I found myself in a mind loop the other day ... maybe it sounds familiar:
“I will be successful when I ...
... make X dollars
... have X amount of clients
... get that next promotion
... have an audience three times bigger than today
... I have 10,000 connection, likes, and comments
...then I will be happy, right?!”
Yours might sound different than mine, but we do have a game we play with ourselves that I call the “If this …then that” Physics of Happiness. This theory of happiness implies that happiness is a destination. If you can check all of the boxes and earn all of the points, one day you will arrive at your Happy Place. (Sounds nice, right?) The funny thing about this theory of happiness is that, the quest for happiness becomes the very thing that we sacrifice our happiness for. There's always some obstacle standing in between you and your Happily Ever After.
You may believe that you will be happy after making more money, fitting into that certain pair of jeans, or getting that promotion we've been hoping for; but those beliefs often kick happiness down the road. This "game" is a trick that our limiting beliefs play on us, placing our happiness on a stick in front of us, rather than going within and noticing that True Happiness has been within us all along.
Studies have shown that beyond a certain income threshold that more money or climbing the ladder doesn't necessarily lead to more happiness but instead can lead to a never-ending cycle of stress and anxiety and often leads to a lack of fulfillment in other areas of our lives.
What about focusing on having Enough and noticing the Joy in the everyday things? Maybe then we could slow down and realize - Happiness is earned in the moment, it's not a final destination.
Let me give you a personal example of one of my clients, we will call her Sophia. She was someone who always had to have things look perfect or “complete”. From her perfect outfits, to her desk sparkling without a scrap of paper (who even does that??) – even her email box had to be zeroed out (truly ... how?!).
One day - she realized that always reaching towards perfection was actually leaving her more and more depleted. She came to me, asking for something new, something she had never known how to find - Balance. She wanted more of the things she had sacrificed in her race to happiness - quality time with her family, better communication with her partner, more everyday fun!
She got clear through our coaching that perfectionism was keeping her from what truly made her happy. We dove into where this was coming from and discovered it was from Below the Line thinking (a fear mindset). Luckily - we have tools to overcome this sticky fear mindset! Once she recognized her fear mindset, we were able to apply the skills & tools from my coaching framework to prioritize the things that really bring her happiness, and let some other things just be “good enough.”
The lesson is simple, and it's a cliche for a reason - Happiness isn't the destination, it's the journey.
“Happiness is a journey, not a destination. For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some Obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these Obstacles were my Life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”
What obstacles are you creating that keep your happiness just out of arms reach?
What if you decided that happiness was the way and not the destination, what would you do differently?
... I'm excited to hear your thoughts on this one! Send me a message and we can chat about what comes up for you.