Why You Don’t Need to Drink in Order to Succeed at Work

Beers at the bar after work. Wining and dining clients. Networking over cocktails. Alcohol can seem such a huge part of our work lives. What happens if you want to quit drinking, or take a break from booze?

Can you be sober without it affecting your chances of success at work?

This is something I used to worry about a lot.

I spent my twenties burning the candle at both ends. I was a journalist in a busy, stressful newsroom, where I worked hard and partied harder. Going out for drinks after work was just what you did. Everyone went. It was how you built relationships and let off steam after a tough day.

Yet, behind the scenes, all wasn’t well. I was drinking too much, and I knew my relationship with alcohol was unhealthy. Something needed to change.

The hangovers were getting worse and I never seemed to have an off switch – once I started, I just couldn’t stop. But the idea of quitting felt terrifying. I was convinced that drinking helped me fit in and bond with my team. So often, getting ahead at work seemed to be about knowing and befriending the right people.

I have friends working in other industries who feel this, too. For some of them, wining and dining clients is actually part of their job – it’s how they win contracts.

So, is it possible to quit drinking and still succeed at work? Here’s what I’ve learned since I got sober five years ago.

“Going out for drinks” is never just about the alcohol

What I failed to realize as a drinker is that no event is purely about booze. We go out for drinks because we want to connect with other humans. We want an excuse to chat and get to know people better.

Once you get clear on the real reason behind those boozy events, the content of your glass starts to feel much less important.

Most people won’t actually notice what you’re drinking

When I first quit drinking, I expected everyone to immediately ask awkward questions about it. But to my surprise, I found people to be far less observant than you might expect!

In early sobriety, I’d recommend choosing a drink that doesn’t scream ‘alcohol free’ – it helps you feel less self-conscious. Nowadays, most bars have a good selection of non-alcoholic cocktails which look just like the real thing.

I’ve been to many a networking event where I’ve spent the evening clutching a club soda with ice and lemon, and people have just assumed it’s a gin and tonic. This gave me the confidence to work the room just like I would if I were drinking.

Drinking less helps you be more professional

When you mix alcohol and work together, you need to be careful. I still cringe at the memory of a work party where I started drunkenly kissing a guy from my department, right in front of my boss.

Shortly afterwards, I was interviewed for a promotion I thought I was destined for – but I didn’t get it. Was that just a coincidence? I guess I’ll never know.

Drinking can lull you into a false sense of closeness, but that doesn’t last in the long term. I’ve found that going out for coffee with co-workers or taking an exercise class together at lunch is a far better way of creating lasting connections.

With clients, shorter alcohol-free lunches are easier than longer, boozy evening meals. Not only does it take less time, but you’re far more likely to focus on the matters you need to discuss (and you can follow everything up with a quick email before the working day is done.)

Socializing sober isn’t as scary as you think

Here’s the thing: most of us are experts at socializing sober – we just don’t realize it! We chat with strangers in business meetings, catch up with friends over coffee and talk to people in our yoga class.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can only be sociable with a glass of wine in your hand. You’ll be amazed at what you can do sober. I never thought I’d be able to give speeches, network with strangers, dance or sing at karaoke without a drink first. But sometimes you surprise yourself!

Alcohol-free living gives you crucial clarity

We spend a lot of our lives at work. If you’re wishing away the hours, counting down until you can hit the bar, then sobriety might deliver a bit of a wake-up call.

For me, ditching alcohol helped me realize that I was actually bored and burned out at work. Drinking had become a highlight of my day simply because I was no longer enjoying the other aspects of my job.

Sobriety will give you an edge over everyone else

Ultimately, getting ahead at work is about doing your job well and a hangover makes that very hard. Sober, you’re far more productive and motivated – your chances of winning that next contract or promotion are far higher.

Kate Bee is the founder of The Sober School, where she coaches women through early sobriety and helps them navigate alcohol-free living without feeling deprived or miserable.

Image courtesy of Scott Warman.

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How to Keep Going When Everything Feels Hard

It’s no revelation for me to acknowledge that life and business are not always easy. Ask any newborn or seasoned business owner.

There are just so many things at play: the complex lives and temperaments of others, our own complex emotions and relationships, changes in desires, curiously shifting outcomes, unhealthy patterns and attachments, the seemingly infinite factors that contribute to “success” or “failure,” the perspectives that challenge and shape our views and emotions, love, loss, death, and the ever-changing nature life…perhaps, even, the alignment of the planets. It’s a lot.

Sometimes, everything! feels! amazing! And sometimes, everything feels hard.

One of my hardest times in life happened several years ago, when I was starting my business. My grandfather had just died, my mother’s health was tenuous after a life-threatening surgery, my husband and I were struggling to make ends meet, I was working two part-time jobs and working on my business at night, we were dealing with issues in our relationship, he was having a hard time as a father, I didn’t feel like I had anyone to turn to (none of my closest friends could relate to the struggles of getting a business off the ground, and I was too embarrassed to share about my relationship challenges), and then my grandmother died.

I felt like my world was upside-down and inside-out, and my life was rapidly swirling towards devastation.

Most people have had times when everything feels hard – even impossible. When our life feels like it is crashing down around us, and our circumstances feel like they’re holding our happiness hostage, and just. won’t. let. go.

What keeps us from crawling into a hole and never coming out, in those times?

What prevents us from becoming bitter and resentful?

What has us find the resolve to keep going when everything feels hard?

We can find external reasons to keep going – our kids, the agreements we’ve made with others, “saving face”… And in times of crisis, when we can’t find anything inside of us to compel us to keep going, those external reasons can support us to pull through.

Ultimately, though, life continues to provide opportunities to either rise with resolve or spiral in despair, and the thing that will promise to pull us through time and again is not something outside of us, but an internal quality.

In an interview the other day, I was asked, “What is your greatest strength as an entrepreneur?”

My answer is what I truly consider the greatest strength of ALL entrepreneurs, and really, a core human strength: TENACITY.

Tenacity is an internal state of resolve. It carries with it a willingness to fall and stand again, a willingness to rise in the face of any obstacle, and a willingness to stand for something.

When we couple tenacity with openheartedness, we see challenges as opportunities for growth, we bring flexibility to our devotion, and that “something” we stand for is, at its core, love.

When everything feels hard, tenacity and openheartedness help us find our way home. @AskNisha (Click to Tweet!)

Knowing this is one thing. Actually moving from this state is quite another, especially when things feel rough. In times of challenge, how do we cultivate these qualities?

Be willing to actually feel

When things feel hard…they feel hard. Let yourself actually feel the sadness, longing, anger…without pushing it away with stories that say, “God hates me,” “things never work out my way,” “I can’t trust people,” or whatever your pet story is. Instead, cry it out, punch a pillow, write it out in your journal, or talk it out with someone you love. Feeling the purity of your emotions and the sensations in your body, without the added stories, keeps your heart open and frees your mind to focus forward.

Believe the most empowering thing

If things are already feeling hard, why choose a miserable perspective to compound the despair? It can be hard – a heroic effort, even – to stand in the pain and choose an empowering way to look at a situation. But without that, there’s no way through, and there’s everything to lose.

Sometimes, the most empowering thing to believe is “Even though I don’t know why this happening and I’m hurting sooooo much right now, I know that this too shall pass” or “Even though it hurts to let go, I trust that I am being led to something greater for me.” (Ahem: Choosing to believe that “karma is a bitch and they’ll get theirs” is NOT empowering and only holds you in energetic bondage with them.)

Connect with what you’re committed to

We’re all committed to something, even if it feels like we’re just “existing.” For example, if someone feels stuck by their circumstances but keeps running the same disempowering stories and not making an effort to shift things, they’re actually committed to feeling stuck by their circumstances. Alternatively, if someone feels stuck in their circumstances, they can commit to gathering all the learnings and finding the other side with grace and joy.

In a moment when everything feels hard, what are you going to choose to commit to? And then, re-commit again and again and again…

Make an honest effort to do your best

There’s a difference between “trying” and doing our honest best. To try something, we must merely attempt it, even if feebly. Making an honest effort to do our best asks us to dig deep and find every shred of internal resource to bring to our actions. It means choosing to do the hard but necessary things to take care of ourselves, like eat well, move our bodies, sit down and run the numbers, or have the tough conversations. When everything feels hard, our best might not look like it does when things feel great, but making the honest effort is what keeps us true to our commitments.

Lean back

There’s a reason why the word “isolation” has negative connotations – we are not solitary creatures, meant to be wholly self-reliant. Even if you consider yourself fiercely independent, who made your clothes or grew the food you’ve eaten today?

We depend on one another. But in times of challenge, most of us are inclined to pull back and isolate ourselves, which usually only serves to keep us swirling in the darkness. The people who care about you care. It’s an honor to support someone who’s going through a tough time. But in order to be supported, we have to be willing to share what’s going on, ask ourselves what kind of support we need (therapy? crying it out with a friend?), ask for support, and receive that support through both our listening and actions.

If you’re in a time in your life where everything feels hard, know this…

You are not alone in your pain.

You are strong enough to get through this.

Eventually, this too shall pass.

In the comments below, please share about a time when everything felt hard, and how you pulled through. If that time is now, share what you’re committed to, and the empowering thing you’re choosing to believe about your situation.

Nisha Moodley is a Women’s Leadership Coach and the creator of Fierce Fabulous Free, The Freedom Mastermind & The Virtual Sisterhood. Inspired by the belief that the world will be set free by women who are free & sisterhood is key to a woman’s freedom, Nisha creates communities of ambitious women to support them in redesigning their lives & businesses. Find her online at NishaMoodley.com and download her free Take Flight Action Guide to explore the next expansion of your freedom at TakeFlightActionGuide.com. You can follow Nisha on Twitter or FB.

Image courtesy of Kelli McClintock.

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Why a Mirror Can Make You Behave Better, and 5 More Tips for Boosting Self-Control.

Self-control is very valuable, and most of us are eager to boost our self-mastery. One of the best ways, it turns out, is through monitoring. The more aware we are of what we’re actually doing–not what we wish we were doing, or imagine that we’re doing–the more control we can exert over ourselves. Monitoring dramatically boosts our self-awareness, and self-awareness is a key to self-mastery.

Monitoring has an almost uncanny power; people who keep close track of just about anything tend to do a better job with it, in key categories such as eating, drinking, exercising, working, TV- and internet-use, and spending.

In fact, in some studies, the mere presence of a mirror—which allowed people literally to watch over themselves—made them more likely to behave in a more upright way.

On the flip side, research shows, failing to monitor ourselves is one of the main reasons that we lose self-control. As we lose a sense of self-awareness, our behavior starts to change; our inhibitions crumble.

For that reason, anything that undermines our ability to monitor ourselves undercuts our self-mastery. Here are five tips for avoiding situations that make self-monitoring hard.

1. Don’t drink much. Alcohol weakens self-awareness–that’s part of what people enjoy about it! I gave up drinking, more or less, because of alcohol’s effect on my behavior. (I get extremely belligerent, then fall asleep.)

2. Beware of feeling submerged in a group. Being in a group of people makes it harder to evaluate our behavior against our own personal standards. Example: the larger the group we’re in, the more we tend to eat.

3. Don’t let yourself get too tired or stressed out. Easier said than done, I know. At the most basic level, here are some tips for getting more sleep and for dealing with stress. Also, for many people, clutter contributes to a sense of stress, more than might seem logical; outer order contributes to inner calm.

4. Beware of being preoccupied by TV, the internet, or the like. For instance, studies show that people snack more when they’re watching TV, but perhaps surprisingly, people eat more when they’re paying close attention than when they’re bored.

5. Watch out for the desire to escape dreary self-critical thoughts. This kind of thinking makes us want to stop monitoring ourselves—and then impulses usually kept in check may be released.

I’m reminded of the lines from Tennyson’s poem “Oenone”:

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control, —
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.

How about you? Have you found ways to monitor yourself better–or to have better self-control, generally?

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home and Better Than Before. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Phuong Tran.

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The post Why a Mirror Can Make You Behave Better, and 5 More Tips for Boosting Self-Control. appeared first on Positively Positive.

Begin Your Year Energized and Optimistic!

One of the biggest questions I get in my practice is how to get more energy in today’s fast paced, stressful world. In today’s blog I wanted to share five simple tips for you so you can run into 2019 feeling energized and optimistic!

1. Check your water intake! How much water are you drinking? You should aim for a minimum of 65 to 85 ounces a day. So often our energy is in the dumps due to simple dehydration! If you’re like most people, you’re likely to reach out for another cup of coffee or soda. Next time you’re feeling in the dumps reach out for a more hydrating beverage — like water, tea, or even a healthy greens juice! So often the body is looking for much needed minerals in a green juice or some simple hydration with water.

2. Exercise at least three times a week! Get moving (and sweating). The last thing most people feel like doing when they’re tired is exercising, and though it sounds counter intuitive, a quick 15 minute walk or exercise session can really help clear your mind and increase your energy!

3. Minimize your sugar consumption! Sugar will give you an immediate energy buzz with a big crash not too far down the road. If you are craving sugar try to have a serving of protein and some water instead and see if the sugar craving is still holding on! If it’s still there after 20 minutes, try a fresh piece of fruit with a protein!

4. Get outside! If you live in a warm climate with lots of daily sunshine, make it a priority to get outside for 15 minutes a day. The sun supplies our bodies with natural Vitamin D, a critical vitamin most people are deficient in! If you live in a climate where it’s gray and overcast, find a high quality Vitamin D supplement to take, and when it is sunny, bundle up and get outside.

5. Lastly, work on those stress levels! Besides dehydration, stress is your number two buzz kill when it comes to energy. When you notice you are feeling stressed, take a few deep breaths and ask how you can support yourself to feel more relaxed. Listen for the answers! Your body is always happy to communicate with you. You just need to remember to ask — and to take the time to listen.

So often we forget that our day to day choices affect how we physically feel. May this be a little reminder to you that you DO matter, that your choices matter, and that you deserve to feel full of energy and vitality! @intuitionheals (Click to Tweet!)

I hope these tips help you have a healthy and vibrant year!

Huge hugs!

Robin Lee is a medical intuitive, author, mentor, gratitude advocate, and speaker who has helped thousands of people around the world understand the language of their bodies. Robin believes that our bodies innately know how to balance and heal themselves if given proper care and support. Visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter, where she shares tips, tools, and techniques to honor our bodies and heal our lives!

Image courtesy of Seth Doyle.

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