Recently I gave a presentation on how to find your dream job (which was my way of paying homage to the gratitude gods). In my late twenties I realized that in leading a life that was fast and furious, racing towards success, I was miserable. I thought that one day happiness would magically appear and everything would fall into place. I couldn't have been more wrong. One of the things I learned during that time in my life, which I shared with my dream job audience, was that one reason people struggle to find their *it* (what you were put here to be and do) is that most people buy into a false truth:
SUCCESS = HAPPINESS
But really when you hustle for promotions, titles and raises- or anything you let define your success outside of who you are- and still feel like something is missing it's because:
HAPPINESS = SUCCESS
Our culture insists we value success above all, so we often lose our way on our journey to happiness distracted by the shiny object that is success. Every time I earned a raise or promotion it reset my happiness clock but that small boost would wear off faster and faster. And once it wore off I would realize I was still unhappy at my core and would get antsy for the next big thing. I was looking for a sign, something- anything- to show I was successful in my career and life to reassure myself I was living the right life. When that promotional buzz wore off I would once again feel a deep disconnect with my life and who I was. Eventually I could no longer ignore that feeling; I was masquerading in someone else's life. I realized I had to look inside myself to find happiness.
How do we find- and grow- happiness? The secret of happiness is P-E-R-M-A:
Look for the silver lining. Reframe your inner dialogue. Ooze gratitude. Embrace that everything is a gift. Spike the Kool aid (ok maybe don't do that, especially at work).
Find your *it*. Values + passions + strengths = the perfect career. Find a company the will best utilize your *it*, a place where you feel valued and that you can make a significant contribution. Find something -anything -that you care a lot about and do it! Get lost in the flow.
Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you to reach your potential. Find your tribe or build one by focusing on attracting quality relationships. Give more than you get. Take time to celebrate.
Find purpose in your work and in all you do. Join a group. Give back to your community. Mentor the next generation. Smile at a stranger. Get off your phone and LIVE!
Set goals, bring the action, celebrate and REPEAT! Take time to bask in the glow that is growth. Build on small wins. Don't. Give. Up!
Happiness can be elusive, but it is in us and all around us. Instead of chasing success, start where you are. Turn that glimmer of happy into something special.
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” ~Margaret Young
How are you cultivating happiness in your life? What are three things you can do today to create a happier tomorrow? Please leave a comment or question below. I'd love to hear from you!
(This Times article goes into more detail about the theory behind PERMA)