Pay attention to what you’re focusing on. This one thing can do wonders to increase your satisfaction in life almost immediately.

First understand that what you focus on affects how you feel.

If what you’re thinking about makes you feel bad, it affects your energy level in a bad way. It lowers your vibe. If you’re thinking about something that makes you feel bad, you will quickly start to feel stressed or tired or just generally have a bad attitude.

On the other hand, if what you’re thinking about makes you feel good, it affects your energy level in a good way. It raises your vibe! It doesn’t matter if what you’re thinking about it is true or not. What matters is if it helps you feel good.

So, for example, use this to enhance your career. If thinking about the weekend makes you feel good, then spend a few seconds periodically daydreaming about your free time. But if thinking about the weekend makes you feel bad because you want it to be the weekend now, or it makes you yearn for the weekend, then avoid thoughts about the weekend. Choose to focus on something that makes you feel good instead.

Here is another example. On an old episode of Dancing with the Stars, Olympian Evan Lysacek was being coached by his dancing pro Anna Trebunskaya. Evan was a top notch technician but was not good at showing emotion in his dancing. Anna asked him, “What makes you happy?” Evan mumbled something about cars then said as his face lit up, “my baby nephew!”

He then proceeded to show his coach cute little videos of his nephew on his phone. He was smiling and laughing the whole time. Anna capitalized on that reaction and brought it to his attention. Long story short, he danced like a whole new man in that week’s competition. Even more importantly, he now knows a trick (shall we say, a Jedi mind trick?) for something to focus on when he notices he is not feeling as good as he could.

You can do the same to enhance your life. Gather some “go to” thoughts you can use to switch your thinking when you notice you’re dragging. Keep a list of thoughts you can try to change your focus when necessary. Maybe it’s a favorite memory, a song you love, or silently reciting a list of who loves you. There is always something you can focus on for a few seconds to raise yourself to a more positive vibe. Find it and focus there to notice a new perspective on life nearly immediately.

There’s a difficult time between where you are now and where you want to be that requires extra focus when you are unhappy at work or when you plan to change jobs or careers. If you are unhappy at work you have a few options.

  • Quit right now with no notice, telling them to take the job and shove it as you walk out the door. Feel a few moments joy and freedom until you take yourself to your next opportunity and, most likely, recreate the same unhappiness you had before.
  • Stay with a bad attitude. Tell the story everyday of how you hate your job, the people you work with, and how you are underpaid, under-appreciated, and have no options. The more you practice this outlook the easier it becomes.
  • Stay and tell a different story. Talk about what you appreciate about your job or career. Practice looking at the bright side and you will see more bright side. Heck, your co-workers and boss might even start treating you differently.
  • Stay and tell a different story while defining what you want in your next career move. Be on the lookout for the next opportunity all the while appreciating your current position and building more skills and contacts.

One thing that helps is to focus more on what you want next rather than what you don’t like about where you are currently because that makes the current day-to-day very difficult and keeps a negative vibe going. So during times of change, it’s important to focus on the excitement for what is coming but with an ability to be appreciative of where you are now and how far you’ve come. Instead of leaving your current position in anger or hastily, think in terms of going to the next step in your career out of excitement and interest and let that guide your actions.

Most people don’t land a great job or create a wonderful career by being open to anything, not at all. Instead, it’s done by checking in with themselves about what they really want and going for it a hundred percent. This focus makes them more attractive candidates, too. Think about it as if you were the one hiring. You have two people to choose from. One lady has done a job for several years and is keeping her options open. The other lady is committed to being the very best at the job she knows she wants. Who would you be more likely to make an offer to?

On Interviewing: Part 1, Part 2 (this post), Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

A few months ago, I had e-mail correspondence with someone I barely know who asked if I ever watched The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch. When someone comes by with a little tip like that out of nowhere, I pay attention. My experience shows that there is probably something I need to see there. So I responded that I had not, and thanked her for the referral. I watched some episodes, and I enjoyed the show. I also noticed an interesting phenomenon.

On the show, one of the main things Donnie Deutsch does is to try and get insight with each person featured on the show about exactly where and how they got that big idea. This makes total sense because that is the name of the show, after all, so people really should expect that question. Nevertheless, each time he asks it the person pauses for a moment and looks as if they are processing that question and aren’t quite sure what to say. As if they are saying to themselves, “Hey, that is a good question, where did that idea come from?” And, it is a pertinent question because essentially Donnie is trying to educate and coach people in his audience to find their own big idea and go for it.

I think the reason that the question is difficult is because when people have a great idea, they are often fully engaged in whatever it is they’re studying at the time inspiration strikes. They just know that they were busy following their noses, uncovering clues, letting one thing lead to another, and it all seemed obvious at the time…until they get this question anyway. Then they want to be able to tell others how to do it so they try and retrace their steps.

Creativity is something that we all have if we can open to it. I think the first step for someone who is just sitting there with no idea at all but desiring one is to remove all barriers to getting into the flow of creativity. Creativity can’t occur while sitting in judgment of every thought that pops into your head. One has to open and be comfortable with the creative process. Some people are very good at tapping into their creative source consistently; others might have to be reminded to let go and play a little.

Begin by exploring things that catch your eye, just follow your nose a bit and see what happens. Once you have gathered some info, give yourself a rest and see what your wonderfully creative mind cooks up. When you feel a little kick of enthusiasm, you may be on to something.

Do you know the first step in building a satisfying career? You have to believe it’s possible and that you can tap into that kind of abundance. Through the work you do every day, you demonstrate what you are willing to focus on. Finding work to focus on that meshes superbly with your natural gifts and what you are deeply interested in maximizes your personal power, creativity, and freedom…and feels extremely satisfying. When you are satisfied with your work, it fuels your health and your relationships and juices the rest of your life.

Does that sound worth it? It sure does to me! Start to notice all the people who enjoy what they do for a living. It’s is a whole other level to observe. At first it may be very easy to notice all those who are dreading and complaining about their work. Just assume they are doing the best they can and that they don’t mean to hamper you. Then move your attention elsewhere. Careful that you are not being rude, just move your attention gently towards noticing something more positive. If you can do that, you are not only helping yourself, you are helping them in an indirect way. It goes a little against the grain and may not feel like a nice thing to do at first. By not encouraging them to continue their old story, they might find the room to create a new one. You certainly will be creating a new, more positive story about your work.