I have written previously that while each generation of Americans, from the war generation to Baby-Boomers, Gen-X and now Millennials, is formed by many different social, historical and technological factors – we as human beings all share similar drivers. The most success and happy people seem to intuitively know who they are, what motivates them, and how to take personal responsibility to create a life of their choosing. No matter your age or generation label, people everywhere want to live life more fully, joyfully and prosperously.
The five success factors I see that the happiest, more fulfilled people at work all share are:
- They have high levels of self-awareness.
The type of self-awareness I refer to is a level of being present/conscious to what is going on within, around, and by oneself in most of their waking moments. These people are much more aware of what and how they are thinking and feeling, and have a way to recover from emotional triggers and reduce the levels of negative impact that are a part of the human condition. They take responsibility for their actions, and are able to make peace with those in their space. Self-aware people are often referred to as having high emotional Intelligence, exhibiting being more skillful in areas such as: self-regard, assertiveness, independence, self-actualization, empathy, compassion, social responsibility, interpersonal relationships, stress management and tolerance, impulse control, adaptability, flexibility, problem-solving, optimism and happiness. The good news is that self-awareness and emotional intelligence can both be developed and expanded to maximize one’s ability to be a high functioning, emotionally balanced and effective person at work and in life.
- They live their core values.
Those who have consciously established their core values are the ones that have a consistent mechanism to assess situations and make decisions that are congruent with their whole being. We all have values instilled in us since birth, yet few take time to self-reflect enough to see what values they now hold most dear in their adulthood. There are lots of values out there, and those at our core are the ones we default to, and people who are more effective and happy know their core values and use them when dealing with choices life decisions.
- They align their passions and strengths with their organizations and roles.
People who know what brings them alive, who are cognizant of their innate skills and strengths, and have found ways to bring these into their daily lives, especially in their work, are the most happy and fulfilled. They see every day as a way to both be fully on-fire and to be of higher utility and service to those around them. The old saying “follow your passion” works for these folks because they take time to find organizations and roles that they better fit in to, rather than just take the first job that pays the bills.
- They have a deep sense of purpose in their life and work
When we are around those who have a strong sense of purpose, we admire them for their energy and sense of direction. These people see a bigger picture, one that touches, moves and inspires them to greater levels of commitment and action. Whether their purpose is aligned with the organization, or it has a higher calling aspect, purposeful people are the go-getters that make things happen, and they do it without ego, fear, or negative fallout.
- They care for other people.
The more happy and successful people get more out of life because they like, love, and connect better with others. Unless you want to live in a cave, we all live and work with other human beings, and those who take time to learn and understand about human nature seem to just get along so much easier and more effectively. Being of service goes a long way not to just make others feel good but also to generate a stronger and healthier sense of self and self-worth. The highest form of leadership is to know that when we care about others first, we build trust and respect that is the foundation of all meaningful relationships, and results in outcomes that have more positive, meaningful and profitable results.
Don’t wait any longer for your career to make you happy, or waiting for the big paying job to make you feel successful, or the right person to complete you – you will never get lasting satisfaction out of external motivators. Take time to self-reflect, find the authentic aspects within yourself – your values, your passions, your gifts, and your purpose. Look for ways to assess your abilities to get along in life and with others, and decide to self-improve and grow where you see yourself lacking. Realize that a huge part of living and living successfully is in how we get along with other people – all types of people, and choose to master the skills you need to better connect, understand and work together better with others. When you take charge of your destiny, your journey will be more joyful and the results will be more fulfilling!
I often use the simple phrase that has served me and others so well:
Wake Up, Get Real, Choose Anew – Now Live and Lead Your Highest and Most Authentic Life!