Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's Holding YOU Back?

There are a number of different ways to approach this question.

Cue up the Barenaked Ladies and ask yourself what you'd do if you had a million dollars (aside from being rich).

Ultimately, the question being how would you spend your days if money wasn't an issue?

The questions that immediately catches you next burns with uncertainty--at least for me--what would make me happy?

Well, gee. I've never thought of it that way. For as long as I can remember, I've been running from school to work to practice or rehearsal, looking for progress for successes' sake.

What would make me happy???
I like winning a lot. I like to succeed... But frankly, when faced with the REAL opportunity to pick happiness without any of the usual obstacles, I find it immensely disappointing that I have managed to put success before happiness--that happiness doesn't rank as success in its own right.

Maybe it's that I don't see happiness as a progression to anything, as a tangible or demonstrable success. Being happy should just be, should just happen. But it doesn't, not for me or many others in my goal oriented generation.

At the end of the day, we're seeking approval, still mulling over the little successes and failures of the day.

So, what's holding us back???
The face in the mirror? The horse with no name? Maybe. But really, what it comes down to is confidence.


Ann said...

Jeff Pulver nudged me your direction this morning...

I think you are right on target. I just quit my job yesterday to relocate to a new job in Texas--which is quite a leap from the cornfields of Ohio. All day long people stopped by my office telling me they were jealous, envious, wish they had the courage to do this sort of thing.

Courage? I just know deep down that this is the right time for me to do this and I know I will succeed. Confidenct and happy--yep!

Sandy said...

@Ann That sounds really exciting, indeed. I'd love to hear how you find the transitioning--if it's everything you hoped for, so keep me posted!

Courage? Confidence? I'm discovering that the hardest thing for me is knowing--you've got to know what will make you happy before you can go out and do it, right? That's the stuck thought process I sometimes find myself in!

Jeff Pulver said...

"What's Holding YOU Back" sometimes is your PERSPECTIVE.

Sometimes you need to get pushed some other life event in order to Make YOUR move.

Sometimes Life moves forward anyway and you can no longer hold back regardless of your fears or your inability to take a chance. In my book there is no better person to take a chance on but yourself. (DJ please put on Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me”).

Part of the answer is your own empowerment.

You can spend your life waiting for your moments. Or you can make it one of your life’s goals to make your own moments. The decision is yours.

Chris said...

That's easy. Your goal should be happiness. Set your sights oh happiness and the rest will follow. I realized that for me to be happy I needed to work from home doing what I love. Beginning Life as a Freelancer

Mark Harrison said...

In my experience, happiness is something I get from DOING, rather than HAVING or BEING.

I retired (first time round) at age 32, when our daughter was six months old. Within six months, I'd discovered that, alas, small babies are relatively boring, and Mary and I were driving each other up the wall.

So I joined a small company as a non-exec, and founded another company of my own.

TBH - my own company (this time round) hasn't done fantastically, but the feeling that I'm going forward makes me happier than the feeling that I'd somehow arrived.

That having been said, the freedom to turn round and say "I'm going to the park with the kids this afternoon" (as I did on Wednesday) is nice.

Darren Daz Cox said...

I thinks it's important to know what makes you happy when you are alone, when no one can see your accomplishments but you.

Try and imagine yourself on your death bed, when your money and material things don't mean anything much, now be that person only younger....

Adam Zand said...

It's easy - Work less and do more

Anton Mannering said...

I think you've all missed the point regarding happiness. Happiness is a state not a goal.
Most people think that they'd be happier if they were paid 20% more. They still think this if they get paid 20% more.
I am extremely goal oriented fast moving guy. But I'm happy. Reaching goals doesn't make me happy it satisfies a different drive.
I want to be very wealthy and I'm doing alright so far but I don't think it'll make me happy. I want to be rich because I'll be able to do so many things in the world that I can't now. I can solve problems and have a real effect. If I can't attain all my goals it won't effect my happiness because it's not connected to them.
Mostly I find happiness related to dong things for other people, family,friends, charities, strangers and even your own industry. I reckon a lot of opensource developers are happy people for that reason.
If you're looking to goal orientate your happiness or if you think being able to get things for yourself will make you happy, then you're looking in the wrong place.

Adam Zand said...

Argghhh - I hit send on my last comment too soon. I meant to credit Stever Robbins for "Work Less Do More" (his next book and current blog title). The Get-it-Done Guy continues to rock the blog at:

I think Stever and I might interpret the phrase a bit differently - he's focused so much on productivity, but he also has great theories on the nexus of success and happiness. Check them out and his graphs that you may remember I posted on the message board at Topaz Partners.

I interviewed Stever on TalkShoe back on 5/13/2008, EPISODE4 of "Really Big Shoe"

My current thoughts on "Work Less Do More" is literal based on my semi-retirement since leaving Topaz in June. My mind, body and spirit needed a break from a pretty solid eight years of tech PR agency life. I loved working at Schwartz and Topaz and will probably land at another agency along my career path, but I knew it was time for a break to recharge and evaluate what would be best for me and my son.

In closing, Sandy, remember there really is no such thing as good advice (even in blog posts and comments), but I'll still share: Do the right thing for you.

Sandy said...

I'm noticing a theme here in the DOING. A mentor of mine once told me just to jump in and see what happens--I always worried I'd run full-speed into a wall, or worse, fail straight out.

Anton--I think you're right about it being a mistake to goal-orient happiness. However, sometimes you need to goal orient understanding what makes you happy--sort of to Darren's point about feeling accomplished while no one is looking--otherwise you DO stuff that doesn't bring you happiness.

mdy said...

IMHO, for as long as we pin our happiness on external validation, we won't ever be truly happy.

External validation can come in many forms -- possessions, accomplishments, trophies, other people's opinions... basically anything outside of ourselves that we feel we can point to and say -- "see, this is why I matter."

As long as we equate our self-worth with things that are outside of ourselves, we won't ever be truly happy because we have, without realizing it, given that power to someone or something else.

(Not sure if I'm making any sense, but figured I'd throw my $0.02 in.)

Jack Vinson said...

Happiness... Doing things I love with and for people who want it.

Unhappiness... Getting blocked by nonsensical objections and constraints. (Dr. "No" is not one of my favorite people these days, even if he provides logical explanations.)

Sandy said...

Jack--What is this logic you speak of?

Lately when I think about happiness, I start humming the Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime.

It makes me a smile. Smiling is a good place to start.

Anton Mannering said...

The same thing makes everyone happy. Whatever you're doing, answer the question, "So what?".
It really is that simple.
If you're not happy with the answers wyou won't be happy.
Example 1:
"I'm blogging about my life and experiences"
So what?
"It and the conversation it generates hep other people understand things about themselves and me and the world around them"
Example 1:
"I work in an HMO figuring out ways to limit the outgoings of the organisation"
So what?
"Well some people who thought they'd get a treatment paid for won't"
So what?
"they might die"
So what?
"The cost saving will mean I'll get a bonus"
So what?
"My kid will be able to go to college and fulfil his dreams. Somthing I didn't do"
Get me?

Adam Zand said...

Hey, loving the Talking Heads reference. For happy/successful thoughts, may I recommend "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" from Speaking in Tongues

So peaceful, chill and happy (and nice images about family and friends)