Seems like a lot of people toss the word “happy” around as if it were an obvious thing. But it’s not. In fact, as a recent coaching client observed, it’s a rather “thin” concept—neither challenging nor robust. More like cotton candy that melts in your mouth and disappears as soon as you bite into it.
Instead, what we arrived at, that felt personally meaningful and worthy of attainment were experiences like “stretched,” “awake,” and “fulfilled.”
*** Stretched – When you experience being “stretched” you find yourself at the outer edges of your self-awareness, your intelligence, your talents. You realize there’s more to who you are than you previously thought. And often you can be inspired to stretch even more because it feels so enlightening and fun.
You may want to stretch yourself in your work, aiming for excellence in areas you’ve not yet mastered. Or perhaps you want to stretch yourself in your love life, expressing your affection more creatively, more robustly. Maybe the stretch is physical, outdoing yourself at the gym, on the tennis court, or at your yoga or pilates class.
***Awake – When you allow yourself to be fully present in the moment, to be fully “awake” you begin to notice yourself and the world around you in more vivid, robust, and more meaningful ways.
Right now, look at the room around you. In this minute imagine that it’s the final view of life before you pass on. Imagine you have to describe it for a writing class. Pretend you have to explain it to a friend who is blind. What do you notice?
*** Fulfilled – When you achieve something that was previously beyond your ability or experience you can feel a new level of gratification with who you are. You can feel fulfilled with being you.
Remember a time when you rocketed forward in your professional ability, your relationship status, your skill as a loving parent, spouse, sibling, or even in your financial abundance. Perhaps you took a moment to tip back in a chair and play a pretend symphony on your desk as the best way you could express the pure joy, the fulfillment in being who you are.
While these are mere sketches of “stretched,” “awake,” and “fulfilled” they seem far more rewarding than aiming to be “happy.”
What do you think?
Judith Sherven, PhD and her husband Jim Sniechowski, PhD http://JudithandJim.com have developed a penetrating perspective on people’s resistance to success, which they call The Fear of Being Fabuloustm. Recognizing the power of unconscious programming to always outweigh conscious desires, they assert that no one is ever failing—they are always succeeding. The question is, at what? To learn about how this played out in the life of Whitney Houston for example, and how it may be playing out in your own life, check out their 6th book:
For a great read, get ready for my husband Jim’s Leaving Home Trilogy – a three-part series based on Jim’s real life growing up in 1950s factory-working Polish Detroit…and it’s also partly fiction! About to be released soon, with a free offer for the 2nd book – “An Ambition To Belong” learn more by signing up at: