Ever had a bad day? Yes, of course you have – we all have. What about having several bad days in a row? That was me last week, and I was really grumpy about it because I couldn’t understand why in the world I was having such a hard time.
By “hard time” I mean that I wasn’t feeling very happy or optimistic; I just felt run down and kind of empty. This wasn’t about the holidays or about my to-do list. This was just a general feeling of “blah.”
My normal optimistic self was nowhere to be seen, and I couldn’t understand why. In fact, things should have felt great: 2014 was an exceptional year of growth for me professionally. Things had really been falling into place, I have a fabulous team, 2015 is looking even better … and I did feel proud, but mostly I felt totally empty.
Knowing I had so much to be thankful for made me kind of mad at myself, and I kept asking, “What is wrong with me? Why don’t I feel happy? Haven’t I been working towards this vision of Her Corner?”
It took me a few days, but eventually I realized something really obvious. I had been confusing two very, very important things. Can you guess what they are?
I had confused success with happiness.
Just like money does not equal happiness, success does not equal happiness. Think of incredibly successful, wealthy, high-profile professionals who seem to have it all but are absolutely miserable outside of the office.
Success is about accomplishment and delivering results. It’s about putting a lot of yourself into an external something – like a business. Passion is not a requirement; hitting your numbers is.
Happiness is very different. It is internal and comes from personal growth and contentment.
No wonder my success was not bringing me happiness! It was bringing me other, important things, but I was looking at it from the wrong angle.
So I thought about the things that make me happy:
- Spending time with my family and friends
- Laughing with my kids
- Giving back to our community
- Learning something new
- Reading an awesome book
- Carving out quiet time to just “be”
And I realized I hadn’t been making enough time for these things. And that was about to change!
Professional success can absolutely bring us some happiness, but it does not, can not and should not fill up our personal happiness bucket.
What fills your happiness bucket?