I recently explored this notion with a client. We had talked about her definition of “success” in past sessions, and this question really seemed to provoke further thought, particularly when we added the time element –
Are you living your best life, today?
Looking at the year(s) ahead, and particularly at the start of a New Year, many of us make resolutions for change in our personal and professional lives. How are these connected to our long-term goals (assuming we’ve thought about and formulated these)? What is it that we strive for every day that is connected to what we want to achieve over our lifetime?
Adding the time element encourages our accountability. We may think of how others have hindered us in the past from living our best life, but who is in charge of living our best life, today?
A book which has refined my understanding of success and to which I constantly return is “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? How to turn career success into life success“ by Professor Raj Raghunathan. (From a Coursera course I once attended and highly recommend).
It may surprise you to learn that happiness is one of the most significant determinants of professional success, not the other way round.
So being happy at work (as well as at home) is key to living a fulfilled life. Supporting the people who work for you to be the same is at least as important, since happy employees are more productive, better team players, make better decisions (and more money). It’s much more pleasant to work with them and so the happy waves ripple further to colleagues, clients and so many more.
In our book “Leadership through Covid-19 and Beyond” we talk about the micro-macro loop of connection from individuals to the wider community. This is at the heart of systemic sustainability. Imagine a world where so many more people thrive at work and the difference that would make for whole communities and the planet!
If we are thinking about how to be happier, it helps to define what we mean by this. There’s an exercise in Professor Raj’s book, mentioned above, and the same on the website that you can complete to assess your current happiness levels. From this you can start to develop your own definition:
We also like to use another tool for reflection.
The Wheel of Life exercise here shows a number of “life segments” that help you decide where to focus attention for becoming a happier and more rounded human being.
We recommend that you don’t complete this in isolation but talk it through with those who are nearest and dearest to you. It can be the start of a very enriching discussion, even if we may feel vulnerable about sharing our innermost thoughts and aspirations. What matters is how we go about this in a way that is open, curious and kind.
In answer to the question about living her best life today, my client chose to schedule a short daily ten-minute stillness pause for herself in her very busy calendar. Sometimes, even the smallest gifts we can give ourselves or another, can be the most valuable for healing, nurturing and growth.
What will you do to live your best life, today?
We wish you a happy 2022!
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