Every person you ask will have a different definition of success. For some, it means a rewarding career. Others consider success entwined with a stable family life. For others still, being in the position to set their own schedule will be the taste of success they crave. The possibilities are truly endless, but all are formed with a complicated recipe of experience and expectation, influenced by values learned in childhood, and reinforced by how we felt about our ‘status’ five minutes ago. What is less complicated to understand, though, is that at the core of any definition of success is the essence of happiness. Without happiness, success, by any measure, remains elusive.
Why focus on happiness?
It is easy to think that an awesome job, a great home life or a self-directed career might be a catalyst for happiness, but people looking at success as the key to happiness actually have it all back to front. Stanford researcher and author of “The Happiness Track”, Emma Seppala explains, “If you prioritise your happiness, you will actually be more productive, more creative, more resilient, more energised, more charismatic and influential. You will have more willpower and be more focused, with less effort.”
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Rather than putting happiness aside and working tirelessly towards goals previously earmarked as success indicators, prioritising happiness, really holding space for it in your life, will bring you further along the path to success much faster, and let you enjoy the view on the way. Like people thinking they will love their bodies once they reach a particular weight, in reality, those who work first on loving their bodies will find their ideal weight easier to achieve.
How to boost your happiness
If you suspect your happiness quotient shows room for improvement, resist the instinct to judge yourself too harshly. Seppala claims that self-compassion is an important practice for people wishing to boost their happiness, and offers several tips to promote happiness through self-compassion. These include:
- Aim to treat yourself as kindly as you would your dearest friend. Do not force overwork, and allow yourself grace when you make a mistake
- Be mindful of your self-talk. Speak kindly to yourself, as your inner voice is the loudest one you hear.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Allow yourself to recognise the positive things that surround you, and keep a record of your appreciation for them. I also keep a Joy Jar where I store all the wonderful experiences throughout the year and take pleasure in reading them on 31st December as a celebration of the year that has been. For more info about keeping a Joy Jar, click here
- Ensure that you set achievable goals and celebrate when you achieve them. The Athena Coaching Set Yourself up for Success 28 Day Challenge is an online coaching challenge to gain clarity, set goals to help you achieve success. The next round starts on the 11th April. To find out more or to register click here.
By changing your mindset and allowing happiness to be centre stage, you are creating a life where self-compassion replaces self-criticism, and with vision and commitment to your goals, success is sure to follow.