One of his values became a primary goal – that every patient leaves his practice with a smile on their face.
Reinvigorated, he looks forward to going to the office every day.
Happy People Make Better Leaders
By Cynthia Goerig
Happy people also make better team members.
Today, happiness is treated as a commodity rather than a natural state of being. Much of our culture is obsessed with instant gratification and distraction, looking outside ourselves for happiness. Advertising, social media and television programing tend to pump us full of fear and inadequacy. Told we are lacking and that if we follow advertising suggestions, we will feel better, one shopping bag at a time.
Why aren’t we happy in general?
The fun and play that comes with self-trust is replaced with a fearful exterior where we become hard on ourselves. Western culture teaches from an early age that we are not good enough, as we are, that something is always missing. In this environment, we develop beliefs that we are not cool enough, smart enough, rich enough or strong enough.
It was difficult to write the last two paragraphs; they feel so dark and hopeless, so let’s shift perspective. What if you believed that you are a perfect and complete person just as you are today? All you have to do is trust yourself, that ‘being’ who you are is enough. Setting skepticism aside, how would that impact your day?
How can we get happy?
What gives us deep meaning? How does it result in happiness? Lasting happiness that is rooted in purpose, not generated by outside distractions.
- Feeling purposeful – a life with meaning.
- Appreciation – feeling appreciated and acknowledged for who we are. Start with kindness toward ourselves, followed by expressing gratitude for others. This is one of the fastest tracks to increasing our happiness – appreciation and gratitude.
- Seeing and feeling that we made a difference; making a positive impact on our family and community relationships. It is possible to change a life with a kind word.
- Expressing gratitude for things small and large. The article, The Science of Gratitude – http://happierhuman.com/the-science-of-gratitude/ – describes research that shows how the energy of gratitude attracts more of it into our lives.
As a leader of your practice – Get Happy
Readers will notice this article has many questions posed; this is the essence of executive coaching, asking questions to help the individual arrive at their own insights.
Does your day feel purposeful? Are you excited to get out of bed and start your day? Have you made a difference in someone’s life? How are you impacting people around you? How do others feel after interacting with you?
It begins by living a daily purposeful existence. Often, we believe we need to ‘find’ our purpose outside of ourselves; if we can just ‘find’ this or ‘do’ that, we’ll be okay. Our clients have consistently shown they already have a purpose and that it only needs to be teased out of them.
What if our purpose was to express our unique spirits and be ourselves?
When we identify our unique values and share them with others, we begin to act with increasing authenticity. Taking time to get clear and discover our values makes a difference with the people we meet. Two of my highest values are love and making a positive difference in the world. I can be teaching a seminar, shopping for groceries or leading my company and, in each of these scenarios, I am in touch with my values of sharing love and kindness that can make a person’s day.
Once you get happy, share it, and inspire your team to get happy.
Happiness isn’t only about feeling good, it has an economic factor too. Current research shows happy people produce more than unhappy people. A 700-person study demonstrated that happy employees were more productive, reported higher job satisfaction and remained on the job for longer periods, resulting in saved time and money associated with new-hire training.
700-person study: http://fortune.com/2015/10/29/happy-productivity-work/
Why can’t we get happy?
Many of us have ‘everything’ when measured in careers, families and money, yet still fight with varying degrees of depression or a general sense of ourselves ‘not being enough’. Inside is a sense of unrest, an ill-at-ease or inability to find peace for ourselves. Instead, we escape our self-doubt and discomfort by working increasingly long hours and adopt distractions that take us off purpose. The difference here is that when chasing happiness, we tend to look ‘outside’ to sooth our internal discomfort. Understanding our values helps us learn through experience that our happiness lies within us.
Many of us successfully change our minds or outlook by developing values that produce terrific results. In situations where we cannot, we need to dig a little deeper. The case study below outlines this approach.
Our 44-year-old doctor has a successful practice that is profitable and operates with less stress than ever before. The team has his confidence and are empowered to carry out his vision. He has two children that he is extremely proud of with his wife of 21 years, who he calls his ‘best friend’. He is active and respected in his community.
He says he has everything he could want in life; however, he is an unhappy man and hates going to his office. Why?
Our doctor discovered he had internal feelings of being a disappointment and not living up to his full potential. No matter what he did or what he accomplished, it wasn’t good enough. At first, it did not make sense – he enjoyed professional success and was surrounded by people who loved and respected him. Regardless of how often others told him of his worth and achievements, it was not enough. He remained hard on himself and could not celebrate his ‘wins’.
After years of putting on a good face and hiding his unhappiness, he reached a point where he contemplated abandoning his life and leaving his successful practice. What did he do?
He looked inside and started asking questions, “Why am I not happy? What in me needs to change? What would it take to be happy and enjoy my life today? Where did I learn this? Why can’t I allow happiness in? What do I need to make peace with?” He discovered his life’s purpose by looking inward.
Changing from the inside created the openings he needed to feel better. Today, he feels lighter, laughs more, stays in touch with his self-compassion and stops losing his temper at the office. He enjoys a renewed and deeper connection with his wife, children and the community he serves. One of his values became a primary goal – that every patient leaves his practice with a smile on their face. Reinvigorated, he looks forward to going to the office every day.
The outside of his life did not change, and his circumstances are the same. His shift in perspective is where the change occurred. Changed from the inside, our doctor enjoys the bounty he has created, and for as far back as he can remember, feels good about himself.
When we experience happiness it’s clear that productivity increases, family and
community connections grow stronger and in general we feel much better about ourselves.
With a gentle turn inward, happiness is much closer than most of us realize.