Interview with Social Media Expert – Nathan Hangen

nathan-hangenEvery now and again, I like to bring you short interviews to give you a new perspective on work happiness. During my study of work happiness I 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 our own perspective and see what other people are doing to be happy at work.

Today we have a social media extraordinaire, Nathan Hangen with us. He has recently published an ebook called Beyond Blogging that case studies 15 successful bloggers and how they were able to make their dreams a reality. He is on his way to making his blogging dreams a reality too. He has blown up in the last few weeks and I wanted to catch him before he stopped taking my calls. 😉

Karl: On a scale of 1- 10 (10 being very important) how important is work happiness to you? Why did you pick that number?

Nathan Hangen: Work happiness is a 10…absolutely. When Gary V said that he changed direction because he was only something like 99% happy, that really resonated with me, because I’m always trying to find the path that leads to 100% happiness.

At the same time though, I don’t want to get caught in a pattern of never being happy, so I try to remember that it’s a journey, not a destination.

What is one activity that makes you happy at work?

Music is big for me. I listen to music all day when I’m working. It keeps my spirits up and keeps my energy level high enough to be able to keep working hard. Outside of that, Twitter is really important to me.

People not using it wouldn’t understand, but the community there is really tight, and it’s nice being “where everybody knows your name,” especially for those of us isolated in a home office.

How do you maintain harmony between your working and non-working life?

This is something I struggle with every single day. Quite honestly, I’m not sure I have maintained harmony. Between my Army job and my blogging/writing job, I’m working nearly 12-16 hours per day…which means that my personal/family life could do with a little extra attention. I try to take breaks, and when my kids come in my office and want attention…I try to remember to be present and completely immerse myself in what they need at that time.

At the same time, I try to create boundaries and work hours so they know when I’m free and when I’m working.

This is an area I’m working hard to improve, but as it stands, I’m at a place where I’m working hard so that I don’t have to (as much) in the future. I’m working hard now so I can hang out with my family whenever and wherever we want to.

What is your favorite stress reliever?

It’s a tie between running and meditation. Two activities that I don’t do often enough, but they work best for me. Running gets me out of my own head and helps me see the big picture. Meditation helps me regain my focus and realize when I’m straining too hard for answers.

How do you work on being happy at work?

I’m hyper-sensitive to my own energy levels and I try to monitor my activities to see what makes me happy and what brings me down. It’s a constant process of evaluation and re-evaluation.

I’m a super analytical guy (to a fault) and I’m always thinking in terms of systems, so I try to create an environment that is efficient and relaxed…one that permits work happiness. Everything from the chair, to the lighting levels comes into play for me.

If you are feeling down, what do you do to lift your spirits?

I’ll either listen to some music (usually techno/trance/metal), or take a break and go outside to breathe some fresh air.

When I’m working on post in my Army job, I tend to get overwhelmed a lot…mostly because there is a lot to do and the deadlines are very short. It helps to just change the scene for a minute and gain some perspective. I try to realize that no state, whether happiness or unhappiness, is permanent.

What is your biggest detriment to work happiness?

Probably trying to make everyone else happy. I’m someone that wants to please everyone, and it carries over to my online business too. I’ve had to learn that you can’t please everyone all the time and it’s OK to say no.

What do you do to stay motivated and productive?

I use mental imagery a lot. Sometimes there’s a certain type of music or movie that reminds me of why I’m doing what I’m doing, and I use that to motivate myself to work harder. I’m kind of a workaholic, but it’s because at 31, I’m feeling the heat of turning my dreams into reality. I’m getting close, and things are coming in to place, but those visions of the perfect house, the perfect vacation, the perfect life, etc…they drive me.

It also helps that I really, honestly love this online business. Not just blogging, but writing, creating digital assets, meeting people, running workshops, etc. I just love it.

If you could give work happiness advice to someone just starting their career in 140 characters or less (Twitter style) what would it be?

Give no man the power to claim your dreams from you. If you aren’t happy, then start planning how to become happy. Let no one stop you.

* It’s Spread-the-Love Day, when I encourage you to spread the word about Work Happy Now. You might:
– Forward the link to someone you think would be interested
–  Link to a post on Twitter (follow me @workhappynow)
– Sign up for my FREE 10 Week E-Course and join over 450 people who have already improved their happiness at work. You will also receive a bi-monthly newsletter that give you great tips and ideas on how to improve your career.
– Put a link to the blog in your Facebook status update
Thanks! I really appreciate any help. Word of mouth is the BEST.

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19 thoughts on “Interview with Social Media Expert – Nathan Hangen”

  1. Karl,
    Great interview! And really great seeing this all from Nathan’s perspective of happiness.

    Twitter took me a while, but now I completely get everything that you are saying. It is like hanging around the water cooler, in a way. Lots of relationships have been forged. What has been so interesting for me, is how some very amazing ideas have come out of conversations over the “Twitter” water cooler. And – hitting upon something that matters and connects me with other people is really a pretty awesome description of happiness!

    Enjoy the journey…

  2. > create boundaries and work hours so they know when I’m free and when I’m working

    Well put. Boundaries are key. The irony is that creating these limits is actually how we free ourselves up to focus and be fully engaged.

  3. Hi Karl and Nathan! Wonderful interview! I really resonated with the boundary issue – and trying to please everyone. There sure is a fine line there, very easily compromised as well! Hats off to you, Nathan, for the mental imagery! That is SO key to success in anything! The only tweets in MY house are the birds – ha! I’m sure its great for you “youngsters” – for seniors? Probably not so much. But I’m sure if it was around 30 yrs ago I’d be right in there.

  4. Hi Karl

    Thanks so much for inerviewing Nathan! I am so intrigued to read his new e-book! I always love learning how other bloggers found their path.

    And I can so relate to Nathan’s answer about striking that harmony each day. In some ways it is so easy, but in other ways it can be really tough. I know that this is something that I have to stay conscious of each day to really make sure that work doesn’t rule the day, as is so easy to happen when your work is at your home and also your hobby and passion… 🙂

    And great relaxation techniques! I just love hearing how more and more people turn to meditation as a normal part of life that can be used to relax one, etc.

  5. Great interview Karl

    Yes, can certainly relate to music at work – in order for me to feel truly relaxed and happy at work, i need to have some tunes going in the background.

  6. Nathan,

    Great interview. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview Nathan myself. I learned alot in just an hour conversation with him, so I’m glad to see him getting out there and making a name for himself.

  7. Hi Nathan and Karl,

    I just told my husband the other day I need to listen to music more because I’m too intense. This confirms it. I think I turned it on that day and haven’t since!

    I certainly can relate to running and getting outside more as well.

    This is the icing on the cake:

    Give no man the power to claim your dreams from you. If you aren’t happy, then start planning how to become happy. Let no one stop you.

    Thanks to you both for the inspiration and encouragement.

  8. Hi,
    I really enjoyed reading more about Nathan. I was fortunate to have recently guest posted on his blog. I’m not sure exactly how I initially came across his blog but I really liked his style and still do. Not surprisingly, I am a subscriber. He has a great attitude and he has a bit of an edge to him, which probably has something to do with his occupation, being in the army.
    It’s funny, I don’t listen to music that much. I find sports talk all day long works for me but, while at the gym, I recently adopted my daughter’s old IPOD and I love it.
    Nathan, I still have to get your Beyond Blogging e-book and will do. It sounds very interesting and motivating.


  9. I truly appreciate this post. We will need even more people like you bringing value for the community. Can I put this post on my blog? I’d give you credit and link back of course.

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