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Everyone who reads this blog (this means YOU) wants to help others or make a difference in some way – whether it’s before, during or after you make a pile of money.  There’s greatness & happiness in you.  So is your current work exposing that greatness and happiness, or discouraging it?  Does your work make you “more of who you really are” or “less of who you really are”?  Take five minutes for this handy-dandy sanity check.

FIRST: Your Positive (Light) Side. How Often Does Work Bring Out Your Best?

How do you see yourself?  What are your values?  How do you want to feel and move through life?

STEP ONE (1 Minute)

Write down five values or feelings or ways of being that you are, such as Creative, Appreciative, Happy, Growing, Healing, Supportive, Patient, Fun, Accepting, Gracious, Wealthy, Valuable, Trusting, Inspiring, Making A Difference, etc. The don’t need to be your perfect top five, just write down five that come to mind.  This should not take you more than 30 seconds.

Here are five that just came to my mind – though I have thought about this quite a bit over the past 1-2 years 🙂 :

  1. Playful
  2. Adventurous
  3. Loving
  4. Patient
  5. Trusting

STEP TWO (1 Minute)

Now stop and reflect – does your work help you be more of these values each day?  Does it make you, for example, more playful, more adventurous, more loving, more patient, more trusting?  (If you’re not sure, the answer is no.)

For me, the answer in general is yes-yes-yes-yes-yes…though it ebbs and flows day by day or week by week.  I am always working on being/feeling more of these values more of the time each day.  Although I have my ups and downs some hours/days/weeks/etc, overall I clearly live my life along those values much more now than I did a couple of years ago, B.P. (Before PebbleStorm).

SECOND: Your Negative (Dark) Side. How Often Does Work Bring Out Your Worst?

STEP ONE (1 Minute)

Write down five negative patterns / feelings / ways of being that you see in yourself that you don’t like. Being honest with yourself, what negative aspects of you come out in your work – can you be fearful? Stressed? Mean? Inconsiderate? Busy? Abrupt? Forgetful? Late? Dream killing? Discouraging? Selfish? Jealous? Unhealthy?

This should not take you more than 30 seconds.  You are allowed to ask coworkers and spouses for their suggestions…though you may not be able to stop them at five, heh!

Here are five that just came to my mind that I notice in myself (plus some extra notes about each for context):

  1. Impatience – While I am vastly more patient than I used to be, this pattern does come up. Impatience (as distinct from urgency) is a form of unhappiness. To me, impatience = arbitrary dissatisfaction with your present moment or situation when you can’t do anything about it except change your attitude…like a child in October who’s unhappy that Xmas is two months away.
  2. Workaholic-ism – I can easily slip back to the pattern of “more work creates more results”, which is only true in the short term (days, weeks, months).  Throwing more hours at something is a crutch for lacks of creativity, clarity or patience.
  3. Stress – Stress is the true enemy and a killer. The irony of my expanding self-awareness is that while I am less stressed than I used to be, I am more aware of when I have any stress at all.  The cleaner you make a room, the more any little dust ball stands out.
  4. Don’t listen – When I’m impatient, stressed, etc, I can stop listening to partners, clients, employees. Not good!
  5. Lack of clarity – Right now I am ‘focusing’ on just four active businesses/lines of thinking (PebbleStorm, CEOFlow, Build A Sales Machine, DataSalad), and it can be challenging creating and updating clear visions for each regular, both long-term visions and short-term plans.

In general I am not impatient, or stressed, or unfocused. But these are darkside patterns that I tend to slip back into if I get off track,  too busy or even when I travel (travel can throw my whole routine off) and I stop or slack on my 10-Step Morning Personal Success Routine.

Step TWO (1 Minute)

Take a minute to reflect: in your work now, today, this past week…how many and how much of these negative patterns came up?  Do you feel them every day, or infrequently?

Does your work bring up more of your positive attributes or more negative patterns?  What’s ‘winning’?

This exercise does not help if you lie to yourself about your work – and I’m not just talking here to the lawyers, investment bankers and bail bondsmen out there.  CEOs and executives can often more unhappy and stressed than say, a factory worker, because the responsibility and pressure gets to you over time without you realizing it. You don’t even notice it until you stop and look back in moments like now.

THIRD: Whatcha Gonna Do About It?

Whether your work sucks or you don’t love it – don’t quit your day job if you need income!  But at a minimum decide you deserve better, and that you will do something about it.  Create a plan for how and when you want to escape – even if it’s years away. Don’t let yourself look back five years from now and think, “how did five more years go by so fast?”

Here are three places to start to stir things up in your noggin (the “Make a list” step is the 5th minute of the “5 Minute Sanity Check”):

  1. Make a list (1 Minute): Quick! Brainstorm 10 things you can do tomorrow or next week to help work bring out more of the good stuff, and keep away more of the bad stuff?  Of the 10, pick out 2-3 are the best ideas you are going to try right away – and get a buddy to support each other in doing them!
  2. The Unique Genius Worksheet: To get some of your creative juices flowing, you can get (for the first time or re-download) our Unique Genius worksheet from: (On that same page, you can also download and listen to the “Invitation To Inspiration” call recording, to hear what being a part of an inspirational community feels like.)
  3. “14 Simple Ways To Inject Enjoyment Into Work”: No matter what your work is, you can ALWAYS find ways to make it more enjoyable right now:

FOUR: Leave A Comment Below And Share Some Wisdom

How did the sanity check work for you?  What are you going to do differently now?  Or what worked for you that you’d recommend to others? Please leave a comment!

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4 Responses to “5 Minute Sanity Check: Does Work Bring Out The Best Or The Worst In You?”

  1. Maggie Says:

    Lots of these things come up for me too Aaron, one more to add to my list is getting side-tracked by ‘shiny new objects’ another way to make it fast! Or big! or whatever,
    Go slow and staying focused, even though the road is longer, is the best and probably fastest way forward anyway!

    Love these posts BTW they DO help me to stay on track:)

    aaronross383 Reply:


    Hi Maggie, thank you so much for the note. I’m glad these posts help, it confirms I should keep sharing them!

    By the way, did you notice the point in the prior post about getting an Australia PebbleStorm group going?!? 🙂


  2. Maggie Says:

    Ooops, must have missed that one Aaron! Where, when, real or virtual??? I’ll have a look around see if I can find the post:)


  3. Maggie Says:

    Nope, can’t find that one aaron, could you send me a link? Thanks:)

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