How many times have you said this: “If I only had ___________________ then I’d be happy” ? You could fill that blank in with just about anything and it would have meaning to you. A lot I imagine. We all believe that changing that one thing that’s getting in our way will bring about a happier life if only we could change it. But the fixation on happiness – the belief that is we simply eliminate the one negative thing in our life that is holding us back – is a phenomenon best described in the sentence we all have uttered at one time or another: “This Isn’t It.”
Years ago when I was first starting out as a coach, I worked with a guy (we’ll call him Gus) who believed that just about everyone in the office where he worked was talking about him behind his back. He never engaged with his coworkers, never spoke to the them directly, and never verified if indeed he was the subject of this gossip. Gus had a high level position and as a result of his beliefs about being talked about used his influence to transfer one of his top talents thinking she was the source of the ‘back-stabbing.’
The woman he transferred was one of the best at her field and the company soon suffered as a result of the loss. Productivity decreased, malevolence swelled, and Gus – who took on her position as leader of that division – was eventually fired for his poor decision making. By the time he came to me, he was lost in regret and confusion over what had happened.
Whether its Gus removing his most valuable player, or you or me cutting off our noses to spite our faces - fixating on the goal of security will naturally summon its opposite – insecurity. By questing for joy, you are forced to acknowledge that which is keeping you from that joy, that which you believe is the source of your unhappiness, thus giving it power, thus making it wrong. And when you make something wrong you never learn what that thing may be teaching you and you stay stuck. This is why millions of us ask each day “Why am I unhappy?” Despite your best laid plans to eliminate doubt, fear, competition, insecurity, those elements will still haunt you if you don’t take a look at why you have them in the first place.
Why have some people achieved great things and you haven’t? Why do some people seem to have it all, and you still struggle with finding happiness? There's only one difference between you and someone just like you who may have more success in the same area where you struggle: The successful person believes from their core that they have a right to achieve their goals no matter what – this is what gives them that competitive edge, that passion, and ultimately that success.
Try this exercise and see what you come up with:
I want you think of someone that is successful. It can be anyone who has what you want right now. Now answer these questions: Does this person they have a firm grasp of his/her own abilities? Does she/he ignore the fear of what others think? Do she/he always seem to know in their heart that they belong where they are? If you answered “Yes” to those questions, then you’re thinking of someone who has the edge in knowing themselves and their abilities, including the ability to harness the confidence it takes to follow through on going for their goals.
Now… ask the same questions about yourself. Do you respond “Yes” to each question? If not, why? What will it take to get you there?
With the above in mind, write down a sentence about yourself based on how you feel, filling in the blanks below. Be as honest with yourself as possible, and don’t think about what you’re writing, or how you can respond perfectly, just simply write what you feel based on your current situation.
If I only had ______________________________________________
Then I’d do _______________________________________________
And finally be _____________________________________________
Now, take the word “Be in the last sentence and match it with the word you wrote down and live your life that way. If you wrote “Happy” be happy first. If you wrote “Wealthy” be wealthy first. The only thing standing in your way is the fact that you put your haves before who you’re being. You think if you’re going to be happy you have to have something outside of you change. It will never work that way, because chances are that thing outside of you is never going to change and if youre waiting for your happiness to be dictated by an external even over which you have no control, you’re going to be waiting a long time.
Being love first will attract love in your life. Being happiness will allow others to be attracted by your joy. Being forgiveness will clear the slate for the right relationship to find its way to you.
The bottle doesn’t make you a drunk, the tall brunette doesn’t make you ugly, and your friend’s success doesn’t make you a loser. If you’re waiting for something in your life to change just so you can be happy or successful, start with yourself – what can you change? If you’re blaming someone else for your lack of success or misery, forgive yourself for playing into the debilitating fear that has robbed you of your ambition.
Consider this quote: “All my life I was knocking on the door, until it opened and I realized I was inside the whole time.”
Be your best,