Ibelieve that the key to success and happiness lies in your ability to align and integrate different aspects of your life so that they work in harmony. The two biggest areas to integrate are your personal and business lives. You must start by defining your ideal personal life and lifestyle, then design the ideal career that will support that life.
Picture yourself waking up every day excited about the day ahead. You enjoy your activities and interactions with people throughout the day, and you feel engaged and challenged. At the end of each day, you feel good about what you accomplished. You have a sense of progressive fulfillment over the years as you make progress toward meaningful goals and inspiring dreams. You are constantly growing personally and professionally.
Now imagine this ideal career integrated seamlessly with your ideal personal life. Your work becomes a vehicle to express your values, interact with the kind of people you most enjoy, pursue your interests and hobbies, travel to places you want to visit, and enjoy cultural and social activities that are most rewarding to you.
That is my definition of total success and genuine happiness. Each one of us has a unique combination of interests, strengths, values, goals, and desired lifestyles, so I have developed a multistep, three-phase process to help you define what will create total success and genuine happiness in your life.
Phase One: Clarify Your Dream
From a behavioral psychology perspective, human beings are motivated by two simple stimuli. They either move toward pleasure or move away from pain. If you do not have a clear vision of a pleasurable future that you want in your life, you will default to moving away from painful things that you don’t want in your life. That means you will be taking action out of fear, instead of positive expectations. You will also be focusing psychic energy thinking about the exact things that you don’t want in your life. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?
Success is subjective. No one is better able to tell you what will make you happy than you. It is also important to separate your dreams, which will make you happy if they come true, from your fantasies, which will make you unhappy if they come true. Put energy into your dreams, not your fantasies. In phase one, you can clarify your dream of success in four simple steps.
Clarify your values, beliefs, and purpose. Your values and beliefs drive your behavior in a subconscious way. With your values and beliefs identified, you can define your life’s purpose–the contribution you want to make to the planet. Without clarifying these important subconscious drivers, you can’t ensure that your actions and words are in harmony with them.
Identify your talents, interests, and passions. The goal is to harness your talents and interests in a way that is fun and profitable in the service of fulfilling your higher purpose. Identify meaningful past life successes and identify the strengths, talents, and skills that enabled you to achieve those successes.
Then decide what business strengths you already have that you would you like to develop further. Focus on those things that you are already strongly attracted to and passionate about.
Define your ideal lifestyle and career. You may want to be a financial advisor who works for a major corporation in a big city and makes millions of dollars a year managing money for the rich and famous. Or you may want to be an independent financial advisor who lives in the country, fishes a lot, has an orchard and garden and only works half-time. Same career, but different visions of the ideal lifestyle.
Start by defining your ideal personal and business scenarios. Then design a business or career situation that supports your ideal lifestyle. Don’t grind out boring or stressful work just to make money. Make your business a vehicle to express your values and beliefs and to utilize your strengths to fulfill your purpose.
Clarify your inspiring vision of success. Think of this as a picture in your mind of all the elements of your life working in harmony, and in the service of a higher purpose.
Phase Two: Create Your Plan