Help & Advise for Scanner

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby Sinaloe » Mon May 14, 2012 6:00 am

(Hello please tell me where to post this? I could not find the right forum?)
Dear Barbara,

My name is Julia and I am 27 years old and live in Vienna. I am a business administration student and very confused what I want in life or how to get started.
I read your books: “I could do anything If I only knew what” and I am in the middle of your book “Refuse to choose" and already bought the book " Wishcraft How to get what you really want" but have not read it yet. Everytime I read one of your books it feels so good and very logical to implement your advise but then when I do not read it for the next 2 weeks or the daily routine soaked all my power up for “my interests” I cannot continue fulfilling the exercises you describe and the life I want to live. But I also cannot continue with my existing life…it is a daily struggle.

Maybe you could give me some advise with my current situation!

I have been studying business administration for 5 years now ( I was also working part time next to my studies) and it was such a struggle because of the hard exams. I have come so far and have given all my power for this studies that on the one hand my mind thinks it would be crazy to give it all up what I have fight for so far but on the other hand my heart does not agree. I think I am not so interested in this subject "business" anymore but what keeps me there is that I believe it would be the only way to earn enough money to fulfill my dreams in my future life. I chose this study for money and not because I liked it very much but former when I still was in college I also specialized in business administration and I liked it then but now I cannot stand it anymore and I hate all that mathematics where I was never good in. So I definitely chose a study which I did not like so much, maybe that is why it was so hard for me so far.

If everything turns out great I could be finished with my degree and be a “Bachelor of Science” in 2 or 3 years. But I don’t know if I still have enough power to succeed. At the moment I am also at psychotherapy because I feel depressed since 2 years now. All started because I never did what I liked I always let my family handle what I want or what I am going to do, study or work. My parents owned a computer company for 20 years and I should have been the one to take over it when they retired but they had to shut it down 2 years ago so my life direction got lost but maybe it was a good sign since I also did not like to take over the company 100%.

I am interested in animals, I would love to work with animals but maybe not as a doctor (because I do not like sick animals and I can not see blood) or be out in the nature maybe as an adventure guide. I could not stand a job on a desk for my whole life. I am interested in languages such as English and Italian and love to speak them. I am also very interested in health like healthy food, how to grow it, cook it and what sort of nutritive value each food has. I even signed up for 2 other studies, biology and food science but I did not really had the time to do any exams. I just visited few courses but they have not been very satisfying or I just did not have the right motivation yet since I am still doing the business study. I love to travel and would also not be averse to live and work abroad.

Please help me with some information how I can start or continue living the life I want to live or suggest some appropriate books or advise for my situation.

In your Book “ I could do anything If I only knew what” I read about how to find people or friends who are interested in the same things but I could not find any on the internet or maybe I am scared to find them or talk to them and I do not know how to start a conversation with them…maybe you could give my some more advise how to find them and talk to them!?

Thank you very much for listening

Yours,
Julia
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby emspace » Tue May 15, 2012 11:53 am

[Apologies! I was getting timed-out when I hit submit, so I didn't think any of them were working; I couldn't see the posts. So I’ve blanked the first set of repeat posts. Please keep scrolling! Sorry!]

ADMIN: Extra posts deleted.
Last edited by emspace on Tue May 15, 2012 2:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby emspace » Tue May 15, 2012 2:44 pm

Hi Julia,

Obviously, I'm not Barbara, but I think I might have a suggestion for you. I work in a company that coaches entrepreneurs and we have a lot of tools to help people with issues of frustration, etc.

When we talk to people who are really stuck, sometimes they’re stuck because instead of comparing where they are at currently to where they were at in the past, they compare it to their future ideal. If you compare where you are now to your future ideal, you'll always be disappointed with yourself. You will never seem to be getting anywhere. You will always be looking at a horizon that will always be the same distance away no matter what your progress is. That's because once you start making progress, your ideal future will shift forward, too.

Instead, what is far more encouraging and motivating is to compare where you are now with where you were [whatever time frame] ago. This could be 10 years ago, last year, or last week. When you look at your progress, you realize you haven't been doing nothing. You've done a lot! You know things now that you didn't know back then. That's progress! That's success!

Here are two very useful exercises we do at my work to help people stay on track and keep moving forward. We have a forms for these, but I can't give them away because they are intellectual property owned by the company. I can describe them generally, though, and you can write them out whatever way makes sense for you.

1. Recall your successes. You can do this exercise at the end of any time period, but since you're feeling so stuck right now, I suggest you do it every night before you go to sleep. List 5 things that you achieved that day. Then list why each of those is an achievement. Give yourself a pat on the back! But to keep forward momentum, now think of further progress and action on each of those achievements that you can take next. Sometimes an achievement is the end point. But sometimes, it can lead you right into the next “project.” Don’t think of these things as having to be grandiose; remember to celebrate the small successes, too. For example here's one success for me:

Achievement: Had dinner with Maju last night
Why: Great to connect with kindred spirit; haven't seen her in almost a year; we give each other positive reinforcement regarding goals and projects, and lots of great ideas; had a great time, laughed a lot; felt great and energised after
Further progress: Keep in touch and make it a habit to get together with her and other long-lost friends
Next action: Email Pauline to book a night out

Simple as that. Try to think of five every night. If you really make it a habit, you'll be amazed at how much you accomplish by just focusing on the little steps.

2. Strategize every obstacle to your goal. As with any goal you have, use the SMART criteria: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. So start by stating the goal. Then write out what the result looks like, in other words picture how you'll know that you reached your goal. Be descriptive. Next, put down today's date, and the target date. Putting down a target date gives you more incentive to take action.

Now is the easiest part: list 10 obstacles you can think of that stand in your way. That may sound like you're leading yourself into defeat before you've begun, but you're only going to focus on the top 10 first, and that's not all.

After you've listed every problem you can think of, the tough part: now think of a strategy to overcome each obstacle. This part may take some time, but do it for every obstacle. If you can't think of a strategy, ask friends, ask on this forum.

Once you've got ideas for how to defeat each obstacle, write the first action to take for those strategies.

Then do the success exercise every night, and you'll slowly see how you're getting closer and closer to your goal, without spending so much time vexing about how distant the goal feels.

So here's a quick example from me:
Goal: Finish my documentary photo project with Jessie’s House.
How do I know when I'm there: Video is online on the home page for Jessie’s House; they love it and want to do another one.
Start Date: May 1, 2012
Target Date: September 15, 2012
Obstacle 1: Haven't heard from JH contact; don't know if they're still interested
Strategy 1: Call them!! Keep calling back if I can’t talk to someone directly.
Next action 1: Take 5 minutes out of my day to call Linda, and if she's not there, try Maritza.
… and so on for each obstacle.

At the end of today, if I made the call, but didn't get a person, it's still an achievement because at least I put in the effort. If I actually connected, hopefully I've set up a meeting or gotten some kind of positive input. Either way, I know what the next step will be.

Sometimes a strategy will be a separate goal with sub-strategies. In my case, another obstacle to my first goal might be “I don’t know anything about structuring an effective documentary piece.” If my strategy for this obstacle is “Go to film school”, then that might have to become a separate sub-goal with sub-obstacles (“I don’t have money to go back to school”) and sub-strategies (“look into grants and scholarships; get a rooommate; save 10% of every paycheque”), and so forth. This sounds more complicated than it actually is in practice.

+++++++++++++
For you, your goal strategy exercise might look something like this (of course, you can change to what's appropriate):

Goal: Getting a job working with animals
How do I know when I'm there: I wake up in the morning excited about going to work, I leave work late because I can't bear to leave the animals
Start Date: May 15, 2012
Target Date: May 15, 2013
Obstacle 1: I don't know what kind of job I'm looking for!
Strategy 1: Google search “animal jobs”, “working with animals”, “animal workers”; visit a veterinary office; visit an animal shelter; visit the zoo; talk to anyone working with animals about their job and what they love and hate about it; ask around for ideas; look at volunteer opportunities; read blogs from people who work with animals to see what's involved
Next action: check out the local zoo’s schedule for daily tours and talks with zookeepers, then go to one


That’s just one strategy for one of your many potential goals, but it’s just an example of how you can get started. Don't try to map out the whole thing all at once from start to finish. Just focus on the single actions that will get you started on conquering the obstacles. And probably you won't want to take on every obstacle for every goal all at once. That will just overwhelm you. Start with the five things you know you can do today, so that you can celebrate when you've accomplished them, and then make plans for the next 5 steps you'll take tomorrow. Once you get into a rhythm, you might up the number of action steps you want to tackle each day. Or not. Whatever works.

Hope some of this help!

Cheers,
emspace
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby Sinaloe » Wed May 16, 2012 2:35 am

Thank you emspace for your reply, I am very happy you gave me that advise and exercises, they sound very helpful and I will try them :-)
What do you think about my degree I want to achieve is it not right for me anymore because I lost interest or should I continue because it is always good to have such an education!? Here in Austria if you apply for a job it is sort of a requirment that you have a degree to get a well paid job!

thank you for your help!
julia
Last edited by Sinaloe on Wed May 16, 2012 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby kashtanka » Wed May 16, 2012 5:32 am

Wow emspace, you really gave a detailed answer! I got a lot out of reading it and I know many others here will too. I think we forget to count our past achievements because we think they are so small, but added up, they do get us somewhere. I can think of the research I've done on certain topics, the phone calls I've made in an effort to pursue dreams, the people I've gotten together with to discuss ideas, etc., and I've achieved a lot. Doesn't appear that way sometimes, so thanks for the reminder. Great post and thank you.
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby emspace » Wed May 16, 2012 8:19 pm

Sinaloe wrote:What do you think about my degree I want to achieve is it not right for me anymore because I lost interest or should I continue because it is always good to have such an education!?


Oh dear. Well, I intentionally avoided addressing the specifics of your situation because 1) I’m not qualified, 2) even if I were qualified, I would want to talk with you more to get more of the story, and 3) if you’re dealing with depression issues right now, I’m doubly not qualified!

I really think that’s such a big decision, you’re the only person who can tell what will work for you.

So instead of giving you my opinion about what I think you should do, I’ll give you yet another exercise (yes, I have dozens of these!). Let’s pretend it’s three years from today (May 2015) and you’re telling me about what you’re up to. What has to have happened in those last three years both professionally and personally for you to feel happy about your progress?

This might not be easy (it’s not for me; I always struggle with imagining myself in the future) so give it some time and really think it through. Write it all down. If you can’t come up with anything concrete, give it more time and let it mull in your head for a few days or a week. Once you’ve got your answer to that question, it should inform you about the answer to your education question.

If you still don’t know what to do, write down your answer to my question here, and I’ll walk you through the next part.
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby emspace » Wed May 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Sinaloe wrote:Thank you emspace for your reply, I am very happy you gave me that advise and exercises, they sound very helpful and I will try them


There's a useful thing to know about habits, too: you can’t just “try” something for a few days. It takes about 28 days for a habit to sink in and become routine. So if you can commit to trying the 5 successes/day exercise for 4 whole weeks, I can guarantee that it will pay off. This shouldn’t be too hard. Instead of writing them down (which is recommended because seeing them accumulate is highly encouraging), you can simply do it in your head as you're brushing your teeth or flossing or something. Reviewing your accomplishments and deciding the next 5 action steps are what's really key.

Good luck, Julia!
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby emspace » Wed May 16, 2012 9:28 pm

kashtanka: You’re welcome! It’s too easy to always compare ourselves with some imaginary, more successful parallel universe self, or even people you read or hear about in the news. Some 21-year-old sells his dot com business for $300M and you wonder what the heck you’ve been doing with your life. You’re twice as old as that kid so where’s your $300M? All of us Scanners have the same problem thinking this way, I imagine.

Even comparing myself to my friends is sometimes depressing. On the other hand, most of my friends have occasional moments when they envy my life because I have a great deal of freedom (no kids for one thing). I don’t even have much of a bucket list because if I think of something I really want to do, I can arrange my life so that I can pursue that dream right away. Of course I’m incredibly lucky (mostly to be born in this part of the world and not into poverty), and I feel grateful for my situation. When I forget to feel gratitude, I slip into bad feelings about myself. “I fail at everything. What’s wrong with me?!”

Thank goodness for Barbara! I’m immensely grateful to her for giving us Scanners a name and letting us know we are perfectly okay the way we are. We’re not missing a fundamental chip. What a gift Barbara gave us! Cheers, Barbara!

(I have a feeling my boss is a Scanner, which explains why so many of the exercises he created make sense to me even though I’m not an entrepreneur, his intended audience.)
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby skannie » Tue May 22, 2012 4:58 am

Hi Julia

I’ve been a student a couple of times so I know how hard it is. It must be even harder if you have to work part-time as well. It's very common for students to suffer from burn-out and loss of interest in their subject. If someone is near the end of their studies when it happens, I advise them to do whatever is necessary to finish and get that qualification. Then they can do something completely different for a while and see if the interest returns. If it doesn’t, there’s no law that says you have to continue working in the same field you qualified in, and many people don’t.

But your case is different. You don’t seem to have ever had a strong interest in your subject, and you have at least another 2 or 3 years to go. So that is probably not such good advice for you. I think it’s a very bad idea to study a subject just for money, or because your parents want you to. And even worse to work in a job you hate, unless it’s just a short-term job to get money for a specific purpose. In Refuse To Choose Barbara talks about a “good enough job” that funds your dreams. But work you hate is never good enough, and your dreams should not be postponed while you earn all that money. There’s usually a way of doing what you love that doesn’t require that kind of sacrifice of your time and talent and happiness.

But naturally you don’t want to just drop out and waste all the time and effort and money already spent. In one sense it’s never wasted because you still have knowledge that could be useful in the future, but qualifications are useful too. So I think you need to find out what your other options are. Talk to your course supervisors, head of department, student counsellors, student union advisors, admissions office staff, or anyone who can advise you.

I know very little about the Austrian education system and how flexible it is, but I know what is possible in other places, and may be possible in Vienna too. Perhaps you can take a break for a year to explore your interests, and then come back to it refreshed. Perhaps you can finish early and get a lesser qualification. Maybe you can change subject, or do some more interesting modules, or study abroad for a year. Maybe you can get credits for what you have already done, then they can be transferred to a different course or a different university in the future, so you don’t have to start from the beginning again.

If you decide to continue with this course, try to get more support to help you through it. Get together with some other students to help and motivate each other like a success team. Maybe a mathematics student would give you some extra mathematics coaching. Do some training in study skills if it’s available. Find out if there’s any possibility of financial help so you don’t have to work part-time. Perhaps study a bit less hard and aim to qualify with a lower grade, or focus strictly on the parts that you will be assessed on, and skip over the bits that you’re supposed to do but don’t get points for.

And keep reading Barbara’s books. You don’t need to read them all at once, but dip in and read a little bit whenever you can. Start a Scanner Daybook where you can write down all your ideas so you can go back to them in the future. Try the “Happiness Levels” exercise. I can’t remember which book it’s in, but it’s very simple and takes very little time. Throughout the day, whatever you’re doing, just take a few seconds to rate the activity on a happiness scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the most awful thing you can think of and 10 makes you deliriously happy. Write the scores in a notebook or a computer document. You might be surprised by the results. Then try to do more of the things that score 8 or more, and less of the others. I hope I've remembered that correctly.
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby skannie » Tue May 22, 2012 5:00 am

Julia, another thought about your problem. Do you hate the actual work of business administration, or is it the prospect of working the rest of your life in a dreary corporation that has no connection with your interests? If you could be a business admin for an animal welfare charity, or a pony trekking stable, or an adventure sports centre, or a health education company, would that make it better?
Last edited by skannie on Tue May 22, 2012 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby Sinaloe » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:20 pm

Hi Skannie,
Thank you for your message! I am very sorry for my almost half year later reply but I had to struggle with my study and depression and was also scared to read messages because I thought they would distract me from my study but now I feel much better(do not really know why maybe because of the long summerbreak for students or my new job at an animal shelter). I am still studying business administration and since May I had to struggle with one exam that I had to repeat a lot of times(maybe that is an issue why I questioned my study) and had to learn the same subject for months. Now the new semester had begun and I am learning a new subject but it also does not fulfill me with happiness because it contains again mathematics but this time investment and costing.
Back to your question: Yes I hate the actual work of business administration and the idea of working the rest of my life for a company that has no connection with my interest. The only prospect of my study I can think of right now is to get specialised in Non Profit Organisations or work for an animal welfare charity as you suggested but do I really have to study for that? Maybe I am really studying the wrong field because I think almost 90% of the students studying business administration are convinced to become a money oriented manager but not me. I do not like to life in poverty but my first concern is definitely not to increase the profit of some corporation. Your suggestions working as an business admin for a pony trekking stable or adventure sports centre or health education company are very good and would be the only job advertisments I would apply for right now but what would I do there, only be the accountend!? That does not suit me 100% it would only be a "good enough job". Do you have another advise for me?
Thank you for listening

regards,
Julia
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Re: Help & Advise for Scanner

Postby emspace » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:32 am

Julia,

Getting into a company you want to work for can sometimes mean applying for a job you're qualified for but not that interested in. But if you can get the job, there's nothing better than showing them what kind of person you are and what you can do in action. Much better than qualifications, degrees, testimonials! In my company, people often start at low-end jobs and later move into better positions by proving how invested they are, how motivated they are, and how capable they are. Of course we'd hire these people over outsiders with better qualifications since we can already see them in action every day.

Even if it's not a forever job, give it everything you've got, and take every opportunity to learn new things and ask about switching into the job you really want. In most smaller organizations, this is very easy to do.

Good luck!
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