My life is awesome… why am I not happy?

My life is awesome… why am I not happy?

Business Leadership life balance Personal Growth self development

If you’re reading this line, then something struck a chord with that headline. Why aren’t you happy? There’s something amiss, and only the deepest part of you knows what it is.

You’re living an amazing life. Career, family, home, social, travel… This is the stuff dreams are made of. It doesn’t get any better than this, they say. You’re living large and working hard. There’s lots of love, laughter and people in your life.  You’re driving a nice car and proud of the neighbourhood you live in. You’re a success at work and continue to grow your net worth.

So what’s the problem?

You’re feeling disconnected and antsy. There’s a part of you that is dying inside because it’s not being heard. You’re longing for more meaning in what you do, for deeper connections with others, for a greater purpose in your actions.  It’s not enough anymore to fit in, catch up, or win against others. That yardstick isn’t important anymore.

It’s time to listen to you soul… your wildfire within.

Whose definition of an awesome life have you been living? You were probably doing what you were expected to do. And now you’re here, but this dream didn’t originate from you. You need to question the cultural norms and beliefs you’ve adopted and create your own definition of ‘awesome’.

Usually what’s missing is more meaning, in one of these ways:

  • Feeling you belong
  • Knowing you’re doing your part and truly making things better
  • Feeling a sense of purpose, or deeper meaning to your existence

Finding purpose and meaning is a life-long quest. So start now.

Life is a much more exciting adventure when we’re seeking answers to these deeper mysteries.

And along the way on your quest, it’s important to know that you can be happy at any time, in any circumstances, with the right skills. I call this the happy-anyway strategy and it relies on a practice of conscious focus on your thoughts, as well as mind-body state management techniques.

It is incredibly empowering when you realize that you can assign ANY meaning to ANY situation, simply by choice. When you master your thoughts, you master your emotions.

And this is the paradox of life:  Accepting what is, while simultaneously wanting something more.  You might as well be happy while you’re working it!

How to Find your Passion – Part 2

How to Find your Passion – Part 2

Lifestyle Personal Growth self development

In Part One in this blog series, we discussed how no one ever taught us how to find our passion, and yet that’s what is expected of us to make the most of life!  We revealed the first 3 secrets to discovering your passion, and now we have 3 more, including the most important and most often missed strategy…

  1. Create New Experiences. This is the most important step in finding your passion and the one that is most often missed!  Thinking about what you’re passionate about is not enough. You can think and ponder, and wonder and brainstorm all you want, but you’ll get nothing more than hints and ideas from this practice. You must DO IT to find out if you really enjoy it.  You will never know for sure unless you experience it. This is the most powerful and most missed strategy for finding your passion: Embark on an ongoing series of experiential experiments! Years ago when I was feeling a lack of fun in my life, I was tasked by my coach to DO something I’m passionate about EVERY DAY for a week (you might choose to take this task on yourself, hint hint). When I was growing up we visited some relatives about 2 or 3 times a year and they had horses! I learned to ride and became comfortable with horses at a very young age, and I often thought back to that time fondly, and felt a longing to re-connect with horses now as a adult. So I booked a riding lesson at a nearby stable for one of my passion days, and re-acquainted myself with a horse. It turned out to be fun, but I didn’t feel called to do it again or continue regularly.  After that day I was able to think about those childhood horse-riding experiences fondly but not wistfully, as I’d satisfied my curiosity about whether or not it was a passion for me.  I would not have known that without going out and DOING it.  So take the ideas that you come up with mentally in strategies #1, 2 and 3, and get into action on them. Call up a friend who’s into something on your list and ask them to take you. Sign up for workshop or a course from your list. Find a MeetUp group about something on your list. Arrange to job shadow in an area that piques your curiosity.  Or just go out and do it. The simple act of doing something on your Potential Passions list will teach you SO much about yourself!
  2. Make it a Life Long Quest. Because by the way, you’re never done! Finding your passions is not an end point. It’s not like you can sit back one day and say, “Good. That’s settled.” Because you are human, you are always changing. As you live, you grow. And as you grow, your passions will evolve. Deepak Chopra, in his book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, describes how he and his wife Rita instilled only one priority in their children, and that was to find their soul’s desire (or purpose). Chopra describes how life is one continuous journey toward finding deeper and deeper versions of your desire.  And so it is with your passions.  I invite you to make this a fun and exciting life practice.  You get a hint of an activity that sounds interesting and you immediately set out to find out more and to sample it experientially, and so on, and so on, and so on.
  3. Do Anger in a Healthy Way. Yes I know this is a repeat, but this time I’m going deeper. <stepping on my soapbox now> Repressed anger is an epidemic and I’ve observed that people who repress negative emotions, by default experience repressed positive emotions too (read: flat line).  So when we dim the light on any emotion, we dim the light on all emotions.  If we want to feel joy more, we must learn to feel sorrow.  If we want to feel excitement more, we must learn to feel fear. Want passion? Find your anger. Here are my healthy strategies for feeling anger:
    1. Resolve the old stories about anger. You may be holding beliefs like “I’m not a good girl if I get angry.”  “Anger is dangerous.” Or “I’ll lose control if I get angry.”  These are limiting beliefs that need to be released.
    2. Anger is useful so learn to use it. Anger tells us that something must be protected or restored, and that we need to put a boundary in place or reinforce one.  Anger also tells us when one of our core values is being violated, and can point to what is most important to us and needs to be honoured.
    3. Nothing good ever comes from repressing anger. It eventually erupts as rage, or manifests as dis-ease in the body, or simply consumes massive amounts of energy as we work to keep it bottled up. So let it out…
    4. Healthy anger release involves allowing ourselves to feel the emotion (internal) and express the emotion (external). When we feel anger, we may flush, our pulse may quicken, we may clench our fists, etc.  We can learn to be ok with these physical sensations, even though they may be uncomfortable.  And then we need to express it without doing harm to self or others.  Here are great ways to express anger:  scream in the car, hit a punching bag, use a foam bat on the furniture, vent to someone safe who will listen calmly, dance, stomp, throw rocks in nature, etc.  Many people use vigorous exercise to dissipate anger, but there’s a caution here: exercise will release the physical tension, but it may not allow the anger to be fully expressed if you’re not feeling it (internal) while you’re exercising.

Learning how to do anger in a healthy way is key to raising the threshold on ALL of your emotions, both the positive and the negative ones, so that you can experience all the aliveness that life has to offer.  And, so you can find your passion!

What passions have you found using these strategies?

Until next time, be free… and wild.

Sue