Jim Donovan truly lived a roller coaster life. He went from working for two major TV networks as well as entrepreneurship, to living on the streets of New York. Sometimes you have to lose it all to realize what’s important. Happy @ Work wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t found himself in a hospital bed, emotionally and financially spent and bankrupt. That was what drove him to start seeking answers.
Many people have found themselves in similar situations. Rags to riches stories are certainly nothing new. What makes his story so special is not only how relatable it is, but how fixable it is.
Happy @ Work is a very short, step-by-step guide, packed with 60 very do-able, seemingly simple steps that you might not think would make a difference, but I can attest firsthand that they do. Some of my favorites include:
“One of the reasons that so many people are unhappy is that their lives are out of alignment with their core values.” Jim Donovan. Happy @ Work (Kindle Locations 588-589). New World Library.
It’s important to know your own values so that you’ll make decisions that make you happy. It’s important to know other peoples’ values so that you can communicate with them, making them happier.
One of the underlying themes in the book is the importance of self-talk and how it can empower you to realize your values and dreams. The actions he’s advocating are simple but powerful thought tweaks. It requires a purposeful change in thinking, breaking embedded thought patterns. Anyone can do this, but not everyone will.
Whether you are at your dream job, still in school, a stepping stone, or someplace so far out of the realm of what you ultimately want to be doing, know that you are where you need to be right now. You owe it to employer and customers [and yourself] to do your best work.
- This starts with letting go of limiting beliefs.I could never do that job…make that salary…run that company.
Jim Donovan will tell you, “I guarantee that the salesperson in your company who earns ten times the average does not work ten times harder. Rather, he is operating from a different set of beliefs and guiding principles, using different strategies, and taking different actions.” Jim Donovan. Happy @ Work (Kindle Locations 1386-1388). New World Library.
He talks about telling yourself a different story. Citing the law of attraction, we attract what we think about, he encourages us to think about and talk about what is going right in our jobs.
- Become a “goodness finder.” Catch people doing right things and praise them accordingly.
Our thoughts are powerful, simply by doing a mental shift where we think of
challenges as opportunities, rather than problems. You will find work more enjoyable when you emphasize the good things. You will be more enjoyable to work with as well.
You might be asking, How will I address what’s wrong and make improvements if I’m only focusing on the good? I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “I didn’t make a mistake, I just found out how not to do it.”
A better way to deal with problems is to ask,
- “What’s working?” Instead of “What’s wrong?”
When you find what’s working, you do more of that action. Routines and values must change before actions can change. This takes focus. Focusing on the negative is just so, well, negative. If you are focusing on what is working, you will see more success.
- Remember that any “menial” work [or part of our lives, for that matter] is a part of something bigger. We can reframe how we feel about and respond to it. As a result we can
– Advance confidently, not fearfully
– Endeavor to live the life you have imagined, you were born to live. Do your best.
– You will meet with success. Yes you will.
He emphasizes how important it is to set goals. While you may find it crushing to not meet goals, even if you fall short of the goal, you are still better off than if you had not set the goal.
“Show me a stock clerk with goals and I’ll show you a man who can make history. Show me a man without goals and I’ll show you a stock clerk.”
“One year I set a goal to deliver fifty live seminars and talks. That would have meant I’d be speaking an average of once a week, an ambitious undertaking for most professional speakers. In reality, I delivered only thirty-five talks that year. Did I fail? I think not. Without that goal, how many times would I have spoken?” Jim Donovan. Happy @ Work (Kindle Locations 437-439). New World Library.
It is very easy to set goals. It is much harder to actually fulfill them. He advises to attach actions to our goals, Otherwise it is easy to just leave them in our dreams. When we assign even small daily steps to our goals, they are so much more manageable. Before you know it, you are meeting them!
He encourages us to stretch beyond our comfort zones. That is the only way we’ll truly excel. We can find out what works and what doesn’t. It is also very empowering. When we meet that goal that we never thought we would, it’s quite a rush. When we don’t, we have a frame of reference for the next one. This didn’t work, but I survived. It is exciting and scary, but so rewarding!
The number one deterrent for not realizing your dreams is FEAR. When dealing with fear, He says, “Remember that FEAR, or False Evidence Appearing Real, is just that — false evidence. You have no reason to fear attempting your most audacious goals, so why not just go for it? It is likely that if the goal is big enough and important enough to you, you will find a way to accomplish it. If your desire is strong enough, you will be guided to the right resources, people, information, and actions to reach your objectives.” Jim Donovan. Happy @ Work (Kindle Locations 487-490). New World Library.
The importance of priorities. Priorities are just as important as goals. Don’t do anything else until you have completed your priorities.
You can find out your priorities by asking yourself good questions.
“If you want to…be happier and more productive at work and in your life overall, begin to formulate better questions. We human beings are conditioned to ask and answer questions…I believe that one of the problems individuals and companies have is the habit of asking small, uninspiring questions that, in turn, produce small results. Jim Donovan. Happy @ Work (Kindle Locations 718-719). New World Library.
Asking questions like, “How could I do this better?” “ What could I do this month to add 12 new customers?” Even something as simple as, “Why am I here?” will cause your mind to spin with ideas that will reinforce your success.
There is so much more that I’ve left out. I’ve only touched on my favorites, lest I give away the whole book. I found myself so inspired after reading this, that I feel like I want to read a part of it every day before working, just to get my energy going in the right direction. I’ll let you know what happens!