5 Tips for Coping with Criticism in the Workplace

The workplace is a tricky factor of American society.  This is a place where people sometimes do really well, and sometimes they struggle.  The workplace is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of American society, and it is something that we can all work on more.

One of the factors of the workplace that I would really like to see change is criticism in the workplace.  I get that work can be stressful sometimes, but that is no reason to be critical towards others.  In fact, criticism in the workplace, no matter who it is delivered to and who its source is, has absolutely no value or merit of any kind.  I strongly come down hard on criticism in my businesses, and I would love to see criticism totally removed from all workplaces.

Now, this is not to say that I do not believe in correcting wrong actions, or that I do not believe in addressing a negative situation and in using disciplinary actions when it is necessary to use them.  I do believe in that.  However, criticism is totally unnecessary.

Let’s take a look at the definition of criticism as the dictionary puts it:

  • “The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes, or the act of finding fault; censure; disapproval.”

How does that fit in at the workplace?  If an employee is doing something wrong, you point out the wrong action, show them how to do it correctly, and politely ask them to start doing it correctly.  It’s as simple as that.  Being critical towards people has no place, merit, or really any kind of standing when it comes to helping people do a better job in the workplace, or even when it comes to addressing a non-optimum condition within the workplace.

Five Tips for Pushing Past Criticism

Let’s say that, despite your efforts, you still cannot seem to totally remove criticism from the workplace.  Here are some tips for succeeding in this process:

  1. Don’t be defensive about it.  If you truly create belief in the idea that criticism has no place in the workplace, then your focus needs to be on removing the criticism, not defending yourself from it.  Seek to tackle the person on the subject of criticism, or go to their boss.  If the person you are getting criticism from is your boss, then go talk to their boss.  If your boss is at the top of the food chain, then tackle them on it.  If that doesn’t work, then quit and go get a different job.  It’s just not worth it to accept criticism into your life.
  2. Maintain a positive attitude and focus on forward thinking, not negative thinking.  A positive attitude breeds positivity, and a negative attitude breeds negativity.  Be positive, and criticism is less likely to follow you.
  3. Just don’t acknowledge it.  If you aren’t up to tackling someone on their criticism, then just don’t even acknowledge it.  Don’t grant it recognition by talking to the person about it, even defensively.  Ignore the person’s comments.
  4. Bring it to the attention of the higher-ups.  If you are being criticized by a co-worker, then bring it the attention of the boss, who’s responsibility it is to reduce criticism in the workplace effectively.
  5. Don’t be critical yourself.  This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we can be critical without even realizing it.  Be sure that you yourself are not in your own way being critical.

At the end of the day, the goal needs to be a total removal of criticism from the workplace.  If you want to talk about other ways to get rid of criticism, message me at my Per Wickstrom Facebook account.

6 Tips for Increasing Your Wealth Without Jeopardizing Your Health

Most of us want more in life.  It is pretty common, especially for business owners and entrepreneurs to want to get more or to want to achieve more, to want to accrue more wealth, and to want to succeed more and get more out of life.  And there’s nothing wrong with this either.  There is nothing wrong with not being satisfied with the status quo and with insisting on getting something better out of life.  That is totally fine I feel, and I, in fact, myself feel this way every day.

It is my sincerest belief that everyone out there should try to get more, should try to succeed more, and to try to take their lives to the next level, no matter what their goals are or what they are personally trying to accomplish in life.  I think it is a very worthy endeavor for people to work hard and to try to engage themselves and to try to get more out of life.  I think this is a natural response in human nature to try to and to want to get more out of life and to excel to greater and greater heights overall.

I do agree that there is such a thing as overworking, though I tend to disagree with most people on the subject of what is considered to be too much work and what is not too much work.  The way I see it, rather than working more or less, one simply needs to work smart and to do the smart thing when trying to engage themselves in a specific avenue or course of action.

How to Achieve Greater Wealth in Life Without Putting Your Life at Risk

Everyone wants to know how to make more money.  I’m pretty sure that that goes without saying.  More money is the desired concept here, and more and more people want that very badly.  To say the least, getting more money should be everyone’s goal, so they can provide more financial security and safety to their lives and to the lives of those who they care about.

Here are a few quick tips for how to make more money without jeopardizing your health:

  1. Get help from other people.  You have people who care about you, why not ask them to help you build your wealth?  Be it helping with a project, investing in an idea, or helping you with a physical project, your family is there to help you.
  2. Start working on it now.  Never procrastinate when you want to accomplish something.  Start working on making more money now.
  3. Revisit your taxes.  A great way to increase wealth is to simply pay fewer taxes.  As crazy as it sounds, re-looking at your taxes can save you thousands annually.
  4. Make your money work for you.  Make your cash actually earn you more cash, and do this by making wide investments in things that you know.  Never invest in something that you do not know.
  5. Take care of your health.  Your health is your number one priority.  Without it, no other area of your life will be able to survive very well.
  6. Rethink the future.  Really look into the future and figure out, by doing the math, how much money you need to make every month, week, day, etc. to make a certain amount by a certain time.  Putting it all on paper and actually doing the math will really help you figure out the details in the long run.

Ultimately, your decision is your own, and you can work towards more wealth in whatever way that you choose to do so.  Ultimately, this is the goal that you need to strive for, but you can strive for it however you see fit personally.

Stress at Work: How it’s Affecting Your Home Life

I’ve done a lot of thinking about the elusive “Work-Life Balance”.  How is it that a scant, five to ten percent of American workers seem to be able to shuffle a huge amount of work and still have great personal lives?  In my experience, the majority of American workers fall into one of two categories:

  1. Focuses on work, work, work.  Excels in work.  Climbs the corporate ladder and makes big money.  Fails to have a really great social life.  Family life is fair to midland at best.  Doesn’t have a phenomenal relationship with kids and bond with a spouse is just “functional.”
  1. Great family person.  Has a wonderful relationship with the kids and the spouse.  Involved in many community activities.  Has hobbies.  Goes on trips and spends time with family and friends.  Barely makes it in the business world though.  Middle-class income level at best.  Punches a nine to five and doesn’t really do much more than that.  Makes enough money to provide for the family’s basic necessities and that’s all.

Why does a person have to choose between one or the other?  Why can’t someone do both?  Why is it that when a person works really hard and tries to excel at work and gets stressed out does it then come back and bite the person when they are at home?  Why does a person suffer or not advance at work, simply because that person is so focused on spending time with their family?  I don’t like nor do I approve of this arrangement at all.

How NOT to Get Stressed Out

I don’t want you to be stressed out at work.  I don’t want you to be stressed out anywhere.  I have some tips for you and perhaps some things that you can apply to your day to day life that will make your work a little less stressful, and that will thusly make your home life a little more enjoyable too:

  • When you are work, work.  Want to know the single most important tool that the really successful people do that makes them so successful?  They work so hard.  They don’t just punch the clock and “get through the day.”  Oh no, when they are at work they are always working, finishing projects, moving quickly, working while they eat, working while they commute, work, work, work.
  • On the same token, successful people do not become totally engrossed in their work 24/7.  Don’t take your work home with you!  Focus on not how many hours a week you work, but on how much you actually get done in those hours.
  • Successful people engage their free time in exciting and exhilarating activities.  Successful, stress-free people go to the gym instead of watch TV.  Successful and stress-free people get out and about and go for walks with their families rather than play video games.  Successful people take day trips on the weekend instead of stay at home.  Successful people work on home improvement projects in their free time instead of sitting around.  Being active in your home life is a key to not only beating stress but to also feeling more energized and more pumped for when it does become time to get back to work again.
  • Successful people and stress-free people do not get distracted easily.  When they are at work, they work.  When they are at home, they are at home with their families and loved ones.  Keep the two separated.  That is key.  Stress comes from dragging your home life into your work, and your work life into your home.  Just keep them separated!

A More Successful, Happier Life

Get your family to support you.  Get your co-workers and superiors to see you as a valuable asset to the business.  Do these things and you will be successful in the long run.  Just make it go right to really excel in the things that you do and you will be quite ready and quite capable of winning time and time again in both your life at home and in your life at work.

4 Must-Do’s When Dealing With a Negative Employee

According to Gallup Poll, 70 percent of Americans dislike their job. This means a lot of employees are unhappy and unfortunately, this unhappiness can get taken out on you, their boss or supervisor. However, despite their attitude, you have to keep your cool and set a good example. Here are four things you should do when you have to deal with a negative employee.

Communicate Clearly and Effectively

Every workplace and environment has that one employee that nobody cares for because of their constant negativity. They may criticize everyone and everything. When that employee does something you do not like or appreciate then make sure you convey your message to them clearly and concisely. Communication is the key to nipping this problem in the bud. Do not dance around the issue and do not take a joking or nonchalant attitude. It sends the wrong message. Be clear, concise and straight to the point.

Keep Your Conversation Private

When you have to speak to an employee about their negative attitude, you need to keep your conversation private. Take them into your office or a private conference room. Talking to them within ear shot of others is unprofessional and can make the employee feel belittled and ashamed, which will do nothing to help their morale.

Get to the Root of the Problem and Make a Genuine Effort to Resolve It

If an employee is being negative, there is something about their job that they dislike or that is bothering them. Get to the root of the problem and figure out what the issue is. They may feel unappreciated, be improperly trained, or may feel undervalued. Regardless, letting them air their issues and genuinely making an attempt to fix anything that you possibly can should help to resolve their attitude, improve their work efficiency and improve office morale.

Document Everything

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to change a negative employee, the employee may simply not want to change. If it is bringing the office down, you may eventually have to let them go. As such, anytime you have to talk to them about their attitude or behavior, be sure to document it. This ensures that should you have to let them go, there is documentation to support your decision, and decreases the likelihood of them filing a lawsuit for improper work dismissal or harassment.

As a boss or supervisor, it can be challenging to deal with a negative employee. Sometimes you may feel like yelling back at them or pounding your head against a wall. However, no matter how difficult they are, you have to keep your cool when dealing with that person. Learning to communicate clearly and effectively, dealing with the employee in private, getting to the root of the problem and documenting everything in case you have to let the employee go helps you deal with this touchy situation.

How to Remain Focused in a Hectic Work Environment

Most people encounter a time during work when the situation becomes too chaotic to handle normally. There may be too much work, not enough time to complete it comfortably, too many people present to work or too much noise and movement. Fortunately, there are many ways workers can escape the burden of a hectic work environment.

Keep Your Final Goals in Mind

One of the easiest ways to be taken off track is to lose sight of the purpose of your current task. Reverting back to the mindset you had before engaging in the task can help put things into perspective. It may help to remind yourself of the goals you are out to achieve even when the surroundings are disorganized. Some people go so far as to imagine the feelings of fulfillment they will have once a project is complete. Closing your eyes and smiling at the thought of completion can help reduce some of the stress surrounding the situation.

Isolate Yourself if Necessary

Being in the presence of others can make completing a task that much more difficult. Find a hidden corner or unused quiet area and go to work. Acquiring private space isn’t always possible in some situations, but solitude can be the best motivator during a project when available. Though the environment may be hectic, you do not have to be subjected to a congested workspace flooded with co-workers. Even in crowded space, something as simple as a partition on your desk can help you avoid the extra tension or distraction others bring to the environment.

Set Deadlines for Yourself

Any project you undertake likely has its own deadline for completion set by your superiors. To meet those deadlines in a more efficient manner, consider creating your own checkpoints along the way. Setting smaller deadlines for each part of the task helps to progress through the overall project more fluidly. You will feel accomplished each time you reach a goal before your determined deadline, and this will likely make you feel more confident about your ability to finish the entire task.

Split Big Tasks Into Smaller Chunks

In order to set mini-deadlines, you must be able to see the task being broken up into smaller bits. This can take some of the pressure off while also boosting your confidence. By accomplishing one “bit” at a time, you can finish a task sooner than you expect. Make a personal acknowledgment every time you overcome one of these smaller portions to add relief. Feeling stuck in a project often comes after not having a detailed plan of how to start it or how to get from one step to the next. If you feel unproductive, this may discourage you and further hamper your progress.

Get Assistance From Others

In may be a good idea to ask for assistance from other people if a project seems too difficult. Many people feel less confident when assigned to a task alone, and they fear the consequences of any mistakes for which they will have to take full responsibility. This fear is exacerbated when the worker has little or no experience in the area in which they are assigned. There is no flaw in asking others to come along when necessary. Succeeding with help is better than failing on your own, and your partner may even take joy in the opportunity to learn from the knowledge and skills you are able to bring to the table.

Make Lists

Writing a list is one of the most beneficial ways of staying organized in everyday life. In the workplace, lists make duties tangible. If tasks seem more realistic, you may feel more inclined to find various ways to tackle them. If a task remains only as a thought, it can simply be pushed aside in the mind. Looking at your goals on paper (or a computer screen) helps them pop out at you and make them unavoidable. You will be less likely to waste time or procrastinate when your eye suddenly lands on the list.

Sort Tasks by Priority or Difficulty

Prioritize your tasks to organize them even further. Rank them according to complexity, and choose which method you plan to take to make the experience more comfortable to you. Some people start with the less complicated tasks to boost their confidence. Other people start with larger tasks and work their way down to the simple ones to make the process easier along the way. It has been shown that the first hour at work is the most productive one, so many will benefit from utilizing all of the built-up energy as soon as possible.

Periodically Give Yourself Rewards

Give a reward after each accomplishment. Establishing a personal reward system helps to relieve stress while also renewing your psychological efforts to initiate tasks. Rewarding yourself acts as motivation to continue completing subsequent parts of the work. Decide on which duties need to be completed before a reward is given, and hold out on the experience until all duties for that reward are finished. It takes will power to prolong the access to gratification until each part of the task is complete, but the gratification is well-appreciated this way because it is earned.

Accept Defeat

You may still find yourself unable to successfully complete a task even when motivation and effort are there. Sometimes workers are just not capable of completing the work given to them. You should realize when you are in over your head and accept the reality of the situation. Inform your superior that the task is bigger than you can personally handle, and she or he will likely understand and match you to a more suitable task.

Chaotic moments are inevitable in any career, but they do not have to be a disruption in productivity. While remaining focused in the midst of busy surroundings is normally quite difficult, it is not impossible if you analyze your unique situation and plan accordingly.

10 Most Valued Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs

The path of the entrepreneur is a notoriously difficult one. It is not easy to build a successful enterprise and no one does it without help. That help often comes in the form of good advice. The key to success often comes from being willing to recognize and follow that good advice. Here is some of the most valuable advice for entrepreneurs from some of the world’s most successful business people:

Remember the Importance of Time

Time is your most important resource, which means that you will have to give it careful consideration. Consider how you are managing your time and how your staff is managing theirs. Do not waste their time or the time of your customers. Time management includes knowing how to delegate so that you can find time away from work. According to Elizabeth Gore of the United Nations Foundation, you should figure out which tasks only you can perform and let someone else do all the rest. Remember just how short each day is and that wasted time is the one thing that you can never get back.


Avoid distractions from your path. To be successful, you will have to stay on track and concentrate on what you do best. This can mean finding the one area where they are most likely to succeed. It is very easy for smaller companies to fall into the trap of trying to do too much, especially since their leadership may not be confident about where the company is going. According to CEO of 5 Acre Farms Dan Horan, simplicity is everything. Instead of trying to please everyone and spreading yourself too thin, find a simple formula and stick to it.

Stay Scared

Sara Rotman of MODco says that you should stay hungry and avoid being comfortable. Comfort is the enemy of success. It is a good idea to only keep enough cash on hand to barely get by, that way you stay hungry and stay scared. This is important especially in the beginning. Fear can force you into making greater strides towards success and growth. Use your fear to help you to prepare better and to take action.

Seek Out Mentors

Richard Branson says that you should find yourself a mentor. Seek out the best mentors and surround yourself with them. The right mentors can help you through every stage of your career. They can speed up the growth of your business considerably by helping you to avoid mistakes. They can also help you to understand the challenges that you will face. Remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. You can find a mentor by looking for someone who is older than you are and whose business acumen you respect. The age is important since it allows you to benefit from that person’s experience and perspective.

Hire Well

While it may be tempting to hire friends and family, this is something that should be avoided. Virgin’s founder Richard Branson has said that nepotism is potentially “a serious mistake.” If they fail to perform well, asking them to leave will strain your relationship outside of work. Hire people who share your vision and who can take on some of your responsibilities. These should be people who you know will manage those responsibilities as well as you would. Fill positions with qualified experienced people who you can trust to maximize productivity and give your business its best shot at success.

Being First is Not Necessary

Many new entrepreneurs think they need to be first to win; however, companies like Facebook and Google have shown that this is not necessary at all. Twitter founder jack Dorsey says that being the best is more important than being first. The fact is that if you are too early in the marketplace, you leave the door open for someone else to come in and improve upon what you have done.

Forget “Luck”

David Friedberg founded the Climate Corporation; he says that you should avoid luck. When you “get lucky,” it is because you gambled. You had no idea what was going to happen and therefore the outcome was uncertain. When you plan properly, then you know what the likelihood of a certain outcome is and significantly lower the risk. Success is the product of proper planning, of learning and of thinking ahead. It is not possible to predict the future all of the time, but it is possible to mitigate potential bad outcomes.

Focus on What You Love

It may sound cliché but successful entrepreneurs from Oprah Winfrey to Daymond John of FUBU have emphasized the importance of focusing your career on the things that make you happy. Pursuing what you love ensures that you put the required energy and time into your work. Working on what makes you happy forces you to form your own priorities and not work on what others think is important.

Become a Workaholic

The old Thomas Edison quote about genius being one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration is not wrong; in fact, it was exactly right and still holds true today. Hard work is what will make your company successful. Ultimately, being a workaholic is one of the more telling indicators of future success. It is common to hear people say “work smarter, not harder.” As an entrepreneur you have to do both, work smarter and harder.

Listen to Learn

Terry Reiser of TAG Creative says that the best advice she ever received was to listen. Listening helps you to learn what people really think and really want. This allows you to move forward with the confidence that you are doing the right thing. Never assume that there is nothing more for you to learn. Listen to your customers and to your vendors as well as to your employees.

How to Build a Happier and More Rewarding Career

Building a better career for yourself involves a good bit of bravery. The bravest people in every office are going to have more rewarding careers, and the bravest people in every industry tend to do the best work with their own companies. This article explores how you can create a rewarding career in your industry, and you will learn that all careers are not made in an office.

 Get to Know Everyone

The best workers in every office know everyone they work with. You are need not be best friends with every person in the office, but you must have a good working relationship with everyone. Even people who do not like you should look at you as a pinnacle of efficiency in the office, and good working relationships will help make you more promotable. Everyone you know in the office may help you get a better job or opportunity in the future.

Further Your Education

No one is telling you to quit your job to go back to graduate school, but you may choose to take classes as you go. Improving your education makes your resume look that much more impressive, and people will take you seriously when you have an impressive education. You are gaining skills that will take you to other jobs, help you get promoted or teach you how to run your own business.

Start Your Own Business

You may start by opening a business that you run on the side. You go to work during the day, but you may work on your side business at night and on the weekend. A business you work only a few hours a week could become your full-time job, and you may go into business for yourself. You will set your own hours, and you have more time at home with your family. A fulfilling career may happen outside the company you started with when you take a risk.

Do Not be Afraid to Change Jobs

You must be willing to change jobs at the drop of a hat when you find something better. There are companies looking for your services all the time, and you must be willing to change to get what you want. Other companies pay better, have better benefits and offer better working conditions. Your resume will be filled with amazing jobs that take you all over the world, and your willingness to change will help you climb the corporate ladder faster.

Creating a fulfilling career for yourself is something that you cannot do overnight. You must plan to create a career that will take you anywhere you want to go, and you should not be afraid to take risks. People who have fulfilling careers are willing to take risks to get what they want, and the risks you take will propel you to the forefront of your field. You may work in an office, work for yourself or find a career far away from where you started.

Is Your Idea for a Business Worth Pursuing?

According to the Washington Post, at least 50 percent of new businesses fail. Others like Forbes and Bloomberg suggest this failure rate is as high as 80 percent. Whatever the true statistic may be, it is certainly high. If you want to go into business, you must first have an idea that is worth pursuing. Below are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.

Is It Something Customers Actually Want?

First of all, if you want to be successful in business, you need to get over your own ego. You may think your idea is the greatest idea since the invention of the wheel. However, if actual customers aren’t as enthusiastic, you can forget it. You should always be thinking of potential customers first. If you haven’t performed any market research to find out if regular people could be convinced to spend their hard earned money on your business idea, you are probably going out on a limb.

Can Your Idea Can Be Marketed and Distributed Successfully?

Secondly, you may indeed have a good idea for a product or service that a few people have shown interest in. However, even so, you could still fail. You need an idea that is actually marketable. You may really like your idea for a portable toaster or dog safe hair dye, however, your idea may be so niche that it could never be marketed to a wide audience. Your start up costs may never be recovered. You also need to know the specific advertising platforms you will use to inform customers of your product.

You also need to think about distribution. Will you be able to get your product on store shelves? Could you get it listed on online retailers like Amazon? Will you be able to ship it to customers from your own website? You need to know the answer to these questions and whether not you will be able to obtain good distribution without going into the red to pay for it.

Will Your Idea Be Differentiated from the Competition?

Competition in the US marketplace can sometimes be extremely fierce. The FTC has an entire bureau devoted to taking action when certain markets become too dominated by certain companies. However, they don’t take action in the vast majority of industries that are dominated by a few players.

For your business idea to survive, it needs to have something that can differentiate itself from similar products. You may think you have a great barbecue sauce recipe, but can it really stand out on a store shelf filled with barbecue sauces with similar flavor profiles that have been around for 50 years? While marketing and packaging design can help create some differentiation, the product itself needs to set itself apart from competitors as well.

Do You Have the Right Team to Make Your Idea a Success?

Lastly, a great business idea can still fail without the right team to support it. Before you try to launch your idea, you must first do the networking to make sure you have the right support. You need to make sure the production, distribution, customer service, marketing, accounting and legal aspects of your business are covered. While you probably don’t want to spend a mint as a start-up, you still need to have competent talent to make sure you can actually achieve success both quickly and legally.

5 Questions Frequently Asked by New Business Owners

New business owners assume risk. Nobody wants their startup to crash and burn before it takes off. You’re probably well aware of the fact that over 75 percent of new businesses fail within the first five years. Here are some common questions and answers that can get you pointed in the right direction:

How do I come up with a great name?

Choose your five favorite names. You can then search those names on the internet to see if they’re being used by somebody else. Make sure that you can use that name on a website, too. If you’re going to use a trademark, you can search that through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Avoid the likelihood of confusion with another name, website or trademark. That’s a good way to get sued and get put out of business quickly. You don’t have to register your trademark to obtain state and federal protection. For starters, just put the TM symbol next to your mark. Register it when a little more money is available.

Do I need a formal business plan?

Yes, you’ll want a written business plan. It’s your blueprint and your guide to your goals. Since nobody knows your goods, services or objectives better than you, you’re the person who should write that plan. You’re also the person who might look to banks or investors for financing. They’ll want to see the plan, and you’ll want to be intimately familiar with it.

Do I need to incorporate?

It’s not really expensive to set up a corporation, and it’s highly recommended that you do so. If you’re merely a sole proprietorship, you’re going to be paying a self-employment tax on top of any other taxes. You’ll probably want an S corporation that’s formed in your own state. By incorporating, you’re drastically reducing or even eliminating the need to pay that tax. Incorporating can also protect you from personal liability if the company gets sued or even goes belly up. Your assets are protected.

Do I need an accountant?

You’ll probably want an accountant. You’ll learn quickly that you can get deluged in records. Your accountant can maintain some of those records for you. Some of the records you’ll want to maintain are:

  • Employee records
  • Financial statements
  • Corporate and stock records
  • Tax records and returns
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Contracts

Do I need an attorney?

You should probably have somebody lined up. You’ll be dealing with legal documents like:

  • Contracts
  • Leases
  • Licensing
  • Zoning
  • Suing or getting sued

These issues are beyond the expertise of the ordinary business person. You’ll want to be focused on what you do best. That’s your product or service. Many attorneys and law firms provide very reasonable retainer options for businesses in their start-up stage. Make sure he or she is a business lawyer, and not somebody that does divorce or criminal work.

Even if you think things out as much as possible, you’ll get blindsided from time to time. You’re just developing business experience, and you’re growing with your business.

How to Control Bad Moods so Your Co-Workers Aren’t Affected

How to Control Bad Moods so C-Workers Are Not Affected

Co-Worker in Bad Mood

When you stay within the confines of a negative mind, you’re being unkind to yourself. It also impacts your co-workers. Research confirms that a dark mindset has a ripple effect. A 2013 Harvard University study proved this point. It showed that contact with a contented person boosts one’s happiness by 11 percent. The likelihood of catching a sour mood increases by 100 percent.

Pessimistic thoughts are like lead weights. They pull you down and mire you in muddy feelings. The key to breaking free is shining the light of awareness upon your mind. When you identify the source of discontent, you can take steps to resolve it. Below are common causes of bad moods and how to give them the boot.


Negative thoughts generally fall into three categories – fury, fear, and failure. Be on the lookout for these three thieves. They steal your positive energy and leave you feeling low.

The first step to releasing negative thinking is to name the associated emotion. Research by the University of California shows that naming the feeling dilutes its effect. This action frees up brain regions that work on finding solutions.


1. Workplace Annoyances

Do your office mates have habits that grate on your nerves? We each have unique personality quirks. We have different dispositions. Tolerance is needed to keep the peace. Here are three easy ways to develop an easygoing nature:

  • Instead of focusing on aggravating qualities, be mindful of a co-worker’s pleasant traits.
  • Put yourself in your co-worker’s shoes. This increases compassion.
  • Treat others with the same respect you’d like to receive.

Idiosyncrasies are one aspect of work that requires patience. Other examples are waiting to use the copier, being put “on hold,” and computer glitches.

To prevent the inevitable from getting under your skin with your co-workers, try to smile and laugh. Have the following mood changers at the ready:

  • happy photos
  • fun screen savers
  • comic strips
  • amusing video clips
  • flowers

Diversions provide a breath of fresh air.

For a hilarious video clip to brighten your day, click here.


Also, use flower power to cultivate a cheery demeanor. A 2005 study by Rutgers University showed that flowers are natural mood moderators. They immediately summon happiness. Posies inspire gratitude and confer delight. They elicit positive emotions on sight. Flowers make the work environment welcoming. They create a bright and rosy atmosphere.

2. Fretting over the past

Ruminating over past events sabotages the present. Three steps can bring you back to the here and now:

  • Get Grounded – This exercise is termed “Feeling With Your Feet.” Sitting or standing, place your feet firmly on the floor. Stomp each foot once. Then feel the sensation of your soles pressing into the ground.
  • Breathe Deeply – “Equal Breathing” helps you press the “pause” button in your brain. Inhale for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Breathe through the nose. Repeat the sequence until your mind quiets and you feel calm.
  • Take a Brisk Walk – Walking at a quick clip for 10 minutes releases tension and energizes your body.

3. Guilt

Guilt locks up good feelings. Regret keeps you from enjoying this moment. It’s similar to fretting over the past. The difference is that fretting involves fear and guilt includes depression. Resolve guilt with these practical steps:

  • Trace the guilt to the triggering event. As an example, let’s say you made a curt comment to your co-worker.
  • Assess if there’s something you can do to remedy the situation. Continuing the above scenario, apologize as soon as possible.
  • If damage control isn’t feasible, accept your shortcoming and move on. Vow to yourself that you won’t repeat the behavior.
  • Determine how to avoid the circumstance in the future.
  • Forgive yourself. Remember that no one is perfect.
  • Let time soothe your emotional wound. Guilt fades with time.

4. Rejection

There’s no doubt that getting a verbal “kick in the teeth” or “slap in the face” leaves a sting. Even a silent cold shoulder hurts. Unfortunately, these are inevitable in the workplace. If you develop a thicker skin, rejection can slide right off you. Console yourself with the following thoughts:

“I’m not going to take this personally. The person who snubbed me has emotional issues. I won’t let their problems become mine.”

“I’m worthy of respect. I have these strengths.” [Name your abilities and talents.] “I’m good at doing this.” [Remind yourself of your gifts.]

“Maybe I can improve the relationship.” Think of compliments and kudos you can offer. Turn the other cheek, if you can. You might change the tone of the relationship with a kind gesture. Try buying your co-worker’s morning bagel or lunch.

5. Looming Tasks

Feeling pressured by deadlines and demands can make you snippy. Looming duties can make you gloomy. Sidestep work stress by being more efficient. Here are some suggestions:

  • Focus on one thing a time. Multitasking scatters energy and hinders productivity.
  • If there’s more on your plate than you can manage, delegate. See if you can assign some tasks to others. If you’re a one-person show, speak to your supervisor about obtaining help.
  • Think before communicating. Unclear communication wastes time. Before you craft a memo or email, organize your thoughts. Prior to getting on the phone, clarify your objective. This way, you can quickly get to the point.
  • Create routines. It will help you work methodically. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Give everything its proper place. Hunting down lost items is frustrating and distracting. A foul mood is sure to follow. Have a home for each object.
  • Time activities. Estimate how long it will take to do a task. Log your appraisal. Then try to stay within that time frame. This will help keep you on schedule.

6. Feeling Less Than Your Best

We all have days when we don’t feel good about ourselves. We may be unhappy about cheating on our diet. Perhaps we snapped at our spouse. Fluctuating self-esteem is an emotional roller coaster. To get off the ride, pat yourself on the back. Reward yourself for a job well done. Credit your co-worker, too. A 2012 Japanese study showed that receiving a compliment has the same positive effect as a cash award. The striatum of the brain is activated when both praise and money are received. This region is part of the reward pathway, a network of brain processes that spur positive responses.

For sample workplace compliments that foster teamwork and morale, go to:


7. Eating Unhealthy Food

Junk food can quickly sour your mood. Although sugar, fat, and caffeine may be initially elevating, they set you up for a subsequent crash. Healthy eats help you breeze through the day. Following are seven wholesome foods to boost your mental outlook:

  • Green Tea – The amino acid L-theanine has a calming effect. It also partners with caffeine to improve focus and attention.
  • Dark Chocolate – Antioxidants in cocoa lower the stress hormone cortisol. Choose chocolate with a cocoa level of 70 percent or more.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – Antioxidants in produce pare down depression. Folate in beans and leafy greens makes chemical messengers that elevate mood.
  • Salmon – Omega-3 fatty acids ramp up circulation, energy, and brain function.
  • Nuts and Seeds – Magnesium and fiber stabilize blood sugar. Excellent sources are almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.

8. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a type of depression that occurs annually during the fall and winter. Some people are prone to SAD at this time due to dwindling amounts of sunlight. If this strikes a chord with you, invest in a light box. This is a lamp that simulates outdoor light. Scientists believe it triggers a chemical change in the brain to upgrade mood. Sit before the lamp for 30 minutes each morning. Enjoy breakfast or seated activity while the full-spectrum light illumines your mind.

For guidance on how to select a light box, go to:


9. Feeling Disconnected

We can get so caught up in our work that we neglect to connect with others. It’s important to stay in tune with emotional and social needs. If you start feeling like a robot or machine, take a minute for casual conversation. Share a happy remark with a co-worker. Have a brief chat while convening at the water cooler. Exchange pleasantries while waiting to use the copier. Break up your day with ways to stay connected.

10. Fear of failure

To overcome anxiety about reaching a goal, focus on what you can control. Break down the project into simple steps. Identify any obstacles you could encounter. Then visualize yourself surmounting the challenges. Now your mind will steer you in the right direction.

If a fast-approaching event is giving you palpitations or sweaty palms, calm your fear with these thoughts:

“These jitters are not a forecast of failure. They show I care about what I’m doing. I’m going to excel. I can do this.”

Also, realize that failing is a stepping stone on the path to success. Consider the initial setbacks of celebrities who went on to achieve their dreams:

Actor Sidney Poitier was refused acceptance by the American Negro Theater due to his Bahamian accent and difficulty reading. He refined his language skills while working as a dishwasher. Six months after being rejected, he was welcomed by the Theater. Subsequently, he became the first Black man to win an Oscar.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from a Baltimore radio show for getting too emotionally involved in the stories she covered. One of the reasons for her current popularity is her ability to empathize and connect with people. The success of The Oprah Winfrey Show testifies to this.

For further inspiration to combat fear of failure, scan the list of “50 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First.”