Happiness is a topic I’ve been paying a lot of attention to for a few years now. During the writing of my book Happy Woman Happy World I reviewed numerous statistics and spoke to many people about what brings them joy. I discovered there are three major components of our lives that contribute to our overall happiness.
On the frontline is happiness at work because that’s where we spend a big chunk of our time. The latest employee engagement report from Gallop, based on a study of workers in 142 countries, sadly found only 13% of employees are actively engaged at the workplace. Sixty-three percent are unmotivated and don’t really care. The remaining 24% basically just hate their jobs. This is terrible news. We have all experienced how unhappiness at work seeps into our personal lives.
Another important building block to happiness in our daily lives relates to our relationships. Without a solid foundation of support and love from family, friends, and a partner, life can feel hard and lonely. I know this to be true because this was my life.
I did it all alone–immigrated to America, became an entrepreneur, and raised a daughter as a single mom. There was no time to develop friendships because I was deep in the trenches every day. With very little support from my ex-husband and no family in this country, it was a lonely path during the years when my daughter needed me on a daily basis. I couldn’t even think about finding happiness in my personal life until my daughter went away to college.
The third component to happiness is the way we feel about ourselves. This includes our body image, where and how we live, our immediate surroundings, and our achievements.
It struck me recently that there is a flipside to our yearning for happiness. We have come to believe we are entitled to feel happy all the time in all areas of our lives. When this unrealistic expectation is unfulfilled, we feel let down and often don’t know how to manage those negative feelings. We try to suppress or mask our emotions. And we can fool ourselves and our friends for a little while, but inevitably, the underlying dissatisfaction blows up and we find ourselves facing a personal or career crisis of some sort.
I see this all the time in my private coaching. When we don’t address the little things, they build up into big things. Big things are much more difficult to deal with.
We all have many challenges to overcome throughout our lives and it’s easier to point a finger and blame someone or something else. As one friend says, that leaves us with three fingers pointing back at us. We only have control over ourselves and how we react. That means we should start with changing ourselves.
How to pursue happiness
Shift your thinking. Break your complex issue apart. Cut it into smaller steps. Find your way to the other side one step at a time. And you must ensure each step is actionable and executable. That means instead of focusing on how you feel, focus on what you can do to get over, around, or through this issue!
Here are a few ideas that helped me when I was struggling to find a reason to smile. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, too.
Make time for relationships. In the end I found it is always about people. If work takes too much time away from family and friends, it is time to make some changes. Put relationships first because you need the support.
- Write your happy list. If we don’t know what makes us happy how would we know when we get there? Remind yourself that happiness is a choice and we can find it every day.
- Consciously pay attention to the small things and remind yourself this rose is beautiful, that music is soothing, your home is filled with love, your children make you smile…
Most important is to remember that feeling good comes from doing well. Instead of wondering why you feel unmotivated or lonely, start doing something that makes you feel proud of yourself. That is your first step when you choose to pursue happiness because once you follow your heart it will be impossible to not feel happy. Ask yourself, “What are you waiting for?”
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I have learned to be content by myself. I used to think my life was missing something if I wasn’t in a relationship, but now I know that isn’t true at all. I like to think my perfect match is waiting for me around the next corner, but I am getting better at not expecting to see him there. I am good on my own.
What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate my courage to try new ideas, work through obstacles, and forge ahead to reach my goals. With The Women’s Code, I want to teach women to be better to each other and themselves. I want us all to have lives filled with accomplishments and happiness. But sometimes I need a dose of my own medicine when I find myself so engrossed in my work that I neglect my own needs.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
I am proud of myself for being where I am today. I worked hard, I sacrificed much, and I did it on my own terms. I even managed to raise a smart and talented daughter along the way. My dream is to continue helping others achieve success in their careers and personal lives.
We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
I have a tough-love stance when it comes to my private coaching clients. I call it as I see it because that’s what feels genuine to me. I sincerely care about my clients but I am not doing them any favors by avoiding harsh truths. I help them see silver linings in situations and teach them how to pursue happiness and move forward into better circumstances.
“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)
Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my sense of humor!