I was raised with the ethos that hard work leads to success. My parents taught me to knuckle down and grind through the difficult work and at the end I will be rewarded. Success follows hard work and success causes happiness, right? Wrong
I was so pleased to read in The Happiness Advantage that this is a myth. Over 200 research studies including 275 000 people show that the reverse is true. Happiness leads to success. And I spent years of my life in an unhappy place, in an unhappy job, head down, working hard and waiting for the inevitable success that never followed.
Looking back I can’t believe that I had thoughts like this: ‘Once I’ve made this business successful, I can hand it over to someone and follow my dreams’. I spent five years doing it and it never happened. It seems foolish now but I thought it the responsible thing to do. I thought my hard work and perseverence would pay off. That didn’t happen and I lost a lot of things, most notably my health. How could I have put my own needs and dreams on the back burner for so long? It didn’t really do anyone any good.
Our definitions of success are all different. I was chasing profitability and I thought it would set me free. I wasn’t doing work that was aligned to my strengths or that I felt passionate about. Simon Sinek’s book comes to mind when I think about the WHY of being in that business. I didn’t have a strong WHY.
If I didn’t have a credible WHY, I should at least have defined my own role around what I’m good at. Job crafting is the term given to altering your job to align with your signature strengths. This is such a powerful concept for every working person and every employer. Imagine working for a manager and an organisation that celebrated your unique talents and allowed you to mold your work around your best attributes? How it would change the focus from being just a job into something with much more meaning.
Everyone is trying to make sense of their lives. At some point or other, we wonder why we are here, what is this particular journey all about? Considering how much time we spend at work, for me it has to be meaningful. I don’t think I could do a job I hate just to pay the bills. I’m pretty sure that I have enough talents and strengths that I could use to create income that is fulfilling. I’ve already spent a chunk of my life on something unpleasant and painful. No more.
I’ve spent a lot of time learning about happiness and understanding the research around strategies to increase my set point of happiness. I’m pretty thrilled to find out that I’ve been investing in my future success, not just personal growth. Since I’ve been chasing happiness in the last few months since I’ve been diagnosed, I’m pleased to learn that the key to success is happiness.
What are you chasing? Where is your focus? Are you putting your dreams and needs on the back burner, holding out for some future time to be happy?Follow me: