At our core, all that we really want is to experience happiness.
I quit my job, depleted most of our savings, and started a “business coaching” company. In the beginning, I had one singular goal with all of my clients – increase sales. That was it.
Each week, I would bring a new set of marketing tactics to the table. Some worked (usually calling current customers and asking for more business) and some didn’t (rhymes with direct mail).
Lucky for me, the clients who were committed to a measured and consistent effort almost always achieved success. And as their sales grew, so did my business.
Over the next several years, I helped individuals grow revenue, increase the bottom line, build systems, hire staff, fire staff (never fun), and even sell their company. The journey has been interesting, exhausting and mostly fun.
Needless to say, I have learned a ton.
I have learned that…
- Success in business has more to do with your psychological disposition (aka – EQ) than your IQ.
- The best ideas are worthless without effective execution.
- Focused attention on one task will lead to a massive increase in productivity.
- You need to track everything because you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
- Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…
These types of business lessons have helped hundreds of professionals exceed sales goals and profits. However, after about 8 years, I found myself asking a question that has very little to do with business strategy.
Why should any professional grow revenue, profits and market share – aka make more money?
My internal dialogue always fired back with – “To increase the amount of money the professional makes so they have more freedom in their lives.”
This answer makes perfect sense. Yet, for some reason this answer no longer left me satisfied and I again wondered:
Why does a successful professional want or need more money?
Logic again prevailed and I would answer, “So, that they can acquire nicer things (home, car, etc.) and/or spend more time with their family and/or pay off debt and/or save for college, etc. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
But, I once again I would challenge myself with another question:
Why does anyone need nicer things, to spend more time with family, pay off debt, save for college, etc.?
Instead of going through another round of the Socratic Method, 10,000+ hours of coaching professionals has made one thing abundantly clear:
We are in search of a feeling.
This feeling is probably best described as contentment, satisfaction, pleasure, security, fulfillment, gratification, or joy.
In other words, we are not searching for more money, a bigger business or nicer car; we are looking for the Holy Grail. We want happiness – nothing more and nothing less.
This revelation helped me to understand perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned since starting this business in 2003:
Rarely is there a direct correlation between your professional success and your happiness.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to be successful.
In fact, I strongly believe that it is healthy and completely appropriate to consistently challenge yourself to improve professionally.
However, the eventual achievements from these efforts are not the key to your happiness. I have worked with professionals who make millions and those that aren’t sure how they are going to make payroll next month.
What has completely surprised me is that as long as they can pay their bills, I have found people are usually as happy as they choose to be.
So, if professional success and the money it brings isn’t the answer, what’s the key to happiness?
I am certain that there are thousands of books on this topic, each one offering a magical solution.As with most of the truly powerful truths in the world, I believe the answer is simple.
There are two keys to joy, contentment, satisfaction and happiness in your life.
- Live Gratefully
- Give Generously