Living your life

Working for a Living

Recently whenever I talk to a client or friend about their job I hear:

I have lost the passion for my work.

My co-worker undermined my project.

It seems we only shuffle paper and no longer provide anything of true value.

My boss took credit for my work.

I have to work overtime again, without pay.

There is too much work to do. I am completely overwhelmed.

Once again, I had a nervous breakdown in my office.

There are many reasons we feel this way. The economy tanked out in 2008 and led to layoffs but the same amount of work to be done, so those still employed are doing the work that used to be split between many others.

A primary focus on quarterly goals has created an atmosphere of short-term thinking. The best choices for the company, customer, and worker are secondary to trying to increase the appearance of quarterly profits for Wall Street.

Individuals are afraid of losing their job, feel their pocketbook tightening, and have increased pressures. Because of this, tempers are shorter, people share less, care less. Civility and compassion at work are diminishing.

How Can You Make Your Job Better?

Living your lifeThere may be a few very slow moving changes we can make to the state of our business and the economy overall. In the meantime, what we can affect to make a less than desirable circumstance better is our own perspective, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions.

Often when there are issues or conflicts, we want the other to change. We want our boss to be fair. We want our co-worker to do their share. We want the economy to improve. However, these are not things we can truly affect. We are not in control of them. We may be able to state our case to our boss, but we can not control her response. We can bring the workload situation up to our co-worker but we can’t change his level of execution.

To truly change our experience, we need to change ourselves. You may be in a negative circumstance, but you are still in control of how you experience that circumstance.

We need to become Aware of our actions and reactions. Are our actions and reactions helping or hurting us? Are we making situations even worse by how we react and feel about them? Are we allowing a poor work environment to affect our sense of self worth?

We need to learn Acceptance of the situation and others. This does not mean we rollover and take abuse. Acceptance means ending our desire for things to be different than they truly are. Much of our pain can be the pain from expecting and desiring things to be different than reality.

We need to look for Alternatives. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. What are things you can change in your own beliefs, actions, and reactions which could improve your experience of your current job?

We need to take Action. Complaining about our work but then approaching it the same way is not action. Blaming others and waiting for them to change is not action. Every day what are the small steps you can take to make your experience just a little bit better? That is action.

For more concrete ideas to make your current job better, download the 10 Ways to Survive a Less Than Ideal Job. To learn how I used Awareness, Acceptance, Alternatives, and Action to change my experience download the first chapter of From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction. Both are available gratis. Learn how you can help share Melissa’s story, reduce the amount of stress in the world, and reserve your copy of From Type-A to Type-ME.

What do you see as the answer to this problem for you? What are the small steps you can take today to make a difference in your own experience?

Overcoming Fear in Your Personal and Professional Life with Dale Spencer

Is there something you are afraid of?

Is there something you are afraid to face?

Dale Spencer
Dale Spencer

Dale Spencer had to face his fears, in order to recreate his life. Dale was leading the life of an average college student when at the age of 20 an unforeseen injury changed his life forever. Left paralyzed, Dale had to adapt to new ways of doing everyday tasks, getting around, interacting with people, finishing college and entering the workforce. He shares of he needed to come to terms with his dependence on others and how his injury changed the path of his life.

By using simple techniques to keep his fear in check and his mind focused, Dales has been able to achieve his life goals. Dale has triumphed over adversity and risen to the top of his profession, he continues to give back to his community, grow and take on new challenges. There are four key areas where the emotion of fear dwells: professional, social, mental and physical. Dale has identified the necessary building blocks to overcome fear and achieve success, regardless of what form fear takes.

Now Dale’s mission is to help all of us realize we have the necessary tools to achieve success, regardless of our circumstances. Dale now speaks for the ThinkFirst Injury Prevention and how he found a new purpose in educating others in critical thinking and problem solving. Learn more about Dale.


Susyn Reeve

Leading an Inspired Life – Susyn Reeve

Are you leading an inspired life?  A life where you are fulfilling your passion and purpose.  A life where your unique gifts support and give to others.  Susyn Reeve hopes so and if you are not, she can show you how.

Susyn Reeve
Susyn Reeve

With 40 years of experience as a Leadership & Executive Development Coach & Mentor and Self Esteem Expert, Susyn Reeve helps individuals from Fortune 100 companies as well as physicians, attorneys, and educators find their Inspired List.  She now also supports those looking for their inspired life through her best-selling book, The Inspired Life:  Unleashing Your Mind’s Capacity for Joy, and her radio show, The On Purpose Show: Your Path to Fulfilling LifeWork.

During this engaging show, we talk about our core inherent purposes, how to uncover them, accept them, and manage their transformation over time.  Susyn and I discuss how to avoid regret and attacking ourselves for wasted time so we can focus on starting to live our inspired life now.  Susyn provides examples of others who found that their “outside” success was unfulfilling propelling them toward finding their inherent purpose-driven success.  Learn how commitment, intent, and acknowledgement can lead you to the life you dream about.

If you find yourself unhappy with your current life and career, listen in to learn how you too can find your passion-filled, purpose-based inspired life.

If success was guaranteed, what would you be doing?


Casita del Mango, rental in Pescadero

Follow Your Dream in 2014

My husband and I were blessed to visit Mexico three times in 2013.  The last visit we finally met Tori and Mike in person.  We had met them online and they were nice enough to ask us to visit them at their home in Pescadero.  After an hour bus ride from Cabo San Lucas, we arrived at the stop in Pescadero.  Following their directions, we walked down the dirt road near the Pemex gas station.  We courageously walked past their neighbor’s barking dogs and rang the bell on the metal gate.  Harley their dog met us.  We spent the afternoon hearing Tori and Mike’s story of moving from Oregon to Mexico 20 years ago.  Now they have a beautiful casita and one they rent out.  He is a local architect and builder.  She creates and sells pottery.  They were untouched by age, happy, and living their dream.  As my husband and I discussed our dreams, Mike wisely said, “If you have an inkling, do it.”

Road to Mike and Tori's
Road to Mike and Tori’s

What have you had an inkling to do?  Maybe it is an old dream that has followed you from childhood or maybe it is a new dream that has just surfaced.  It can be a single event you want to try like skydiving or it could be a major shift in your life like changing careers.  All too often we ignore our dreams.  We don’t allow ourselves to express them or when we do, we end with “but . . .”  Or we put restrictions on our dreams.  “I need the money first.”  “I need to help out my friend first.”  “I am not smart enough.”  The objections to our dreams are rooted in two things, fear and the feeling of unworthiness.

Casita del Mango, rental in Pescadero
Casita del Mango, rental in Pescadero

Dreams are usually big, or at least feel that way.  It takes courage to strike out and try something new.  It takes fearlessness to jump into the deep end.  However, it takes much more effort and causes much more pain to hold ourselves back.  We may hold ourselves back because we are afraid we will fail (or succeed) and how that will affect our life.  Or we may hold ourselves back because we don’t think we deserve to live our dream.  Others are more worthy or just luckier.  We repeat our mantra that risk-taking has never worked out for us before.

Now is the time to live your dream.

The first step is writing it down.  The written word is powerful to help us clarify what it is we truly want and to help us visualize and feel what it would be like to achieve the dream.

Next share your dream.  The first courageous step is to speak your dream to others.  This is risk-taking.  You are proclaiming what you want and stating that you deserve it.

Then every day, take one small step toward that dream.  Research, meet others who have done what you want to do, prepare yourself mentally, physically and spiritually, and start making small changes to your current life to be in more alignment with your dream.

Wishing you all your heart desires and more in the new year!

What is your dream for 2014?  Share with us here and let us know the first step you will take toward achieving it.  

Between Doors – Uncovering What’s Next in a Mid-Life Career Crisis

There are so many wise old sayings out there that are powerful – and that can also trigger many of my clients.  One of them is when one door closes another door opens.  It is a true statement.  It can be a powerful to believe.  It can give hope. It can also be angering when the time between the one door closing and the other door opening is long and drawn out seeming like an eternity with no end.  It is frustrating to be in that dark hallway between what was known and is now gone, and what exciting new opportunity is on the horizon but has not yet materialized.  It is a difficult time especially when the transitional time revolves around one’s job.  There are added stressors of financial stability and self-worth. Has a guiding dream lost its spark? Has once inspiring work begun to feel stale? Does your work or your life feel too small for what you are becoming? Have you found yourself forced into a time of career transition? Do you dream of work that is more true, more vital and more fully you? Is what is next for your professionally unclear?

Rikk Hansen
Rikk Hansen

Listen below as Rikk Hansen, one of the nation’s leading mid-career renewal experts, talks about that dark place of questioning, confusion, and the unknown, and how to move into a new success map for what is next. This is a terrific episode for anyone who is re-evaluating their career, who has been thrown into a job search, or who is exploring the idea of being an entrepreneur.  Learn how to navigate that dark hallway, tune into the truth of what is next for you, and, as Rikk says, become your Brilliant Next.


Melissa Heisler

It’s An Inside Job

“You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.  That is something you have charge of.” – Jim Rohn. 

I love irony.  Last month I was interviewed on the On Purpose radio show.  My segment was called, “Take Back Your Life: From Burnout to True Balance.”  We talked about my personal transition five years ago from burnout to a true balanced life.  The joke was, during the interview, I was feeling burnt out.

No matter how vigilant we are, burnout can hit us throughout our life.  We do well until a family member becomes ill and we are the primary caretaker.  We love our job, but due to layoffs we become the only one left in our department.  A relationship we thought was stable becomes demanding and draining.  The source of the burnout looks differently but it all comes back to the same issue.  The issue is focusing outside of ourselves instead of in.

Perception – Pain – Outside

Burnout is caused by giving priority to things or people outside of ourselves instead of putting the priority on us.  We perceive that another’s need or some task is more important than we are.  In doing so we give our power over to this thing outside of ourselves whether it be a person, cause, bill, task, or project.  In saying that it is more important than us, we become slaves and victims to it instead of being our empowered selves.  The result is that we not only feel drained because we have given away our essence, but in putting our needs below the need of something outside of ourselves we then also often lose self-care.  We may give up exercise, eating well, and our daily practices because we perceive we don’t have time.  Burnout is then exasperated by looking for solutions to the burnout outside of ourselves in the form of new jobs, houses, spouses, the latest pill, or our favorite comfort food. 

Here is the usual burnout cycle: 

  • We perceive something or someone is urgent or critical making it now our priority.  In doing so we give up our power and our “right to be” because we have giving something else more importance than ourselves.
  • Because we are no longer a priority we give up those things that feed us (exercise, quiet time, meditation, lunch with friends, etc.) because we “don’t have time.”  We give all our time and effort to the thing or person we deem a priority.
  • Then because we are not caring for ourselves our minds and bodies become run down.  We no longer think clearly.  We no longer have energy.  We can no longer experience joy.  We are exhausted.
  • To try to get our energy back we look for cures outside of ourselves (caffeine, a change in job/house/spouse, etc.).  However these “cures” either mask or exasperate the burnout we feel.  They bring us deeper and deeper into burnout.

To break the burnout cycle we need to look inside instead of out. 

Truth – Peace – Inside

Melissa HeislerTo break the burnout cycle we need to look inside for our priorities, inside for our needs, and inside for our answers.

There are times that other people or things have urgent needs.  The key is to not sacrifice ourselves to them.  The truth is that the only thing we can truly affect and that we are truly responsible for is our own health and wellbeing.  No job, task, person, bill, or anything else is ever a priority above our own mental, emotion, and physical health.  Let me say that again, our only responsibility is for our own health and wellbeing.  No one else is going to do it for us.  It is no one else’s responsibility and if we don’t do it, no one else will.  Anyone or anything which appears to be a priority must be relegated to the energy and effort we have left over after caring for ourselves.  Working from the inside out, we first ensure we are taking care of ourselves so we are in the best place to assist the other. 

If you find yourself in a place of burnout, here are a few tools you can use to return to a good balanced life.

Stop:  When we are in the midst of the pain, confusion, and overwhelm, we can not address it.  Step aside.  Walk away.  Turn off.  Tune in.  Give yourself some physical, emotional, and psychological distance from the source of burnout.  This does not need to be a lot of time, but it does need to be completely removed from the situation causing the burnout.  It is necessary to step far enough away that you no longer are exposed or responsive to the source of burnout.  It is necessary to have distance in order to gain perspective.

Awareness:  Become aware of your current actions.  Are you caring for yourself?  What are you putting into your body and how is it affecting you?  Is your mind preoccupied?  Are you focusing on the negative?  Are you thinking about what could go wrong?  Are you upset that things are not moving quickly enough?  Are you overwhelmed by the number of things on your to do list?  Check how you are feeding your body, your mind, and your spirit.  Is what you are doing helping or hurting you?    

Put Yourself First:  Take back your power from that person or thing you gave it to.  Make a declaration – verbal or written – that you come first.  This declaration is to yourself.  You do not need to make it to the thing or person you gave you power to, because they did not take your power, you gave your power away.  Now you need to reclaim that power.  Realize that you are responsible first and foremost for yourself.  Realize that there is only so much you can and should do for those things outside of you.  Recognize, accept, and celebrate your own inherent worth.

Return to Your Routine:  When I am my best, every morning I meditate, write affirmations, go for a walk, and eat a good healthy breakfast sans caffeine.  This is the way I take care of myself and in return my body and mind are in their best shape for me.  When I break away from this routine, I become sad, exhausted, unclear, and out of control.  First and foremost, one must take care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually before they are able to best handle the issues of the day.  Find your own daily routine that brings you joy as well as physical, emotional, and mental health.  Make a commitment to the daily routine above all else. 

Next time you find yourself burning out, the tools above can help you regain your power and your energy.  


Listen to the full interview on the On Purpose Show with Susyn Reeve and Rikk Hansen.