I love the Internet. You can find anything and everything there. I googled “lighten up”. I got 1,740,000 hits in less than half a second – 0.42 seconds to be exact. I clicked on a WikiHow called “How to Lighten Up” and found six common sense tips on how to lighten up.
- Stop assuming you know everything. Nobody knows everything – even in his or her field. When you think you know everything, you become closed to new ideas.
- Stop exaggerating. Be truthful with yourself about your skills and abilities. Just like you should avoid assuming you know everything, you need to avoid coming across to others as a know-it-all. Knowing it all sets you up for unwanted stress.
- Let go of things. I love what the WikiHow has to say about this. “Better to be humble and humorous about your journey through life than to be the drama queen of Seriousville.” Learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t hold grudges.
- Laugh. Be willing to laugh at yourself. It may just be me, but I laugh about myself or something I do almost every day. I’m not an idiot, but I do make my share of human mistakes. Instead of getting frustrated, I choose to laugh. Laugh with others. Share their humor. But, never laugh at others.
- Delegate. This may come as a surprise to you, but you’re not indispensible. Someone else can probably do your job at least as well, and maybe better than you. The old saying, “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” just isn’t true. Figure out what you’re holding on to just to satisfy your ego, and then let it go.
- Stop being so rules-focused. We make lots of rules for ourselves. Things like, “I should do this,” or “I should do that.” As one of my early mentors told me – “Don’t should on yourself. You’ll be happier.” I couldn’t agree more.
I love these tips, and agree with them. I particularly like number 4 – laugh. I think that the ability to laugh at yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself – and the people around you. Being too serious, beating up yourself over mistakes, causes lots of stress. And it makes you an unpleasant person. No one wants to be around someone who is constantly frustrated by the smallest mistakes.
I heard a story about a teacher the other day. She asked some young children just learning to read if they could identify the animal in a picture she showed them. One little boy said, “it’s a frickin’ lion.” The teacher was upset about his choice of modifiers. When she pointed that out to him, he said, “It is a frickin’ lion. It says so right here.” The teacher was frustrated, but looked at the picture again and saw that the caption read, “African Lion.” Now that’s cause to laugh – at yourself and the phonics method of learning to read.
I also like point number 6 – stop being so rules-focused. As I mentioned above, we sometimes create unreasonable expectations for ourselves and these expectations become rules – if only in our head. As I’ve mentioned above, these rules become “shoulds.” “Don’t should on yourself” is some of the best career advice I’ve ever received. Stop thinking that you should do this, or should be so far along in your career, or shouldn’t have to do a job you think is below you. The best way to stop letting unnecessary rules govern your life is to stop making up rules to govern you. Don’t should on yourself.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people work hard at creating the life and career success they want and deserve. But they don’t take themselves too seriously. They follow the career advice in Tweet 94 in Success Tweets. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. It will help you master yourself and become an outstanding performer.” If you want to lighten up, laugh a little more, and don’t get too caught up in rules. Or, as one of my early mentors always said, “Don’t should on yourself.”