How can we be happier? Part 2

by | Articles, Leadership, Wellness

Part 2

Welcome back curious reader! It warms my heart that you are here to learn about the three additional elements that contribute to well-being. If you missed the deep dive into the first two, please head back to my last blog post to catch-up!

[For the CliffsNotes fans among us, #1 is Positive Emotion and #2 is Engagement. But for the definition of each, according to the research, you will actually need to go back to find those.]

 Okay, now that we’re all caught up, let’s move on…

Relationships. Although often contrary to Western culture, we were NOT put on this planet to troll it alone—beating down on anyone who dares to cross our path. In fact, we are tribal beings who were put on this planet to survive and thrive together in small groups. This begs the question: with whom are you living, learning, and evolving in your life? The third element of well-being is to cultivate and nurture POSITIVE relationships. 

If there is only one action item that you take away from this two-part blog post, I beg for it to be this one… Please protect some time for yourself this week to take an inventory of your relationships. As we begin to come out of COVID-19 induced isolation, we hold a great opportunity to be very intentional about the relationships we choose to invest ourselves in moving forward. Please take some time to ask yourself…

  • Of all of your relationships, which ones fill your cup? What will you do to intentionally deepen each one of those positive relationships in the coming days and weeks? Write down your intentions, and then make a plan to do something with them.  
  • On the other hand, which relationships drain your cup? What boundaries will you put in place to protect yourself from the toxic nature of those? Write your boundaries down too—maybe on sticky notes—to serve as your reminders to boundary up! 

In my experience, I have noticed that a life really well-lived is most often defined by the relationships in which people invest their lives. Really examining the quality of your relationships is NOT an exercise of futility. It could quite literally mean the difference between living your best or worst life. 

Meaning & Purpose. If you have been following our work over the last couple of months, you will not be surprised to learn that a strong sense of meaning and purpose (in 10X lexicon, Higher Purpose) is one of the five elements that contributes to a life well-lived. Having a strong sense of why your life matters is core to a flourishing life. The reality is that life is really freaking hard, and without a beacon grounded in deep personal meaning and purpose, the hard-ness of being alive can suck the light right out of us. Knowing why you matter will keep you going in both good times and bad.

Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, wrote of his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp in Man’s Search for Meaning. During his time practicing as a psychotherapist in the death camp, he realized that human beings are capable of enduring the most challenging of circumstances when they can find hope in dedication to a purpose larger than oneself.

When was the last time you thought about how your life is contributing to something much larger than yourself? 

Has it been a minute? Please, no judgment, you are in very good company. I encourage you to spend some time doing a little soul searching and self-reflection. To what are you living your life in service, beyond your own personal needs and desires? Land that, and enhanced meaning is sure to follow. 

Accomplishment. Good news! As a society we are really good at the last element that fuels a good life… Accomplishment. Especially in business, we CRUSH goals and drive towards accomplishing great things day in and day out. The bad news is that we often forget to celebrate our progress in pursuit of those BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Don’t get me wrong, I am all about a good BHAG… audacity runs through my veins!

Here’s the deal. Those really big, inspiring, and often “crazy” goals are lofty not only in their provocative nature but also in their investment of resources. Any BHAG worth pursuing is going to take a hell of a lot of time and energy to achieve. You can’t wait until you have reached your goal to celebrate the big win. That celebration is fleeting, and not nearly as fulfilling as the work itself that got you there. In order to thrive in pursuit of the really big goals that you set for yourself, you MUST celebrate the small wins along the way. 

Do you want to run a marathon? AWESOME! Why wait until you have crossed the finish line at 26.2 miles to celebrate how amazing you are? Instead, why not be intentional about celebrating every time you hit the trail to train for that said marathon? It is the journey that you are on in pursuit of greatness that leads you to living a more awesome life, not the shiny object at the journey’s end. 

This week, I challenge you to be on the lookout for the small wins you experience each day and to celebrate the heck out of your greatness. Dance party in the kitchen anyone? Please allow yourself to celebrate your accomplishments no matter how small you believe them to be, because incremental process fuels your greatness. 

Okay, that’s a wrap! So, in review, what is it that makes us not only happier but also better leaders?  

  • Positive Emotion
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning and Purpose 
  • Accomplishment

Or, PERMA for short. Please remember to be really intentional about how you fill your cup with these elements. You will not be happier by overdoing any ONE of your favorites. The magic happens when you throw all of these ingredients into your blender and mix them up to create your own special sauce! 

And that is all from my soapbox today. May you enjoy the rest of yours by using PERMA as your guide 🙂  

And one final thank you to Marty Seligman for pulling together the PERMA framework from his research. Not only did it change my life, but it is also helping leaders all over the world to be and to do better in service of elevating humanity through their work. Grateful.

Marty and Me

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