The root of the word happiness comes from happening. In my philosophy, and my past experiences, happiness is something that comes from your daily routine and what is happening in your life right now. You don’t await happiness at some undefined time or date in the unknown future. Your happiness shouldn’t be dependent on some future event/promotion/career move/relationship status.
Life is about the journey not the destination. It's a cliche I know. You’ve probably seen it on a thousand instagram inspiration accounts, cafés and posters. But it’s true.
So many of us are driven by our goals and ambitions. Working towards that next pay rise. Promotion. Career move. That’s great, it gives us a sense of ambition and direction in life. But does it have a cost? Are you fundamentally enjoying your job? Are you enjoying life? Is the focus on the destination that you strive towards making you lose sight of the journey, i.e are you happy today.
You can live your entire life with goals and destinations that you want to reach. But that is only sustainable if you are enjoying the chase. The pursuit of your goals. Life isn’t made up of seperate goals, it's one long journey. If you aren’t enjoying the chase, you need a full 360 reflection. If your happiness is dependent on a future goal, all the other things that currently make you unhappy will still be there, they won’t magically disappear. What I’ve often seen, and experienced myself, is that you replace one goal with another to avoid addressing the current unhappiness.
Case in point. I used to work in consultancy. For my entire time in consultancy I was working towards a promotion. I didn’t fundamentally like what I was doing. I didn’t like my colleagues. I dreaded Sunday nights. Monday to Friday dragged for what felt like months. I hated living in Brussels. But I lived off the chase for the promotion. I was miserable and the misery was toxic, I was bringing it home with me and allowing it seep into my personal life.
So what did I do? Simple. I looked for jobs. I trawled through job adverts until I found something I cared about, homelessness & housing. It wasn’t an easy transition either. I don’t want to make life out to be all rainbows. In consultancy my rental contract was through work so they effectively made me homeless when I handed in my notice. The new job I took was only part time and a 6 month maternity cover. So I found myself with an abundance of time on my hands while struggling to make ends meet. But I was happy.
I was constructive with my new found time. I got back into a gym routine. Read more. Explored Brussels more. But I was fundamentally happy which made me better at my job. Within two months they made me full time. They extended my contract out an additional 6 months and then made me permanent after a year. I’ve been there four years, and my goals aren’t about me vifying for a promotion. My goal is supporting the eradication of homelessness in Europe and I love it.
It is so easy for us to put things on the long finger but don’t do that with your happiness. Life is too short for that. You are in the driver seat of your life and are responsible for making the most of your time on this planet.
Ask yourself this simple question. Do I enjoy my work day to day? Am I happy in my personal life? Remove your ambition. Remove your goal of a promotion. Your search for a partner. Your goal to reach a desired weight loss. Are you happy? If you are the rest will fall into place in time.
Life is short. We shouldn’t waste it being unhappy. One of the best decisions I’ve ever taken was moving to a part time maternity cover job for 6 months. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Robbie Stakelum is a professional and life coach. If you’d like to learn more about his practice or enquire about a coaching session visit Colloquium Coaching. You can also follow his journey and insights on Robbie’s Instagram for daily updates, stories & IGTV videos.