The Psychoanalyst’s Secret to Succeeding at Your Work

Is there really a “secret” to succeeding at your work?

And how can a 100-year-old method like psychoanalysis even be relevant to your success?

The Truths:

First, work is how we get most of our serotonin. That’s the feel-good chemical that’s actually not addictive. 😊 Plus it forms the basis for good health and longevity.

This means it’s vitally important for your health to succeed at work!

Except that as you probably have realized by now, a thousand different things can stand in the way of our own happiness.

  • A job we have to do for money that we don’t really enjoy,
  • A boss who is controlling or neglectful.
  • Co-workers who are out to get us.
  • The list goes on and on…

Your Truth:

The conditions at work will either make or break your survival at the job. If you tend to get too overwhelmed by negative emotions, you can either quit or get fired. Both of these events can solve your problem.

(And each one might even be worthy of popping a bottle of champagne!) 😉 But if you feel overwhelmed, there’s a secret to success…

And here it is…

You have a golden opportunity to befriend a whole bunch of prickly feelings you probably don’t want to have.

Feelings like frustration, inadequacy, failure, resentment, intimidation, insecurity, you name it.

My suggestion:

Instead of focusing on how to “fix” the problem, use the emotional opportunity to focus on your relationship to yourself. First, simply sit with the feelings in silent meditation.  Start to get curious about what’s de-railing you, confusing, and disturbing you.

See if you can work on your relationship with what comes up for you.

After all, you can’t change what’s happening around you, but you can certainly change how well you help yourself.

So What Do You Need To Succeed?

There are three areas of strength required to become successful at work.  Let’s look at each one and see where the difficult feelings begin.

  • The first is communication – so you can be on the same page with people.
  • The second is leadership – so you can influence people.
  • And the third is confidence – so you can feel skilled and capable.

Now, there are a thousand different internal conflicts that can interfere with progress in any one of these areas, and challenge you emotionally.

  • We become conflicted about leading people.
  • We hate feeling frustrated, angry, or controlling.
  • We become intimidated by growing skills.
  • We become de-railed by a horrible person or feeling.

When you have “unresolved” emotions — meaning you don’t feel comfortable with emotional dynamics like shame, worthlessness, or anger — how you succeed in communication, leadership and self-confidence will be challenged.

Why We Get Challenged

It’s a little-known secret in this self-help society, that many of our allergies to certain emotions or dynamics are actually passed down genetically.

It’s as if the ghosts of your ancestry show up at all the worse moments and make it hard for you to glide through the waters of difficult emotions. You feel dizzy, confused, overwhelmed, and overwrought.

Ghost Image of ancestors

There’s a lot going on here.

And it’s not all about your conscious mind.

How Do You Work With What Challenges You?

Here are three steps to help you meet the challenge of being comfortable inside every emotion:

  1. Identify a good challenge, worth investigating.
  2. Shine a light on it.  Free associate to it, write, ask questions about it.
  3. Learn the methods to help you avoid dead-end roads, to keep your discovery process alive.


There is nothing better than leveraging every opportunity you can, whether positive or negative, for continued growth. Don’t be afraid of what challenges you, face it with courage and curiosity instead.

Once you really understand your own areas of difficulty, without judgment,  decide to journey forward to greater self-compassion and understanding.  Life is a big experiment.  Everything that comes your way can be turned into another way for you to grow.

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