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Five Things You Need to Know About Leading Yourself and Being Happy at Work

Leadership expert Michelle Ray helps people and organizations of every description to take the lead, get out of their comfort zones, and develop the willingness to risk. Delivering her powerful message on self-leadership with insight, humour, and passion, Michelle’s engaging, interactive, presentations resonate with a diverse clientele who are seeking to inspire their teams and take personal responsibility for creating their own reality at work, in business and in life. Below, Michelle writes about the importance of taking control of your career circumstance (before it controls you):

When I came to North America more than 20 years ago, my bubble burst quickly and unexpectedly. Although I secured a good job within a very short time span, my encounter with my new boss, aka “Attila The Hun” left me disillusioned, disappointed and disheartened. I frequently found myself cowering in the restroom cubicle in order to avoid Attila’s daily tirades and explosive outbursts. I shut down and lost interest in my work, complaining about my crazy boss to anyone who would listen.

I was completely oblivious to the fact that no one really cared. It took many more months before it dawned on me that the only person who could alter my predicament was myself.

According to recent research by Gallup, 87 percent of workers worldwide are emotionally disconnected from their workplace and are therefore less likely to be productive. Gallup also discovered that 25 percent of people would fire their boss if they had the chance. The reality is that changing one’s work and career circumstances will happen only when we choose to take the lead and apply the following ideas:

Leadership is a mindset, not a title

When we think of “leadership skills,” we usually associate these with individuals who are in a management or supervisory role. Personal leadership, however, is not about position. Anyone, regardless of his or her title, can decide to take initiative and take the lead.

You are responsible for your choices

Whining about bad bosses and dysfunctional workplaces is futile. Accept the fact that ineffective managers aren’t going to change. If you think it is easier to wallow and commiserate with co-workers, recognize that accountability is a two-way street.

View happiness at work as a priority

There is no greater waste of energy than getting up every morning in anticipation of spending yet another day doing something you hate. If you aren’t enjoying your work, chances are you’re not much fun to be around. On the other hand, when you feel inspired, you make a difference to your customers, co-workers and those closest to you.

Overcome the fear of success

The idea of success, however you choose to define it, can elicit an equal if not greater “fear” response as failure. This reaction is linked to a belief system that will continue to work against you, as long as it is fuelled by self–doubt and low self–worth.

For change to happen, be prepared to get uncomfortable

Until the level of discontent becomes greater than the fear of change, you may stay stuck, perhaps for many years. Realize that negative incidents with managers and co-workers can serve as the catalyst for transforming your career and overall perspective. Settling for mediocrity and dissatisfaction need not be your destiny.

By Michelle Ray/Smart Business/October, 2014