Breaking News…Chronic dissatisfaction is one of the main obstacles to happiness. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Author M. Csikszentmihalyi of Flow goes on to say that happiness occurs only “when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
Well that is a mouthful of big words and to me it means the main culprit of unhappy people is not enough stretching. No wonder so many of us fall into this trap! Designing a lifestyle, family system and career that constantly creates ‘stretching’ opportunities takes serious craftsmanship!…getting out of the proverbial comfort zone…unusual activity for sure!
Take for example, Deborah Larsen. When I met her three years ago she had just branched out on her own and launched her estate sale business (Amber Ostrich Estates). She was a one-woman band. Because she is an excellent businesswoman, loves sales and also listens to her coach…in the last three years she has developed her business to an eight person team, gigs almost every week and nearly 500 followers on her social media sites.
What’s unusual about Deborah is she is not a slave to her business. In fact, she is one of the most vibrant and happy people I know! She has also done things like take a cooking vacation in the Yucatan with a chef she admires, chartered a yacht and sailed around the coast of Sicily, and taken cooking tours in Italy which lead to other projects here in Austin (an Italian cooking class, selling pre-made meals, etc..)
Deborah has mastered the art of Life Design. She has identified some key pieces of her puzzle (travel, cooking, selling, adventure) and woven them seamlessly into her career, lifestyle and her relationship. She has also followed up on some of her hobbies to create niche markets in her estate business (ie. reaching out to cake decorators and caterers, etc.) She has made her business unusual. Her team loves to work with her because she is so much fun, follows new ideas and so good at what she does.
For myself, finding the right ‘stretch’ to keep myself engaged and excited about business and life comes in the form of new challenges, new experiences, new playgrounds. Recently, I took a trip to Ibiza, Spain, one of my favorite places on earth. I become deeply relaxed and restored when I spend time there. It also helps that my mentor Martin Sage and his wife Mia, live and work on the island, along with core team members like Xochitl Hernandez. On this recent trip, I created a game with my business that will keep me profoundly engaged for at least the next four years…and some smaller projects soon to be announced (see video here).
According to Flow, happiness requires diligence! If you want to constantly stretch yourself in just the right way, you need to be continuously stepping outside your comfort zone. Only through the surprise that comes from doing unusual things can one find fulfillment.
So if you’re not an expert in Life Design, how can you specialize in surprising yourself?? What gives you that exciting feeling of ‘stretch’? Contact me now for your free mini coaching session. I guarantee you will get some clues!