Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

November 2013

Be Happy Now

My friend has been looking for a job for more than two years. He’s interviewed with some amazing organizations, been a finalist for several terrific positions, yet he’s received no job offers. Recently over coffee, he told me about another organization he’s pursuing. “It’d be a great fit, don’t you think?” he enthused.

I wasn’t convinced. Over the past few years, my friend has enjoyed a string of interesting and lucrative freelance assignments. This freedom has allowed him to spend more time with his family. He’s one of the most devoted fathers I know.

“Are you happy?” I asked.

My question caught him off guard.“What do you mean?”

“Are you happy with the work you have right now and the life you are living?”

“It’d be great to have a steady stream of income and health benefits . . . ” he began.

“I didn’t ask you why you wanted to work for someone else,” I interrupted.  “I asked you if you are happy with the work you have right now.”

“Yes, but . . . ”

I interrupted him again, “That’s a yes?”

“Yes,” he mumbled smiling.

“Stop and take a deep breath. Allow your yes to soak in,” I suggested.

He paused, took a deep breath, and I continued, “Your ‘but’ is getting in your way, my friend. You are happy. Maybe it’s time to reframe your perspective. Maybe you aren’t meant to be working for an organization right now. Maybe you are meant to be doing exactly what you are doing.”

A chill went up my spine. I knew I needed to heed my own words.

For the past few years, I’ve known that my work—in fact, my whole life—is shifting, and I’ve been frustrated that I’ve been unable to determine “What’s next?” Yet, like my friend, I’ve never been happier.

How often do I not acknowledge my present happiness because I’m in pursuit some future goal?

“I’ll be happy when I get that gig.”

“I’ll be happy when I have a life partner.”

“I’ll be happy when I make $X a year.”

My friend helped me see that I am doing just what I need to be doing—for now. I know because I am happy. I can still have goals and dreams, but I can hold them a little less tightly now knowing that, in this moment, I am happy.

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