Six Ways to Find More Meaning in Your Work

Too many people give up on finding meaning and fulfillment in their careers.

For most, the purpose must be built, not found. Working with a sense of purpose takes thoughtfulness and practice.

If you want to find more meaning in your work, keep reading.

emotional intelligence

1. Build knowledge about what you do.

It takes work to build knowledge. Regularly read industry news, commentary, and studies. Go beyond the prominent outlets. Do your research and uncover independent and lesser-known organizations that support your enterprise.

A few ways to accomplish this:

  • Follow journalists and outlets on Twitter.
  • Set-up Google alerts.
  • Network with like-minded people on Linkedin.

Read more

How Does Atmosphere and Ambiance Affect Your Mood

What do vague terms like “atmosphere” and “ambiance” have to do with your mood, outlook, and perspective? How do your surroundings ultimately affect you?

While studies have shown that, among other things, color, weather, and music affect our moods, some of us are clearly more affected than others. Oftentimes, we aren’t even aware that these things are effecting us. According to an article published in Nature on the effect of conscious and unconscious emotions, information being processed by our subconscious “poses an intriguing question of whether subconscious exposure to irrelevant emotional information (e.g. the surrounding social atmosphere) affects the way we learn.”

Whether it’s learning or simply existing, atmosphere and ambiance effect our moods, and therefore, our state of being.

Look at your immediate surroundings. What do you see? What do you smell? How do you feel about your environment? If you’re at home, what do your surroundings say about who you are, what’s important to you, what you love, and how you care for yourself? However, if you aren’t happy with what you see, here are four quick things you can do about it. Read more

How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Not in the Mood

Career Motivation

Career motivation can be elusive. Some days you feel it and other days you can’t grab a measly corner of it no matter how hard you try. You stare at the computer screen, willing yourself to type, create, develop, and instead you find yourself simply going through the motions, barely caring about the work you’re producing. Needless to say, you’re totally uninspired, and you don’t know how to make yourself feel otherwise.

Quora users have been there, and they have real and practical solutions for digging up that lost motivation and getting a job not just done—but completed with a sense of passion. Read on for tips and tricks that’ll get you motivated in no time.

Don’t Think About it as Hard Work

“There is only one way for me to motivate myself to work hard: I don’t think about it as hard work. I think about it as part of making myself into who I want to be. Once I’ve made the choice to do something, I try not to think so much about how difficult or frustrating or impossible that might be; I just think about how good it must feel to be that, or how proud I might be to have done that. Make hard look easy.” – Marie Stein

Think about it: If the project you’re faced with isn’t viewed as drudgery, but rather as a piece of the puzzle that’s helping you along your career path, then perhaps the energy required to do it will be easier to come by.

Create Small, Bite-Sized Goals

“There’s a reason donut holes are so lovable. They’re easy to eat. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a dozen of them. This is how goals should be too. Of course, you should have a really big, audacious goal. But make sure you break down that goal into bite-sized, consumable goals. This way you’ll feel like you’re making progress in your journey and you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the smaller goals. A feeling of progress and achievement is a beautiful combination.” – Nelson Wang

You’ve no doubt heard this advice before, but have you applied it to motivation? Rather than focusing on a large, scary goal, take one thing at a time and break the big goal into ideas you can digest one at a time.

Stop Caring About the Things That Don’t Matter

“Doing things that don’t mean anything costs [us] a ton of mental energy. Look at your aggregated to-do list, find things you know that you don’t care about, and get rid of as many of these activities as possible. You will stay more consistently motivated if you’re working on activities that are inherently meaningful or are part of a larger mission.” – Nick Miller

It’s not always best to finish what you started if, down the line, you can’t even remember the reason you started something in the first place.

Just Do It

“To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick for me is to just do it (sounds trite, but it works.) As soon as you think something needs to be done, jump into it, doing it immediately (of course, provided the conditions are feasible.) You must not think about anything else, suppressing all other thoughts, keeping your mind blank, acting like a robot. Yes, it sounds weird, but it does work! Otherwise, you will debate whether you should do it now or there were too many issues with doing it, or there are other more pleasurable and exciting things to do over this boring task.” – Bob Win

Instead of waiting around, willing yourself to feel motivated, what if you just went ahead and started doing the work you know you need to do? Dive into the project and trust that the focus will be what you need.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you come up with other motivation tips that work for you. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Books That Help You Get What You Want in Your Career

Are you an assistant? An associate? A VP with unlimited vacation? It doesn’t matter. Because no matter where you are at in your career, you will always have goals that keep you learning. 

The Ignite Your Potential coaches have rounded up 8 books that will advance your career. Each one focuses on a different set of skills, beliefs, or values that are important to the growth-oriented person—at work and in your life. They will motivate you, inspire you, and help you shake up a stale work routine.

So, give the fiction a (short) break, and dive into these titles that will give your career a boost based on what you want right now!

If You Want to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career, from the 99U series and Jocelyn Glei, some of today’s leading minds offer their advice to take your career to the next level. A detailed how-to book, you’ll learn how to create new opportunities, build relationships in the workplace, and unleash your creative potential.

If You Want to Fall in Love with Your Job

Let’s face it: Work is more fun when you enjoy what you do, right? Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness is a guide written by Kerry Hannon to help you transform your boring job into something meaningful. For people struggling to get through the day, Hannon’s tips will help you change your habits and your attitude, so you’ll love your job again in no time at all.

If You Want Work-Life Balance

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington reminds us that there is more to life than earning a ton of money. The constant pursuit of more (and more) has been a one-way ticket to burnout for too many. Huffington encourages people to incorporate self-care into their daily lives. Throughout the book, she also shares personal anecdotes about her struggles with time management and prioritizing her career and family life.

If You Want to Change Your Money Mindset

Have you ever wondered how Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and many of the other successful businesspeople of the 1900s earned their fortunes? Well, my friend, the secret is within Think and Grow Rich, the 1937 classic from Napoleon Hill. Not only will you learn what they believed was the key to their riches, but you’ll also get Hill’s 13-step program that will put you on the track to achieve wealth and success.

If You Want to Recover From a Career Failure

The truth is, we all face failure in life, whether it’s in our careers or personal lives. What matters is how we handle it. But how can you become one of those people who turns his failures into learning experiences? Business blogger Megan McArdle explains just that in her book, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. You’ll read stories from people in all different career paths (medicine, education, finance—to name a few,) and their examples will help you see your missteps in a different light.

If You’re Feeling Stuck in Your Career

In Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life, Joe Sweeney provides a detailed system for people who feel stuck and want a plan to make a change. It’s a perfect read for those who crave actionable advice. Bonus: These lessons can be applied to personal aspirations as well.

If You’re Ready to Pivot into a Different Career

Laura Berman Fortgang shares exactly how she has helped her clients successfully make big changes in their lives. If you’re looking for a new job or questioning what you’re meant to do with your life, Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction will help you find the answers in just three months!

If You Want to Start Your Own Company

If you haven’t read #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso yet, what are you waiting for? The founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal, Amoruso opens up about her troublesome past and how she turned her life around to become an insanely successful CEO. Even if you’re not passionate about the fashion industry, you can benefit from this inspirational story.
Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you get what you want in your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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4 Ways to Find The Answer to “What Should I Do With My Life?”

What should I do with my life?

Unlike so many other questions you have about your career, this one’s not quite as easy to Google.

The good news is, you’re not alone—in fact, we guarantee that everyone has pondered their career path, finding their passion, or what they’re meant to be doing at some point. And luckily, many of them are willing to share their advice. If you’re at a loss for what steps to take next, read on for the best pieces of advice from a Quora thread on this topic.

1. Talk to People

“Meet or call at least 50 people. They can be your friends, relatives, friends of friends/references. Call them up, schedule a meeting, go see them and interact with them on what they are doing. Don’t expect anything, don’t ask them to find you a job, don’t ask them to give you a job. Just talk and meet and have a normal conversation.” – Gaurav Munjal

You’d be surprised at how much you can learn just listening to other people talk. If you take the time to really listen, you’ll get insight into people’s motivations, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. And when you piece all that together, you can learn how others got to where they are today—and if that’s a path you want to be on, too.

2. Get Started

“My suggestion is to do something. Even if it isn’t quite the right thing, it is nevertheless a movement that can give you an opportunity to experience. You can spend a lot of time taking tests and getting evaluations for what you might be suited for; ideas always sound good on paper. But words don’t match experience, so acting on something is your best choice.” – Kathleen Grace

Regardless of what you generally want to do, it never hurts to start building something. Start creating a portfolio, launch a career newsletter, or learn how content creating works. There are so many things you can do for your career—even if you don’t know what you want to do.

3. Gather Inspiration From Others

“Walk into your local bookshop and go straight to the autobiography section. Buy three books from across different industries, societies, and cultures. Focus on biographies that document great and successful people’s early lives, before they were great. Read them before bed. Wake up in the morning and write down 10 things you could do differently that day. Do some of them. Do this the next day. And then do it again.” – David Ball

What better way to get started than by learning how others reached their goals? Keep in mind as you’re reading that these people weren’t born knowing what they wanted to do either.

7. Enjoy Not Knowing

“Enjoy the meanderings, the soul-searching, the loves lost, the time wasted. All of it will add up to a complex and very unique ‘you.’ The more you appreciate right now, the more the future will become a fantastic reality. Don’t pressure yourself to be in the future.” -James Altucher

You know how math problems always seem impossible when you first look at them, but then, after taking a break, the answer feels so obvious? Figuring out what you want to do with your life is kind of like that.

By focusing on other less-pressing matters, the obvious answer will come to you when you’re least expecting it.

Just remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out. And that even when you do, you might change the course a few times. So don’t worry about having all the answers—just thinking about it is a good start.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you answer the age-old question, “What should I do with my life?”. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Lacking Motivation? Ask Yourself These Questions

Are you feeling uninspired, unmotivated or just generally off track? It’s time to figure out where you are, where you’re going, and why you’re not there yet. Everyone wants to get out of a slump, but sometimes it takes a little push to start the change. Action is the mortal enemy of career slumps. Taking action and doing something to change your situation can have incredible results. To kick off your change, ask yourself these three questions:  

1. What is Missing? If you’re stuck in a slump, questioning what is missing in your professional life can provide the solution you need to bring back your career mojo. By doing this, you’ll have a targeted point of change that you can use as a jumping-off point for your new, motivated self. Not feeling challenged enough? Kick-off your new inspiration by asking your boss for new responsibilities or even go for a promotion. Give yourself a new challenge it may be just what you need to get re-engaged.   

2. Where’s the ‘Why’? Focus on bringing your thinking back to the reason you do what you do. 1.What makes you truly happy? 2.Where do you add the greatest value? 3.Why did you begin this job in the first place? Going back to basics and figuring this out for yourself can provide you with the answers you need to get your engagement back. If you’re failing to see the reasons why you’re in your current role, it may be time to consider a career pivot.  

3. How do I Get Motivated? Whether it’s applying for a job, asking your boss for a raise, or some other goal, just committing yourself to do it will make a huge difference. Everyone wants to get out of a slump, but sometimes it takes a little push to start the change. Action is the mortal enemy of career slumps. Taking action and doing something to change your situation can have incredible results.  Do you need advice on getting motivated? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a ​complimentary 25-minute phone session​ that will help you find your motivation again. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise. 

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The Best Productivity Books to Read

It is halfway through August 2019, that means it is time to finish the year strong and productive.

The Ignite Your Potential coaches looked at data on Goodreads to identify 6 of the best productivity books recommended by their community of 85 million readers. From research on the science of forming habits to tips from an expert who works with World Series champions, these highly-rated books are sure to be your guide to a more productive life at work and at home.

1. Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear

James Clear demonstrates how the ability to create good habits—and break bad ones—can lead to a more productive personal and professional life. He backs up his scientific research with entertaining true stories from Olympic athletes, physicians, artists, and business leaders who have all mastered this skill. The key? Learning to think about your own identity in a new way.

2. Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon

The bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist offers life-changing, illustrated advice and encouragement on how to stay creative, whether you’re facing personal burnout or bogged down by distractions. Fans of this short but inspiring book state that it’s “a reminder of what we need to do to remain creative despite the chaos of the world around us.”

3. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

If you’re very easily distracted and interested in using your time more productively, this is the book for you. From the author of Deep Work comes a guide for anyone looking to escape the endless distractions of cell phones, computers, smart watches, and more. This Georgetown professor will introduce you to the “less is more” philosophy, using stories of modern digital minimalists to prove his point.

4. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

According to Stanford lecturer Kelly McGonigal, the key to unlocking powerful resolve is in our hands. She explains why just five minutes of exercise or one minute of slow breathing can give anyone a boost of willpower. Goodreads members say McGonigal has “a knack for communicating difficult science in lay terms with a sense of humor to boot.”

5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

For award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg, the ability to form healthy habits drives every type of success, whether you want to manage a great team or build an influential product. In this book, he uses groundbreaking scientific research to explain why and how habits can unlock anyone’s potential.

6. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

The simple checklist is more powerful than we realize, according to award-winning multitasker Atul Gawande. The surgeon and Harvard professor shows us the true power of this common productivity tool, from helping set realistic goals in our daily lives to guiding global business decisions. The modern world is full of too many complexities, Gawande argues, but a checklist, when used correctly, can provide clarity and focus.

We hope these book recommendations will inspire you to finish 2019 on a positive, productive note. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you find ways to increase your end of year productivity. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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5 Inspirational TED Talks for Anyone Having a Rough Day

Check out our 5 favorite TED Talks for the next time things are not going your way.

1. If You’re Feeling Sorry for Yourself: Living Beyond Limits 

Amy Purdy talks about the power of imagination. She explains how our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by the choices we make. Imagination allows us to break down borders, to move beyond our circumstances, to create and constantly progress.

2. If You’re Feeling Drained: Your Elusive Creative Genius

“Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

3. If You’re Feeling Sad: The Three A’s of Awesome

Neil Pasricha’s blog 1000 Awesome Things savors life’s simple pleasures, from free refills to clean sheets. In this heartfelt talk from TEDxToronto, he reveals the 3 secrets (all starting with A) to leading a life that’s truly awesome.

4. If You’re Feeling Negative: The Surprising Science of Happiness

Dan Gilbert, the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

5. If You’re Feeling Stressed: How to Make Stress Your Friend 

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken, and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

We hope that at least one of these video can get you through your bad day. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you find cope with tough days. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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2019: The Year of Your Career

At the start of a new year there’s often a refreshed outlook and a sense of renewal. Part of this process involves career.  As the year begins though, do you find yourself going back to work after holiday vacation feeling a sense of dread as though you are about to endure another year in your career? Or are you stoked to get back to the contribution you’re a part of? What is your sentiment as you begin again?

Whatever your perspective or attitude, this time of year can be a fantastic time to refresh your career, your career outlook, or refine your career goals. Our team of career coaches at Ignite Your Potential can help you do this, and we’ve started this process for you, by sharing ways you can freshen your career for the New Year.

Clean Up Your Work Tools 

The first way to freshen your career is to clean up the tools you use most each and every day. Having unanswered emails, a crowded inbox, a messy desk, or unused apps on your phone is clutter in the workflow that slows us down. Here are tasks to clean your work tools:

  • Empty or organize your worktexts, emails, cloud folders, app notifications, and workspace.
  • De-clutter your online life by getting rid of software accounts you don’t use and unsubscribe from their marketing emails.
  • Organize your files and papers.
  • Revamp your work wardrobe. Get rid of items you no longer wear, that are too big, have a hole and you have yet to fix (or fix it), overall, purge your wardrobe of clothes that no longer serve you.

Refresh Your Career Documents

Whether you’re interested in potentially changing career paths, or see no career change on your horizon, updating your resumé and revamping your cover letter is a great way to prepare yourself for what opportunities could lie in the year ahead. You may be up for a promotion, you could be scouted, or one day you may have the urge to see what’s out there.

Ignite Your Potential features a team of expert career coaches who can help you update and improve your resumé, write or revise a cover letter, set your New Year career goals, or simply offer you the career advice you didn’t know you needed. Contact us today for a career boost!

Set a Clear Vision and Actionable Goals new year

Moving into the New Year, you probably have some old items on your to-do list that you weren’t able to get done. You may have some career goals you didn’t reach or your vision for your career changed. All of these are fine, they are part of what happens for all of us, and not any reason to beat yourself up. In fact, the New Year offers an opportunity to reset our goals and create a new vision. We can think in an actionable way about what’s next. It’s time to set fresh objectives informed by what you’ve experienced in 2018 to make a stronger plan that doesn’t fizzle out. Maybe 2019 is the year you get a new planner. 

Streamline Areas of Your Life to Impact Your Career

Think about your daily routine throughout this past year. Really deep dive into your day to day processes, duties, personal workflow, etc. Think strategically about ways you can make certain tasks or processes easier for you. For example, if you pack your lunch every day and take home the dirty container to add to your dishes later that night, try washing them at work instead so that you can just bring them home and reuse them for the next day. Find yourself carrying a briefcase or heavy purse every day full of things you don’t necessarily use or need to tote around? Try paying attention to the different items in your purse or briefcase you use on the regular, and if you discover unnecessary items, put them in their rightful place. If you think about your routine, the patterns that make up every day, you will discover strategies to create a more efficient personal workflow.

Get Inspirednew year

One of the best parts of the New Year is that it’s a time that offers us the opportunity to purge ourselves from the tribulations of the past year, take all of our lessons, and apply them to the year ahead. Every year reveals aspects of your career and life that no longer suits you, teaches you things you needed to know, and equips you with tools for your future. It’s time to let go of baggage you no longer need. Though setting “resolutions” in your career, or in general, may seem cliché to some, and are often abandoned shortly after, it doesn’t have to be this way. Making positive change happens incrementally, and seeing it this way, helps you keep the momentum to work toward your goals. Don’t make tons of changes all at once. Start by making little tweaks to your habits so that staying aligned with your goals is sustainable for you.

Ready to Freshen Your Career in a Big Way?

Ignite Your Potential can help you discover and build your career vision, assist you to find your passion, and help create a plan that stimulates exciting and empowering change in your career and life. If you’re ready to make 2019: the year of your career, contact us by filling out the form below:

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Motivation: Because the Time is Now

If you’re serious about making a change then it’s time to go all out.

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