Drive. Align. Shift. Spirit Driving Institute Blog by Leila Johnson

23Feb/10Off

Destiny Versus Free Will: in LOST and Your Profession

LOST: Jack and Jacob

Episode 5x16/17: A scene playing with destiny vs. free will

I watched my favorite show tonight, LOST. For those of you who aren't "Losties", I'll spare you every detail of the show. It would be waaaaay too long for a blog post anyway. What I do want to mention is an important theme on the show: destiny vs. free will.

It's a theme that we all battle with in real life, especially with our professions. Is there something we're supposed to be doing? Or are we supposed to just meander through life doing different things that we enjoy? To take it even further, is some outside force guiding us in one direction or another?

I like to think it's a little bit of all three. We all have some Mission, it's up to us to figure out the best way to express it. We are all good at something. Some of us have a natural talent and others have to work to perfect our craft.

Your Mission is not about knowing the exact profession you're supposed to have. It's about discovering different ways to express it throughout your life. Each LOST character has something that they naturally do even when they tried their hardest to change. Jack likes to fix people. Kate likes to run away. Sawyer likes to con. Hurley likes to be the peacemaker. And so on and so on.

I naturally fall into teaching mode in just about everything I do. It's fun for me to learn a lot about something so that I can teach others. I've taught others about science, writing, customer service, software, getting into college, starting a business, and now spirituality.

Here's the funny thing. I used to be very shy. Public speaking terrified me until I was in my early 20's. Still, I had a passion for teaching. I've known since I was 5 that I wanted to teach something. Teaching all of these topics have been fun and helped me to perfect my craft.

Look back on all of the jobs and careers you've had. Don't just focus on the industry or your job title. Think about the specific tasks that you naturally gravitated toward. These tasks can give you a hint about your Mission.

So, I'm not sure where LOST will end up on the destiny vs. free will debate. There is some truth in both sides. What side do you believe is true?

22Feb/10Off

The Left Lane Isn’t Always the Fast Lane

While driving around town this weekend, I was observing how some folks behave on the freeway. We all tend to think the left lane is the fast lane. We don't have to deal with exits. There's only one other lane next to us where cars can merge in and out. In the midst of a traffic jam, there were folks that were insistent on staying in the left lane even though the other lanes were moving faster.

We tend to follow a similar herd mentality in the workplace. We listen to "experts" and take the usual path to achieve success in our careers. When I was in graduate school talking with my advisor about taking a leave of absence, I remember he asked me what I wanted to do instead of continuing in a scientific field. I mentioned my interest in computers and without skipping a beat, he told me how I would have difficulty in that market. He proceeded to recount a story about another graduate student that went into that field and had a lot of challenges. Hmm, interesting. I won't bother to comment further.

The herd mentality might involve following a typical path, like an executive management program in your company. Or if you're a business owner, it might look like marketing your business the same way as others in your field. Going against the grain is often discouraged.

What would happen if you tried doing one thing differently from the rest of the herd? Every breakthrough or invention happened because someone decided to try something different. This is true in the sciences and every other field.

I've found that not following the herd brings new opportunities. If I had let that graduate student advisor convince me not to follow my interests, I wouldn't be sitting here blogging today. It's been an interesting journey with some challenges, but nowhere near as complicated as he tried to lead me to believe. I changed lanes and feel better for it.

20Feb/10Off

Slippery Slope of Choosing to Be Happy

We've all heard it before from other self-help gurus. They suggest you just change your outlook, choose to be happy, and everything else will fall into place. I disagree with that.

The problem with just putting on a happy face is that sometimes you're deluding yourself. You're pretending that everything is fine. And worse, you're pretending that you like your life the way that it is. What about applying that theory to your career?

A recent study showed that 55% of Americans are unhappy with their careers. I know, I know. You can't believe every statistic you read. But even if the number were only 15%, it makes you wonder why people are unhappy and how long they've been that way. I have a poll on my site called "How do you feel about your job or business?". The majority of those who have responded would fall into that 55%.

Have you tried to tell yourself or someone else to just have a positive outlook on their career even if they dislike it? It works for a little bit, but it isn't a permanent feeling. If you spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week on the job, it's hard to pretend to be happy for that long.

Choosing to be happy in your career might work in specific situations: a meeting you don't want to attend, a report you don't want to write, a presentation you don't want to give. It's not a good idea to pretend that you are happy with all aspects of your career if it truly doesn't fit where you want to be in your life. Instead, use the energy you're spending trying to be happy to plan what you want to change.

16Feb/10Off

Perspective on Your Journey

My husband and I used to go on a lot of road trips. I can remember that every one had some element of surprise - everything from getting a speeding ticket to having a baby bear jump out in the middle of the road. We would always have a good story to tell at the end of the trip.

The most memorable parts of the trip were often those things that seemed to be the most annoying or troublesome at the time. As I scan through my professional journey, I'm realizing that the same is true. I start to look back on the times when I was stressed or worried about a situation. What I remember most are the people who were there during those times and how I was able to move past the situation.

For example, I can remember a couple years ago when we were planning to buy some office space. On the way to the location, someone rear-ended us. After we were done with our meeting, we discovered that our previous Web host had suffered from a hacking attempt. We were scrambling to get our clients' Web sites back up and running. Both situations quickly diverted our attention away from everything related to buying that space.

13Feb/10Off

Review of Undercover Boss

Undercover Boss - Waste ManagementOn Friday I watched the first episode of the new show Undercover Boss. For those that haven't seen it, it's about high-level executives anonymously taking on the role of the worker bee within their company. Friday's show followed the COO of Waste Management, Larry O'Donnell. One employee's story was particularly moving.

In this episode, Larry's first task was to pick up trash on a windy hillside. The employee that was helping him told him that he should be able to fill three bags in 10 minutes. Larry had difficulty filling up even one bag and realized how hard the task was.

During lunch, Larry had a chance to talk with the employee about his life. He found out that he had a medical condition that should have made it difficult for him to be as productive picking up trash. Larry asked how he was able to work so hard. He responded with (and I'm paraphrasing here):

It's my body that has that condition. I don't let my body tell me what to do. Instead, I listen to my Spirit.

What a great (and unexpected) message. We all have challenges in our personal and professional lives. It was nice to see someone doing a self-proclaimed "not-rocket-science" job that understood his current role in life. He took his job seriously and did the best that he could, in spite of his condition.

What adversity have you had to overcome in your professional life in order to succeed?

Note: I'll update this with the employee's name and other details soon. For some reason, the CBS site won't load the video. :(

12Feb/10Off

Is Your Spirit Driving Your Business or Career?

There's only a few more days left to sign up for the February 18th Webinar. It's just $10. Facebook fans get a special discount. Contact me if you didn't receive your coupon code.

Looking forward to"seeing" you there!

Sign up for Is Your Spirit Driving Your Business or Career?

Do you want to find your true calling, but aren’t sure how? Are you feeling unfulfilled in your business or career? Have you made a career move, but still aren’t satisfied?

In this 1-hour Webinar, Leila will introduce you to the concepts from her forthcoming book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel. The Webinar is also an introduction to the 3-part series which goes in depth on these concepts.

  • Learn why your Personality can keep you from reaching your goals
  • Learn how to involve your Spirit in your professional life
  • Create an action plan for getting your Spirit in the driver’s seat
11Feb/10Off

Driving to Success Book Cover

Driving to Success Book Cover

I'm excited to say that the front cover of my book is done! Many thanks to Anton Khodavasky at Book Covers for All. This was my first time working with someone so far away (Russia). I have to say that it has been a wonderful experience.

Next stop, editing.

8Feb/10Off

The Spiritual Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: Firing Clients

As an business owner, you have met many different types of people, from co-workers to clients. Some you get along with and some you don't. If a co-worker isn't meeting expectations, it's perfectly acceptable to give them warnings, give them a chance to redeem themselves, and ultimately fire them. But how do you deal with firing clients if that opportunity presents itself?

There are many posts out there on how to move on when you no longer want to work with a client. And there are many reasons to do so: slow payers, verbally abusive, don't appreciate your work, micro-managers, etc. The problem becomes more complex if you consider yourself a spiritual person. How do you stop working with someone when you're worried about how the Universe will treat your decision?

After communicating with your Spirit, you will discover whether you are simply trying to avoid a necessary challenge or experience. Sometimes we have to deal with someone we don't like in order to make us stronger. Your Personality doesn't particularly like growth. It would prefer to just react to a situation and not worry about the consequences.

If after looking at the situation with a clear mind, you may find that you really do need to get rid of a client. Do so in an honest, yet tactful way. E-mail, phone, or letter is fine. (Remember that anything you write could end up someone's blog, Facebook, or Twitter someday!)

Don't dwell on the decision after the fact. We tend to replay it over and over in our heads and try to figure out ways we could have said it better. Also, don't be petty and talk about every single thing that you didn't like about the person or relationship. Instead, just move on and focus on bigger and better things. If you come from a spiritual place, you shouldn't have to worry about Universal retribution (or karma, as some folks call it).

Also, you might be worried about where your next client, and therefore your income, is going to come from. It might be scary to consider losing that income (trust me, we've ALL been there). But it is worth it if the relationship isn't serving you well. Remember the Law of Abundance is always in play.

6Feb/10Off

A Thankless Job?

We've all had to deal with situations where we didn't get the praise we were expecting. Whether you have a high position in a company or own a business, it's still nice to get recognition.

As a Web developer, I hear about the things that are wrong more than the things that are right. Usually the negative feedback comes soon after a time when I've been working long hours to solve a problem or meet a deadline. It just comes with the territory. But how do you deal with the feedback and feel some sense of self-worth in your job?

I've found that it's dangerous to put your sense of self-worth in someone else's hands. Do you start to feel horrible when you don't get the "thank you" that you were expecting? That's a tell-tale sign that your Personality is waiting for praise from someone else.

Once your Spirit is in the driver's seat, you will look at the other person's comments differently. A friend of mine has the perfect internal response to negative feedback: "Thanks for the contrast." Try saying this to yourself when you don't get the praise you were expecting. Then, feel free to give yourself a pat on the back to acknowledge the good work you've done.

Your accomplishment is important because it might:

  • Teach you something in an indirect way
  • Help you solve a future problem more quickly
  • Present a challenge that your Personality needed to conquer (with help from your Spirit, of course)

Any other thoughts on spiritual responses to negative feedback on the job?