Can you have goals and be happy?

Invaluable Lessons

So many of us hurry through life at a pace that is unsustainable. We rush through our jobs, our relationships, and as a result, through our life lessons. I learned a very valuable lesson this week. In fact, I have learned this lesson for the past 6 years, but I was too blind to recognize it. We do our best to thrive in an environment that is constantly pushing us to do better, know more and accomplish more, faster. We ingest these messages while trying to integrate them into our own aspirations. Today, now, in this moment, remind yourself that your gratitude does not erase your ambition.

We have discussed my occupation before, but if you don’t remember, one of my jobs is teaching English at the local college. Despite, trying to get a full-time role, I have been unsuccessful. I love anything communications or writing. I have dreams that seem to be withering on the vine, yet I persist in pursuing them. During the past few months, I have submitted what seems like a mountain of CV’s to the colleges near me. Some have not replied, but the ones that have replied with a resounding nope! Usually, I try to take rejection in stride, this week I just didn’t have it.

I shared my latest “news” with a friend. I was unusually uncomfortable talking about my troubles, which shocked me because I am very close to this friend. Even though I have shared information that was much more personal with her. I found it difficult to articulate what I was feeling. Have you ever experienced guilt over your dissatisfaction with your success? I insist that I am thankful for everything that I have. I would not dream of complaining about my life overall. Being grateful does not equal perpetual happiness.

“I think it’s unfortunate that these two things – gratitude vs. feeling you have no right to voice concern about something – are coupled together. It probably goes back to childhood and some misguided adult saying, “You need to count your blessings young woman. You have no right to complain!”

I thought of all the people who have so much less than I. Several times, I thought of all the days that I wished for the type of job that I have now. Memories of dread from working a job I hated encased me, and further deepened my guilt. My current job isn’t awful, some of the people are, but the job is fine. This job just isn’t my dream.

This friend shared something that I will carry with me from now on. “Its OK for you to want your dream, it's even OK for your dream to change. If what you feel is authentic, then you have nothing to feel guilty about. Have your moment, just don’t stay there”. Thank you for that.

Take this moment to think about a couple of things the next time you struggle with owning your disappointment.

  1.  Make a list of potential fixes, things that will move you closer to your goals.
  2. Create a realistic transitory timeline.
  3. Work on your goals more than you talk about them.
  4. You can keep the spirit of gratitude and pursue your dreams.

[bctt tweet="Goals and grateful are not mutually exclusive." username="wwregg"]

With each article we hope that some value is added to your life. Tell me what you think below!


I don't recall asking for your opinion: Accepting Constructive Criticism Part II

Feedback / Criticism isn't all bad


When you receive feedback from someone, depending on what they say, the window for response is very small.  This means there is a moment, potentially a microsecond, when you decide to either go off or take it all in.  Remember, there is a big difference between receiving constructive feedback and being insulted.  Your job is to differentiate between the two. One of your biggest challenges will be accepting feedback from people you don't like.  This is a really big challenge because dislike is often coupled with lack of respect.

Shady co-workers are the worst.  We see them interact with others and we form opinions about their behavior, making it hard to receive anything other than an infrequent "hay" from them.  Try to remember, "even a clock with no batteries is right twice a day".  I am not going to pretend that I would be able to do this any better than you would.  The gap between knowing the right thing and doing the right thing is very misleading.  Knowing is very close, while doing is very far away.  We will just pray on this one and move on.  :-)

Success is imminent

You have managed not to trip out.  You are probably doing your best to contain yourself and not morph into any of the characters from "The Office".   The best thing you can do for yourself is keep a straight face.  Don't force a fake smile, don't laugh condescendingly (that was mostly for me), and don't move towards the person with your arms flexed! Try not to be defensive, since they are just as uncomfortable with interaction as you are.  It’s difficult to give feedback to another person . Unless they are messy, if they are messy walk away before you engage.  No follow-up.

Say Thank you

LOL! ok, I know I am pressing my luck with this one.  At the very least, say something like I will think this over.  It doesn't mean you are validating their observations, but it does mean that you took the time to consider it.

Instead of getting pissed get info

Try these questions to move the conversation forward in a non-confrontational way.

  • "Explain what you  mean by your observation"
  • "I'm not disregarding your opinion, but I do need to know what you mean specifically to address it"
  • "Have observed this behavior  before now? Was it frequent"
  • "How can we fix this and move forward"

Constructive criticism is how we learn to see ourselves the way that others see us. There is almost always a disconnect between the impression we think we make and thee impression we actually make. Learning and growing is always a choice, it's up to you to make it.  Remember, you are ultimately responsible for you.


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I don't recall asking for your opinion: Accepting Constructive Criticism Part I

Who asked you anything

Constrictive Criticism
" I didn't ask you nothin"

OK, I admit it.  I am really bad at this.  Whenever I'm offered unsolicited feedback, my natural response is almost never positive.  If you want to rub me the wrong way, give me your non-essential opinion and I will give you something to remember.  Just thinking of it now created a reactive response.  I'm sure there are many who feel just as I do, but we know better so we have to do better. Constructive criticism is a tool for growth. WE ARE GROWING

We should interpret criticism as a spotlight moment, especially when it is constructive.  Remind yourself "hey, this is all about me and I am being given an opportunity to do better".  It is our job as productive people to find weaknesses and areas of improvement.  I was near choking during every moment of typing that last sentence, however, i know that every word of it is the truth.  During this time of growth, I ask that you not judge me, we all have our "struggle's" and this is one of mine.

Upgrade your wiring

In "The Evolution of Self", Dr. Leon Stelzer says, "

 Very few parents are enlightened enough, or sufficiently skilled, to carry out the kind of "loving correction" that doesn't end up making us hypersensitive--and therefore over-reactive--to criticism. As a result, negative judgment we receive as adults can automatically remind us of the inadequacies we so keenly felt when criticized as a child.

In other words, we come with bad wiring from the 60's. 70's, 80's that we have to continue to upgrade to comply with current standards. Our "faulty wiring", is exposed when we are criticized / judged. This is not a moment when you get to blame your parents for you bad behavior.  This is when we understand the "why" behind our behavior.  Once you understand why you do what you do, it is easier to repair / eliminate undesired behavior patters. Own it, fix it, move on.

Can I trust my ears, of course I can

Change the way your listen: That moment when you know the next words out of your boss's mouth will be ones make you want to stare at him as if you could sear his flesh from his face with your laser vision...Don't.

Constructive Criticism
Replace the Natural Response

Don't react, listen intently.  Imagine that he/she wants to help you be your best. Even if that isn't their goal, treat each moment as a learning opportunity, you will always be the beneficiary of your life lessons.  If there is any chance of changing our behaviors, we are going to have to begin by practicing self-validating behaviors.

Constructive Criticism
"Don't Fight It"

Stop allowing negative thoughts to circle around your mind repeatedly.  Instead, remind yourself that you may not be perfect, but you are a far sight better than you were 5 years ago.  Find the receipt for all the insults and insecurities you've collected over the years and take that shit back to the store, you don't need it anymore!

The second part of this article is coming soon!  Be sure not to miss any updates.  Keep up with all the latest transformative information.  SUBSCRIBE TODAY!


You cant stay Angry

Growing Through Changes: 2. You Can't Stay Angry

Can we talk about this

Jake is Mad

I sit next to a guy called Jake at work, who is pissed off pretty much daily. It really doesn’t matter what the situation is. He is so talented, that he can will himself into being pissed off in 60 seconds or less, kind of like a weird magic trick.

 Can we talk? OK.

Last week Jake organized a meeting, which he subsequently controlled via conference call.  For the record, I was not part of this teleconference, but I have skills, so it was like I was.  At some point, Jake was not getting the participation he imagined he would.  He got really pissed, announced to the participants, “If you didn’t intend to participate in the process then why the hell did you call in?” Professional, right? Not.  Jake makes a conscious choice to be angry.  Anyone this mad this often is mad on purpose and not by accident.

If things aren’t going wrong, odds are you’re dead

Resist the urge to rehearse anger. Getting annoyed, frustrated, or angry is a natural part of life, but as you mature so should your coping skills. You don’t have to tell the story to someone!  “Can you believe this?”, “Let me tell you about these SOB’s at work”, and any other intro you have heard or used for an angry rant. It’s OK to talk to your confidant’s, but don’t tell your “mad” story again and again, not even to yourself.

First things first, you mad or…

If you are just not sure how your bad attitude is, click this link and take the test.  (Don’t live like Jake!)

Now, On to the good stuff!

Here are some easy, relatable, and realistic things you can do.

  1. Remember other people do not share your notions of right, wrong, or fair.
  2. Be nice to yourself, and nix the negative talk. Don’t’ encourage your anger by saying “things never go my way”, or “No one pays any attention to my ideas”. Self-serving pity only serves losers! (I know that’s harsh, but it’s still true)
  3. No one is out to get you, it's likely they are not even thinking of you at all. Angry people tend to jump to conclusions, however far-fetched. It's a good idea to check yourself before you speak. If you wouldn’t say it in front of grandma, don’t say it at all.
  4. Angry people can be demanding. You cannot force people to experience things your way, nor can you make them respect and appreciate you. If they don’t, show them the exit ramp and keep driving. It’s really that simple.  If this is a workplace issue, you don’t have to like the people you work with but you do have to be respectful and do your job.
  5. Always ask yourself what you are mad about. Is it something you shared? Is the person you are mad at in the room and did you clearly express your expectations? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you know you are out of pocket.
  6. Stop being defensive. No, really, just stop.  There is no extra credit for being extra.
  7. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Your opinion of you is the only one that matters.  This means that everything else is extra.  If they like you fine, if not fine.  90% of the time they will at least think you are bearable.
  8. Have a sense of humor, with caution. Don’t just "laugh off" your problems. Try to use humor as a tool to diffuse your anger, you don’t have to speak it. Humor can go wrong quickly.  Don’t be the sarcastic douche that no one finds amusing. Being passive-aggressive is simply not cute.

Don’t miss the next installment in the series, “How to think critically” Guaranteed to be a good one.