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How to Feel Better at Work - Evaluate and Speak Up (Part 4)


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Ever thought that things would be better for you at work if other people—your boss, your coworker, your company would just “be better?”


If only my company would “walk their talk”

If only my boss would stop micromanaging and overloading me with ridiculous deadlines

If only my employee would stop giving me attitude

If only my colleague wasn't so aggressive or so passive or just plain annoying


We sit, we stew, we ruminate, and kick up a fuss about how things are not how they “should” be.

Of course, we don’t actually think we are “kicking up a fuss” so much as being very rational and reasonable. We believe we’re just right and they’re just plain wrong.

It all feels very true. Some of it actually might be but so what?


It’s really very interesting how we believe our thoughts. These thoughts seem true and these thoughts seem innocent.


But they’re not. So often my clients tell me that things at work aren’t working because a boss should be behaving differently, or their company should be doing this or that or the other, or a colleague or employee should just do it this way or that way and things would be fine.

If we could just change everyone, things would finally work. Or, sometimes the thoughts sound like this:


If only things could go back to the way they were.

If only he’d done this. If only she’d done that.

If only I’d been more like this or more like that.

If only I’d done this or done that instead of what I did.


Do you know what all of these thoughts have in common? They are all just a few ways we argue with reality. These kinds of thoughts feel helpful in the moment, they feel true. But they aren’t. The same way we wouldn’t argue with a blue wall for being blue-we wouldn’t spend a bunch of time thinking, thinking, thinking about how if only the wall wasn’t blue, things would be different.

That would be ridiculous, right?


So, pay attention to these types of thoughts, the usefulness of them and how they leave you feeling. My guess is they leave you feeling powerless. This is what happens whenever we try to argue with reality.


Just spend some time noticing and becoming aware. No need to judge. Can you start to see these things you view as a problem actually as neutral as that blue wall? The same way your dislike of blue would just be a thought (that’s what this preference is!), so is your dislike of your manager, coworker, or opinion about the recent office restructuring. Spending a bunch of time worrying about the blue wall, or arguing with it, or wishing it was different doesn’t change a darn thing. Neither does simply wishing things were different at work.


So replace your ruminating with evaluating.


Ask yourself these 3 questions:


What’s working?

What’s not?

What do you want to do differently?


A helpful bi-product of evaluating is that it takes you away from ruminating. It also helps you to see that you do have some power. You always have choice. You always have free will, even when you think you don’t. You can’t change every circumstance, but you don’t have to. That still leaves you with options.


It’s time to turn some obstacles into solutions. Unfortunately, there’s a lot in life we have no control over-things like how other people think, feel, act, react, or don’t act or things in the past for example. I have very different strategies to offer when it comes to dealing with these and a big part of that comes down to learning how to regulate your own emotions (I highly recommend you learn how to do this) but that’s a post for another time. For now, let’s remember that you can always trust that you’ll know things you can at least try to improve your circumstances while you’re figuring out your next move.


Common complaints my clients share with me about their work are things like overwhelming workloads, unfair compensation, team members not pulling their weight etc. In these cases, you might decide to try talking to the powers that be. Yes, it might feel awkward but if you’ve already got one foot out the door, who cares? In an ideal scenario you want to leave your job on the best terms possible with people so I’m not suggesting you go all out sabotage on anybody but perhaps you’ll feel a little more free to exercise some liberties. Finally make that suggestion for an improvement you’re worried will just be shot down, speak up when someone crosses a boundary, make a business case for a raise and ask for it. Like I said, you’ve got one foot out the door so why not practice simple things like leaving work on time (shutting your computer/phone down if you're working from home), not taking work home with you (not working after hours if you're already working from home), taking your lunch (eating at your desk doesn't count), setting and enforcing boundaries, experimenting with new time management systems etc. Are there professional development opportunities you’ve been passing up because you’ve been too busy? Get a little less busy and sign up. Let your work be a tool to get what you want for your life. Start practicing this now.


Just like you can paint over a blue wall, you might be able to make a few things better for yourself at work just by speaking up. Maybe have an uncomfortable conversation or two, it’ll be a learning experience. Stop expecting people to read your mind. Do it and let me know how it goes. Pick a thought that serves you well this week my friend, and think it on purpose!! Make it something that you truly believe about yourself and makes you feel good to think. Do it! Christine :)


p.s.: Ready to make some amazing things happen in your career? I'm ready when you are and there's never been a better time to turn that dream into something real. I help you make quality decisions, think quality thoughts, and create a high quality but simple plan to get high quality results. We don't over complicate anything because that's never actually required. Tell me your dream.

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