How to Turn Work into Joy

pathTOparadiseThis article written by Bruce Kasanoff of Now Possible, LLC. provides a good explanation how fear can prevent us from going after the life we seek.  He gives clear mental and physical steps to push fear aside and let that encouraging voice come through. First is to be aware of that inner critic and then provide positive reinforcement to encourage change and small actions toward your dreams.  I hope you find the article useful and informative to conquer your fears and start making those changes toward living the life you have always imagined.

We are standing on the edge of a mountain in Utah, and the slope below is frighteningly steep. Under normal conditions, it would too steep for my son and I to ski.

But the night before it snowed 22″, altering our relationship with the laws of physics. We know the powder will slow our speed, so we point straight down and push-off. It’s not scary, it’s magical… we are floating, seemingly flying down the mountain.

You can’t experience this sort of exhilaration at work, or can you?

The thing is, I still remember, long ago, when skiing scared me. I remember countless times when fear caused me to tighten up, to be over-cautious, or to hustle for the safety of the lodge. Skiing reminds me that the path to the high points in life often requires overcoming fear.

Much as I love public speaking, I still get nervous before a big speech. No, nervous isn’t the right word. Scared is. This fear is what motivates me to rewrite the speech five times, and to practice until it’s just right. And, yes, I get the same sense of exhilaration during a speech as when floating down a mountain.

The secret to finding this sort of joy is to create goals so bold they scare you. It’s to dream so big that at first you dare not share your dreams with others, for fear of embarrassing yourself. “You want to be the CEO?” your friend might question, “You’re only three weeks into being a product manager.”

But as you pursue your dreams, and face down your fears, something magical happens. Your dreams start to become realistic. You can say them out loud, and others don’t laugh.

As you develop the habit of dreaming big and chipping away at fear, you expand what’s possible in your life. You start to understand the difference between impossible and difficult.

When I stand on a mountain at 10,000 feet, my brain often sends me two messages. The first is: stop, it’s too steep! The second is: nonsense, you can ski this safely. The first message never completely goes away, I just move it to the back of my mind.

This is what we have to do to turn work into joy… at the right times, we have to stand on a mountain so high it scares us, and then we have to move fear out-of-the-way.

If you’re bored by work, or frustrated in your career, perhaps you need to take on a bigger mountain. Often times, boredom is your brain screaming an important message: you are capable of greater things, aim higher.

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Bruce Kasanoff is the founder of the personal branding agency, Now Possible. He is the co-author of Smart Customers, Stupid Companies, with co-author Michael Hinshaw.

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