Thursday, August 22, 2013

Happiness Before Success

If I make $X, I can go on vacation to Barbados and buy that 26" boat that I can dock at my new cabin, then I will be happy. If I had season tickets to the Vikings and had one more garage stall so I don't have to squeeze in and out of my car door, then I would be happy. If I become what I consider successful, then I will be happy. Not true. Not somewhat, kinda, or a little true. And depending on the day, I've thought those thoughts, and I would bet season tickets that you have too.

Simply put, happiness is the precursor to success. Success is a moving target that you can't hit. It's like when you pay $5 at the fair to shoot a basketball at a hoop that's rim is smaller than the ball. You never won the giant teddy bear and will never win success. When you think you've hit it, your definition of success changes and instantly has a new definition, or number. Congrats, you've just created a new standard. And when I say congrats I don't say it sarcastically, I say it with intent because you are someone who inherently desires to be better and shoots for a higher standard.

This concept is important for us to internalize at an individual and corporate level. Individuals need to understand what makes them tick. Companies need to understand the individuals that make up their company and what makes each one tick instead of thinking of them as a number. If they know what makes them tick, they are in better position to make them happy, which sets them up for success. Depending on the person, there are countless items (big and small) that may sit atop the list when driving their happiness such as: flexibility, talent aligns with job, autonomy, positive feedback, faith, family, health insurance for their dog, seeing their child go to college, rock climbing, volunteering youth dance classes... the list goes on.

When happiness is present, so is discretionary effort because there is a sense of purpose, passion, gratification, and self-identification. Here is a filter for individuals and companies to think through when looking at how to bring more happiness to the world:

Find what makes you happy and do it!