The “I” in Happiness


Here’s a word we throw around a lot in our culture. Maybe the word happiness seems really shallow or fleeting to you – it can to me. 

Whether we use the word joy, contentment, fulfillment, or well being, we’re all looking for more of it.

This is a consistent theme among leaders in the marketplace and in our communities:“Work is a huge part of my life. How can I enjoy it more?” 

Gallup’s recent  State of the Global Workplace: 2022 report, found that 60% of workers are struggling with the same thing. The truth is, we’ve never been more unhappy. 

What is keeping us from happiness?

According to HBR and the longest running study ever created on this topic, the problem is that most of us are barking up the wrong tree.  

Without challenging it, we’re blindly adopting the widespread belief in our culture that happiness comes from key outcomes such as achievement, more money, better titles and accolades. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, but their impact simply doesn’t last. Achievement doesn’t help us achieve greater happiness. 

Happiness is in our control.

Universally speaking, the #1 indicator of our happiness was found in the quality of our relationships with people. Hands down.

In the work environment specifically, there is a direct correlation between the people who are more engaged in their jobs and the people who have at least one friend at work. 

Another clear and key indicator for job satisfaction and happiness is when people feel that they have more control in their work lives. More control means:

  • Feeling that it’s possible to do more of what you care about 
  • Being able to determine some of the basics of your work conditions

In other words, people felt empowered to lead themselves. 

This is a two-fold process: creating space to get clarity about what it looks like to know what you care about, then actually believing and exercising the control that you do have to execute on it. 

Bottom line? 

The trajectory of your fulfillment and happiness is 100% up to you, even when your circumstances may not be. We get to step in and lead ourselves.

What does this look like?

It starts with taking ownership. 

First notice where you default to what the world says creates happiness and then identify where you want to rethink that. Activate your curiosity with the following questions:

  • What makes me happy…really?
  • What percentage of my life do I spend on these things? (Check your calendar – it doesn’t lie.) 
  • What am I choosing, instead? (Check your calendar – it doesn’t lie.)
  • Where am I deferring and giving up permission and control when I have FULL responsibility and ownership?  
  • Where am I taking someone else’s path because I’m afraid to create my own?

In a relentless pursuit of achievement, a lot of us don’t know the answers to these questions. Life is a journey, and I’m still asking them. I hope I never stop. 

Decide this matters and when you’ll start! I’m here to navigate the process of discovery if you need a partner.