We all want more happiness in our lives… or … do we?
We’re on this journey through life and we all want to enjoy the ride, right?
When we talk about Happiness, what is it really?
Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome. It’s a noble pursuit.
If I finally hit $10,000/ mo. in website sales, I’m going to be happy.
If I can fit into that dress or those pants that have been hanging in my closet since the early 90’s … I’m going to be really happy.
If hire a new manager I’m going to be happy.
If I hire a new photographer, I’m going to be happy.
If I run that 5K I’ve been talking about, I’m going to be happy.
Happiness is an “if this happens, then I’ll feel happy,” kind of result-orientated emotion or feeling.
Happiness is an elevated feeling of emotion and exhilaration that comes as the result of an outcome that is achieved. It’s a short-term high.
Because if you’re constantly chasing that Happiness – high you’re going to constantly be let down. Oh, you’ll reach it… You’ll do the things and get the results and feel the Happiness, but then the High wears off and you’re back running again to chase the next benchmark achievement that will make you happy or the next thing that will make you happy.
If happiness is what you’re after, you’re going to be let down over and over because once you attain it, it’s short-lived and you’ll feel unhappy much more of the time.
If you’re always chasing happiness…. You’ll always… be… running.
Think about this – think about something you really wanted and you got it. It can be a car you wanted, hitting a revenue goal, hiring an amazing manager or staff person. Maybe you finally got your website built or finished a course.. and you were so happy for like 10 minutes… or maybe for an hour or even a day. There’s a euphoria that comes with the Happiness High… but eventually that high wears off and you’re back to setting the next goal. The happiness hangover is gone and you’re back with your running shoes … running running, running toward the next thing.
When you reach your goal, you celebrate it and then you set the bar higher to the next goal. Or you start looking around your life or your business and see all the things that you’re not happy with and you immediately feel unhappy. Happiness is a temporary feeling that really causes more unhappiness when the feeling wears off because we feel inadequate all of a sudden by all the other things in our lives that we didn’t achieve or didn’t do.
Maybe you hit that weight loss goal. You feel super happy standing on the scales and looking down at that number smiling back up at you. But then you step off the scale and stand in front of the mirror admiring your skinny self in the mirror and what do you see?? What is that? More gray hair? OMG… is that a little thinning spot … am I going bald? What is up around my eyes… are those… wrinkles and suddenly… you’re unhappy again.
So if happiness is a temporary feeling, a temporary hit of euphoria… what are we really after? What is it that will create that happy place or that constant feeling of an elevated positive emotion in our lives, in our work environments in our stores for our customers?
I want to share a personal moment with you. Whenever I reach a goal… I celebrate it for a night and then the next morning I’m setting the bar higher. Someone once said to me, Can’t you just be happy? You’re never happy you always want more and more and more… Can’t you just be happy with what you have and where you are. I looked at this person and I responded… “Right now in my life, every goal I reach is a stepping stone to the next bigger goal. I want a home on the ocean. It can be my main residence or it can be a second residence that I rent out as an Airbnb, so each home I currently move up to is another goal on the way to my dream house on the ocean. It might not be closer to the ocean but the profit margin is always bigger so when I sell I can make more. I got my Model 3 Tesla which I was so excited to finally get a Tesla so yes I loved the day I got it and I have loved every day, every moment of driving it but after I got it, I set my sites on the Model S which is really and truly my dream car.
I don’t let goals be my stopping point, I let my goals be my jumping-off point for my bigger, hairier, more audacious goals and dreams, but the difference is that I enJOY the journey between each destination point. So yes, I am very happy and grateful for all that I have and all that I achieved and yes I always want more but most importantly… I enJOY the journey.
So if happiness is a temporary hit of euphoria what are we really after?
Joy is not a result. Joy is a constant. Joy doesn’t care if you have reached your goal or not. No matter the outcome, you can have and feel and experience joy.
Joy is the elevated emotional feeling that you can have while you’re on your way to your destination. So if happiness is what you feel at your destination, joy is what you feel during the ride. EnJOY… the journey.
When you stop chasing happiness you will have more joy. Here’s what I mean by that.
When you stop saying, “I need to hit $100,000/ month in sales to be happy.” Or, “I need to lose 30 lbs to be happy.” These are reasonable aspirations, don’t get me wrong. Set your goals and go for them… but don’t make the outcome the thing that your happiness depends on. Make your journey to your goals as equally important or even more important… than the goal itself and guess what? You will find more rewards in your everyday living.
You will find that you can create that everyday, consistent joy-filled work environment. You will have created that store which customers refer to as their “happy place.” You will find joy in eating more veggies and less potato chips; you will find joy in going for longer walks and taking the stairs instead of the escalator.
You will find more enJOYment in your everyday living and more enJOYment in your everyday work. You will achieve better Google Reviews of your business, you’ll have more joy-filled staff. Emotions can actually be measured through electrical charges in the air and you will find that your store literally is more positively charged.
The more successful we become the easier it is to let the joy leak out of our everyday lives. We check our watches more and focus on efficiency more. Can we get to work faster? Can we process in-take faster? Can we improve our check-out time without compromising customer experience? We want to get more done in less time. We stress out more about things we shouldn’t stress about. We micro-manage the stats.
When you choose to be just as focused or more focused on the experience as you are on the outcomes and when you set out with the intention of enjoying the journey on the way to the destination you have greater joy and greater fulfillment in your lives.
If you play golf – what was the best round you’ve ever played? Without looking at the scorecard? What was the best round? When did you enjoy the game the most? What was your best day at work? If it was your highest income day ever, was it also your most joy-filled day ever?
How do we create a constant level of joy in our lives?
1. Know that shit will happen so joy will fluctuate. And that’s part of the ebb and flow of life. But when you have a constant flow of joy in your life, the good thing is that when shit happens, you recover faster and more quickly from it. So when bad things happen, when you’re in the cleanup process of it all, find the joy in the littlest things. I have taken care of my Mom on several occasions. I stayed with her for two and a half months one time nursing her back from major heart surgery. If you’ve ever cared for an aging loved one you know it’s tough and you’re going to have to do things that you never dreamt of doing but you have to. So I did them and I brought levity to them. Because if it’s uncomfortable for you it’s most likely uncomfortable for the other person too… so we just laughed about things.
2. Take a look in the rearview mirror and look at the things that you did really well and things that flopped. Learn from the things that flopped so you can prevent them from happening again and do more of the things that worked so that you create more joy in your life.
Is there a certain type of person that you hired that wasn’t a good fit for your store environment? Don’t hire those personality types again. Who are your best employees? What are their best traits? Hire more of those types of people.
I have figured out that hiring someone with great experience doesn’t mean they are going to be a great employee. I don’t look at experience when I’m hiring, I look at things like responses to my questions, can they duplicate my question? What is their overall personality like? Are they a joyful person?
3. Look to the future. What is that goal you’re chasing? What do you want to achieve? What’s that thing that when you achieve it, you will …. Be happy?
Is it hitting a certain level of revenue online? Is it hitting a certain revenue in your overall business?
Do you want to retire to the Maldives Islands or Costa Rica?
Do you want to do a TED Talk; publish a book; or sell your business?
Maybe your goal is to be the very best in your industry.
Set your goals and set up your steps to achieving them and then… set your mindset to the Joy level. Turn the joy dial way up… so that even if you don’t reach your goals… You had a heck of a lot of fun along the way.
Because guess what… when you do things with joy regularly, you usually hit your goals faster and …on a bigger scale than you ever imagined.
4. Make a list of things that bring you joy. Do you get joy when you buy someone coffee at the coffee shop or pay for the order or the person behind you in the drive-thru?
5. Make a playlist of music that brings you joy.
6. Find joy in the mundane things. Years ago when I was in my twenties, I got a cat. His name was Bocco and he was a purebred Himalayan cat. I really wanted a dog but I traveled too much and I was in my twenties and I needed a more self-reliant pet so Bocco and I lived happily for many years. Cats use a litter box which can be not very much fun to clean out every day. I knew that having a cat meant I was in for 10-15 years of cleaning a litter box so I had better find a way to enjoy it I decided that cleaning a litter box was like panning for gold. Every time I’d find a piece of poop I’d get excited and yell out, “I found some!!” For about 30 years I’ve had cats and every time I cleaned a litter box I imagined I was panning for gold.
And now that I have dogs… I imagine I’m looking for Easter Eggs. I walk around the yard with my Easter egg scooper and hunt for eggs. Kellie of Divine Consign she thinks of scooping poop as looking for presents that her pup Chloe left for her. Chloe kind of did I guess… leave a present.
Sometimes when I’m emptying the dishwasher or doing other tasks that I really don’t care to do, I imagine I’m on the Amazing Race and this is one of the tasks on the race. Richard and I do our landscaping … so I sometimes imagine that all my heavy lifting is cross-fit at the gym. I talk to my plants when I’m planting them, I welcome them to their new home. When I water the plants I usually listen to Audible or some music so that I bring more joy to the task and it becomes something I look forward to rather than something I have to do.
I enjoy my morning cup of coffee. I make it a certain way, it’s filled with all my collagen and my coco-flavored protein and bone broth and I imagine it strengthening my bones and my body. When I was at the conference, I pre-packaged up all the protein powders and collagen that I put into my coffee and I even stopped at a store and got almond coconut milk I brought my little handheld coffee frother, and every morning I made my perfect cup of coffee.
7. Find the joy and beauty in things & people that are around you.
Look at the flowers. Look at the green leaves on the trees and when it’s fall and winter look at all the care trees as if they’re asleep and hibernating and creating goodness inside so they can bloom beautifully again in the springtime.
Find the joy in others. It’s there… sometimes you have to look a little harder and yes… sometimes the joy is when they leave but find it… no matter how… find the joy. Sometimes when I see a guy screaming down the highway in his minivan, or SUV, I laugh to myself and I think… you go guy… you’ve lost your cool guy card, you probably traded your Mustang for that minivan or SUV and that’s all you have left is jamming down the highway at your top speed of 70.
8. Be grateful… for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Like literally … everything. Be grateful. I mentioned earlier I took care of my Mom on several occasions and every night… I told my Mom, “Thank you for letting me take care of you today.” And in that single sentence alone, brought so much joy to my heart. Despite whatever we went through that day, Me and Mom… and boy some days did we go through it, but thanking her for the opportunity to care for her just like overfilled my heart with joy and goodness. Especially on tougher days, to help pull yourself up and out of a funk or help pull staff out of a funk, maybe they just had a crappy customer to deal with – look around and find 10 – 20 things to be grateful for. Instant mood changer.
9. Find the joy in what you are presently doing. In Africa, there’s a tribe of Bozo fishermen who live on the banks of the Niger River. Every June the rains come and wash away their huts and their entire village. Every October they come back and rebuild their huts and their village knowing that in 8 months it’s going to get washed away again. When one of the Chiefs of one of these villages was asked why do they keep living this way? Why don’t they move to higher sturdier ground? The Chief laughed and said, “Architecture is a verb.” They dance, whistle, and hum every year as they rebuild their huts and villages. They find joy in doing it.
Life is a verb. Experience it. Don’t just blindly run through chasing that happiness… live it. Take it in. Be present in the moment. What do you see, what do you hear? Don’t become so obsessed with the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey.
Here’s a story that Matthew McConaughy shared in the course of his that I’m taking called Road Trip.
When he became super famous after I think it was his movie called Scorpion, he had like overnight fame and fortune and he didn’t know what to do with it so he flew to the Amazon and went on a walk-about to find himself again. And he got really really focused on reaching the end of the Amazon River. Like he was fast Forward motion walking, running hiking through the jungle to reach his destination. He said he missed a ton of beauty that was all around him.
He was on day 12 when he got Montezuma’s revenge. He got really sick. All night and when the sun came up the next morning he took a walk down a muddy little jungle road and he noticed for the first time in the entire trip that he didn’t care what was around the bend. For the first time, he wasn’t worried about the destination. He walked around a bend and in the middle of the road there was a mirage of the most vibrant oranges, yellows, and pinks he said it was almost electric-like and vibrating off the surface like it was plugged into a neon power plant. It stopped him in his tracks.
As he stared at it, it began to flutter and then it lifted off the ground and flew away. It was tens of thousands of Amazonian butterflies.
He enjoyed the trip from then on and he reached his destination. The takeaway is that you can only find joy in the present moment. Joy is a verb. Life is a road trip so let’s enJOY it as we make our way from the destination to destination to destination.