Is happiness a feeling? A goal? Dependent on the day? Conditional on how your life is going? Is happiness a place you'll arrive one day? Or when that thing gets done?
Is happiness something you'll be able to maintain once you're "there"? Where's your "happy place"? Why is it so elusive? Why are we unhappy?
I love this one: "Yes, Taren. Unconditional joy, bliss and happiness are possible. Just not for me!"
Here's my personal take on happiness after 44 years of learning and yearning for it.
It's a feeling OR a state.
I can feel happy OR I can BE happiness.
Feel happy is conditional based on circumstances.
I like the weather! Tim did the laundry! My dog did the trick! Result: I'm happy about that.
Or, I can cultivate happiness as a WAY OF BEING in the world. I can choose happiness no matter what is going on around me.
Possible? Of course.
Few of us are masters of the latter, but that's still my big goal. Spiritual masters get this. They have an inner glow, a peace, they radiate with that unattached and ineffable thing we'll call for the sake of this writing: happiness.
The Dalai Lama isn't like, "Once we get Tibet back, I'll be happy." His entire culture was taken from him and his happiness is present in his every waking hour.
How do masters do this?
They have chosen their state of being from not being attached to outcomes. As one sage say I was reading about famous said, " I don't mind what happens."
This is a clever thing. Not "minding." Does that mean not thinking about it? Not giving it attention? Does that mean we don't care?
No. It means that happiness comes from within, and is ultimately about using our choice to be happy unconditional.
That's a big time game and what every human ought to be making their number one priority.
I love conversations about money.
This is where you really get to meet people's deepest beliefs about value, possibility, scarcity, abundance, limits, sabotage, allowing, creating and whole host of important stuff to look at.
We're funny about money, people.
I've been hired by seven figure clients who were so terrified of losing their second home or getting taken over by an ambitious member of their team that all the extra zeros on their bank statements and success they had on paper was a source of stifled, silent suffering.
I've also been hired by people who did not have the money to pay me, but in one session created the money by getting into possibility and action.
I've run a successful six figure business for many years and I've gone through it all, in my own journey with money and with my clients. Success. The shame of success. The celebrations of success. The terror of a hiring dry spell. The discomfort of standing for what I'm worth because it means you know I'll be standing for yours.
I once doubled my fees because I was charging what I thought I could get, not what I said I was worth. I've also given services away for free and got to experience things more rewarding that my highest pay day.
We all have stories about money. Most of them are not the ones we want to tell ourselves. But we do. We put money in a special category. It's a "real" thing that becomes a limitation, a stop, a card to get out of looking at something. "I want to, but I can't afford it" is a common saying.
Hmmm... Didn't you just say you were remodeling your bathroom? So, it's not that you can't afford that other thing you say you want, it's that you don't want to spend money over here, because you're spending it over there. You're declaring the value of one over the other, which is fine, but that's different from saying "I can't afford it." You're taking your values-based choice and turning it into an "I can't."
We get seriously whack about money, people. This stuff goes deep.
People can live decades feeling unfulfilled and miserable. Can they really "afford" that? What's the actual cost of that way of living?
So, you see, money talk isn't really about money. It's about how we RELATE to it.
The definition of a syndrome is a collection of symptoms or signs that are characteristic of a disease or other disorder.
Imposter syndrome is a dis-ease with our SELF. So, relax. :)
We all have it. Not one person I know DOESN'T say they they don't feel like a phony sometimes. Or, let's be real, all the time.
If you feel like a phony, consider you're not. Consider your insides just don't match your outsides. Yet.
Consider that there will NEVER be a surprise party where we all jump out at you and go, "You've been faking it and we all know it and we won't take it anymore! Now go home and don't come out until you're 100% AUTHENTIC and can PROVE it!"
That NEVER happens.
And, no human lives from perfect authenticity. Nor should they.
I felt like eating a loaf of bread last night. I didn't. Does that make me a fraud because I felt one thing and did another? No. Duh.
And from this silly example we can apply the same to you.
You FEEL like a fraud, but you show up for your work and family just the same. You FEEL you're not good enough, but oddly they promoted you. You FEEL like you don't support your friends enough, but they're still your friends.
And on and on.
Are you willing to acknowledge your accomplishments? Or do you want to continue with the same old story that you're never enough?
Can you actually BE with your goodness? How about your greatness? Or do you want to keep that teflon surface because feeling good about yourself is too uncomfortable?
Do you have the humility to learn from mistakes, admit you're not perfect and keep going with a renewed commitment to your highest and best?
Or are you secretly loving beating yourself up?
You adorable little masochist, you.
Imposter Syndrome ITSELF is the phoniest thing there is. It's just a crappy, old, boring story we tell ourselves about ourselves. None of us are REAL all the time, thank goodness, it saves us from a lot of impulses that don't serve us, and my blood sugar, at least, is better for it.
PEOPLE PLEASING (AKA PLAYING NICE)
People pleasers learned in their childhoods that in order to belong and be safe, they had to keep those around them happy.
While this is a brilliant strategy for us as children to develop when our home lives were not 100% safe, people pleasing has some unwanted and downright nasty consequences that you'll eventually come up against in your life and leadership if you don't address it.
Leaders who play-nice don't trust themselves. They worry about what others think of them.
Leaders who play-to-be-liked eventually ... aren't, because they get found out by leaders who risk being liked for real results, rather than popularity.
Leaders who play-to-please don't confront difficulties. They tap dance around other's personalities, fears and egos, rather than address problems through being direct, clear and solution-oriented.
Leaders who play-it-safe don't grow. Their default is to keep the status quo, because rocking the boat may upset someone and other people's emotions feel dangerous.
In short, people-pleasing leaders don't get ahead. People-pleasers just get to stay LIKED.
Are you resentful of people who are bold, who take risks, and say the thing YOU'VE been thinking this whole time?
Do you avoid difficult conversations because you're afraid of how THEY might react?
If you said yes to either of these, good! You just gave yourself the gift of honest self appraisal. Good for you.
Humans are resilient and when we stand for their greatness and ability to produce seemingly impossible results, those who are also committed to their own greatness will appreciate your leadership and feedback.
I mean, would you work with a personal trainer who said, "Nah, that's cool. Sit it out as often as you want. As long as you don't get mad at me for asking you to do 5 more reps."
There are three types of decisions.
1. Empowered. 2. Not empowered. 3. No decision, which is not empowered.
The biggest block to making choices and then giving power to the choice (empowering them) is that most people fear making the "wrong" choice.
But there is no such thing as making a "wrong" decision. "Wrong" is a story we create about it after the fact.
Consider this yummy example.
We're going to dinner. You want Chinese, I want Italian. We weigh the pros and cons, then decide on Italian. It's delicious, reasonably priced, yada yada yada.
That night we both get food poisoning.
Now, did we make the "wrong" decision in choosing the Italian?
No. We made A decision. That's it. Even though the outcome SUCKED.
Any meaning of WRONGNESS we give it is a story that either gives it more or less power.
Simple enough, right?
(Obviously, we're not eating there again. But that is the LEARNING, not the BINARY ASSESSMENT OF RIGHT OR WRONG.)
Now, let's say you take a new job and it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped. The manager turns out to be a lame-o jerk, they expect you to be available to solve problems on your days off but that wasn't part of any discussion, the clientele aren't excited, etc.
Did you make the "wrong" decision?
No. But your STORY that you did and that you are WRONG or the decision was WRONG is one you use to beat yourself up or prove things to yourself about yourself or life itself.
Things don't work out for you. You can't be trusted, you make "bad" decisions, life will always screw you, or something else.
In hindsight, we can victimize ourselves through the stories we tell ourselves about our selves or our circumstances.
We obviously wouldn't have chosen the Italian food or that job had we known the outcomes in advance!
Or--- and get ready here---maybe we DID know. And we chose it anyway. (I'm about to blow your mind.)
Let's take this a step further.
Food poisoning is ALWAYS a possibility. We know this and we take this risk every time we eat.
New jobs DON'T always turn out the way we expect. WE KNOW this and we still go after new positions.
Life doesn't turn out the way it "should". It turns out the way IT IS. (From The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss.)
Decisions are simply choice points. And giving power to what you do choose is the key to making the next decision from a powerful place.
From confidence and self-trust IN YOU to HANDLE ANY OUTCOME FROM ANY DECISION NO MATTER WHAT.
Now, some decisions have bigger consequences than others. Obviously buying a home is a bigger decision than what's for dinner.
The only fundamental difference is this. Once you DECIDE on the home, move in and live in it, will you give that home power? Or, will you find evidence that you made the "wrong" or "not the best" house?
Will you wonder if the other option was better? If you couldn't been happier in that other place?
We can always find evidence to support any story. I can just as easily convince you my childhood was tragic, or it was great. I have evidence for both.
Some of those stories gives me power, strength, gratitude and lots more. The other has me resentful and as a victim.
So the key is, make decisions based on the consequences you are willing to live with (the positive and the negative ones), with the information you have now, and then give the decision power to give you the experience you're ultimately after.
CONTROL VS LETTING GO AKA FORCE VS FLOW
Where my control freaks at!? I adore you, people. We are kin.
The desire to control comes from a fundamental fear that you are out of control.
The bad news? Everything is out of control, and yes, it can be scary.
You have no control over the economy, other people, the toilet paper supply.
This stinks if we believe we could be satisfied if THEY would just behave, dammit!
And this is ultimately a losing game.
We can only control how we respond. That's it.
And when we learn to identify what we can and cannot control, and respond accordingly, life gets good.
Have you ever known someone who's at peace no matter what's going on in their life?
They're rare little unicorns but there out there. But I know some! These people have the secret to happiness, And not one of them has a trust fund.
The secret they've discovered is LETTING GO.
In coaching terms, we call this generating you're BEING. From deciding who you ARE, you speak and act accordingly. If you are determined to BE POWERFUL, you then practice speaking and acting powerfully, until one day you go, "Holy crap, I AM powerful and I KNOW it down to the core of my BEING. It's who I have become."
Have you ever known or worked with someone who you would do anything for? The kind of leader that no matter what they asked, you would do it because you believe in them so much?
It's not because they were controlling or fearful. It's because of WHO THEY ARE. They have qualities your spidey sense falls in love it. They're clear, bold, generous. They're graceful, dignified, they have integrity.
You do things for these people because you KNOW they're asking from a higher calling to your greatness. These are true leaders.
The bad news? These people also have control issues and fear. We ALL do, we're human.
The difference is that they don't lead from control and fear. They don't act from control and fear.
They live and lead from what they are committed to.
The quality of their BEING being first.
What are you commited to?
Your self? Your spouse? Your family? Friends? Career?
If we were truly committed to living life from these commitments, then why do we spend our time worrying? Procrastinating? Creating problems? Harboring resentments?
Doesn't make sense, does it.
Wait. Consider it makes perfect sense. Everything does.
Why? Because most of us aren't living each day in a way that is aligned with what we say we are committed to. This is because most of us have decided and stated what we are committed to.
We live life from "automatic" reactions, from fear and our from inside our comfort zone.
And there are some whacky things in our comfort zones!!
Let's look at fears and fear reactions first.
"I'm afraid I'm a phony so I'm always trying to prove myself, which makes me feel more phony." "I'm afraid I'll fail so I spend time feeling bad about not doing that project." Hey, I can't fail if I don't try! Feels terrible but at least I'm use it it! The devil you know...
"I'm afraid I'm not good enough so I exhaust myself until my cup is empty and then I feel guilty when I can't do something that someone wants me to do, which makes me feel not good enough."
These are exhausting ways to live, my friends!
If we're not living from our stated (what we say) commitments, we're falling into our default commitments (our unconscious automatics).
The bizarre thing is that pain, avoidance and self-sabotage can be INSIDE your comfort zone!
Feeling bad, fear, proving ourselves unworthy, and all kinds of other unsatisfying experiences get created over and over and over again.
We know better and we create this anyway.
And this isn't mysterious.
Everything you do makes perfect sense from inside the belief you're in at the time.
This might make you miserable, but it doesn't make you mysterious. You're just choosing your experience from a belief you've also chosen.
All choices make sense from inside the context they are chosen from. #deep #true