You know the expression that you don’t live to work but work to live? However, the fact is that a considerable part of our life is spent working. And many of us don’t only go to work to make a living, but to achieve something. We want to be successful, raise the corporate ladder and make our business grow. With every step we go up, each success we score, we’ll feel more fulfilled and happier… Or not.
That empty feeling
You know the feeling. You’ve worked day and night for weeks or months on end, on this fantastic project. And you’ve finally nailed it. You’ve impressed your clients and your boss. This will ensure that big bonus or promotion. You go out and celebrate but the next day you feel, apart from a slight hangover, kind of empty. Why? You did everything right. You’re successful, yet something is lacking. You’re not feeling quite as happy as you thought you would. Is this it?
We earn more but are less happy
Incomes in the USA and the UK, and in much of the world, have gone up dramatically in the past 50 years. We’ve got bigger houses and more luxuries then our parents could ever dream of. Yet, at the same time, we’re unhappier than we were half a century ago. What are we doing wrong and what can we do to fix this?
1. Happiness brings success. Not the other way around.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s a basic fact of life. Happiness, in combination with hard work, of course, brings success. However, success doesn’t automatically translate into happiness. Do you recognize this: ‘If I achieve XXX, I’ll be happy’. Only to discover, that when you do achieve your objective, you still feel the same. Remember: success does not equal happiness. Don’t worry. Happiness and success are not mutually exclusive. Actually, the most successful leaders usually are the happiest. Warren Buffet said: ‘If you have $100,000, and you’re an unhappy person and you think “$1 million is going to make you happy, it is not going to happen.’
2. Enjoy the ride, not only the destination
To quote Mr. Buffet again: ‘You can have a lot of fun while you’re getting rich.’ Great business people love what they’re doing. It’s not only about sealing the deal for them but the whole process it involves. Meeting new people, working together with your team, pitching your product, traveling to exotic locations and so on. Too many times we’re so focused on the result, like closing that big deal, that we’re too stressed to enjoy the ride. Learn to be present in the now and have fun on your way to the top.
3. Know your purpose
Like a company thinks about its mission and purpose, so should you. If you’re not sure what your purpose is, you’ll never feel content when achieving success. Think about your purpose in 2 ways. A higher purpose which you can discover by asking yourself questions like:
– What gets you going in the morning?
– Why do you go to work?
– What would you do if money was not an issue?
– How do you want people to remember you?
It’s good to be aware of and think about these type of questions. And not only for your professional life but also for your personal life. Don’t stress if you don’t have all the answers yet.
Just don’t forget to acknowledge the little things, your daily purpose. Find meaning in them. Feel a sense of passion and pride in what you’re working on today. Discover what you love doing and make more time for these activities, both at work and in your free time. It will increase your sense of satisfaction, true happiness and your chance of success.
4. Look to others and inside yourself
Nurture versus nature. The eternal question anthropologists and biologists battle over. We say, take both nurture and nature, and make them yours. It’s clear that we are influenced by our genetic makeup. However, we’re also very much influenced by our surroundings. Our parents, siblings, teachers, co-workers and bosses. In the end, your personal choices about what matters to you will shape your happiness and success.
Our surroundings always influence you. It’s your challenge to be aware of these influences and mold them. For example, if you admire your CEO’s business acumen, learn from it. Seek his advice, make his qualities your own, but don’t just copy them. Understand why these qualities matter to you, how they fit with your purpose. Match these qualities with who you are and not the other way around. As Oscar Wilde said: ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’
5. Organize your mornings for success and happiness
The way you start your day is essential to how you feel the rest of the time. Instead of waking up, checking emails, feeling stressed and running around, organize your morning. A few tips on how you can start your day happy and successful:
– Arrange your clothes the day before.
– The first 15 minutes don’t check your phone or any screen.
– Before getting up, think about at least 1 thing or person you’re grateful for.
– Do some stretching.
– Set a maximum of 3 realistic goals for that day. From calling that client to doing the dishes.
– Make your bed.
– Meditate, even if it’s only 2 minutes. The goals are to be mindful and to clear your head.
6. Take care of your body and personal life
If you make it to the top, but your body is burned out, and you’re all alone, trust us, you won’t feel happy or successful. Fredrik Eklund, one of New York’s top real estate agents, hits the gym every morning at 6 AM. He stops work in the evening to enjoy quality time with his partner, family, and friends. Furthermore, he schedules 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
We’re not telling you to get up every morning at 6 AM, but do take good care of your health and your loved ones. Success is so much better when you can share it and are healthy. Also, feeling good physically and having a great support system, will make you more successful in business. They reinforce each other. As Fredrik Eklund says: “Improve the quality of your life, and you will improve the quantity of your business.”
Want happiness and success?
Our clients are always happy with our services, and we’ll make your business more successful. Get in touch with us now.