Fortune magazine has started reporting about family in corporate life.

We all know corporate jobs are messed up. Fortune magazine is a monument to how messed up corporate life really is. In November, Fortune wrote that the company that Sheryl Sandberg, a working mom, runs, has employees “on lockdown” and their kids come to the office to say goodnight before bed.

In December Fortune reported that to get his almost-top spot at GE, John Krenicki relocated his family 11 times while the kids were growing up. Working at GE requires the same type of sacrifice from a family that the US expects from military officers.

In January, Fortune profiled Wei Hopeman, from Citigroup (pictured above). She has one of the coolest jobs in the world — investing Citi’s money in startups in Asia. Here’s how she describes her life: “I have an apartment in San Francisco, but I usually stay in hotels in Palo Alto because I’m generally in the office 12 hours a day; no matter where I am, I’m almost never home.”

The workplace is in a war with family life right now. It’s not a question of balance or accommodation. If you want a big, serious job, you have to give up your family.

I never really noticed this stuff when I did not have kids. But once I made the goal to have a fun, exciting career that also accommodated kids, I started paying attention to everything related to my goal.

That key shift toward attention and focus pops up everywhere. Our instinct is to try to ignore what’s going wrong so it doesn’t bring us down all the time. But really, the key to improving what we don’t like in our lives is to pay attention to it. By paying attention we can’t help but make it better.

Here are a few examples I’ve noticed:

1. Careers
People who hire me for career coaching are invariably high performers. Even the people who got themselves stuck, or the people who have no idea what to do next, all have a common past: strong performances wherever they have been.

I realize that this is because people who are strong performers at work get lots of advice for how to manage their career.

2. Love life
At a point in my life when I had tons of disposable income but no boyfriend, I hired a feng shui consultant. My apartment had almost nothing in it, but I was curious. What would a feng shui expert advise? What differences could feng shui make?

She made tons of suggestions. Like, put something purple in my money corner.  But I noticed that the suggestions I paid the most attention to were the bedroom suggestions, because that’s the part of my life I wanted to change. I threw out old pillows. I changed the lighting. I added some pink. And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg for what I did.

I am not sure that I believe that the feng shui got me my husband. But I do think my mental shift to paying attention to things that create a life of romance gave me the ability to find a guy.

Feng shui, like career consulting, reflects a commitment to focusing on what matters most during that time of your life.

3. Finances
My friend is investigating whether she should cancel a credit card to get a better one or if it’s not worth it because it’ll ding her credit score.

The first thing I thought to myself when she said that was, “Oh god, I have to check my credit score.”

This is why: People who know their credit score do better at managing their money. Not because you will somehow be a high earner if you know your score. It’s because people who pay attention to their money are better at handling their money.

I know this first-hand because I’m actually terrible at managing my money. I get away with it because I’m great at earning money.

When I met the Farmer, one of the first conversations we had was about money.

He told me he made $15,000 a year.

I couldn’t believe it. “I make that from one speech,” I told him.

“But you have no money,” he told me.

It was true. I have lived with no savings for the last fifteen years. In my defense, nearly half of the US lives paycheck to paycheck, and you’d be surprised how high the incomes go in the paycheck-to-paycheck world. Although surely I’m at the high end of it.

I realized, from watching the Farmer in action, that people who have a grip on their money don’t necessarily earn a lot, but they focus on what they have. People who don’t have a grip on their money choose to focus away from their spending.

I know this because I am acutely focused on earning. I am always hatching plans for new revenue streams.

So my point is that you can learn about yourself by seeing what you focus on day to day. That’s what you’re going to do well in. And the stuff you hate thinking about? That’s the part that will never improve.

I once interviewed Tiziana Casciaro, professor at Harvard Business School. She does research on social skills in the workplace. Midway through the interview, I started to panic and I asked her how I could tell if I have terrible social skills.

She told me that it’s nearly impossible to judge one’s own social skills. But there’s one good way: Measure the amount you care about your social skills. If you care, and think about ways to make them better on a daily basis, you probably have decent social skills.

This is true for most things in life: It doesn’t matter so much exactly what action you choose in working toward improvement, it just matters that you’re trying, with genuine intention. The common problem is not wrong action so much as it is no focus.

65 replies
  1. Abigail Gorton
    Abigail Gorton says:

    When I read the title and introduction, I thought this would be all about Customer Support and Tech Support. It wasn’t, but I think it would be easy to apply what you said. People seem to be happier receiving lower quality product delivered in a friendly and helpful manner than the high value product that is delivered rudely or awkwardly. If Support keeps a client updated on the progress of their issue that makes them happier than the final outcome does.

    • dl
      dl says:

      Abigail, I thought the same thing. And I agree with your viewpoints. Just knowing the customer service cares and is genuinely trying to solve my problem means a lot. Then, if they are not able to solve it, if they would admit it and apologize rather than put all the blame on me, oh, that would mean so very much!

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        I didn’t think of this in terms of customer service, but you’re right. And you remind me of the studies I read about doctors. Insurance companies study which doctors are likely to get sued. And insurance companies found that if doctors say they are sorry for a mistake they are much much less likely to get sued for making a mistake. But doctors don’t believe that attention to the problem is better than solving the problem, so they try to pretend the problem didn’t happen and then they get sued because the patient is so indignant at the lack of attention.

        I think this probably is true in all human interaction – not just doctors or customer service. We each want other people to pay attention. It’s like the cliched scene with the husband and wife talking and the wife says, “I don’t want you to solve my problems. I just want you to listen.”

        Penelope

    • meistergedanken
      meistergedanken says:

      WOMEN seem to be happier receiving lower quality product delivered in a friendly and helpful manner than the high value product that is delivered rudely or awkwardly.

      There, fixed that for you.

      • Abigail Gorton
        Abigail Gorton says:

        You reckon? I used to run a large tech support team. Our product was heavyweight software and most of our clients were men. “Your call may be monitored for quality assurance…” We really did listen in to random calls to see how our reps were doing. We were SO surprised. As we listened it was very obvious that the customers were happier to get through to a kind and pleasant rep who (we knew for an absolute fact) was way less technically competent than other reps. So overall our company got happier customers and better feedback with super nice reps who needed to get the call promoted (call back pending) to level 2 than with super savvy reps who could solve it in 10 minutes. As the manager, I already knew those guys had a lower call close rate. I was very surprised to find how much good
        will they generated with the customers.

        • Sue
          Sue says:

          No way! Being kind, but incompetent wastes my time.

          Please transfer me to someone who knows how to solve my problem, pronto!

          I actually deal w/companies who manage both–expertise & manners or I take the time to complain to complain to supervisors. Rude treatment should not be tolerated.

          A doctor who made a mistake in my treatment & claimed he had never seen or had another patient end up in the ER because of the treatment he “performed” on me is my former doctor. I don’t think his saying, “Sorry” would have have made much difference. If your car mechanic or plumber does a terrible repair job, why go back even if he/she is “nice”? That is illogical to me.

  2. Mariana
    Mariana says:

    When my husband was a teenager, he read an article that suggested that in addition to the standard “save 10% of your income” rule, households should also have a separate savings account for emergencies, which contains 3 months of living expenses. He proposed this during our pre-marriage counselling sessions, and it’s what we’ve done ever since. It took about a year to get the account up to 3 months’ living expenses. Since then we have had many unexpected expenses: broken appliances, huge car repairs, doctors’ bills – and have paid for each one with cash, from emergency savings. If one of us loses our job, we have 3 months to find a cheaper place to stay and cut down on expenses, because we have a cushion. And we pay off our entire credit card bills every month, on time.

    It’s all a question of perspective: we make purchases, even necessary ones, based on what we have in our bank account, not based on what we happen to desire. When money was tight as newlyweds, we bought dry beans and lentils and ate stews; now that money is less tight on two incomes, we buy wine and A-grade meat. But if our income drops, we will have no difficulty going back to the lentil stews – it will be what we can afford.

    So yeah, people who are good with money focus on how they are spending it.

    • meistergedanken
      meistergedanken says:

      Saving only 10% is cutting it real close. Many investment gurus and financial planners say 15%, but you could probably get away with 12% and still be able to eat decent, regular meals when you are 80 years old.

  3. Theresa
    Theresa says:

    So I have to ask, are you now focusing on the money you have, or are you still living paycheck to paychec?

  4. Pek Niang
    Pek Niang says:

    Hi Penelope,

    I just got my first full time job. I live in Australia. I am in my 20s.

    Yay!

    xo

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Usually I find off-topic comments so annoying, but this one makes me happy. I remember telling everyone in the whole world when I got my first full-time job. I was so happy and so proud of myself and so excited for what comes next.

      This comment reminds me of that exuberance. And I’m really happy for you. Thank you for reminding us how exciting work can be.

      Good luck in your new job!

      Penelope

      • Brant the boy scout
        Brant the boy scout says:

        Congrats to the young man Down Under ! I just lost my job today, cause I wouldn’t transfer to another city for an additional 10k…I had a heads up beforehand,so I knew what the options were. But, focusing on the challenges I currently face, underwater on home, ailing mother nearby, good neighbors and school system,wife has a great job that she excels at…I couldn’t do it. Construction and Building Material sales are still gonna be a challenge for the next 5 years nationwide and that’s the horse I’ve been riding for 12 years now,but being the best father and husband to my girls is what I need to focus on now and hopefully a good and better opportunity will come up soon before the severance runs out. I thoroughly enjoy your site as it cuts across so many different channels in one personal life experiences. What an interesting time we live in…my father is 73 and has been in sales for over 50 years (recently retired) and he has seen anything like what we go thru these days…gotta figure which ball to focus on,there are so many.

      • Greg
        Greg says:

        On the topic of off topic comments. I just got my first real job too. Except I’m 33 this year.

        Now, On topic: every time you post, I wonder, “Did Harvard just Pay for a link drop?”

        Keep up the fun articles!

        • Penelope Trunk
          Penelope Trunk says:

          Congratulation on the job! And Harvard does’t pay me for links, but they do send me the Harvard Business Review for free, which is a perk that I love.

          Penelope

  5. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    I think you have called attention to something really important. One does well where one puts their focus. When people read about how much money someone makes they do not take in to account that no matter what that number is if they do not handle it well the result is the same – they have no money. So whatever the focus that’s what will reap the benefit.

    • Simone
      Simone says:

      Agreed, Brooklynchick… (Brooklyn Heights here by the way).. I love these post by Penelope that’s simple, good advice with a twist, which she does best. (i.e. the feng shui example and I will be putting something purple in my money corner, once I find out what the hell that is)….

      Lionel Shriver and Penelope Trunk my two favorite people. This made my day, thanks PT.

  6. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I went to my friend’s wedding a few weeks ago. We had the rowdiest table by far and so all the young single people eventually migrated to us, which was good because I didn’t know anyone there except the bride and I have excellent social skills when I’m drunk (or at least I like to believe, but I also think I am a good dancer when I’m drunk so really I know this is dangerous). One guy came over to chat, then moved halfway around the table so he was sitting next to me. He tried to impress me by pulling out a huge wad of cash. So I asked him what his credit score is and whether he maxes out his IRA before he pays his taxes.

  7. Jim Lemon
    Jim Lemon says:

    Penelope,

    I started my own business 20 years ago and then after many years, abruptly sold it, took the best cash I could get (about a million) and have worked in low-level tech/programmer jobs ever since. Why?

    I had a sales rep who was an older dude. He had chased the corporate VP dream for years, and then at the end of his life, he showed me what he had: 3 kids who were all wrecks, who could not care for his grandchildren, who were on drugs.

    He said: “All the extra money I made as a VP, I am now paying triple trying to keep my kids and grandkids out of jail. It’s a disaster…DON’T DO IT!”

    So when I had my first kid, I sold my company for 10 cents on the dollar and started taking low level jobs. Yes, hard for me to stand being a mere employee (it’s hard on the soul) BUT I’m sacrificing for my kids, to raise them into people that I can watch with pleasure when I’m old and grey.

    I have plenty of regrets. But then I look at my kids, bright and shining, and all those regrets melt.

  8. Natasha
    Natasha says:

    Right now the goal in my life is trying to get pregnant, so I have been focusing on that. My doctor says not to stress or obsess about it, that anxiety will impact our ability to get pregnant (been trying for a year with no luck).
    Is it always a good idea to really focus on your goals (or problems), or are there cases where not paying attention to your goals is better in the end? Or is it the difference between focus and obsession?

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      Personally I think that once you work through the stress you’ll find tons of incredibly good information that will help you relax and trust your body. And be amazed at how beautifully made human bodies are!

      Focus knowing that there is a key for you to find not on everything that is going “wrong.”

      That’s my 2 cents.

      I only say it because I decided that if I get the choice I’ll have a home water birth. I am terrified of pain but more terrified of hospitals. My focus is too much on the process of giving birth because I know hardly anything about it. I’ve read so much that I have learned to trust my body and be amazed at it. So much so that weight gain doesn’t bother me, getting my license suspended doesn’t bother me (just happened), the grim prospect of finances doesn’t bother me, I know I can figure it out!

      Good luck to you!

    • Violeta
      Violeta says:

      Natasha,
      Obsessing about getting pregnant is probably not going to help a lot because it is going to create a lot of negative stress and, as a result, physiological and chemical reactions in your body that are not conducive to good health or getting pregnant.
      But eliminating sugar (including high-fructose corn syrup, and other sugary stuff like honey, maple syrup, and fruits)and flour and other starchy foods will increase your chances of getting pregnant.
      So, I think focusing on an issue is helpful but obsessing about the issue is counter-productive.

      • GingerR
        GingerR says:

        I don’t go for the avoid-sugar strategy.
        I say, focus on your relationship with your male mate. To get pregneant you need plenty of opportunities. That requires a partner. It’s a winning focus because once you’ve got the baby you’re still going to need your partner. So focusing on your partner helps right now and it’ll help in the future too.

        Don’t want to focus on your partner? Maybe having a baby with them isn’t the best idea.

        • Violeta
          Violeta says:

          GingerR,
          I agree with you that focusing on your relationship with your partner is important if you want to get pregnant. However, everyone’s # 1 priority should be one’s own health. Without it, relationships will suffer no matter what. And, avoiding sugar in one’s diet is a smart health maintenance strategy.
          I understand that Natasha is having challenges getting pregnant. If that is indeed the case, Natasha, then, please, watch this video in which a fertility expert explains the connection between diet and ability to conceive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRAwgdvhWHw

        • Sue
          Sue says:

          My husband’s parents could not conceive so after many years they adopted & shortly thereafter she became pregnant & had 3 more children! I have heard this is relatively common & that it is attributed to the mother’s stress & worry about not conceiving dropping dramatically when the decision to adopt has been made!

  9. karelys
    karelys says:

    Oh God! I pissed off my brother the day before yesterday. I didn’t care because I thought I made my point and if he didn’t want to treat me the way I want to be treated then it’s his problem.

    My mom and mostly people in my family complain…well, mostly my mom…that I am too direct and even if I speak the truth I hurt people.

    I really don’t care. It’s SOOO much work to try to figure out the nice way to say it. It’s not that I don’t try. But when I try I panic and it’s like the words hide from me. So I started not to care when I offend people because I used to care so much I got burned out. And I thought that what defined me was that I was nice. Because people always said I was sweet.

    I think I still am. Every day I think of what I can do to make someone’s day better. But I don’t smile everyday. Maybe because loving life in my current job situation is so hard. I don’t know. But the thing is that I don’t care if people like me or not. If they get hurt or not. People who get hurt easily are too much work for me and I rather not deal with them anyway.

    All this to say, I probably have HORRIBLE social skills!!!

    ugh. And I thought I had bigger problems than that!

  10. karelys
    karelys says:

    I forgot to mention this. Yesterday Jezebel posted an article about how women in India and other parts of the world ARE attending and graduating college but not going into the workforce. Because they want to start a family AND they don’t have to work.

    So the workplace is trying to hard to lure them in by providing better maternity leave, flexible schedules, etc.

    I think it’s so awesome and I am jealous because they are playing hard to get (honestly I wouldn’t work for a paycheque if I didn’t have to either) and so the workplace is trying to accomodate so much so they come to work for them!

  11. j.
    j. says:

    I’ve always lived by the saying that what I put my attention on will grow. So I’m a bit perplexed by the possibility of putting my attention on my problems versus the solution?

    At the moment, I’m bored out of my mind & lacking direction/resources in a VP job I took 7 weeks ago after leaving a job, that I was also in for 7 weeks, where people had no idea what a real business was like (beyond the scope here). When I read what I just wrote, I find it hard to imagine it’s actually me writing it and not some flake.

    For nearly ten years I worked for a company that allowed me to wear whatever I wanted (within reason)to work and encouraged a scrappy, entrepreneurial, creative approach to anything we did. Oh, and they didn’t believe in titles, either, and the CEO sat in a cubicle as well. I could also show up at 9:30 and come/go throughout the day without anyone blinking an eye.

    This current company requires strict hours, business attire, and has mostly old white men at the top. And, yes, I chose this and probably more out of fear of going broke in NY (which…I’m not…). I also happened to move from Chicago to NYC nine months ago to be in the same city with my boyfriend, just to add that to the mix.

    I am, in fact, one of those strong performers you refer to above. Always given cool assignments – including one abroad- and performed extremely well. I’ve pretty much always been good with my money. Yes, I do know my credit score.

    So here I am now working for a conservative company where you can hear the air flow versus anyone talking. I’m in a private office, but it feels more like a prison cell. I have a project to do, but no direction and also, no interest.

    I’m contemplating ditching it all together, going away for 12 weeks in the fall to train with my meditation teacher and finally hanging out my shingle full-time to be a coach & therapist, which I am trained to do (which prob sounds surprising in the midst of all of this). Doing it on the side of the corp job may just be the lack of focus you were mentioning.

    As I type this, I think, I’m crazy and I got myself here. I chose this. I need to grow up and get out of my own suffering. But, I also think, I can make money at anything I do. So…I think I’m in the solution here, but maybe I’m just creating more problems.

    My goals: have a business/career that gives me freedom and flexibility, earn a good living ($150Kish), get married & pop out a kid bc I’m 37 and well past the age you advised to have them and that I ever intended.

    At least it’s Friday and I can go home and ignore all of this for two days. The bigger question may be why did I ever leave the company I was in for ten years in the first place? Yeah. To go back to school in pursuit of a dream. *sigh*

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      You have like, I don’t know, fifty problems in this comment. But there is only one problem that is going to explode: The kid problem. So that’s the one you should focus on.

      This is a great example of how if you pay attention to a problem you will find a solution. You are letting yourself think about fifty problems so you can avoid all of them. Your real problem is that your biological clock won’t wait. All the other stuff you can solve five years from now.

      Penelope

  12. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    “People who hire me for career coaching are invariably high performers.”

    Haha, I see what you did there.

  13. gustavo
    gustavo says:

    The choice of what factors to pay attention to is probably the strongest decision we can make regarding a project’s outcome (personal or business), outside of which people we will involve in it – and since we often can’t choose our teams the way we’d like, choosing what to pay attention to is our best bet.

    To really grok the meaning of this, I think we have to come to terms with the fact that life will take its course no matter what we do (the river flowing downstream is maybe a good analogy) and our input in the grand scheme of things is a cumulative result of the little choices we make along the way, helping direct the flow of things down one path or another.

    We can only make useful choices about the things we’re paying attention to – everything else counts as ‘going with the flow’ in the river analogy. But what most people forget is that we’re not very good choice-making machines in today’s world, so we have to pick carefully what we’ll spend our energy paying attention to.

    What this boils down to, I think, is that it’s well worth the time and reflection necessary to find the few things that are really important to us at any point in our lives. We need to define them in clear, concise terms that we can carry with us mentally everywhere we go, and use them to make good decisions and good inferences when we need to.

    Otherwise, surely we’ll find ourselves trying to pay attention to all sorts of problems, but really not paying enough attention to none of them, and wondering why your advice isn’t making any difference.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is a really really good comment, Gustavo. I don’t have anything to add, but I just think this is eloquent and gives us all a little nudge to make better choices about how we distribute our attention.

      Penelope

  14. JPC
    JPC says:

    I am often reminded of the line from Six Degrees of Separation when the main couple are described. They are rich, but always on the cusp of being broke. They live paycheck to paycheck. Yet they live in a penthouse on the upper east side of Manhattan. One of the characters describes them as “Hand to mouth but on a higher plateau”.

  15. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    I’m pretty sure I know what I need to work on next. Thanks for a little re-direction.

  16. Kristen Cote
    Kristen Cote says:

    I beleive the title says it all – Attention to problem matters more than the solution to problems. Within 2 weeks of letting our suppliers know we were hearing them – not necessarily solving their problems on the spot – our “likeability” factor went way up and all of a sudden we were considered easy to work with. On some level, people need validation that their problem is real to somebody who they think can fix it.

  17. Daniel Baskin
    Daniel Baskin says:

    The problem I have with solutions, which, if I’m reading your post right, be what you were also conveying in your title, is that a solution implies finalization of a decision (and possibly the cessation of further focus) with diminished attention to not yet realized alternatives. Focusing on a problem makes it so that coming to a solution does not at all hinder further development of possibly better alternatives.

    I think people prematurely/unmeditatively take issue with “focusing on problems” merely because they associate that specific language with the language of, for instance, conflict resolution of focusing on each others faults rather than coming to a solution–or some other overly sensing reason. (Sorry, false “N” superiority off).

  18. Heroine Worshiper
    Heroine Worshiper says:

    While your blog only encompasses personal experience, it would be interesting to hear what you think of the military practice of constant moving.

  19. Sadya
    Sadya says:

    I read Wei Hopman’s interview last week, she mentioned that she sleeps in 3hours packets and has calls at 3AM , 5AM etc. i thought what an unhealthy way to live, she must so tired and lonely all the time. But for an Asian woman to have come this far is a huge achievement, for herself especially. It’s a fight against stereotypes, culture. traditions at every level and really it never really stops even when you reach the top.

    On a sidenote, I’m good at focusing on the money I have, as well as at the earning part. What does that makes me? Pseudo-saver-spender

  20. jujube
    jujube says:

    For many years all I did, day in and day out, was focus on coping.

    I was a high achiever at work because I knew how to maximize every little bit, when in reality, in my heart, I was just coping with life. You’re just struggling to keep what you have.

    Life changes. I’m not struggling to cope anymore. I no longer have to maximize every little bit. Now I can maximize on my strengths and just let the future unfold.

    I have to practice staying focused on my strengths and what I’m grateful for, and I’m finding this to be very hard.

  21. GingerR
    GingerR says:

    It’s critical to be focused on the right problem. It’s totally human to focus on little problems and skip the big ones.

    Sometimes the solution is a problem that you aren’t quite ready to tackle.

  22. Dave
    Dave says:

    In keeping with your theme of focus and attention, don’t you find these exceptional executive stories distracting? They are living their dream, and that’s great, but it’s not my dream…and yet the competitive/comparative impulse makes me think…why am I not doing that? I think that’s the mind trap so many down the corporate food chain delude themselves into following (and how Fortune sells magazines.)

    • Helen W
      Helen W says:

      Personally I think its deep seated insecurity that drives alot of these executives! Those who are truly secure don’t need validation. I see that there can be a genuine adrenalin rush that comes into play, but the critical side of me still thinks the adrenalin comes from a whole “look at me and what i can achieve” standpoint. If you don’t need that in your life to feel good about yourself, then I think you are WAY better off.

  23. mysticaltyger
    mysticaltyger says:

    Penelope:

    I think your issues with money have a lot to do with 2 things: 1. Childhood sexual abuse and 2. Aspergers.

    I can’t speak to the Asperger’s aspect of it, but I know several people who were sexually abused as children and they are generally horrible with money (either earning it or managing it or both). It seems to stem from a deep feeling that you are not a worthwhile human being (often subconscious) and therefore don’t deserve security and stability. A lot of people who were sexually abused are afraid of stability because they equate chaos (be it financial, emotional, etc.) and abuse with love (once again, usually on an ingrained subconsious level).

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is a useful comment. Thank you. And then you give good direction about what problem to give attention to — maybe it’s not money after all.

      Penelope

  24. Andi
    Andi says:

    You said, “It doesn’t matter so much exactly what action you choose in working toward improvement, it just matters that you’re trying, with genuine intention.”

    I loved this phrase. It goes hand-in-hand with one of my favorite mottoes from the gals over at The Dao of Doing: The key to doing anything is doing SOMETHING. Forward motion is better than sitting in stew, stagnating in your own juices.

    I tend to become overwhelmed with life’s obstacles, so little reminders like this are a healthy way for me to gain focus on what is truly important. More than three things on my plate makes me want to curl up on the couch hidden safely under my magical afghan… because avoidance is so much easier than just picking ONE issue, ONE action, ONE problem, ONE baby step. The power of ONE. Just pick something. The motion itself is enough to get you over the hump.

    Thanks for this, Penelope! :)

    Andi-Roo /// @theworld4realz
    http://www.theworld4realz.com/
    theworldforrealz@gmail.com

  25. jujube
    jujube says:

    My social skills are on hold at the moment until I can figure out who I should trust now. I would love to focus on friendships again, but too many people stab you in the back. You need good judgment to have good social skills, and my judgment has been hampered by good people turned bad.

    (I can’t sleep either…just peachy)

  26. Tony
    Tony says:

    Thank you for this and I am suddenly glad I have the job and life I do. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Shame on working parents who ignore their children. They made a bargain with the devil.

  27. Wim
    Wim says:

    I notice that people get most excited when I show them that I really really understand their problem, but not so much when I give them a solution even when they agree it would work. Weird. Maybe we connect more around our pain.

  28. caligulisimo
    caligulisimo says:

    “put something purple in my money corner”

    Haha! What a great euphemism!

    Cue the disco music, a lonely, young housewife, and a delivery boy with a big mustache.

  29. Diane P
    Diane P says:

    When I first took these lessons to heart, several years ago now, they changed my life. Following this advice allows you to be free. You don’t have to WORRY so much that you are doing the right thing to make things better in your life. SO much of improvement is simply shining a light on the area you want to improve. It’s a more relaxed approach than the controlling, over-achieving approach I used to take. It makes room for creativity, for self-love, and for gratitude for all the areas of your life that ARE going well. You don’t have to grasp at a better you: just be honest with yourself about what needs improvement, and be open to change.

  30. Cidem
    Cidem says:

    If you make several million a year I do not feel for you that you may have to move your family or rarely see them. You chose this life for yourself and you obviously enjoy the money more than your family life.

  31. yogamumbai
    yogamumbai says:

    I forgot to mention. Jezebel yesterday published an article about how women participate in India and other parts of the world and college degree, but not in the working world. Because they want to start a family, and they do not work.

    So the job of trying too hard to attract them by better maternity leave, flexible working hours, etc.

    I think it is so awesome and I’m jealous, because they are difficult to play to (honestly, I would not have to work for a paycheck, if I have not, either) and so tried the work place so much, so that they come to work for them!

  32. Brooke
    Brooke says:

    “Feng shui, like career consulting, reflects a commitment to focusing on what matters most during that time of your life.”

    This is so true! You can replace feng shui with The Secret, mediation, prayer, or tarot cards. It doesn’t matter. The point is that once you decide to pay attention to something that something is going to be affected, which will then change your reaction to it.

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