A great question I often receive often when speaking to groups or teaching workshops is, "How do I focus on my own happiness when I've already got so much on my plate?" The answer is, if we want to be at our very best for all those things that are top priorities for us (business, family, relationships), we have absolutely no choice but to make our own happiness and well-being our number one priority. Otherwise, we're stepping into each day putting out just a fraction of the best of what we have to offer.
Creating change in this area when you're so used to putting everyone else before yourself can be a challenge. Even uncomfortable at first. It definitely was for me. It takes dedication and determination. But, I can tell you without any doubt that practicing this deliberately until it came naturally changed my life in amazing ways. It felt like someone handed me a magic key that opened the door to everything life should truly be.
And, here's one thing I know for sure; our level of success will directly reflect the level of effort we put into our own happiness. Happy people are magnetic, energetic, and they bring their A-game much more often.
So, with the first (and most powerful) happiness habit being to simply put our own happiness first, what other happiness habits can support our success?
One that took me a long time to learn (and I still have to work at it sometimes) is to avoid comparisons. With constant access on social media to watch what everyone else is doing all the time, it can be difficult not to feel like life is one big race. Know that there is nobody in the world like you, and that you are sharing your own unique gifts and talents. There's nobody else who can say what you're saying or do what you're doing with the same style and light you have to offer. Focus on your own path and on being the best you can be. This is how to attract the clients and opportunities that are the perfect fit.
A third happiness habit for success (and one of my favorites) is to keep an anything is possible mind-set. To showcase this one, I thought I would share a short excerpt on this idea from my new book, Operation Happiness - The 3-Step Plan to Creating a Life of Lasting Joy, Abundant Energy, and Radial Bliss (Rodale Books). There's a section in the book where I highlight Anything is Possible as one of the five key happiness mind-sets:
Anything is possible! Yes, anything. It sounds like a simple statement, and it is. But it doesn't do nearly as much as a statement as it does as a mind-set. When you dig deep, you might be shocked to discover the hidden limiting beliefs that are holding you back and lowering the vibes of your life. The anything-is-possible mind-set, when it becomes part of your being, can zap many of those limiting beliefs before they fester and prevent them from warping your groove.
When I was around nineteen, I experienced my very first Cirque du Soleil show. At the time, I thought it was kind of "meh." I remember thinking it was lovely but not really my cup of tea. I just wasn't that moved by it, and I didn't understand all the hype.
Then about four years ago, I went to my first Cirque du Soleil show in twenty years. Remembering my first experience, I wasn't expecting to be tremendously inspired. In fact, I'd expected to be a little bored. I was totally wrong; I was completely astonished by it! The ridiculously talented performers and the amazing, graceful, seemingly impossible things they were able to do blew me away. It really was incredible, and for the first time, I understood why they get so much well-deserved acclaim.
In the days after seeing that show, I couldn't shake my curiosity about the contrast between the first time I'd seen the performance and this time. Why was I so uninspired the first time and completely amazed by it all these years later? Then the answer came, and it made absolute sense. I wasn't that awed by it the first time because as a very young woman, I didn't have nearly the collection of limiting beliefs that I have now! So nothing they were doing then seemed all that impossible or unbelievable to me at the time. However, this last time, I had twenty extra years' worth of limiting beliefs about things not being possible or being hard to do, and it made everything they were doing seem absolutely incredible. My brain was primed to have some of those negative, limiting beliefs totally challenged!
After this realization, I wanted to shift to an anything-is-possible way of thinking so I could begin to see my life - and the world - the way I saw that first Cirque du Soleil show. Like anything is 100 percent possible, especially if we're willing to be surprised! It made no sense to go into anything else thinking there was a 30, 50, or 70 percent chance of making it work, which is exactly how I'd been operating--always with some doubt present to suck energy from the effort.
I wanted to start approaching life believing that there's a 100 percent chance things can go my way every time. Not that they always will, but believing it's always possible--and probable--is key not only to raising the vibration of every situation but also to creating a more positive experience overall, no matter the outcome. An absolute YES attitude. Plus, it's a pretty fun way to go about your days, truly believing anything is possible and allowing yourself to just be in awe of the universe and its miracles coming your way all the time.
For inspiration, I looked for people I admire who seem to embody the anything-is-possible mind-set. Oprah, check. Long- distance swimmer Diana Nyad, check. Richard Branson, oh, hell yeah! Check. They've all taken tremendous risks to be where they are. They went after their dreams full force, believing they could absolutely happen even when the journey didn't go exactly as planned. If Richard Branson had listened to all the doubters and naysayers when he started Virgin Galactic, or if he'd quit after devastating setbacks, we would not be well on our way to achieving commercial space flight and several other amazing advances.
When I first started to create this change in my way of thinking, I would look to catch myself anytime I was tempted to slip into an "it's all over," "the chances are slim," or "it's just not going to happen" thought pattern and shift to "it's not over yet!" and "it's definitely possible!" instead. After a while, this effort changed the way my mind sees every situation.
I've always been very optimistic. But even the most optimistic people can get saddled with limiting beliefs. Approaching life and everything you do with an ever-present knowing in your heart that anything is possible creates incredible momentum. And it changes the way you experience your life, creating more peace, joy, and vision in all you do.
Take some time to create a list of ways to make shifts in your life that will help you put your happiness at the top of your priority list. This is the path to creating your most joyful, successful life and to being the very best you can be for those you love and for all you have to offer the world.
- Excerpt portion reprinted from Operation Happiness by Kristi Ling. Copyright © 2016 by Kristi Ling. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.