It was your typical Monday morning. I sat down in a sunny quiet spot and cracked open my notebook to brainstorm some ideas for a project I wanted to start.
"I hate this. I hate everything about this.", is the thought that suddenly came into my mind.
You see, even though sitting down in a quiet sunny place to pour out my ideas into a pretty teal blue leather bound notebook sounds like a great way to work on a Monday morning, my entire existence craved something different. A different way to create. a different way to express me, a different way to let my ideas out into the wild, wild, world.
No matter how logical sitting down to brainstorm sounded, I felt no happiness doing it. I wanted to do the exact opposite. Right then and there I stood up and proceeded to draw probably the largest amount of unintentional attention to myself in a public place then I've ever done before.
I whipped out my phone, opened the voice memo app, and started to record myself verbally processing thoughts, jotting down the big points in the notebook as I went.
The notebook is still pretty after all.
I began to express thoughts that not only pertained to work but to my life and happiness. Thoughts started to evolve from how can I help a client do X, to what would fulfill me the most to help a client achieve? What can I work into my day to day that will help me appreciate my abilities?
Before I knew it, I'd asked myself a whole host of big picture life questions for which I'd also written concrete answers. It was exhilarating!
It opened my mind to see that up until now I've been working in a way that I'd adopted from other entrepreneurs in the online space, which had inadvertently transplanted onto me the best way for them to work as the "correct" way for me to work.
Best and correct are hardly ever one in the same...especially when talking about creating individual happiness.
What this little verbal riff session with myself taught me is that the only way to find the correct way to think, live, work, and enjoy my life, is to uncover the most fulfilling way to think, work, and enjoy each day.
A simple but not necessarily obvious truth.
In a culture that has its head swooning in curated Instagram posts telling you to be all the things at epicness level 100, 100% of the time, it becomes even more important for us to fulfill our own version of simplistic happiness.
To help you do that I'm going to share with you the 5 questions I publicly verbalized the answers to that Monday that helps me create my own big picture happiness.
1. How Can I Help Someone Else?
Or more thoroughly, what are the things I want to help people get excited about, understand, or do better?
Yeah so I work in the online health and wellness industry, but this question still applies to you no matter what your job title.
Because there really is true happiness in giving and helping others rather than always having the spotlight and glory for yourself. Sharing and enlightening other people on something you care about will always bring you happiness.
If you didn't care you wouldn't talk about it in the first place! So take a moment and process in whatever way you process, what you care about to that extent.
What do you always find yourself passionately talking about?
What do you gravitate towards when you have free time?
What has been the highlight of your year?
2. What Do I Want?
This is not one of those questions where you say you want a million dollars...unless that's all you truly desire. Rather, this question relates to your inner expectations that you set for yourself.
- I want a job that brings me
$75,000 a yearmore enjoyment and less stress.
- I want my apartment to
have fancy furniturefeel warm and inviting.
- I want to
lose 20 poundsgain love for and confidence in my body.
- I want to find
the perfect manhappiness in the day to day little things.
3. What Do I Hate About X?
In order to create happiness you must be clear on what makes you unhappy.
Fill in the blank.
What do you hate about your life, your relationships, the way you work, the way you doubt yourself, your lack of something?
This is your space to let out all the negatives. Just dump them all down right here. This may jerk a tear or two, but it's a moment where you can be honest with yourself about what's really bogging you down and get to the root of what makes you unhappy.
I'll share one of mine with you if it helps. In my notebook I wrote:
I hate that I can start the week emotionally optimistic and strong, and end it mentally drained and shattered.
This clued me in to maybe I'm not living my day-to-day life in a way that makes me proud of myself. If I'm constantly ending my week sad, angry, drained, insert other negative emotion here, then I need to evaluate what I'm doing and make changes.
4. What Habits Do I No Longer Want?
This is where I you will start to weed out the junk. I use the word junk with intent here, because anything that you have control over that isn't contributing good to your life, is junk.
So what's your junk? Toss it down. Then ask yourself the most logical follow-up question:
What Good Habits Can I Develop?
- I want to adopt the ability to say "No"
- I want to stop saying "I'm sorry" when I did nothing wrong
- I want to reject fear
- I want to move and meditate versus sit and sulk
- I want to practice having self confidence
- I want to create goals that rank in the order of good, better, and best
- I want to practice follow-through
5. How Can I Best Love Myself?
I wrote this question for myself because I thought, how can I expect to serve anyone else if I can't be of help to myself?!
We often overlook this detail.
What can you do physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, that will feed you better?
How about blocking off time for fun.
Suggestions for extroverts:
- Invite 3-4 friends over, cook dinner (read: buy sushi), and entertain.
- Schedule a regular evening meet-up at a coffee shop with a friend. Be sure to sit by the window while sipping your bev, and people watch.
- Do a workout with someone who makes you laugh.
- Spend a lazy Saturday afternoon playing with puppies at a dog shelter
- Take a weeknight class like pottery, hip-hop dance, or learning a second language.
Suggestions for introverts:
- Block off a lunch regularly to go for a solo walk in a park or down a quiet street.
- Find a dock, overlook, or other spot where you can admire nature and journal and/or stretch.
- Spend a Friday evening laying on your living room floor listening to old records (I got this one from a country music video. Yeah Blake Shelton!).
- Hop in the car and go for a drive down a road or in an area you've ever been before (just be sure you have GPS signal to find your way back home)
You're going to love how much refreshment you create for yourself just by blocking off time for fun.
In fact, you're going to love how much happiness you're able to create from all 5 of the questions! That's why I've taken the liberty to compile them all together into a nice little worksheet for you.
I call it the Create Your Big Picuture Happiness Guide.
In it not only will there be the questions I've referred to in this blog, but other resources like podcasts, books, videos, apps and blog suggestions all geared towards helping you create happiness in your life.
Pro Tip: Pop a recurring reminder into your calendar to revisit these 5 questions in the guide once every 3 months. This will ensure you don't drift off track.