We’re all working hard to be more ‘successful’ in our careers – to be/do/achieve more today than we did yesterday. Achieving the goals that matter to us ought to be easy, after all, we’re surrounded by countless articles, books and YouTube videos offering the secret to ‘making it’. Why then, does it still feel so hard to become all we want to be?
Common top tips around achieving career success often include things like, stepping outside your comfort zone, getting more organised, and being a good networker. Yes, all these things absolutely have their place. Conversely, in our experience of supporting ambitious people to take their careers to new heights for well over a decade, we’ve seen that the ultimate gamechanger lies in understanding the neuroscience behind you being able to be your best self.
From a young age we’re told that success in our career leads to happiness. Well, we believe it’s the other way around – being happy leads to a positive shift in how you view yourself and the world and fuels your career success.
Happiness Fuels Your Career Success
In an extensive research project exploring the link between career success and happiness, The World Economic Forum found that happiness precedes, and is in itself, a driver of success, not the other way around.
So, what’s going on here? Well, you see it all stems from the way in which we interact with the world and that is itself governed by our perception. Your perception of both yourself and the world around you – including that of your current career situation – become your reality. You then make decisions based upon the picture that you see.
At Evolve we make the distinction between the two modes of being and interacting with the world as Survive Mode and Thrive Mode.
Thrive Mode – You know when you’re here because you feel more positive, in control and obtaining your goals feels effortless. This state of mind enables you to respond calmly to challenges and be solution focused.
Survive Mode – You know when you’re here because you feel more negative, out of control and obtaining your goals feels like walking through treacle. This state of mind causes you to react to challenges and be fear focused.
Choosing to proactively increase your overall happiness levels naturally moves you into Thrive Mode, enabling you to interact with the world in a more positive way, and therefore experience better outcomes.
For instance, when you are happy you:
- See yourself and the world in a more positive light, making you braver.
- Make better decisions keeping you on track with your goals.
- Spot solutions to challenges and so move past what’s holding you back in your career, quicker.
- Attract people to you, resulting in new collaborations and opportunities.
- Feel more confident in yourself and what you have to offer.
So how do we go about increasing our happiness factor so that we can experience better results in our career? Luckily there are some quick win ways and we’ve included some of our favourites for you below.
4 Ways to Create More Happiness in Your Life
1. Choose Happiness
Sounds too good to be true, but it is in fact very possible to ‘choose to be happy’ no matter the circumstances you find yourself in. This is you exerting your personal influence over a situation and choosing to turn the elements you can to your advantage. Making the intentional choice to see the good in how things are now, will automatically help you to find the way forward you’ve been looking for.
2. Seek Out New Experiences & People
When the climb to our career goals is weighing us down, we often feel like hiding away, whereas we ought to be doing the very opposite and getting out there more! Taking on new experiences and meeting new people gives us a renewed sense of perspective, opening us up to innovative ways of tackling the challenges that stand between us and what we really want for our careers.
3. Make Time for the Things that Make You Feel Good
If you spend most of your day with your head tuned into ‘problems’ only, you’ll switch into Survive Mode, impairing your ability to overcome them. By consciously and consistently making time for the things that make you feel good you’ll find the positive feeling that will crossover into your career. If you can’t think of the things you enjoy doing, now is the time to push on with no 2!
4. Ask the Happy You
One of the most powerful mindset tools we use with our clients is the ‘Ask your best self what they would do?’ This helps the individual to step out of their Survive Mode for a moment and look at themselves and the situation from the more helpful, goal orientated, self-supportive Thrive Mode. If all else fails, call upon this version of You and they’ll know what to do.
By shifting your focus away from ‘fixing’ what’s wrong in your career and putting energy into cultivating happiness in all areas of your life you are in effect pressing the ‘reset’ button. When you do so, you’ll be amazed to find that the answers were right in front of you all along.
To echo the words of one of our favourite Stoics, choose who you want to be in life, and you’ll already be over halfway there.
Whatever you do, keep striving.