The Power Of Being Happy Now
I love this TED talk by Shawn Achor “The Happy Secret to Better Working”. Not only is Shawn’s humorous twist captivating, what he says about happiness and its impact on our success is so spot on. I urge you to take 10 mins out (or 12:21 to be precise!) to watch it yourself and below is my take on the happy/ success relationship.
The idea that we should struggle and suffer in order to achieve the success we want seems to be deeply ingrained on our very beings. This is largely down to the protestant work ethic that we've been bought up with. The idea is that if we suffer now, only then will we get that golden result we want in the future. Just look at some of the common expressions that make up our everyday language such as “stick it out” and “no pain no gain".
It could be argued that this is the key to our success because the hard work we put in does, most of the time, get us where we want to be. But is it really success if we have paid for it by sacrificing our happiness and having been locked in a cycle of denial to get there? Are we actually making our path to success much harder than it need be? What if there was an easier way, a way that could get the success we desire quicker whilst having some pleasure and fun along the way?
Many of the women I coach have big, ambitious visions of where they want to be, many on the path of becoming an entrepreneur. Initially what strikes me is how so many of them have a slave driver within, a crack the whip madam that tells them they can’t possibly take time out, they must work longer/ harder to get where they want to be, and the purse strings need to be in a permanent knot when it comes to their own personal pleasure and happiness.
For them, this attitude is crucial to their success and survival, but actually it has the opposite effect. It tires them out, subconsciously implants fear and lack in their internal world and consequentially keeps them playing small and showing up as a mere shadow of themselves. Often without realising it, they're actually pushing their success further and further away. Their energy is coming from a place of scarcity, when really the trick is to switch to an attitude of abundance & expectation.
The answer? Stop permanently slogging away and get in the habit of lightening up and being happy! Prioritise doing what you love doing and have those moments of simple joy if only because if it makes you feel happy in the here and now. When you feel good inside, you show up as the very best, bright you and are more inclined to step outside of your comfort zone and be productive at what you do. These are the ingredients of which true, authentic success is made.
Please get me right, I'm not diminishing the power of solid hard work. Good hard graft will always play a huge part in achieving the success we desire. But what I am saying is we need to balance it with moments and activities where we let ourselves go and just enjoy life- simply, truly, wholly. This doesn't have to mean booking a 5 * round the world trip, but simple things like giving yourself permission to leave work on time and go to that yoga class because it makes you feel recentred and good in your skin, taking 10 minutes out to savour every moment of that much needed cuppa or reading your kids their favourite story because that innocent wide eyed look on their faces makes your heart melt with love. When we’re full up on the inside (which is the sensation fulfillment gives us), we project that positive energy into the outside world. Success becomes easier to achieve than we expected, and so much sweeter because we're having fun along the way!
So today I am going to have some time out to go to my fave french patisserie and order a slice of chocolate cake (I have worked hard this week, after all). I am going to take 15 minutes out to flip through the copy of Vogue my friend kindly passed on to me. Too self-Indulgent and lacking in self- discipline? No way, it makes me feel happy, and that's key to my success.
What one thing are you going to do to prioritise your happiness?