You spend a lot of your work time making people happy. You try to make customers happy with your products and services. You try to make your boss happy with your productivity, sales or designs. You try to keep your spouse and family happy. Throughout your day, you tend to focus on the happiness of everyone but the most important person in your life — you. I know it can sound selfish, but it can be very difficult to make others happy if you are not happy yourself. Constantly serving and pleasing others can be an ever diminishing well if you don’t do something for your own happiness on occasion. Since most of you are probably pretty good at pleasing others, let’s talk a little about how to build your own career and life happiness so you have more to give to others.
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Often in the past here at Career Opportunities I have talked about the concept of self-preservation. I am a firm believer that in order to help others, you need to be in a good place yourself. Thinking about yourself. Doing what you need. Building the life and career you deserve isn’t selfish, it is simply stoking the fires that will warm those around you. Anyone who spends their lives pleasing others only will eventually find themselves filled with resentment and anger and lacking the energy to do anything at all. I don’t want any of you to find yourself in this position. I want you to grow in both success and happiness.
The first and perhaps most important task for you today is to establish scheduled times just for you. This might mean visiting a museum, dedicated time to read a book or listen to music, taking a class to expand your education. It matters little what it is, as long as it brings some happiness to you. Make these times inviolable. (Def: never to be broken, infringed or dishonored) I like the use of the word dishonored in this definition. I think is is dishonorable to deny yourself some small piece of happiness within your world. Tell your friends and family you going to church, the doctor, anywhere that will make them believe you are out of contact for a period of time. The fact is, you will be out of contact, just perhaps not in the way they think.
Happiness has a way of being postponed unless we set aside time to embrace it. Life is too crazy, too harried, to full sometimes and it is easy to push our own needs to the background. Don’t do it. Get out your calendar — right now — and schedule a one hour date with yourself within the next 5 days. I know you can find the time, if you try. More importantly, I know you NEED the time, so do it.
There are times when life is so stressful that it can be difficult to even think of activities that might be fun. You can get so worn down that all you can seem to do it sit and think of nothing. It can be difficult to find enough motivation to even think of going anywhere, let alone taking the action necessary to do it. In these cases, you need to start small. Get dressed. Put on your shoes and simply walk outside. Walk around the block. Smell the air. Look at the trees, the buildings, the people. Moving is the most important aspect. Once moving, you tend to stay moving. The longer you sit in a chair, the more likely you will remain sitting.
If you can get yourself up and out of your house, I find that new ideas, new thoughts and new activities will come to you. Maybe you could walk down to the new coffee shop on the corner, find a new shopping district you’ve never visited before, walk around the park that you never seem to visit, even though it is only 2 blocks away. Movement is the one small action you need to take in order to get the ball rolling. If you can do that, you can do almost anything.
Take a few short moments out of each day to think about your own happiness and how you can find and enhance it. Set aside time for yourself, your interests, your goals. It is only by pursuing your own happiness that you can hope to bring happiness to those around you whether in work or life.