Do you want more happiness in your life? I do! That’s why I have a strategy for getting it. I believe happiness doesn’t just happen; we are all active participants in creating our own joy. The first stop in pursuit of happiness is a vision board—a place to visualize your dreams and aspirations.
This is my happiness vision board for the year, and it captures all aspects of my happiness strategy — serving more women in pursuit of happiness, spending more time at the beach to feed my soul, and volunteering time and resources to save the oceans. All of these are HUGE priorities for my happiness.
What are yours? And how are you planning for it? If you are feeling a little bit stuck on that answer, watch my free webinar “The 5 Steps to Create a Mindset that Gives You Courage to Step Into a Life You Love.”
3 Pathways in the Pursuit of Happiness
There are three pathways to happiness, and I think the reason many people struggle with finding happiness is that they are focused on one with the lowest long-term impact.
1. Pleasant life
This is where most people land and stay. You get things (cars, vacations, a big house) and that makes you really happy… for a little while. The problem with this pathway is its kind of like a drug. You need bigger and bigger fixes to feel the same level of happiness. And thus, you stay in pursuit of happiness forever. You never really get there. So although you don’t feel unhappy in this place, you’re never truly happy either because you are searching for happiness outside of your self by acquiring things.
2. Good life
When you’re on the good life path, you are in the flow. You are totally authentic. You are self-aware and spending time working on your inner self. That brings you a lot of joy. However, in the long term, it’s not completely effective. Why? Because let’s face it, there is only so much focus on your own self and your own needs you can do (unless you are a narcissist). We are wired to contribute to the world, and living in the Good Life doesn’t meet that basic human need. It’s great work to do, but not the only work to do.
That brings us to happiness pathway #3:
3. MEANINGFUL LIFE
Living a meaningful life is all about contributing to those around you. This is when you are clear about your life values and mission, and you are focusing your energy toward fulfilling them. You are in the flow and you are making a positive contribution to those around you. You feel that contribution in your soul and it feeds your happiness and expands even farther. You’re in a state of gratitude, and you have long-term, sustainable happiness.
I happen to believe that if you are living a meaningful life, you will have all the things you need (pleasant life) and the self-love (good life) that you want.
What does living a meaningful life actually mean? Do you have to quit your job, sell your house and move to Africa to help install clean drinking water? No. If that is what you want to do, go for it. But you don’t have to give up everything. Living a meaningful life may come down to how you treat those around you (giving everyone you meet the same respect) or how involved you are in your community (like coaching a little league team or volunteering at the homeless shelter).
When I was in pursuit of happiness, before I launched my coaching business (which is 100% aligned with my life mission), volunteering at my local animal shelter gave me meaning in my life. I was burnt out and unhappy in my career and realized I needed to connect with something outside of myself that mattered. For me, that was fostering homeless dogs and volunteering at the shelter. The difference that has made in my life still blows me away. I believe that sense of purpose was a catalyst to give me the courage to launch my coaching business.
What happiness path are you on? Not sure? Schedule a Happiness Infusion Session and we can talk about it.