To excel in your career, learn how to dream big

Q. I pride myself on not being a difficult or picky person. However, at work I find I often end up with the projects my coworkers don't want. I'd like to create a better quality of work life but don't want to be demanding. What strategies can I use to make their work situations more tolerable?

A. The strategy I recommend clients use is not to aim at the floor when they set goals. Just making your work life more "tolerable" will barely improve your circumstances. Instead, shoot for the moon and if you miss you'll at least hit a few stars along the way.

Human beings are wired to really dislike feeling disappointed. Unfortunately, some of the methods we use to avoid disappointment have the side effect of increasing suffering. We figure if we compromise, settle and avoid being demanding, we will be more comfortable. Then we end up with a rather lackluster career and wonder what happened.

You are better off dreaming big. The way to dream big effectively is imagine if you had no one else to please and no limits -- what would you allow yourself to want? What if you couldn't fail no matter what you tried? What if you were a magical creature and could pursue anything you could imagine?

The idea here is to take off all the layers of fear, guilt and lack of self-esteem that often imprisons our creative thinking. If you can strip off these handicaps, you will be impressed by what you learn about what makes you happy.

Once you have some idea of what you'd want (if you could want anything) make sure you don't stuck in feeling entitled to it. You may think it is contradictory to say "Dream big" and also "Don't get entitled to your big dream." However, feeling entitled can make us alienating in the way we pursue our goals.

There are people who are clear about what they want and go around arrogantly demanding it. There are other people who get run over by these folks because they never define their preferences. You don't want to be in either category.

The most effective approach combines the vulnerability of asking for help, clarity about your deepest longings, and profound gratitude toward those who help you accomplish your dreams. If you can use these three abilities you will rarely end up hating Monday morning.

If you know you want the moon but aren't entitled to owning it, you may see an even cooler dream as you rocket through outer space. A lack of entitlement and gratitude for help will make you open to perceiving opportunities that might suit you even better than your original goal.

You may also end up with a star, which isn't a bad outcome. Realize you'll only end up exploring the richest area of your outer space if you understand that being picky is another word for loving yourself enough to know what makes you happy.

When you walk through your workplace with projects that make you wag your tail off your butt, you'll uplift your entire organization. By being "picky" enough to light the fire of happiness within yourself, you add warmth, consciousness and joy to everything and everyone you touch both on and off the job.

The last word(s)

Q. I'm been feeling quite discouraged this year. Is there anything I can do to keep going when the work world keeps knocking me down?

A. Yes, read biographies of people you admire. The difference between success and failure is the simple act of continuing to get off the floor.

(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)

(c) 2014 INTERPERSONAL EDGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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