Every now and again, I like to bring you interviews to give you a new perspective on work happiness. During my study of work happiness I have found that there are many paths to the same goal. Some people believe that loving what you do is a must, while other people believe that relationships are vital to enjoying the work that we do. Interviews are a great way to get out of your own perspective and see what other people are doing to develop their superpowers and live their passions.
Alexandra is a career expert, published author, and blogger. She gives career advice that is honest and interesting. One of my favorite posts was How to Launch Your Own Business. Your options are limitless if you follow our passions.
Alexandra was kind enough to give me an interview. Enjoy!
Karl: Do you believe that you must love what you do to be successful? Why?
Alexandra Levit: No, I don't, and this is a trap a lot of people fall into. They're good at something, so they think they should stay in it, even if they hate it.
Karl’s note: Many experts believe that you need to focus only on your strengths.This is a terrible idea. Only focusing on strengths doesn’t take emotional connections into account. You may be a good writer, but you won’t become great if you don’t love it.
What was the most difficult part about building your brand?
Standing out in what has become a very crowded career advice marketplace. Also, not focusing too narrowly but not trying to be all things to all people either.
Karl’s note: Pick your niche, run with it, master it, then expand out into new areas. If you aren’t known for one thing in the beginning of your career no one will remember you.
If you could go back to the beginning what is one thing you would do differently?
I wouldn't put so much pressure on myself to have my whole life figured out right away. I would take more time to travel, to explore, to work on acquiring skills in my twenties rather than climbing the ladder.
How do you cultivate work happiness in your career?
I try to keep my personal and professional lives balanced, and I complete work tasks in a way that works for me. For example, I know that struggling to meet a deadline at the last minute stresses me out, and I plan carefully and spread things out so I don't have to do this.
What do you do to help yourself stay motivated and productive?
I break complex tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks and I reward myself after starting a task I've been procrastinating.
How do you maintain harmony between your working and non-working life?
I have a flexible job and a supportive spouse.
If you are feeling down, what do you do to lift your spirits?
I leave the house - either have dinner out with friends or hit the gym.
Karl’s note: Good friends are always a great remedy for a bad mood.
What is your biggest detriment to work happiness? How do you deal with this issue?
I tend to achieve a goal and then immediately move onto the next thing without celebrating the accomplishment. Also, my temperament is naturally to focus on the more negative occurrences in my day and overlook the positive ones. I'm working on this by being conscious of the thoughts coming into my head and rationalizing why they may not be the most accurate.
Karl’s note: Celebrating your wins is vital to keeping your motivation and productivity at a high level.
If you could give work happiness advice to someone just starting their own business in 140 characters or less (Twitter style) what would it be?
Don't expect overnight success. Build your business a little at a time and think about keeping your day job while you're doing it.
Check out Alexandra’s blog Water Cooler Wisdom and learn a few new tricks to boost your career.
* Are you on Twitter? Then join over 3,500 people who get my stress relief tips, happiness ideas, and thought provoking quotes - @workhappynow
* Random Acts of Kindness is sweeping the nation and Tess of The Bold Life has a great post inspired by Lori of Jane Be Nimble. They both performed 40 acts of kindness for Lori's birthday.
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> Why You Should Start Your Own Business
19 thoughts on “Don't Expect Overnight Success”
I like the straightforward elegant simplicity of this interview. Great job!
This enlivened a lot of my thoughts and memories about trying to stay in a job I was very good at, but I didn't enjoy very much (stress!). I was pretty miserable for awhile. This is excellent advice. But, it can see how hard it is to change one's career, profession, or job if people are constantly telling a person how good he or she is at the job, but yet it brings no satisfaction. It's rough, but will end up beating a person to a pulp if she or he stays on this path.
Great to be here, Karl, and much appreciation for the link love and comment at my site. See you soon.
This is great advice and useful. I'm currently breaking things down in to chunks. However I do forget to reward myself. Also I've decided if I'm not in a good space I'm not going to write because my writing will carry that energy.
Great interview, Karl! This is was exactly what I needed to read right now so thank you!!
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When I was figuring out how to start my business, someone told me the following advice: "just do great work and don't worry about the money because the money will come. It may take time but it will come."
Now...here I am running my own business and I have come to see the importance of doing great work. People find you and they are willing to pay you for great work. They won't pay you for crappy work. So if you love what you do...you do great work.
And more thing that I have learned on my own, be open to the fact that your business may start out being one thing but evolving into something more. That is what has happened to me since my launch and it has been awesome.
Happy Friday to you!
One more thing...I won't put pressure on myself for having my entire second half of life figured out right away! LOL
Success overnight never. You have to place hour after hour after hour working hard to create something that comes from a place of ingenuity.
It takes to cultivate a winner. Meaning a product from the soul, heart and mind takes time. Nothing will happen over night, but you already knew that!
This is a great interview. It's quite difficult, though not impossible, to balance the professional and personal aspects of my life. I've definitely come to appreciate the importance of diligence.
Hi Alexandra and Karl,
Thanks for the great interview! I can relate to so much of what you both shared about having the right support at home and about knowing how to follow our own niche and stand out to make a difference.
So yes, as I also learned success that is sustainable is never an overnight thing, it is a creative process in action and most of the fun is in the journey itself!
Hi Tess, I would try to reward on a schedule. Personally I like to do it at lunch and at the end of the day. Could be a cup of tea or making a list of positive occurrences.
Hi Positively Present, Glad I could help.
Hi Lori, Changing a career is really scary, but you are right. We have to do what's best for us now and in the long run. We can't just stay at a job because it's secure. Well, we can, but it really isn't helping us. We need to do work that is fun, interesting, and purposeful.
Hi Tess, Good for you. We are always in a discovery process no matter what age we are. If we aren't then we are flatlining.
Hi Nadia, I've paid for crappy work before and I make sure that I tell everyone about my experience. I still tell people of a bad stay I had in a big hotel chain. When we do work we love, we do great work. It's this work that everyone shares with their friends.
I'm glad you have a flexible mindset. People get too caught up in finite goals and end up hurting themselves in the long run.
Hi Jonathan, I love how you said cultivate. You are right. We have to think of ourselves as farmers. Just like we can't rush a crop, we can't rush our greatness.
Hi Nea, We have to show up every day. That diligence pays off because people see that we care. Once they know we care they will recommend us to their friends.
Hi Evita, Support is so important. We have to surround ourselves with people that will push us to greatness when we need it as well as bring us down to earth when we get too high. It's this support that keeps us on track.
Thank you for sharing this interview! I especially like your note to pick your niche and master it, first of all, before expanding to other areas. And success definitely won't happen overnight, thanks for the reminder!
Susan | http://www.innerpositiveness.com
Work, Life, Happiness, Innerpositiveness
A support system is indeed what I believe to be the key ingredient in happiness with one's work. I know lots of people who would be called successful because they make money or have high powered jobs, but they are miserable because their spouses or families are very negative towards them. The support network may be more important than the job.
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