5 Things that will make you a happier entrepreneur and person
I've always stated that I am not overly ambitious by nature, but I have a desire to complete my business plan and I like the feeling you get when you have been smart in the way you go about things.
Like any seasoned entrepreneur, there have been ups and downs and mine possibly have been a little different to most. When times are tough, I dig deep and push my way through with a steely resolve.
When things are great, I share that good fortune with others.
It makes me happy.
I've been in business for just over 17 years and when I think of it like that, I realise that that is no easy feat. I've passed the hurdles of early business, and forged a niche which we have established ourselves well in. We are original thought leaders, not followers. We don't copy others, but others copy us - and that is a compliment.
I had a weird dream last night and woke up smiling. Yes, I am happy with everything, the good and the bad. My life is pretty amazing on so many levels and I surround myself by people I respect that would be my friends regardless of my station in life. Not many people I have realised, are able to say that.
As people become more successful, they tend to surround themselves with hangers on, and people who are "less" than them rather than equals. I can safely say that I surround myself with people that have values, and stand on their own two feet.
Success means many things to many people. Just like happiness. I have done some soul searching and happiness to me cannot be forced, or engineered with positive affirmations. It's what is going on within and how your external influences effect your mental well being.
I'm not into partying and so I shouldn't be - I am in my forties. But many of my single friends, are still out there a few nights a week, looking, seeking, something that they cannot find in their own lives. For that, I feel sorry for them. I hope they find what they are looking for because every person deserves to be happy.
I've found a few things that have led to this inner glow of happiness:
1. Being happy with your "lot" in life: The late Dr Michael Hirshorn asked me the question when I was 26 years old, and I remember thinking to myself that life could not be better. I wanted to pinch myself at how great my life was back then. To be honest, today, I want to do the same. Life is good. I am healthy, surrounded by people I admire and respect, have a successful bunch of businesses, a charity that requires hard work - but the upside will be the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life, and a contentment with who I am.
2. Respect: Respect works two ways, not one. Many people don't realise this. I have to respect others in order for them to respect me. In fact it goes three ways. I have to respect myself too. That person I am at work, socially and at home has to be the same person. It can't be a chameleon version of yourself to the different environments that you are in. That's not authentic and doesn't command respect.
3. Realisation that you are not the only person who is important: This goes across every area of life. Sometimes we all have to make sacrifices, or put ourselves out for others. The people who don't do that, are narcissists and are only out for themselves. When someone needs you whether it's a friend or a stranger for that matter, it shows your true character as to how you react. The greatest satisfaction I have every had is putting myself out for people I don't know. I think that says a lot.
4. Smiling and then realising that you are in fact .... smiling. A smile tells the outside world that you are smiling inside and out, and it also tell you, that without force, you can't help but show the world how you feel. Smiling is contagious so if you are like me and you do it a lot, you will find others doing it too around you.
5. Happiness is important and the journey there is even more important. Know who you are and what it is that makes you happy or sad for that matter. Happiness cannot be about another, although sometimes people can steal that moment away from you because of their actions or what they say. But every time that happens, it takes you much closer to the point where you will find long-term happiness. If you find yourself unhappy for more than a day, then work out why and find ways to change it. I am not a believer in positive affirmations. For me, it feels fake. I am a believer in finding the source and what is important to you.
The world is a better place when you are happy and others around you share in that. We spend so much of our lives worrying about what others think and do, that we forget it is what we think and do that reflects on others. If we are always focusing on happiness, and being genuine people who don't look for recognition or reward for our actions, and are comfortable in our skin, we will find contentment.
I look in the mirror and I see a woman who is making her way in life in a positive way. A person who cares deeply for others, and gives of her time and energy to things that she believes in. I see a person who doesn't look at her reflection and want to change it. Alter it. Inject something in it. All those things that show the outside world unhappiness. If you can't look in the mirror and feel beautiful inside and out, you have to make some changes and realise what it is that is going to get you to that place.
We were all born different and thank god for that. It's important that we appreciate those differences.