How to Vaccinate Against Being Miserable

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

Henry Miller

An executive coach client recently told me that his boss confessed to him that he’s “given up” on life. He’s not suicidal, but he is no longer interested in people, romance or relationships. He just wants to work.

Kendra (names changed) shared in a workshop that she decided to look for a new job when she one day realized she was “comfortable being miserable at work.”

Another executive coaching client, Steven (46), asked if I thought he was too old to reinvent himself. When I told him he wasn’t he heaved a sigh of relief. He said what he’s most gained from our coaching work is the realization that he has options – and that he doesn’t have to remain stuck in his job or in the routines of his life.

I was touched but wanted to know why he had asked me if I thought he could reinvent himself. He simply said, “I just wanted to hear you say it.”

I’m in the “business” of confidence and so I frequently work with folks who are feeling miserable because of their seeming inability to assert themselves and with their stumbling efforts to find the satisfaction that comes from making confident choices.

Clients often come to me hoping I can tell them how not to be miserable.

Because each of us can be miserable for our own particular reasons, there are no “six easy steps to not being miserable.”

However, there are things each of us can practice doing so as to vaccinate against “miserable-itis” and so become a healthy, effective communicator ~

12 At-First-Difficult Things You Can Do To ‘De-Miserablize’ Yourself


  1. Anticipate resistance as you challenge your comfortable state of being miserable – you must resist the resistance.
  2. Accept that happiness doesn’t last longer than that new car smell. Joy and deep down satisfaction are another matter altogether. Adding new things to your life doesn’t upend miserableness – losing yourself in something that grabs your fascination does.
  3. Choose a difficult feeling other than “miserable.” You can experience that scary feeling we each get when trying something new.
  4. Figure out what you’re really clinging to when you cling to being miserable. What are you really afraid of? Answer that and you’ll have greater leverage over that miserableness.
  5. Adjust your expectations – simply wishing to not be miserable is not going to un-miserable you.
  6. Practice being grateful. At the end of each day do a quick review of the people and moments you feel grateful for. Even if you are atheistic in your beliefs, say out loud, “thank you.”
  7. Shake-up your ordinary routine. Go to work or return home via a different route; order the chef’s special; take a walk down a street you’ve frequently passed and wondered what it looked like.
  8. Don’t hibernate. Force yourself to be with someone(s) for some reason.
  9. Identify who told you that in order to live safely you had to live miserably. What was their authority over you?  My father used to tell me that “life’s a bitch and then you die!”  For many years, too many years, I believed him. He lied.
  10. Dare yourself to do something new, strange, or uncomfortable. You figure out what that sentence can mean!
  11. Read – a book, a magazine, a blog post from someone you like or someone you don’t know. Get other ideas popping into your head.
  12. Seek out a therapist if the quality of your suffering is acute. If you don’t want the therapeutic approach, then seek out a coach who can hold you accountable for the change you want to become.

The business of confidence is the business of choosing to become the hero of your own life.

And there’s no such thing as a miserable hero!

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you

from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you

with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:


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