Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve been on paternity leave and have used the time to bond with my wife and 2 sons.
It’s also been a time to reflect upon what I really want in life, and connect deeply with my greater mission and purpose.
I always believed that happiness would come from experiencing tremendous success in my career, so I spent the bulk of my time and energy working towards the goal of becoming the #1 Account Executive at every company I worked at.
I was fortunate to reach that goal several times over, which enabled me to save enough money to purchase my dream home, multiple investment properties, and allow my wife to work as a full time mom.
But my career success required many sacrifices which took a toll on my health and marriage, as I struggled with addiction, narcissism, and a deeply engrained belief that "providing" for my family meant providing financially rather than providing quality time.
After nearly losing my family because of my own selfishness, this year I made a life changing decision to re-prioritize my family, faith, and mental health and spend as much time in these areas as I had previously devoted to career success.
While this process has required humbling myself by directly facing my shadows and character flaws, I am proud to say that my marriage and family life has never been stronger. I've been sober for over 7 months, and am experiencing a deep happiness and inner-peace which I always longed for but always evaded me.
My results at work have remained strong, as I have less free time which has required me to prioritize spending my time focusing on larger deals and revenue generating activities (RGA's) rather than low value tasks which don't move the needle. I am also able to better connect with and support my clients, as I am less focused on my own commission goals and more centered around their overall success.
So what is it that brings true, lasting happiness and fulfillment in life???
In an effort to understand what truly brings happiness, I've been reading and watching several documentaries on happiness, including a 75+ year study from Harvard which was shared in a Ted Talk.
Today I outline the key areas which I believe bring true happiness and fulfillment:
1. Connection - Building and maintain deep meaningful human connections, especially with one's immediate family and spouse
2. Growth - taking daily action to get better at whatever we are doing, which could be our careers, health, hobbies, or relationships. The key is ALWAYS striving for continuous improvement.
3. Contribution - when we give to others or create something which serves others, we are much for fulfilled than when we consume and take. And by giving we often receive the very thing we’ve been longing for. "Contribution" means believing that what we are doing on a regular basis makes a true impact, and doesn't need to be centered solely on our careers.
Most importantly, if we are too “busy” creating wealth to make time for connections, growth, and contribution, life will pass us by and we will be left feeling empty and unfulfilled.
So if you want to experience true happiness, you must prioritize your relationships, health, and growth as much as you do your career.
And if you don't feel like you are contributing anything to this world, it might be time to re-examine your career, start volunteering, or find a passion project or side hustle which you can get excited about that helps and serves others.
Wishing everybody success in the bumpy road to happiness and fulfillment!