Five Pillars to a Happy Life
Distilling my life experiences to date, I find there are five pillars to a happier, successful, contented life and I try to do at least one thing from each category every day.
I crystallised this daily life guide when I moved from employment to self-employment, as a mechanism to add structure and discipline to my day and importantly, to ensure that I really did achieve the richness in life, that you imagine self-employment gives you the freedom to enjoy.
Guess what? Like everything else, you have to make it happen!
This provides us with purpose and measurable, tangible results that give us a sense of achievement. Years in senior executive positions in large corporations, where every moment was filled and my diary controlled by a PA, to starting my own business was a massive change. Disciplining myself was critical and challenging to begin.
The 5 Pillars to a Successful Happier Life, helped to add structure while in the creative zone/process. Obviously this area is far more than just one thing per day and I have a lot of learns to share – more to come.
Living your best life possible. Self-respect, because if you don’t, no-one else will. Value your achievements and good qualities (women generally don’t do this as well as men). Revere your amazing body and mind and provide it with the energy to continue to serve you.
When I reached 42, I realised (and factoring in my Mothers rheumatoid/osteoporosis etc) that if the second half of my life was indeed going to be even better than the already blessed first half, I had to take proactive steps. This simply has to include exercise for mobility and to ward off chronic, debilitating diseases that can take the pleasure out of life in later years. It means occasionally, having a pedicure on a Friday afternoon and not feeling guilty. It means allowing enough time to walk through the park to your next appointment and connect with nature. It means dancing in the living room when you have returned from dinner out. Balancing your naughty excesses with superfood. And most of all it means laughing, belly laughing until it hurts and doing it often.
Whatever it means to you, it is important that you do not feel guilty; guilt is a most destructive emotion and from here on in, is banned.
This pillar applies to business, friends, and family. The relationships that you have built while you were employed become even more important when you start up a business – do not let them go cold, nurture them (genuinely, not in the networking way).
I do something every day to cultivate relationships that are important to me, to keep people in my life that I value. This sometimes means that I make a disproportionate effort over the other person; sometimes we have to overlook that we initiated the last four calls and last three meetups. Pride can get in the way but, if you value that person, it is worth making the extra effort and it is so much harder to re-capture it once a gap of time as taken its toll.
Saying sorry or admitting you were wrong is powerful in preserving relationships, gaining respect and, is a huge tension reliever. We are all going to say or do the wrong thing sometimes – just say sorry (and mean it) as soon as you can. A strong, balanced person will forgive you.
Value your family; they will take the brunt of your stresses, frustrations and will be there supporting your endeavours. Tell people if you love them and tell them often.
Keep the mind active and like any muscle, it will stay healthier for longer. Critically, when you have made the leap to run your own business, relevant, practical learning, gives you a positive can-do outlook, gives you strength when you doubt yourself (and you will at times) and makes you one of life’s possibilitarians. DVD’s about business successes, biography’s, learn a language, do a short painting course, look something up on the internet, do something you always wanted to do. Ask someone you admire to tell you a story from their life, put the Brain Game on your wish list. Learning provides us with inspiration and makes us, more enquiring and interesting people.
Does not have to be a big gesture, though it is more than easing your conscience by just giving money to charity. From the business perspective, it might manifest as a share of profit or sales to a cause, taking the time to help others in business with introductions, recommendations, insights – all the things you would like done for you too.
Personally, it might mean taking a minute to talk to the homeless person you just gave a pound to in the street. Helping an elderly person home with their shopping if you see them struggling. Helping the lady with the pushchair up the stairs in the tube station. Remembering your friend’s daughter is in hospital and calling often to see how they are coping. Random acts of kindness make you feel fabulous about yourself even though they will not always be returned or even valued by the receiver. Consciously thinking about what in your life, you have to be grateful for, gives a strong sense of balance, a positive attitude and an ability to keep problems in perspective, so they feel easier to overcome.
Try it, when you are in bed tonight before turning out the light; think of all the things that make you feel blessed and see if you don’t fall asleep with a smile on your face.