Happiness is a topic that is greatly debated. What brings it, how do we keep it, and why does it seem so elusive?
First of all, what is happiness? Is it having the right job, the right relationship, having or not having children, looking the right way and living the right lifestyle? You can see how subjective happiness is.
If happiness is contingent on everything lining up just right, no wonder it seems out of reach most of the time. The wealthy with no wants can be miserable, and the poor can be full of joy. So, let’s agree that happiness has nothing to do with stuff.
What if being loved is the answer? “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved” — George Sand.
Again, it seems we are judging happiness by something outside of ourselves. I’m not discounting love; I believe it is a vital element of happiness. It is our expectation of love that can leave us believing we are missing something. There is a place inside that gets filled up with light and joy when someone says how wonderful and special you are. When that is taken away, pain replaces that happy feeling. So, that can’t really be the answer.
What else do we believe about happiness? Think about your own experience with happiness. Does it come and go? Do you have those days when you are just in the dumps and you know nothing is going to go right? Haven’t you had enough bad days?
Here’s the truth. Happiness is not contingent on anyone or anything. The reality is that nothing around you really has to change for you to be happy all the time.
Here are five secrets to happiness:
Let’s get real about New Year’s Resolutions. They usually don’t work. That’s why they are the same ones you had a year ago in January. I’m going to get right to the point!
Here’s what does work.
Call Kathleen for a free conversation about what you want in your life and how you can achieve it. 480 201-5612 or Kathleen@wwfireteams.com
By Kathleen Dorson, Business Trainer & Consultant, Win Win Fire Teams, LLC
If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone. — Chinese Proverb
What compels us to take care of others, and why are we happier when we do? A study done by the University of California concluded, “When it comes to the pursuit of happiness, popular culture encourages a focus on oneself and on one’s needs. Mounting evidence, by contrast, suggests that being kind to others (i.e., engaging in prosocial behavior) consistently leads to increases in happiness.” We’ve all experienced times when we have felt greater happiness and times when it is seems to be elusive.
As a college student, I experienced a deeply profound event. I was married at the time with a small child and had gone back to school to finish my business degree. An evening class I was attending was meeting for the last time, and I noticed a woman that seemed to be acting a little strangely that night. She and I were the last ones out of the room and, though I needed to get home to my little one, I reached out and asked if everything was ok. She looked at me with such despair that I took her to a seat and started to talk with her. After a few minutes, she told me she had a purse full of pills and was planning on ending her life that night. I talked with her until the instructor came outside check on us. We were able to get the help this young woman needed. I met up with her shortly after to see how she was doing. Just reaching out to her had given her the touch she needed to take a pause and stop what she was about to do. I’m grateful for that tug I felt to reach out to her and simply ask if she was ok.
As a teenager, I learned that if depression started to overtake me, I needed to reach out to someone else to help them in some way, and it would put me back into a happier place. So, why do we feel better about ourselves and others when we give of ourselves? I believe it is because we are social beings. Our survival depends on others, whether as babies, small children, adults needing support and love, or when we are older and no longer able to take care of our needs. More than survival alone, we need love and interaction that is meaningful. The greatest punishment in prison is solitary confinement. In an article by George Dvorsky, he states, “Disturbingly, solitary confinement beyond 15 days leads directly to severe and irreversible psychological harm.” We are built to need other people. When we take care of other people, it touches a part of us that brings joy. We are doing what we are meant to do as human beings.
We are whole beings, when something is out of balance or not working in one area of our life, all the other areas struggle to flourish properly. Fix what isn’t working, and it all comes together in amazing success.
Kathleen Dorson is available to discuss your business needs. She has also worked as a health and life coach and utilizes all her skills and knowledge for her clients. Call 480 890-0100 or go to winwinfireteams.com to request a consultation with Kathleen or one of the other coaches with Win Win.
Sources available upon request.
We have all heard the sayings “time is money,” “no time like the present,” “killing time,” and “saving time.” Time is the big equalizer, we all have the exact same amount of time allotted to us each day, but what separates us is the way we use our time.
If you had only two hours a day to work on your business or complete tasks, what would you spend your time doing? Your priorities would come into focus really quickly.
Here are some tools I’ve found very useful to help me organize and accomplish more in less time.
This tool makes a huge difference in a busy person’s day, whether a business owner or managing a household, it helps not only in efficiency but in their stress level being reduced. As a rule, the more things that you keep in your head the more your stress level goes up.
When you first get to work or start your day, don’t open your email or dive into the piles on your desk. Take a few minutes and put all those thoughts, reminders and things you need to do that are floating around in your head, and write them down on paper.
Once you have everything written down, then it is time to categorize, prioritize, and schedule when and how these tasks will be completed.
You should have a system that can be accessed from anywhere, so it’s with you at all times. I’ve found Trello an easy system to use. It syncs with my computer and phone, and whomever I need to share information with, I can add. For example, I share a list with my assistant on a “board,” so anytime I have a task for her to complete, I list it there. She can reply and add notes on the list and let me know the status of the task and when it’s completed. Whatever system you use should be mobile, easy to use, have plenty of flexible options, free if possible, and allow you to add others to it.
Follow a schedule
Create a schedule that keeps you from losing track of what you should be working on. Knowing sleep deprivation decreases productivity, I like to start by scheduling my sleep time first — what time to go to bed and get up in the morning. Then, build a schedule that can keep you focused throughout the day. Use a timer to work on a project. When there is a certain time frame, we can focus completely, not allowing interruptions and distractions that can keep the project moving too slowly.
If you find you need breaks during the day to get a breather and refresh yourself for more concentrated energy, schedule it in. Don’t feel guilty about it; you are the creator of your schedule. Build your day so it works the best for you, your business, and your family.
I enjoy a book called Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, and it’s on our recommended reading list. I like the concept he acquired from Mark Twain, who said “eat a live frog every morning first thing and everything else after that will be easy.” Pick something every day that you know, once completed, a weight will be lifted from your shoulders. It will probably be something hard that you really just want to put off for another day. Write it on your calendar to do first thing and just get it done. You will have a better day because of doing something hard, and you will become empowered, allowing other tasks that seemed hard to be done without as much resistance.
As a business coach, I work with people who have taken on all aspects of a small business. There are countless jobs they do, from marketing, sales, service, administrative work, to shopping for supplies. Managing time and understanding where to spend time is essential to make a business grow and be successful. Take a look at the way you start and spend the hours of your day. With some focus and changes, your time can be spent in more productive ways, leaving more time for family, fun, and favorite actives.
By Kathleen Dorson
Win Win Fireteams
If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone.
I have been working in and around large and small businesses for over 30 years. Some things never change. One of the things I hear most from business people is about Time: “just don’t know where the time went”; “trying to balance my time between work and family and play”; “not enough time in the day to get everything done”; “too many interruptions”; people coming to me with “got a minute?” Sound familiar - of course they do.
We all are the same in that we only have 168 hours per week. It is up to us to figure out where and how we want to spend this limited resource. Others do not make that choice for us unless we grant it to them.
Operating mostly in reactive mode is not good. You need a simple process to guide you when you are making your choices. I try to talk with smart people about what works for them. I have found that the answer is usually a compilation of the best parts of several methods. These are then tailored to fit the individual’s situation.
I cannot possibly summarize all the various versions I have been exposed to. I can give a summary of a method I use to not waste one of my most important assets - my time. I plan my week on Sunday afternoon. I list all the things I want and need to get done or started on this coming week. I prioritize them and place them on the “Covey” grid. The 2x2 grid with Not Urgent and Urgent up the X-axis and Important and Not Important across the Y-axis. I look at what I can eliminate or delegate. I then look at the results and place them specifically on my calendar around my fixed appointments. I never pack my day back to back. I leave room for the “stuff” that happens that only I can take care of. I heard somewhere that “Plans are worthless. Planning is everything”. You want to focus on the vision of your future and how these activities are going to get you closer to that vision – both personally and professionally. Try to focus on what only you can do. Off load the rest. Learn to say “no”. “Don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of” Bruce Lee. If you want to get really good at managing your time talk to someone who has learned what it looks like to have truly productive days.
Author: Sam Adkins
If you are a person who tends to walk around feeling stressed-out over all the things you have going on, there are some steps you can take to bring back some peace.
First, stop carrying everything around in your head. Each morning start by putting all the things you are thinking about on paper, or down electronically. Do a brain clearing to get all your to do’s, ideas, worries and anything else you have been carrying out of your brain. Take the stress you’ve been feeling and give your brain a rest! The more you hold on to the greater the stress you will feel. Once on paper, put everything into categories and most importantly prioritize those things. The most important should get done while the least important may never get done because we have a limited amount of time and energy.
During the day as you are focused on a project and something pops in your head, jot it down to get to later. Keep the focus on what you are doing and complete your task. Every time you stop to do “a quick action” you lose valuable time when you go to refocus that adds up to hours lost by the end of the day.
Second, don’t let procrastinating allow tasks to go undone. It’s easy to think you can get to it later. Your brain doesn’t always get the message and deep down that job is bubbling under the surface causing stress that just won’t go away until the project is completed. Schedule that project and if it really is important make it a priority. Next, look at what it is about the project that makes you want to put it off. What emotions are you feeling as you think about the job? Fear is a huge reason for not wanting to do something. Facing the real reason for holding back on diving in can take some of its negative power away. Breaking down a large project into smaller parts can make all the difference in reducing the emotion surrounding it.
Third, remember this is your life. If you are taking on too much it may be time to let somethings go or push to a time that is more appropriate. That isn’t procrastinating when you know there is a better way to set up your life. I have a saying I put on the front of my computer, “live it so you love it”. If life isn’t fun and exciting for me, I’m going to make a change. This is the only life I get, I am determined to love it! Look at the way you are living your life, are you getting joy out of what you do? If not, take a second look:
Sometimes attitude makes all the difference.
Life really is just too short to live it feeling stressed all the time. Take simple actions first then move to bigger steps if those don’t work. You are the one steering your own ship, make it a beautiful peaceful sail with excitement as the swells come and go. Just don’t take on water and keep it there, or it won’t sail to your favorite destinations nearly as well.
Author: Kathleen Dorson
Think about the first five things you did this morning. You didn’t have to think about them very much did you? That’s because they are habits. Those things that seem to happen almost automatically and we don’t have to try very hard to do them. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s bad.
Here’s how it happens. When you do something new there’s a lot of brain activity and you are very aware of your actions. But, deep in the center of the brain in the basal ganglia the pattern is being laid down and recorded. It’s making your life easier. Soon you won’t have to think much about what you are doing because it will become a habit. So for example as you drive to work you aren’t thinking about how to drive or what roads to take, you are thinking about what you are going to do that day, or what your kids have been up to lately. Your brain is freed up from routine activities to think about other more important things. We would be prisoners to every action we take without it.
It is our greatest friend or our toughest foe.
So how do you become the master of your habits? You want to either create new “good” ones or change the “bad” ones to “good” ones. You must first understand the parts of a habit and then decide what you want to do with them.
First, we should understand there is a reward with every habit. What are you getting for doing the things you do? Do you exercise regularly to enjoy slim health or eat a bowl of ice cream every night for the enjoyment? When your habit first started you made a decision to do the action and then over time it just got easier and now you feel a kind of compulsion to do it. The reward you were looking for got you started, a repeated action takes place, and then becomes a habit, and to start the whole thing there is a trigger that tells your brain it’s time to activate the habit.
The Trigger: the thing that brings on the action. For exercise it may be the time of day you always do it. It could be you getting up in the morning, putting on your exercise clothes and start your activity. For ice cream it could be sitting down to your favorite show on TV. You started eating ice cream a few times and now you find yourself being pulled to the freezer with a rope of steel that you can’t seem to break. It’s powerful stuff.
The Action: a bad habit starts innocently enough. “I’ll just do this once and enjoy the indulgence. That was pretty good, I’ll do that again just one more time, and before you know it you are off to a new habit that is almost impossible to break.” A good habit is always tougher to create. One way to know it is good for you is that it doesn’t come easy. We only grow when we push onward and upward. The easy has always been what our brain likes to do, those things that doesn’t make us work hard. We have to make a plan to do those things that are good for us and make us grow. Then, after a while, you are rewarded with it becoming easy to do. Like second nature after a while, but the beginning is hard and you have to believe in the process to just keep going.
The Reward: the thing you do that brings about the planned and unplanned reward. We always get something out of what we do. Like being slim or tasting sugary sweetness. But the unplanned rewards are where the “good” and “bad” comes from. With exercise we become more self-confident and feel empowered. With ice cream we tend to gain fat and feel worse about ourselves. Be in control of the actions and thus the rewards.
So now let’s change a bad habit. Why not, you know why you have a habit and what the parts are that make it a habit. You have everything you need to change a “bad” habit to a good one. Start with your reward, what do you get out of the habit? Think about what you really get, it could be something that you don’t realize at first. Does drinking alcohol reward you in the way you feel or the social connections that come with it? Now consider what the action is. Is the action the only way to get the reward or is it time to upgrade the reward to what you really want? Once those decisions have been made consider what your trigger is. What happens that makes the need to do the habit kick in. You don’t want to do your habit all day long so what is it that has to happen to trigger the habit? A sight, a person, a time of day, a feeling all can be a trigger. Discover yours and take a different action, and either get the reward that goes with it or a new improved reward. You get to choose, you are in control!
How about a new positive habit? Fresh ground to work with. What is the reward you want? What is the action you need to make? What is the trigger that will ignite the action to happen? It’ll be hard for a short time and then your “friend” deep in your brain will take over the heavy lifting and you are on your way to the reward you are looking for.
Here’s an example of a habit revamp: Let’s say in your business, you’re having trouble getting through your day without it running away with you. Everyone else’s demands seem to come before the projects you want to complete. So let’s look at the reward. You want to get to the end of your day having accomplished those things that will move your business forward in a powerful way. To accomplish that you should create a plan where time is set aside for working on your business. Create a plan that puts your priorities first. Know what jobs other people should be doing instead of you. Know when to say NO to someone’s demands and priorities. Keep certain times of your day untouchable for you to do your work.
What is your trigger for this kind of planning and organization? It could be a time of day, part of your shut down ritual, after a cup of coffee in the morning, you decide. Plan the trigger and make it happen.
Once you have a plan make sure you follow it. It has to be flexible, because no one has a day that runs like it is planned. But you can find blocks of time that are sacred for you.
Creating new habits can become a habit. It’s hard to make the change at first but becomes easier with practice and routine. You are the master of your own destiny. Let habits be a powerful ally.