What does happiness mean to you?

What does it mean to be happy?

We throw around this term quite often without really thinking what it means to us. When I ask people in general “What do you want from your life, what is your goal, what is your purpose?” I get the same response: “I just want to be Happy” Just? That’s quite a tall task and we shouldn’t belittle it to just. The biggest blockage to achieving a life filled with happiness in my opinion is:

  1. We place it outside our own control Eg:
    1. If only I had this or if only he/she did this.
  2. We don’t know what would really make us happy.
  3. We are conditioned to make other people happy before we make ourselves happy
  4. We suppress the urges and actions that would make us happy out of fear of what other people might think or what society deems as expectable.
  5. We live in the future and past

My two cents about this

  1. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear are that we are powerful beyond measures. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. “ Marianne Williamson” . We fear what will happen when we take responsibility for our own happiness and live to our fullest potential, because we fear it we look for reasons to blame our lack of happiness outside of ourselves such as our romantic partners, the country we live in, the government, our work, our bosses and so on. By placing it outside of ourselves we give ourselves the excuse we need to say it’s ok. Most people perceive this laziness or negativity when it’s actually fear. Remember that courage is not to the lack of fear but the ability to move forward in spite of fear.
  2. What would really make you happy? When I ask people this is the answer is usually freedom. Freedom from what? ( See my post on the meaning of freedom). Most people want to travel because that’s what they see on the movies. I have traveled extensively and I can guarantee you this alone won’t make you happy, see the exercises at the end to discover what will make you happy.
  3. We are so conditioned from a young age to consider other people’s feelings before our own. What examples can you think of that you were taught in school and by your own parents? Example: “Go play with that kid.” “No he makes me unhappy and treats me bad.” “I don’t care just go.” We are taught to put the happiness of others before our own. I’m not saying you will always only have things to do that make you happy or to be inconsiderate, I’m saying be conscious not to act how everyone expects you to act because that’s how you think you need to act to make them happy. Someone said “I am not who I think I am, I am not who you think I am, I am who I think you think I am what?”      Most people don’t even know what they think themselves, do you really they care about you?
  4. Take 5 minutes and think about this: When did you want to do something but didn’t because you were unsure what other people will think? How often do we stay in situations that makes us unhappy because that’s what we think is expected of us? Why do we do that? I struggle with this myself. Ultimately we want to be liked and do what we think will make other people like us. This problem is how do we know what goes on in someone else’s mind. People will always judge us regardless s do what will make you happy.
  5. I will write a blog on this later as this is a deep subject. Sadness comes from living in the past and anxiety comes from living in the future so to have peace we must train our mind to live in the present moment and take all we can from what’s happening now. This is extremely difficult to be in the moment means to let go of what we think this moment (a first date for example) can be and enjoy it for what it is. Find joy in the small things in life such as feeling the warmth of the on your face or holding your partner’s hand and look them in the eyes when they talk to you. Put your phone in your pocket.

Actions / Exercises

  1. Remind yourself that you and you alone have the power to make you happy.
  2. Imagine that for some reason you only had 3 months left to live. What are 5 things you would do:
    1. In your professional life.
    2. With your family.
    3. With your friends.
    4. By yourself
  3. What type of people do you want in your life? Who do you currently have in your life and how do they affect your happiness- good and bad.
  4. On an airplane they say put the mask on yourself before you help someone else. What are 2 examples that you recently put the oxygen mask on someone else and in turn it made you struggle for oxygen
  5. What are 3 occasions when you wanted to do something but didn’t because you were scared of what people might think? This can range from something as small as going to the Opera or as big as taking a year off to travel the world regardless of your circumstances.
  6. The next time your partner comes home from work take their hand, sit crossed legged on the couch facing each other and spend 30 minutes being completely present with each other’s company. If you don’t have a partner do it with a friend or colleague or even a stranger. Be present and watch their face light up.

Take your action list and be completely honest with yourself as to why you aren’t doing this today.

If you took the time to do this and found it was helpful please help others to I do the same. Imagine a world where everyone lived according to their own truths and values. A world where people were happy and smiled at each other when they passed on the street and where we help strangers because we are living life to its fullest and want to let our light shine.

Please share this with me by email at Eugene@mycoach.co.za and let’s have a conversation.

Happiness is not an event or an object but a choice every morning you wake up.        

Leadership in Business

Introduction

My inspiration to write an article on leadership came from my team’s compliments, hard work, dedication and loyalty. Being a person who aspires to be a great leader, it is amazing to hear you’re team say things like “I went on a leadership course and what they said about a great leader, is what I see in you” and “we aren’t here for the money or job security, we are here to follow you”. So this is my take on leadership for business owners, managers and executives. As a leader, I feel that additional emphasis should be placed on the following activities:

  • Build a framework consisting of guidelines for your team.
  • Inspire and motivate your team.
  • Constantly strive to build a better future for them.
  • Teach and educate them.
  • Get out of their way.

 

Building a Framework

Before they start playing the game they need to know what the rules of the game are. Businesses have a lot of similarities to sport and each sport has its own set of rules. What are yours? Before you can start leading them you need to build a framework of policies, procedures, code of conduct, values and culture. You need to be 100% clear on what you expect from your team and how you expect them to behave. Once you have defined the rules of your business it’s on you to make sure they are followed and to hold your team accountable.

 

You are not there to tell them what to do

Just because you hold a higher position, might be more educated, get paid more, or whatever your reason may be to think you are better than them, doesn’t mean that you are. The only time you should tell them what to do, is when you hold them accountable to your documented framework. You might know more about a certain subject than them, but I can guarantee you that they know something you don’t! Bottom line is that they are equal to you as a human being, so treat them that way.

 

You serve them

As a leader, it is your job to serve your team. Most leaders get this wrong. Again, just because you are their superior doesn’t mean they will follow you or serve you, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Now that you are the leader: you have to prove to them that you are fit to be in the position of authority, and, that you care about them. Leaders are the first people to run into battle and if you are worthy and they trust you, then they will follow you. Standing behind them with a whip and telling them to serve you is the same as slavery.It is your job to remove obstacles that are inhibiting their ability to complete their job. These may include; too many rules, bureaucracy, bad employees, bad clients and sometimes bad leaders. Your job is to make sure they can do their job as effectively as possible so lead by example and serve your team.

 

Don’t keep bad company

There are few things as destructive to a good team as bad team members. People who are negative, bad mouth each other, always complaining and constantly stepping outside the framework you set, need to go and they need to go now! The best thing you can do for A-team players is to get rid of your C-team players. I have heard countless excuses as to why you can’t do it now, but this is the best thing you can do for your team. If you have as good a team as we do, then they will step up, lift their game and make sure it’s business as usual.

 

Teach them

They are busy working their butts off to make sure you look good. The least you can do is teach and educate them, so that they can become experts in their fields. To be able to constantly be teaching you need to be constantly learning. Do courses on personal growth, sleeping habits, investing or whatever will benefit your team and then teach (not tell) them how to apply it in their own lives.

 

Build a family

Lastly but equally important is to build a family. Families will have good times and bad times but they always seem to stick together. The saying goes: you can choose your friends, not your family – but in this case, you can. Choose people that will not only stay with you when times are good but also when the going gets tough. At some point, it will, then you will need your team more than ever . Choose people that you can enjoy every day of your life, people that you can laugh with and have fun, but also console and cry with. You will spend more time with your team than you will with your wife, so choose wisely. Treat them as you wish them to treat you, spoil them as often as you can and tell them how much they mean to you. You cannot do this without them so make sure they know it.

Thank you for reading this and I guarantee that if you follow these guidelines and constantly apply, educate and better yourself you will end up with an army that will die for you – but you have to be willing to do the same.