My Best Move of 2021? Making Happiness A Priority.
Chasing happiness can be as elusive as trying to catch a balloon. It’s there and it's visible, but you are not always able to grasp it.
Following the advice of a mentor, I set out to eliminate toxic behavior that had been preventing me from experiencing happiness.
She pointed out that I was obsessed with other peoples’ opinions.
I would often get discouraged because of other people’s opinions, and whether or not I was meeting their standards.Too often I would get bogged down trying to satisfy everybody. And even when I thought I was, I would find out the exact opposite had happened.
The crack in the facade I had built up came crashing down in a moment. In January of 2021, I lost something big that I thought held so much importance, my job.
All that frenzied effort and extreme emphasis that I held for this group of people at my company evaporated in a 4-minute conversation. Years of work history were set aside and I was dismissed with an HR discussion and a tidy severance. “The Company is restructuring and your position has been eliminated…blah,blah,blah”
After the words sunk in, the truth was clear and it was that I was expendable. I, singularly, did not matter. Looking at my part in this I could see that my obsession with pleasing people was an issue. I had held onto a set of goals and the drive to meet a standard of achievement and “level up” as they called it. I wanted to always be at the top of the leaderboard, the quarterly achievement reports, to be the best of the best. This was really a destructive and toxic habit that had perpetuated throughout most of my career.
The new truth that I needed to hold on tightly to was that you have one life and you don’t need to waste it by living up to the standards of others.
I found out that I can be my own hero and save myself.
My mentor and I spent 10 days together in the mountains and on the beach in Mexico. I worked with her to find my inner voice, set some goals to start sharing my talents and my light with the world. Upon my return, I got busy enjoying this life.
- I took some classes at the local community college. I had always loved photography as a hobby but wasn't too familiar with new digital cameras and photoshop tools. The class set me on a course and I am now enjoying a new artistic outlet capturing images and sharing them with my community.
- I started back in the theater. I stopped acting after college and instead pursued my career in technology sales full-time. Hoping to share my talents again, I took an acting class and am now looking at auditions for the local Shakespeare Festival in the fall as well as some performance art groups.
- I joined a writers group and another writing challenge “community” to help me continue to build on my body of work as an author. I have developed an official author’s website that can showcase my completed works. This is the fulfillment of a dream I have had for 30 years.
- I made a decision to move back into health, fitness, and wellness as the focus for my technology sales. I have aligned with a great group of people and the company is pioneering new experiences for fitness. The team is small, nimble, and brilliant and they only seek to deliver fun, health, and wellness. That is a 180-degree turn from where I was and it feels wonderful to be contributing to this.
I am checking in with family and friends more often. Instead of working all the time and obsessing over achievements, I am inviting them to come to spend time with me in the Sequoias. I have been living in a small town (population 104) in the mountains for about a year now. I am surrounded by the Sequoia National Park and the nature trails and breathtaking views are endless. Just about every weekend you will find me on a new hike, discovering a hidden waterfall or trail that leads to an incredible view.
Changing my priority to happiness has opened all of this up to me. Watching this creative and inspired life unfold is a gift that I was able to give myself.