Dr. Strangework: How I learned to stop worrying and love the heck yes boom

The career narrative I inherited growing up went something like: It’s called work for a reason, so do well and suck it up.

The work-work-work, study-study-study mentality is common, especially in U.S. immigrant families, it made me successful to a point, and I completely understand in my family’s case where it was coming from.

That being said, it’s very old school, tends to suck, and tends to suck the life out of us when work could feel a lot more voluntary and a lot more fun.

How do we release ourselves from work prisons of our cultural and family conditioning?

We learn to stop worrying — and love the heck yes boom (of our wholehearted, unleashed motivation).

If suffering is the human condition, loving self-expression and service to a larger whole is the spiritual one.

Performing because we think we should or must can be a very effective way to get results. The tradeoff is that it suffocates us, dampening long-term performance and motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2015).

It’s a mojo and spirit slayer, in short. A heck NO or a “I’m drowning/drifting in a sea of unwanted obligations” or a “meh,” in other words.

Authenticity in the career context isn’t just speaking our minds, or doing whatever we want when we feel like it. It’s living in full alignment with the passions and the pursuits that light us up.

It’s acknowledging and putting aside our fears that we’ll fail, that we can’t trust, that we won’t measure up. It’s learning to love who we are fully expressed, without constant grind and/or nip-tuck.

It’s finding our “heck yes” (over, and over, and over again). I don’t mean to suggest that we can not worry and be a heck yes all of the time. Like chasing success, chasing momentary pleasures tends to backfire on well-being long-term.

“Heck yes” is a place to come from, not a place to get to. And most of us can access our heck yes a whole lot more than we choose. Work that doesn’t feel like “work” isn’t fantasy. Labors of love can be some of the most satisfying ways we spend our time.

Our hell yes needs our permission to thrive. We become a heck yes to our goals and commitments when we become a heck yes to us.

Want more work tips and inspiration? Subscribe to my newsletter at caseyonder.com.

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Casey Onder, PhD

Casey Onder, PhD

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Psychologist, success coach, believer in solid behavioral science and the power of tuning in.