Welcome back all my WIMBAs to another edition of the Women in Medicine Badass Radioshow and I am super excited to be back speaking with you today because I just got off an 8 day cruise and it was a mastermind. If you’re not familiar with that term, it’s where business professionals get together and help each other get really accelerated in their business. And what was so fun about this whole week that I was on this cruise was not only learning how to be more successful in my business, but meeting all these amazing people and just having a great time. And it really fits in nicely with our topic for this week which is “the truth about happiness.” I got off the ship and I’ve been feeling really high. I’ve been feeling like I had such fun and I really didn’t know what to expect when I went on to this that, you know, I was delighted I was really happily surprised that it turned out the way that it did. And so I started to think about this idea of happiness and what it really takes for people to be happy because you know the way I would normally describe my day-to-day life is not necessarily that same level of bubbled up happiness that I felt during the cruise and since coming off of it, but more so that I am satisfied with my life. And I don’t mean it in a negative way that only just barely satisfied and that I’m not really happy. It’s just I’m content, right? I am pleased with the way that things are going in my life. But there is a difference between the way that I felt on this cruise and the way that I feel day today and so I thought I would share with you my thoughts on this topic and also some of the misconceptions that I think people sometimes have when it comes to their happiness.
Now one of the things that I know is that oftentimes people are searching for happiness. And so they’ll identify something in their life and they’ll say, “When I have that, when this thing happens to me then I’ll be happy” and I think that that’s a really common mistake that people make. They have this idea like, “When I make $1M or when I find my mate or when I have a kid or when I buy that house or when I have that fancy car or I get that promotion at work then I’ll be happy and everything’s going to be great. It’s all going to be rainbows and daisies.” And the truth of the matter is that’s never the case. Even for people who have won the lottery, you know there’s that initial excitement over having won the lottery but then if you follow up with these lottery winners one thing you’ll know is that they typically blow through all of their cash and then they get right back to their comfort zone, their familiar territory. So they have this idea that making all this money is going to change their life for the better, that that’s when they’ll reach their happiness levels but in truth that’s not what happens.
I want you to consider all the things that you tell yourself that make you unhappy in your life and what is really going on there that you aren’t feeling happier? Is it that you’re telling yourself that this thing is wrong and until it turns around that you can’t be happy? And if that’s something that you say to yourself, then you’re really kind of setting yourself up because happiness is not a thing that happens in the future. Happiness so much of it is really a product of your mind. So we’re going to talk about this as well because I want you to be able to “manufacture happiness on purpose” for you.
Another misconception that people have is this idea that they wish they can be happy all the time and I don’t think that’s very realistic and if it was then we’d be doing it already. The truth of the matter is that we are humans and we are meant to experience a menu of emotions. That’s why they’re there. Every situation calls for a different emotion. It’s not really practical that we’re going to stay stuck with one emotion even if it is happiness all of the time.
So for instance if I’m on this cruise and I’m having a great time but then somebody falls overboard or somebody hurts themselves, it wouldn’t make sense for me to stay happy right that would be really inappropriate. Instead, you want to be able to navigate your emotions and know that happiness is just one of those emotions on the menu.
Another thing that I want you to consider is the difference between joy and satisfaction. So joy is how I felt when I was on this cruise. It was something that in the moment as I’m engaging with people, we’re laughing, I’m having a good time. It happens right then and there. And satisfaction is something that I think happens as a product of work that you do, that you finally reach a point where you can look back and feel really accomplished and satisfied. And this is equally as important. You should be able to enjoy yourself in the moment as well as work toward something and feel a sense of satisfaction.
So one of the ways that we get there to that place of satisfaction is that we have to delay instant gratification and we have to focus our mind in order to get into that state of flow where we’re able to get things done, put in our effort, and then we’ll have accomplished the things that we set out to do, and then we can feel great sense of satisfaction for having done that. So I hope that’s making sense — the difference between that immediate joy that you feel in the moment and the satisfaction that comes as a result of having done some work on a goal that you have perhaps, something that’s meaningful to you that gives your life that sense of purpose.
So these are some of the concepts that I wanted to share with you when it comes to the truth about happiness. And one more thing that I want to share is that happiness is an emotion. And what we know is that our emotions are a product of our thinking. And so if you are unhappy, you can probably trace that unhappiness back to a thought that you’re having that is creating that feeling within you.
So think about your situation and what are the thoughts that you have that you associate with that situation? If, for instance, you are unhappy with the way things are going at work elicit from yourself all of the negative thoughts that you have about your situation and that will show you why you feel so unhappy. This is important because we often believe that it’s our circumstances that lead us to feel unhappy, but really it’s the way that we’re thinking about those things that create happiness within us. So this is your challenge — to really consider your situation without changing anything and then finding new ways of thinking that align with happiness. What are the things that maybe you’re ignoring because it’s not about looking at everything through those rosy glasses. We’re not here to say that you should feel happy all the time. But we’re often looking at things either one way or another and those two sides might be simultaneously true. When we’re looking at things through that negative filter and we’re saying all the things that are wrong with our situation at work for instance, what else is true that we’re ignoring? And I encourage you to do this exercise where you really ask yourself, “What is going well with my work? What do I like about it that is keeping me there?” If it was a hundred percent awful you would have probably quit by now, but there’s something about it that you can feel a sense of gratitude for or that you can embrace and focus your mind on that will absolutely change how you feel. So this is really your challenge.
And to just leave you with some actionable steps I want you to take note of 5 ways that you can increase your happiness and they are:
- Acceptance of yourself and others. So often when we are not accepting of ourselves it means that we are striving for something else. We want to be someone else. We don’t necessarily love who we are and we are beating ourselves up for everything. We’re constantly telling ourselves kind of similarly to the way that I was talking earlier about happiness, “When I get this thing then I’ll be happy,” we have these ideas about ourselves as well when we’re not accepting ourselves that say, “When I’m successful then I’ll be worthy.” But what if you were to just accept yourself as you are with all of your flaws? What if you were to accept other people the way that they are, what would be different about your relationships and how you show up? This is what brings true happiness because when you accept yourself and you love yourself you feel lighter. You don’t have all this negativity that’s bringing you down. And when you accept other people for all of their flaws and all the things that make them who they are, then you feel more connected to other people, you can laugh more, you can feel at ease more, and life is just so much simpler and more beautiful.
- You want to have a goal to work toward. Sometimes we have this idea that we need to accomplish our goal, as I mentioned, in order to have arrived in order to feel accomplished but ultimately what we want is to have something to focus our minds and our efforts on just to give us ourselves something to do because imagine what life would be like if you had nothing to focus on. It would be absolutely boring and you could burn out on life when you’re disengaged because there’s no stimulation, there’s nothing exciting about life.
- You want to engage in activities that excite you. Now when I was on this cruise, not only did I get to socialize with people which was super fun and laughed a lot but we went dancing a couple of times and one of the things that I absolutely love doing is dancing because I don’t have to think. I can just allow my body to move to the music and it’s very freeing for me. It’s something that I’m able to do very naturally and that’s my forte so that’s something that I really have a lot of fun doing. So think about what it is that you love to do that when you do it you kind of get in the groove and it’s super fun and you feel that sense of joy kind of bubbling up. Identifying those things and then incorporating them into your daily life is going to really help you to increase your happiness levels.
- You want to let go of attachments. By this I mean your attachment to the end result. So when you’re focusing on your goal, if it doesn’t work out exactly the way that you wanted it to, to not get super depressed over it, but to just use it as a learning opportunity, to not get too attached to how things are going to turn out. For instance, if you were taking a trip — how many of you have actually ever traveled and you have travel plans and then you got derailed somehow along the way, right? Instead of letting that hinder you, think about how it becomes part of your travel story, this thing that happened and then what did you do about it so that you it doesn’t ruin the rest of your trip? It also means being flexible and curious because when you open yourself up to all the ways that you can live your life, things that you hadn’t really thought of or planned for then it opens you up to new possibilities and that’s what brings up joy — all the unexpected surprises in life.
- Find ways to be in the here and now and make the best of your situations. So when things don’t go your way, how can you stay in this moment, roll with things, be more flexible and ask yourself, “So now that I’ve taken this turn that I didn’t expect or I didn’t see coming, how can I make the best of this?” And when you do that you get to grow and you continue to allow life to happen as it does, and to challenge you, and to expand you. And that’s my wish for you — finding ways to live more fully with more joy, more satisfaction, and now that you understand the truth about happiness, you can do that.
And listen, I get it — if you’re somebody who is burning out and who has a hard time really figuring out how to do this well, even when you know all of the house sometimes it’s hard to get there, then book a free Breakthrough Session with me you can go to BookachatwithSharon.com and sign up for 30 minutes where we get to explore exactly what’s holding you back and I can share some insights into what will help you get unstuck. And if you’re interested in joining me next year in the Marketer’s Cruise, check out the show notes for the link on how you can register and get more information. Until next time, take great care.