You want a promotion. You want to meet targets. You want acknowledgement for your work. Because you think it’ll make you feel happy.And it will, but only fleetingly.So before you know it, you’re chasing your next goal in the hope that it’ll have you feeling happy and positive!Again it will, but only fleetingly—and then you’re off chasing a new goal.
The Problem Is, Most People Have The Success Equation Back To Front…
Research tells us that it’s not realistic to expect success to bring you lasting happiness—but rather it’s that being happy and positive will bring you success.Albert Schweitzer (who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952) said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”
As well, Dana Joseph, Ph.D., University of Central Florida, led an analysis of 25 studies that concluded that,“Generally-happy-people make better leaders than Debbie Downers.”
Why is this so? Think about this scenario:
If you’re anxious, pessimistic and generally unhappy, you’re unlikely to be inspiring or motivating—and therefore unlikely to be a great leader.
If you’re happy and positive, you’ll be inspiring and motivating—and therefore a successful leader.
This Begs The Question: How Can You Be Happy And Positive?
(By the way, consistent happiness doesn’t just happen. 99% of people need to work on it—just as a fit person needs to exercise to be fit.)
Here’s a list of the sorts of things successful people do to create their happiness.
These items aren’t rocket-science and they’re not hard to implement—but they’re so often overlooked by people who are less happy than they want to be!
Choose which actions you could add to your daily repertoire:
- Decide you’ll be in the moment. Then ask yourself, “What three things could I appreciate in my life right now?” Consciously deciding to notice what you could appreciate will help you mould your unconscious brain. You’ll be shaping your identity as a happy, appreciative person—and that will dispose you to behaving in-line with that identity. (Email me if you want to talk about that.)
- Remember, things don’t have meaning in themselves. We give things meaning. You’re in control of how you interpret things that happen. If you want to be happy, choose a generous and constructive interpretation. For example, let’s say Jay doesn’t show up to a meeting he and I had scheduled. If I’m not aware of how happiness is created and how it relates to success, my self-talk could be, “That disrespectful son-of-a-bitch doesn’t care about wasting my time. He’s so self-interested.”
Alternatively, if I care about managing my thinking (and my happiness), my self-talk could be, “Something’s held Jay up. I hope he’s OK. I’m going to call his mobile and check.”
- Manage the cues your physiology sends to your brain!” Physiology predicts state”—meaning, the way we hold our body sends a direct message to our brain. If I want to be happy and positive, I need to hold my body like a happy, positive person would hold their body, i.e. head up, warm expression, sitting/standing tall, etc.
- Imagine things going well, and not going wrong. The primary cause of anxiety is “imagining what you don’t want to happen, happening”. That’ll take you off the rails, won’t it?
It’s therefore important to support yourself in being positive and happy by making a decision to focus on your desired outcome. (And that’s all it is, making a decision to do so.)
- Having a healthy body makes it easier to have a healthy, constructive mind. Would you have a healthier body if you implemented a wise exercise regimen and reduced the amount of processed food, sugar and perhaps gluten in your diet, for example?
- Having a happy, positive mind is easier when you’re meditating daily. Scattered minds tend to be out-of-control and reactive. Focused minds tend to rise above emotional reactions and operate in-the-flow (i.e. in the highly productive mental state that occurs when we’re fully immersed in an activity).Sure meditation takes some practice before you’ll reap the full rewards. But when the rewards kick in, you’ll be pleased you persisted. (For new meditators, the Headspace app is good.)
Your Call to Action
The end game is for you to have a stronger habit of being happy and positive—and therefore be an even more successful leader.
When you practice your selected items from the above list—for between three and four weeks without skipping a day—you’ll develop strong habits that will serve you for the rest of your leadership career, and life 🙂
Short-term-pain, long-term gain!
Keep emailing me your questions, comments and progress reports…
“I know that what I have learned working with (Carolyn) has changed my life
and my leadership style for the better, and those changes will stay with me forever.”
— Regional Leader, manufacturing and marketing company
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.