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“Remember: Success does not lead to happiness – it’s the other way around.” – Jeff Olson, Founder & CEO of Nerium International, Author or The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success & Happiness, Co-founder of Live Happy
Happiness is the precursor to success
When I first heard that happiness was the precursor to success, my first thought was…that’s a load of bologna! But as I read Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success & Happiness and then Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy by Deborah Heisz it honestly started to make sense. If you’re not happy, you’re not going to feel motivated to pursue your dreams.
So you’re probably thinking to yourself as you read this, Lauren, what would really make me happy is a full eight hours of sleep, a week’s vacation with my family and someone to clean my house and do my laundry! Girl, me too!! But it would also make me happy to have the luxury of time, to work when I want to work, to be completely mobile with my job so I can go visit my family without taking PTO or visit my BFF in England and take my job on the road with me.
This stuff is for real
I recently had the opportunity to be on a video call with Deb Heisz, co-founder of Live Happy and let me tell you what – AH MAE ZING! She and Jeff Olson co-founded the organization Live Happy with the intention of helping “people discover their personal journey of happiness in life, at work and at home.”
The following excerpt from Jeff Olson’s book explains why happiness is so crucially important to discover before success can be obtained.
We believe, “Once I become successful, then I’ll be happy.” Or, “Once I become healthier… once I find that relationship… once I’m living where I want to live… once my income is high enough to manage my life without stress… then I’ll be happy.”
But that’s not how it works. Oh, we think it does. We all assume that’s the way things work. If I do, and I do it long enough, then I’ll be happy. That makes sense. But it’s just not what happens. In fact, says the research, it works exactly the opposite way. Once you do what it takes to raise your everyday level of happiness, then you will become more successful, then you’ll become healthier, then you’ll find the relationship. The more you raise your own happiness level, the more likely you’ll start achieving all those things you want to achieve.
Olson, Jeff. (2013) The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success & Happiness. Lake Dallas: SUCCESS
So, let’s talk about the ways we can find happiness. Here are a few very simple steps you can take to get started right away.
“Don’t smile. Don’t you dare smile.” This is what my older brothers use to taunt me with when I was a pouting toddler. And now I do it to their kids! And I’ll tell you what, I pretended like I despised this little game of ours, but I LOVED it! Because I was always left smiling and giggling after. Next time you feel yourself drifting into grumpy land, perk up the corners of those lips and SMILE! I promise you, it will instantly lift your mood. And bonus: smiling is contagious so you’re going to make the people around you smile too!
Sometimes we just have to get the creative juices flowing. Until recently, I didn’t really consider myself a creative person. But let me tell you what, just in writing this blog right now, I am grinning from ear to ear. By writing about something I love, I can feel a positive energy flowing through my body that is truly making me happy in this very moment. Writing isn’t for you? That’s ok!
There are so many ways to get creative. My friend Alana is what I like to call, uber crafty. She is so talented! She can take something old that she happened upon in old shed and make it look beautiful. I’m talking Joanna Gaines talent here! Why do I bring this up? Because when she hasn’t been working on her crafts, I can tell! I’ll ask her what she’s been working on lately and she’ll look at me with these sad eyes and say, I haven’t had much time lately to work on my crafts. But, man! When she has been working on something fabulous and chic, her eyes light up and she seems relaxed and at ease. It truly makes her happy, deep down.
My challenge to you is to find something creative to do whether its once a week or every single day!
This is a big one! When I was in college and super duper stressed about a big exam coming up or was frustrated with the way a friend had treated me, my dad would tell me to go for a walk. He’d remind me that there was always time for a walk, even if it was only for 20 minutes. And I am telling you, it works! I still do this when life seems to get the best of me and I’m having a hard time thinking things through. We’re lucky enough to live among a plethora of hiking trails which happens to be one of my favorite things to do.
When I start feeling like I can’t make sense of what to do next or I’m overthinking what so-and-so said during a meeting or I’m just downright overwhelmed by life, I walk out the door and go for a hike. There is something out breathing in fresh air and working my way up a trail that helps me clear my head.
Maybe for you its swimming some laps at the pool, going rock climbing at the local indoor club or just walking around your neighborhood. What is even better is exercising on a regular basis, this will help you better manage that stress before it even gets to that point.
Another tip – change it up! This will keep things fun and interesting and not so monotonous as you work this into your daily routine. My favorites ways to exercise are walking my dogs, hiking in the mountains, yoga and Zumba! Who doesn’t smile while dancing to some Shakira??
Have you ever had that feeling like there are so many moving parts in your life that you can’t possibly keep track of what needs to be done when? Ever noticed how that makes you feel? Overwhelmed, tired, stressed, frustrated…just to name a few. Getting organized makes all those feelings go away. Plus, if you’re organized, you’re going to be more productive and on top of things which are also precursors to success.
So, get yourself a planner, sit down and write it all down. There are so many great planners out there but a couple I have tried and really liked are the Freedom Mastery Law of Attraction Planner and the Erin Condren Life Planner.
Write in your family and friends’ birthdays so you know who you need to gets cards for when. Note in your planner when your bills are due with a little checkbox next to them so you can check it off when they’re paid. List your goals for the day, week and month and what your rewards will be for meeting those goals. Scheduled happy hour drinks with a friend after work? Put in your planner. Have book club every 3rd Monday of the month? Put in your planner so you know when the book needs to be read by. Going on a vacation? Block out those days with a big ‘X’ so you know not to plan anything those days (yay!). Getting organized makes it so you don’t have to keep track of all of those things in your head so you can focus on you!
For more tips on getting organized when your week gets super busy here’s another post to help you out!