During one of my coaching sessions, a client shared with me that he’d decided to take a sabbatical from working. He’s going to quit his current job so he can enjoy life to the fullest, figure out what kind of work will make him happy, and live a balanced life.
We agreed he wasn’t satisfied with the amount of fun he was (or wasn’t) having. We agreed that he’d seemingly not have a care in the world while intentionally unemployed for six months. We agreed that whatever path he chose for his new career, he’d go all-in and work his tail off because that’s been his pattern.
When I asked how he’d make sure that what was happening now – working into the evenings and on weekends, feeling overwhelmed, weighed down by stress – wouldn’t happen again, I was greeted with stunned silence. After several moments, he said, “You make a good point. You’re right. Choosing a new line of work isn’t the cure to make me more balanced or allow me to have more fun.”
Since he was dead set on leaving his current job no matter what, we discussed how he could build healthy habits now over the next three months while he transitions out of his current job. These healthy habits can then carry over into whatever new job he chooses.
In addition to using the phrase “not fun” several times during our discussion, he later mentioned that it had been a long time since he’d experienced a nice weekend. When I asked him for his definition of a “nice weekend,” he stared at me blankly through the Zoom screen. Finally, he quietly said, “I forgot what makes me happy.”
I proceeded to start a mini happiness audit and ask him questions to help him create his definition of what a “nice weekend” looks like. Would it be relaxing, action-packed, project-based or a combination? Which combination? Would you spend time by yourself or with others? Which other people? He decided that doing the same thing every weekend might get boring, so he wanted each weekend to be different. He therefore identified that a combination of completing house tasks (a couple of hours), spending time on putting his life plan in motion (a couple of hours), and participating in what he deemed to be fun activities (the rest of the weekend) would allow him to say he had a fun weekend. Equally important, he identified what a fun weekend does not include: working on his computer or checking work emails and texts.
An official happiness audit entails looking at your professional and personal life and defining what happiness looks like to you for each component. Some sample questions might include:
*What am I passionate about or what in life excites me?
*What activities and/or people in my life allow me to support that passion?
*How will I make time for that passion or excitement?
*What in life doesn’t excite me? How can I do less of this or shift my perspective?
*What targets do I need to hit that will allow me to say, “I’m happy with my life”?
*What is my passion?
*What part of my job/business allows me to support that passion?
*What excites me about my work? How can I do more of this?
*What doesn’t excite me about my work? How can I do less of this or shift my perspective?
*What targets do I need to hit that will allow me to say, “I’m happy with my work”?
A happiness audit can be deep and take hours. Or it can be a quick check-in with yourself that takes five minutes. Understanding what makes you happy allows you to create measurable targets so you’ll know what you’re reaching for in your quest for more…more balance, more success, more happiness.
What does happiness look like to you?