When people find out I’m a coach, a common reaction I hear (and this is from adults) is “Can you help me figure out what I want to be when I grow up?” Have you said some version of this before? I used to say it a lot, too. I’ve spent years reading piles of books, taking classes and attending seminars and I have finally distilled all the information into the answer you need:
Find what makes you happiest in this world and then spend as much time as possible doing it.
Don’t roll your eyes, I’m being serious here. This is not a flip response to the question. It’s also not an easy undertaking and somewhat surprisingly, the harder part of the process is figuring out what makes you happiest in the world. After that, all you have to do is take action towards making it happen.
Do you know what makes you happiest in life? I’m not talking about eating chocolate kind of happy (which is good, don’t get me wrong). I’m talking about the kind of happiness that fills every cell of you body and where every fiber of your being becomes alive. It’s the kind of happiness that makes you realize at that precise moment in time you are exactly who you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. If you aren’t sure, then you haven’t experienced it yet. Trust me. This kind of happiness does not waffle or send mixed signals. You would not confuse this time of happiness with…general contentment, for example.
So let’s say you know exactly the kind of happiness I mean. You can tell me in one word or one sentence what it is – now it’s time to create as much space as possible in your life to experience it. Maybe that means finding a job that encompasses that experience. Maybe it means having a job that enables you to pursue your happiness after you leave for the day. Your occupation and your vocation are not necessarily one and the same. For me, they do happen to align. My greatest happiness comes from experiencing deep and meaningful connections with people. So I created a business where I do just that on a daily basis. A close second for me is experiencing music- I don’t do that professionally, but I surround myself with it as much as possible – I go to concerts, I often choose to listen to music instead of watch TV. I sing, a lot. Music is almost omnipresent in my life. No matter what else competes for your energy, there is space in your life for what makes you happy.
And for those of your out there who think this sounds a little selfish. You might think, “what about my responsibilities?” I have found that when people do what makes them happiest, their thinking becomes expansive and they can’t help but give back to those around them- often in greater quantity than before when they were sacrificing their happiness in pursuit of “doing the responsible thing.” Pursuing your own happiness isn’t indulgent, it’s a Moral Imperative!
What if you’re reading this and have never experienced the kind of happiness I’m talking about? Are you doomed to be miserable? Not at all, it just requires a little (fun) research on your part. If you believe you can find this kind of happiness (and I believe everyone can), then it’s time to start changing it up. This is your opportunity to experience some new things, to try something just for the sake of trying it. Give yourself permission just to see what happens. If it doesn’t make you out-of-your-mind-happy, move on to the next experience. I promise you, your happiness is out there and when you find it, not only will you know it, you will realize you have no choice but to pursue it.
Figure out what makes you truly happy. Then do it – a lot.