiness it brings us. Right. I think it just can really bring home this idea that it isn't the fact that we're living in the lap of luxury and it's ease and bliss because for a lot of us, you're literally constantly in some kind of a negative emotion. You know, when they're younger, it's more of like just the exhaustion and the frustration of dealing with small little tyrants who don't have any emotional control. And then when they're older, it's just the worrying and anxiety and the butting heads and making sure they're okay and they're safe. It's like you're just signing up for a lifetime of a lot of a negative emotion. I'm making parenthood sound super bad. Obviously like I love it too. And that's why I'm saying it's so funny for me to analyze like why did I sign up for this thing that is going to be a ton of work and a ton of negative emotion. And yet the way I view it is like this is the most amazing thing ever. So now, going back to how we look at work now that we have set the stage about our subjective expectations versus what is the reality. And we have like this frame of reference of like parenting. I wanna go back to like how we talk and think about work in our culture right now. If you look at media and pop culture and social media and everything that all of the inputs that we are having like every movie or show about work just shows how horrible it is, right? Like the story, like if you think about like even comedies, like Office Space, it's like a lot of pointless things going on, annoying coworkers, terrible bosses, terrible management, pointless work that you're engaging in, mind-numbing. Right? It's like as you look at any, even like TV shows, you look at TV shows and it's like always like really showing like the toxic work aspects, how hard it is, how much stress it is. And then like I want you to think about like how we all talk and think about work. Like we we've already accepted that okay, it's just like a necessary evil. We need to do it to make money, fine. And that's totally okay to view it that way. But let's just say like you talk to people and you already expect them to kind of complain about work, about how frustrating it is, how stressful it is, how annoying it is. Looking now, like when I coach people and they think about the ways that they frame things or the way they're they're looking at things, it's so interesting to me to think about now. And when I say this, by the way, I did the exact same thing when I was in there. So I'm not in any way like I'm holier than thou, I'm not. It's just interesting for me to see is like I look at like coworkers and bosses and the way we talk about them and the way I get at so many clients that talk about how much stress they feel by from their bosses or how much they hate their coworkers or whatnot. And it's amazing to think about like we get upset if we're in a office full of people and if there's like a single person that we don't like it's like intolerable, right? As if we're entitled to go someplace where everybody acts exactly as we want them to act and they have a personality that we can get along with, like in what world does that ever happen? You know, when did that happen in school? Does that happen anywhere when you're around a lot of people, right? Like did you love all your teachers? Did you love all of your classmates? Of course not. Cause we have different personalities and they just don't mesh with other people. And yet we focus on those people that we can't stand. Right. We think constantly, maybe we don't think about it consciously but subconsciously like we just decided I can't be happier because Linda from accounting is super annoying. So I'm just gonna focus on Linda and how much I hate her. And every day I'm gonna dread coming to this place that pays me to do my job because I can't stand this person or that person or even your bosses. Right. And again, we've talked about this on other episodes, cuz a lot of this comes from like our own people pleasing and perfectionism and like the need for external validation. We want our bosses to love us. So like God forbid you have a boss that isn't overly, you know, nice or doesn't give a lot of praise. It's just like a normal, maybe curmudgeony person. But like that's their personality. But like God forbid, you can't have that. I can't work in an environment like that. I need like the kindergarten teacher that's gonna love me and tell me how great I am. And if not, then I'm just gonna be miserable. I'm just gonna hate this place and I'm gonna complain about it. And I'm gonna say it's the worst place to work and I'm gonna make myself more upset. And so we start viewing it as like such a travesty to have to get up and go to work every day. And it's funny to think like you know, throughout all of human history we've always had to work, right. It was either in a farm, it was a factory, even women. Whereas like women were stay at home moms or a lot of times like women didn't work. They did, they did tons of work. Right? Especially like back in, we're not talking about the last hundred years, if we're talking before that, like either they were helping on the farm. They were helping in whatever way it was that they had to do work to make society go around. They did a ton of it. It wasn't like I'm waking up and you know, crocheting all day. Now again, I'm just gonna keep a caveat. I'm not saying there aren't things that are wrong with the way that we work today. There are, right. And if you look at human history again, the whole point of it is to progress, right? It's progress. And that's worthwhile. It's worthwhile to look at like should we have unions, right? Should we have regulations? Like I'm so glad that laws were passed where it's like there's only a certain amount that you can work and you have to get paid for time off and whatever else it is. Like absolutely a hundred percent we should constantly be looking at how we work, why we do it, whether it works, what's better, what we need, all of that stuff. I'm on board. I'm just saying for the day to day, if it's not changing right now, progress happens over time. And again, if you look back at human history, there's been tons of progress, right? So if like if any of us was plucked out and put into a working environment a hundred years ago, we would be much more miserable, right? So if you look at like the progress that's happened and yet we are still so unhappy. And so I just wanna look at how we're adding to our unhappiness where we are at, like in the state, like this is what work is right now in our current world. This is what I have to do to pay my bills. Do I want to do it in a way that's going to make me more miserable cause I'm constantly telling myself how much I hate it? Or do I wanna start viewing it in a different way? And for me, it's been really eye-opening because I work with so many clients now. And so I see it from so many different angles. Like it doesn't matter what the circumstance is. Like I’ll get clients who will tell me like they have too much work. It's too much stress. They're working too many hours. And then I have clients who are complaining it's there's too little work and they're too bored and there's too much time not doing what they want. And they feel like they're wasting their time. And like their life is just passing them by. Right. It's amazing to listen because it doesn’t matter what the circumstance is. Some of my clients, they found their passion and then they're so stressed out about it because they can never stop. And you know, it's kind of all-consuming and they have to make it work because if they don't, you know, they don't wanna stop doing this thing. And then other clients, they don't know what their passion is. And so they're so upset about the fact that they're not doing something that fulfills them and they hate it because they feel like again, their life is passing them by and that they should be doing something more meaningful. And usually when I get clients, even when you come to the free coaching calls, you'll likely see this is they'll gimme a laundry list of why where they work is like the worst place to work in the history of the world. It's just terrible. And now again, I'm not saying there aren't places where there's quote unquote toxic work environments. I think that we use that term a little too loosely. And I think we all think again, if my boss is just not like the most overly nice human being in the world or if he sends an email after five then that's like toxic. I think we definitely overuse that word but there are places where inappropriate things happen. And you have a choice of leaving, so that's like number one is us understanding that we love to believe that we're stuck and we're not. And so if you truly believe like this is a terrible place and they are infringing on my rights then I would suggest that you leave and you find another job. But again, when I'm telling you from like nine outta 10 people that I talk to, that's not what's happening. They've just worked themselves up into this place of hating where they are so badly because here's the thing we have feedback loops, right? Like where your focus goes, your energy flows. So when you have this mental load, when you don't like something about your job and then you go home and you complain about it to your husband or wife or your friends and then you come your coworkers and you guys talk about how terrible it is and then you think about it all day, like your boss did something and then you ruminate about it all day, that grows, right? Like we all have that experience where we there's something that's annoying. Like somebody annoys us, like the way they chew annoys us. And then we think about it all the time. And then we can't like not hear it if we're around them, like that's all we're focusing on. And it becomes unbearable. Like you can't even sit like you have to leave because the noise is gonna make you wanna throw up or whatever. It's not the actual circumstance. It's just like the amount of focus and attention that you're putting on it. And the same thing happens with work. What I've seen is like so many people have worked themselves up into such a frenzy about how terrible it is. And the reality is is like it's just a job. Like of course, part of it sucks. Have to work to get paid. And if you could just look at it in a little bit of a different way, then you might actually enjoy it a little bit. Or you may not just hate it as much, but I always ask people, what do you like about the job? Like you're obviously there so what's good about it? And usually they're stumped for like a minute because they haven't even thought about it. And then, ultimately they can come up with a bunch of things. And it's so interesting to start seeing that story. And I always tell 'em like look how different this story is from the one you just told me, right? Like you told me this like whole story about how terrible everybody is here, how much you hate everybody, how like toxic the work environment is and then there's if we look at this other story and it's like ah, well, you know, I never have to work at nights and weekends. And they pay me all the time on time and I have some free time to do what I want. And like I'm not overly stressed or whatever the thing is. And I'm like that sounds great. What if we focused on that a little bit while we're still there and by the way, I'm gonna do an episode that is gonna piggyback off this because I think a lot of you think that if you end up liking it uh you can't leave and that's not true. And so you try to make yourself more miserable. It's like well if I like it then I'll stay stuck here. And that's not true. We'll talk about that in two weeks. But back to this, like can we start viewing it in a different way? Can our expectations be a little bit different? And oftentimes I get people will say like like what do you like about that job? And they'll say the money that's it. I get paid. And they say it as if it's like such a dirty thing to say, you know, like they're so defeated by being like I just, I just like the money. I'm like it's a fantastic reason to love something. That's why you're doing it. The this job pays my freaking bills. Amazing. That's why I have a job. Right? If all of us, we wouldn't naturally choose to do a lot of this stuff. We're doing it because that's what allows us to like run our lives. And that's great. Let's focus on that for a second like how amazing. I always talk about this, you know, when I hated working at the law firms and then I became an entrepreneur, I really started realizing how much I took for granted that paycheck hitting my bank account every two weeks. That was a pretty fantastic feeling like uh every two weeks, just money like that I can count on. That doesn't happen anymore, right. And so I want you to spend some time thinking about what you do love about where you work, what is great about it? Find that piece of evidence, focus on that. Again, while you're gonna stay there, you can decide either you're gonna make yourself like really loathe what you're doing every single day, make it harder to get up and go in and do the work. Or you can decide like hey, if I'm gonna be here for another year, I might as well figure out what I like about it. And the second thing I want you to do is just look at what your expectations are of work because that's another thing that's going to be harder when you leave. This is what I talk about all the time about not quitting your job without learning how to manage your mind because you're just gonna take those expectations to the next job. And I have really bad news because there's no job in the world where everything is great. Even when you work for yourself. I promise you 50% of the stuff I do I hate doing right. It's not like I'm like I just sit here and I coach all day and it's so fabulous. No, it's all the back-end stuff, right? It's putting on systems. It's learning how to lead a team. It's marketing. It's accounting. It's 90% of the stuff I'm doing is not the podcast and or coaching. And a lot of it I don’t like doing. And if I was under the impression that like oh, if I started my business, I would love working every day, I would be in for a really rude awakening and that's why I think a lot of people end up quitting their side hustles or their businesses because they're like well, this isn't great either, might as well work for someone else and not have all this stress. And that's also a very valid way of going. So I just want you to know before you leave, like this is is an wonderful practice for the next thing and the next thing and the next thing for yourself is to start really understanding how am I creating my own unhappiness by layering on expectations that are unrealistic? What am I expecting that this job is supposed to give me? Am I expecting that I'm supposed to come here and always feel amazing and love every single person and feel super uplifted. I mean, it's not a party. It's not like your friend group that you're choosing to hang out with, it's work. And can I start viewing it in that way? You will fundamentally change your experience of that work. So my friends, start finding reasons why you can be happy at work, why you can maybe expect different things, lower certain expectations, start finding the things that you've been ignoring so much about why it's a totally okay job and do it not because, I feel like sometimes we think like then I'll validate their bad behavior. I don't care about your job at all. I don't care if you stay or leave. I don't really care about your boss. I care about you being happy. And so I don't want you to sit in a place where you're stewing in unhappiness year after year because you think like I'll show them, right? It's like this like revenge tactic, kind of like if I have just this internal rage and I show them that this isn't okay, like I'm sort of putting up some kind of protest. You're not, you're just making yourself miserable. Your boss doesn't care. So if you don't want to, you know, drink that poison and expect someone else to die, you have to start figuring out like how do I relieve some of this pressure that I've bottled up inside? How do I start changing that expectation to find a little bit more happiness in work? How do I start viewing things a little differently? When you start doing that, I promise you, it can be so much more pleasurable than it is now. It can be so much easier. So answer those two questions: What are the expectations that I have about work and why? And what do I like about my job? When you start like forcing your brain to come up with those things, to see that side of it, it will change your experience of it. Alright, my friends, I hope this was helpful and I'll be back next week with another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.