“Don’t hunt for happy; live it now.” ~Carin Tweet this
I spent a good part of today looking over my recent stories. I’ve recently shared posts about change – personal growth – finding yourself; and I started to think – trying to remember – when I began this journey; when did I decide to stop waiting on life and to be happy now – creating the life, and the me, that I wanted. As I pondered, my thoughts took me back to the few months I spent early last year in a 4-part workshop called “Transformational Leadership.”
The workshop was delivered by an outstanding speaker, Srikumar S. Rao, Ph.D., and is based on Dr. Rao’s comprehensive program titled “Creativity and Personal Mastery.” As a part of the training program, a little pre-work, all the participants received a copy of Dr. Rao’s book, “Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful – No Matter What.” Most of the concepts in the book formed the basis of his teachings during the 4 sessions.
Now, let me take you backwards for a moment; into my frame of mind when I started this training course. I was starting to seriously dislike my job. Not because I did not like the work that I did, or the people who I worked with, but because I felt like my best talents were being wasted. I was capable of so much more; and although I was a management/program analyst, my job consisted of little more than a secretary’s duties. There was no change in sight, I felt stuck, and because of this I decided it was a reason I could not be happy.
“We tend to spend enormous amounts of energy concerned with the things that we habitually decide are wrong in our lives and we totally disregard the good – of which there is many.” ~Dr. Srikumar Rao
That was at work. In my personal life I thought I was lonely. My relationship status was rather complicated and the fact that I seemed to only attract men who were unavailable, not looking to ever settle down, or wanted to make me their wife tomorrow wasn’t helping any. I desperately wanted a life partner, but also struggled with the fact that I sort of already have one. But because my relationship status was not what I thought (i.e. what everyone else told me) it should be, it was a source of unhappiness. On the kid front I was dealing with teenager drama. I swear there is some sort of memory loss that occurs when we become parents. I know I was a teen, and I know I did a lot worse than my teenager has been caught doing (caught being the operative word), but for some reason I interpreted his screw-ups as my parenting failures.
To recap: I was unhappy at my job, I was unhappy in my personal life, and I was unhappy with my parenting.
“The life you are experiencing is the life that you created!” ~Dr. Srikumar S. Rao Tweet this
Nothing in my life changed immediately; however, when I finished his program my life was different. Why it was different is because I wanted it to be. I was still in the same job, I was still in the same personal situations; but I decided to see things differently. I started to recognize my mental models and challenge the first thoughts that came to my mind. I started listening to my thoughts (and let me tell you, this can be a little scary!) and I kept a journal to make note of all the negative, or unhappy, mental chatter that popped up throughout the day. Whenever I had those thoughts, I created an “alternate reality” that I wrote down next to my original thought, which became my positive affirmation. Here is an example:
First thought: My best talents are being wasted.
Alternate reality: I am contributing to the organization, what the organization needs from me, and they are better off because of it.
When I started to believe in the alternate reality, I suddenly saw evidence that it was the reality all along. I listened, and appreciated, when people expressed their gratitude for my awesome assistance. I read all the accolades that my boss or I would get – and actually internalized the appreciation. Then, the craziest thing happened, I was happy. I liked my job. Now, this did not stop me from applying for promotion opportunities, but I was no longer miserable for 10 hours a day feeling like my contributions to the organization were a waste. Even more exciting was what happened a few months later: I was selected for a promotion. I firmly believe that my attitude adjustment was the sole cause for this opportunity coming through. See, in my state of misery, I had been on several interviews where I thought I gave it my A+ best effort; and yet I was not selected.
“The more that you are grateful, the more you will find happening in your life for which you can be grateful.” ~Dr. Srikumar Rao Tweet this
Once I stopped holding on to all that negative energy, I saw the world around me for the happy place that it always had been. I was in a new job, still happily contributing and being appreciated. I made a decision to completely stop focusing on my personal life – I am still single, but I am not now, nor was I ever, lonely. I am super focused on me, my family, and creating my life & self. If that wasn’t enough good juju, the teenager started to get his act together…sort of. He is still making some monumental mistakes, but hey that’s what being a teenager is all about.
Disclosure Statement: I am not affiliated with Dr. Srikumar Rao and I did not receive any compensation for this post. This post contains an affiliate link. All opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.
I want to hear from you!
Have you ever participated in this type of training program? What do you think of the idea that your inherent nature is to be happy? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.