Photo Courtesy of The Daily Beast
Business 31 December 2017
Are you as happy as you could be with your business and in your life? Happiness is something people talk about, sometimes, fleetingly. It's looked at as something to have more of, certainly. But, how often do you hear the words happiness or joy in relation to business?
For most of the world those two things do not go together. However, a key ingredient to the secret sauce of a successful business is being happy!
When we were kids, most of us were happy. We didn't know there were all of these things to not be happy about. Then it starts; we were told we were too joyful and exuberant, and we begin to tone it down. We discover that laughing too loudly or too often meets with criticism and we begin to perceive all of the stress, concern and unhappiness around us and that becomes what is normal.
Have you ever noticed that when people are having a hard time, they receive empathy, kindness and comfort; but, when someone is visibly joyful the response is often, “what drug are they on?" Perhaps it's time to make happy the new normal. Happiness may not be what you think it is!
Often people think of happiness as an enthusiastic proclamation, raucous laughter, a giddiness; and, it can be expressed that way. Happiness is something we are; it is big and peaceful. Joy is the doing of happiness, an exuberant expression. Both are powerful and important to create a dynamic and fruitful business.
Why is happiness in business important?
For starters, money follows joy, joy does not follow money! This is contrary to how most people look at finances. The prevailing point of view is, “when I have money I will (fill in the blank)!" This creates a conditional relationship that you can't have happy and fully live your life until the money shows up. The catch here is that the focus on 'not enough money' will create more 'not enough'.
What we focus on we create, and happiness is a choice. If you make choices towards what is fulfilling, enjoyable and interesting to you a priority, then that becomes your focus. This sets you up to notice the possibilities for happiness that are waiting for you to choose them. The happier you are, the more enthusiasm and joy you will have with your business.
Keys for creating happiness and joy with your business
Cultivate a rich and satisfying life and living. Take a look at what really brings you happiness and joy and do more of it! When you are living a life you enjoy it is a compliment and boost to your business.
Have you fallen into the trap of making your business your life? Here is a different proposal. Let your business enhance your life and your life enhance your business. Neither one is an island separate from the other. Dissatisfaction in one area can filter into the other very quickly. Instead of making your business the source of your life, allow yourself the freedom to do what you enjoy in all areas. As you do, more money will show up.
Create your business happy: positioning yourself for the greatest possibility. Are you in a role that you enjoy? What parts of it do you have enthusiasm for? These are some questions to play with to get clarity about what will bring the most interest and enthusiasm to your work. Also, explore whether the way you work is compatible with who you are. If you are most productive in the morning, take advantage of that. If you do best with lots of time outside, allow yourself some breaks to take a quick walk or feel the sun on your face.
Start asking open-ended questions about what you really desire and be willing to shift things accordingly. It is critical to be open to change aspects of your business at any moment in order for it to thrive. Don't let boredom, dissatisfaction or frustration take root. Use the flexibility of having your own business to your advantage and allow yourself to shine.
Your point of view creates your reality. What points of view do you have that diminish your happiness? Be willing to look for the perspectives and attitudes about business and money you have. They are changeable, and you can undo the obstacles to having joy with your business.
Some prevailing beliefs are:
- Business is serious (don't have fun with it)
- You have to work hard to be successful
- Work is tedious
- Don't be too successful
Once you discover some of your points of view, flip them 180 degrees and explore if the opposite perspective would contribute to expanding your business and your pleasure with it. Business can be fun and you can have ease with it, even when challenges come up. It all depends on the point of view you choose to take.
Own your happy! Don't fall into the trap of being at the effect of others and their attitudes or emotions. Here is something you are not taught, but which can change everything.
You are aware, very aware. Have you ever been in a great mood then spent time with a friend who is cranky and all of a sudden you are cranky too? Guess what, you picked up on it, and suddenly it seemed like yours. When that happens, it is never yours. It is your awareness of someone or something else. Simply think, “return to sender," and tap back into what is true for you.
It goes against convention to be happy when others are not. And, let's face it, we are not living in a particularly happy world right now. Being happier than the people around us is a no-no. What if the kindest choice we can make, is to live the greatest life we can? It creates an invitation and shows people something else is possible. And, being happy is alluring; the happier you are the more people will be drawn to your business. Because it is so unique, you and your business will stand out.
Be You. This may sound obvious, after all, who else would you be? However, many entrepreneurs are trying to fit into some image they bought of what a business owner is supposed to be like. There are certain norms we accept as absolute without even realizing it. Don't buy anyone else's point of view or projections about how you should be, and how your business should run. Trust that you actually do know what choices you can make that will expand your joy and happiness.
Be willing to experiment and play with some changes. They don't have to be big ones to have a wonderful impact. When you are fully willing to be you, regardless of what anyone else thinks, it is a gift to you, your business and the world.
You started your business for a reason. There was some idea or vision for how you wanted it to be, and how you wanted to be with it. Most likely, being happier and enjoying your life more was a part of it. Are creating that fully? There is no time but the present, so make choices towards YOUR happy, whatever that looks like. It will only create something greater. And, don't judge yourself if everything doesn't go as planned or as quickly as you desire. Every choice will create an awareness of a different possibility. Choosing to be happy is having your own back in a way most people don't even realize is possible. If you keep at it, soon you will notice you have more enjoyment and satisfaction, and both you and your business will thrive.
4 min read
One of the few things I remember from grade school biology is the concept of tropism. In plain language, tropism is the reaction of a living thing, like a plant, towards a stimulus like sunlight or heat. You've likely seen this before but just didn't recognize it for what it was. If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action. The plant is bending towards the sunlight.
If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action.
In our everyday lives, we are all inundated with stimuli throughout the day. The driver in front of us that stalls at the yellow light and zooms through the red light, leaving us behind to wait. Or the customer service rep that leaves us on hold for an ungodly amount of time, only for the call to prematurely drop. There are so many examples both common and unique to our individual lives. The trouble begins when we form the habit of responding to everything — particularly negative stimuli. By doing this, our mental peace is disrupted and diverted making us slaves to whatever happens to happen. Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us. Now take that concept and multiply it by the number of things that can happen in a day, week, or month. What happens to you mentally with so many emotional pivots?
For me, the result is: Restlessness. Anxiety. Sleepness. Mindless Eating. Everything besides peace of mind.
Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us.
Earlier this year, something pretty trivial happened to me. I'm sure this has happened to you at some point in your life also. I was walking through a door and, as I always do, glanced back and held the door longer and wider than normal for the person coming behind me. My gracious gesture was met with silence — no thank you, no smile, not even a nod. I remember being so annoyed at this travesty of justice. How dare they not acknowledge me and thank me for holding the door? After all, I didn't have to do it. I know I spent the next few hours thinking about it and probably even texted a few friends so that they could join in on my rant and tell me how right I was to be upset. In hindsight, I should not have allowed this pretty petty thing to occupy my mind and heart, but I did. I let it shake my peace.
I've since taken some classes on mindfulness and what I've learned (and I'm still learning) is the art of being aware — being aware of the present and my feelings. Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy. We're all human and having emotions is part of the deal but as mindful adults, it's critically important to choose what you're going to care about and let everything else pass along. There are several tools on the market to help with this but the Headspace app has really helped me in my mindfulness journey. The lessons are guided and coupled with some pretty cute animations.
Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy.
Over the course of the next week, I'd like to challenge you to pay more attention to your reactions. How aware are you of how you allow your environment to affect you? Are you highly reactive? Do you ruminate for hours or even days on events that are insignificant in your life? If so, practicing a bit of mindfulness may be the way to go.