Sam Mednick is a professional life and executive coach based in Barcelona (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years working with companies as well as individuals focusing on transitions, communication, leadership training, time management and productivity, as well as emotional intelligence development. For more coaching tips, tune into her Podcast.
SAM SAYS: DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
I’ve been trying to find a new job for nearly a year, as I’m fairly miserable in my current role. It has been slim pickings, and even though I know things take time, I’m now worried that with summer coming, my search will be put on hold until September. While I’m stuck at this job, I was wondering if you have any advice in terms of how to be happier. Not only at work, but in general—I feel like I’m walking around deflated and unexcited about pretty much everything. I’ve broken down the areas into a few key questions.
Thanks so much,
Searching For Happiness
Hi Searching For Happiness,
I recently watched a great documentary called Happy, which includes interviews with people from around the world to find out what truly puts a smile on their face. What I found interesting was that apparently 40 percent of what makes us happy are the things we choose to do. The activities we participate in, the trips we take and the courses we undertake. Money, job, house, status etc. only comprise 10 percent of the pie, whilst the remaining 50 percent is based on how we’re naturally predisposed.
This is a tough question. I applaud you for taking it on and I’ll attempt to do it justice in just a few words. To give you the best and most practical responses, I’ve teamed up with Jennifer Riggins, a Barcelona-based digital media expert and content writer at the Happy Melly Business Network, an organisation that strives to help people become happier.
What can I do to be happier at work?
Jennifer: Spend a week jotting down what you love, like and loathe doing. At the end of the week, look for patterns and find ways to do more of what you love. Chances are that’s what you’ll be better at anyway. We surveyed the Happy Melly community about what made them tick at work and here are some of their answers:
- Seeing that my work is useful to someone
- Autonomy and flexibility, being able to work according to my energy levels regardless of the time of day and having agency over my workflow
- Receiving a ‘thank you’ because I was able to help somebody out
What can I do to be happier in my personal life?
Sam: There are two things I’d recommend. The first thing is to define your values and then ask yourself if you’re living by them. When what’s important to us doesn’t align with our actions across the different areas of our lives, we become out of sync and can experience fatigue, sickness and a general feeling of malaise. The second thing you can do is to give. No matter how down or frustrated you feel, nothing pulls us out of it better than coming from a place of serving, rather than expecting. There’s a fabulous book, The Go Giver (2007), that explores the idea that giving ultimately leads to success and happiness.
What can I do to ‘bounce back’ quicker when something gets me down?
Jennifer: That’s hard for everyone, but there are quick tricks to perk you up. Body language can be influential. Simply biting on a pencil triggers the muscles that make you smile, which has psychosomatic effects, for example (click here to view a great Ted Talk video about how your body language shapes your mind). To help prevent you from hitting those lows, try keeping a gratitude journal, where you list five things you are thankful for every day. When feeling down, refer to the book and focus on those things.
And as your quest continues, I’ll leave you with this quote from Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.”
To share your thoughts on this column or ask Sam a question email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Metropolitan at email@example.com.