To me, being happy is the most important thing in life. Happiness is not wealth, or stuff, but people and being the best person I can be. I read an article recently about the regrets people have when they’re close to death. The underlying theme is relationships and this is something
that has come up a lot in my life.
I’m not particularly a people’s person but I am a people-pleaser (or an Obliger as Gretchen Rubin would say). I’m an introvert and get very tired being around people a lot. Taking time to recharge can be very difficult in a house where the little people follow me to the toilet. That being said, I do love people and need them in my day.
I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband and two amazing little girls who are the source of great joy for me. They drive me nuts too, don’t get me wrong. We live in a great home with fun, noise and laughter. I value my friends a lot, although I’m not a very good friend. Perhaps once I’ve finished my journey I’ll be a better friend.
The primary source of stress in my life has always been work. Since I’ve started working, I’ve tried really hard to give it my best and with reasonable success. The last five years of my career have been the hardest by far. I’ve been managing a business I took over from my father. I learned a great deal but I have discovered over the past few months that it is not my passion and never will be. Living someone else’s dream is not the path to happiness.
I’ve subscribed to many newsletters and have been watching TED talks and reading numerous books on the search for happiness. I’ve learned some wonderful things and I don’t remember a time when I’ve grown so much inside. And maybe outside from not being allowed to exercise!
I believe that meaning is the most important aspect of making our work-lives happy. That’s why I left the corporate world – I didn’t have meaning. And after just having had a child, my world was full of meaning at home. The stark contrast at work was too much to bear. I jumped into the family business head first and started learning and learning and learning. I made mistakes but I also had successes and loved the ability to steer the ship myself into a direction that I decided. I made sure I measured the results and that was really fulfilling, when I got it right.
What was fundamentally missing from this equation was that I was not being true to my self. I think that relationships with people are important but the one with yourself is a non-negotiable! I’m a right-brained person doing admin and accounting for most of my day. I’m an introvert, trying to sell. I have a lot of things to offer but they won’t be found when I’m in the foetal position trying to recover from doing things I hate, and being who I’m not. I need to know myself well enough and be kind to myself to make sure I’m ok too. Something mothers sometimes don’t get right.
I strongly believe that we can engineer our own lives to be happy. I’m always going on about how happiness is a choice. There are too many miserable people in the world, not doing a thing to change their circumstances. And now I find myself with a serious illness that is keeping me from any kind of exercise. The same person who runs ultra-marathons for fun. What I am forced into now is rest and recovery. It’s boring, very boring.
But this is my journey and there is something important to learn from this experience. This may just be the catalyst that my life needed to be overflowing with joy – not only from my family but from my work too.
So if you’re interested, please follow me on my journey to design
a new career, based on what I truly love.