If you had no fun this summer, there’s no doubt about it, you need some career help.
Whether you had no fun in the office, or you couldn’t get out of there long enough to find some fun, it doesn’t matter. If there was no fun in sight, there’s a real problem.
Because fun is really important.
In fact, I think fun is one of the most important things of all. If you’re not having fun and spreading joy, what’s the point?
If that’s missing from your life, something really has to shift for you. I think you probably are nodding your head about now. No one likes to feel miserable and stuck all the time. We all need room for relaxation and enjoyment. . . but at some point some of us don’t know how any more.
This week, I want to show you how and share a little bit of my fun with you, because I had the best summer since I was a kid.
This summer also really sent a couple of lessons home for me, and I think they’ll be valuable for you too as you search for fun, whether you find it in or out of your career.
I don’t know about you, but I’m MADE for summer. Give me sunshine, give me beach, give me flip-flops an 85 degree day and a book, and I’m a happy lady. . . luckily, this summer had plenty of that. . .
So here are 9 career help tips that will help you get work and life back into balance again.
Career Help Lessons And Summer Fun
1. Take yourself less seriously.
Here’s my daughter Avery. She’s three. I love the deadpan look on her face – on her entire body, really, as she shows off her clown nose. Could she be any funnier?
We all have to remember what this three-year old knows. . . that life is too short to spend so much time acquainted with fear, worry, self-doubt, and other negative emotions.
How often do you worry that bad things are going to happen to you without realizing that you can actually handle whatever comes your way?
First off, most likely, whatever is scaring you isn’t going to turn out to be a disaster, and even if the worst case scenario came to be, you can HANDLE IT.
So why waste so many clown-nose-wearing moments worrying over something you can handle anyway? It’s just not going to be a big deal in the end.
Trust yourself. Not the little, worrying you of this moment that has to figure everything out, but the smart, capable you that you know that you are. The one that can receive bad news and come up with a plan of action to manage it. You don’t have to manage the future right now. Future you is capable of doing it.
2. Life gets messy.
This year we put in a new garden. And my daughter Charlotte tried to plant herself! A neighbor walked by and was shocked (and a little disgusted) at how filthy my kids were. I say a sign of a good summer day is how much dirt you can find!!
Life gets messy too, so dig in! You see, life is like a lobster dinner. When you go to Maine, (where I’m from) and you order a lobster dinner, it comes with a bib. They just know there’s no way you can eat it politely. You’re gonna get dirty and you might as well not lie about it!
Life’s the same way. You know there will be bumps, bruises, lessons, trials, ups, downs, good times, bad, – right? You know it’s coming. So instead of asking why, ask “what can I do to make this situation more of what I want it to be?”
If you expect some messiness along the way, you won’t get hung up on being surprised for a long, long time like some people do, and you can get on with the business of making your life what you want it to be.
This old fashioned soda fountain restaurant is in my hometown. The funny thing about it is that it looked like this when I was a kid, but they took it down when I was little. Then, they put all the original pieces back together again! I didn’t know that, but I wandered into the space this summer.
I loved this place when I was little. It was alive in my memory for so long, and to see it “in the flesh” this summer was amazing. It really made me smile.
Moments like that are mini-miracles.
What makes you smile?
What would be a mini-miracle in your life?
What would make you smile from deep in your heart?
How could you create more of those moments in your life and career?
The career help I can offer here is to be open to following “do what makes you smile” as a career rule. It might sound ridiculous when it comes to something as serious as your career, but if you think about what you want to be a priority for you, being happy may actually be high on your list at this point in your life.
4. Being human is ok, too
As a coach and motivational and inspirational blogger, next to this picture I’m probably supposed to tell you that this Big Boy didn’t scare me, that I communicated with his soul and knew we were one, and all was right with the world.
I took this picture. I tried to get the guts up to put my thumb next to him so I could show you how big he really was – I swear he was two inches!! – but I couldn’t.
What if he could jump?
What if he just crawled out of luggage fresh from a tropical vacation and he was deadly?
What if he flew onto me and then ran lightning fast up my arm and down the back of my shirt?
No, I stayed far away from this guy, and this picture is the only proof I ever saw him.
You know what? That was way more fun than going out of my comfort zone on this one. Going out of my comfort zone only made me sick to my stomach and didn’t offer any real benefit.
In terms of career help, you can decide when it’s time to be human and skip the challenge and when to step out of your comfort zone. When are you wimping out from something that you can face (see #6) and when are you just being human?
5. Go a little wild
Ok, so I didn’t go very wild in Vegas. At all.
But I did fly across the country to see a good friend I haven’t seen in almost two years. My Vegas trip wasn’t about needing the Hangover Help ambulance (yes, there is such a thing). But it was still an adventure for me.
Sometimes fun is found just outside your comfort zone, by embracing things that you want, but think “I could never do that!”
I’ll admit it was a stretch for me to think I could leave my kids with my husband for four days to hang out with my girlfriend for no other reason than because I wanted to. But I did. And boy, was it fun.
What things are you telling yourself you could never do, but you secretly want to? What would life be like if you never did them? What would life be like if you did?
6. Do something outside of your comfort zone
One of the first things you should know about the real me is that I’m about 15 degrees colder than everyone else. When you have on shorts and a T-shirt, I’ll have on jeans and a hoodie. When you’ve got on a jeans and a hoodie, I’m wearing a blanket around the house. And when you’ve got a sweater on and talking about how cold it is outside, I’m swearing and moaning about why I don’t live in Spain.
So the Ice Bucket Challenge was really a challenge for me. (Notice my tiny bucket). But I did it. I had to psych myself up by clapping my hands together a bunch of times. . . I hesitated for a moment. . . I muttered “Oh, God” . . . but I did it. . .
So, I’m not sure that I’d call this one exactly fun. But it is a career help lesson. Sometimes you’ll have to do things outside your comfort zone for a cause greater than yourself. Not necessarily a charitable cause, but for some reason. My reasons for completing this challenge were two – one to support ALS research, and two to prove I’m not a wimp.
So when you push outside your comfort zone to seek fun or that feeling of being alive, what will you be trying to prove? What will you be seeking?
7. Good friends are important
Here’s me and my bestie, Nicky. She’s a love, but don’t let her fool you, she’s tough as nails. (But don’t let her fool you, under that, she’s a softie).
Who are you having fun with? Who’s got your back? Supporting you when times are hard?
If you don’t have any real support, you’re probably not having much fun.
You need to get out, live a little, clear your head, feel like you have space away from work and that you have a life beyond it.
Maybe it’s been a while since you connected with any old friends because you’ve just been working so hard. Reconnect now. It can start to open up your life again.
8. Set limits
I found this classic note in my daughter’s bedroom. In case you can’t read it, it says “No Boys Allowed.”
Setting limits at work can be incredibly hard, but it can be done. I was able to set some limits on my work this summer (you may have noticed a few weeks without a fresh blog post), but for you it might feel a lot harder with bosses, deadlines, demanding clients and other urgencies.
What I find working with clients is that they are not lacking skills in the actual how to’s of setting limits. The problem lies in feeling they have permission to do so.
Remember you are not a machine. To function well you need to take care of yourself like a human being, which means you need to create space for fun. The only way to create that space is to set limits on work. You have permission, because the only other alternative is to break.
9. Make it happen
When you’re my age, you buy your own birthday present. At least, that’s what I did this year.
I saw tickets for Howie Day were on sale in the teeny tiny venue in my town, so I bought some great seats for the night of my birthday.
That’s how you make sure you get what you want! It doesn’t have to be something huge. It just has to be something you want.
So, are you sitting around waiting for it, or are you making it happen?
Go ahead, do it. You’ll be so happy you did.
Career Help Isn’t Always About Your Career
Sometimes the most important tweaks that need to happen to your career actually happen outside of work, in the rest of your life. If you’re feeling like you don’t have a life at all, except for the crushing workload you live with it’s time to make some room for fun.
If you’re finding it impossible to do, I’m here to help! But you almost certainly can find a way to fit in a little fun, whether it’s going to lunch with a friend (or calling her on your bluetooth on the way to a client meeting), saying no to one more project because you realize you have enough on your plate (and you’re human), or making something happen that you want, instead of just waiting for someone to give it to you.
Fun should be a priority in your life, because fun is an important ingredient for happiness!