I've been thinking about the concept of happiness this week and what it means to be happy.
As I progress through my small business journey, I have found so much inspiration from the internet in particular, Instagram. The amount of webinars and small business support that has appeared online due to the recent events, it is honestly inspiring. It really is the time to be small business. Which is quite ironic considering how closed down we once are (were?) and how much the bigger businesses are suffering. But online businesses have been able to embrace this and find the silver lining. Through all my research and learning journey, I have been lucky enough to stumble upon my business idol in the form of Holly Tucker.
Holly Tucker is the founder of Not on the High Street and Holly & Co. She is a charismatic lady who has become the champion of small business. Using her own experiences, she has created a work/shop (which sadly is in London, I say sadly as I would love to visit but it's miles away!) with it's main aim to support and promote local small business. When we entered lockdown, she created SME:SOS and began a series of "Live" chats on Instagram with a bank of business experts. No one had been through a lock down scenario before and even though she runs a brick and mortar business (with some help online too) she adapted to bring her small business help online to those stuck at home. I think the term is called "pivot" these days- to pivot your business from it's usual direction and shift to another - usually meaning online. Businesses that are able to pivot, to adapt to change, are able to survive any type of natural/ecological/man made/out of the blue disaster.
As part of her series of Live chats, this week she had a chat with Samantha Clarke, a happiness coach and author of Love it or Leave it. The topic of the chat was happiness. In a way, initially it can be hard to see what happiness has to do with business. But upon thinking, these two elements must merge in order for the business to be successful. Happiness is a vital part of well-being. In order for something to work, there has to be passion, and a can-do attitude in the first place. There has to be happiness in order for that person to be uplifted enough to try and venture out into the world of business or whatever career goal or life goal you aspire to achieve.
So looking at happiness is so important, not just to business, but to all aspects of our lives. In order to be a successful parent/partner/business person/husband/wife, you have to look within and spend some time on your own well-being. The expression: you can't pour from an empty cup, exists for a reason.
Looking at happiness from a business point of view (which can then be applied to your person life too). You have to ask yourself these question.
Who do you want to be?
How am I working?
Who do I want to step into?
How can I achieve this?
Do I have the support system around me to help me achieve this?
Is my lifestyle set up to help me achieve this?
And the thing is, it's not up to anyone else, it's up to you to be happy. If you can own your own blind spots, not rely on others or "things" to make you happy and if you spend the time really thinking about and answering these questions, then you can control your own happiness. Happiness has a physical effect on our bodies. If we engage with what the sensations feel like when we are happy- we can acknowledge when we feel them and recognize it. So we can find a way to get back to that feeling.
One of the points I loved hearing Holly talk about is finding your diamond. To paraphrase her explanation, when you are doing something you enjoy and love, you radiate happiness. This impacts your life and your business. They will flourish because you are doing something you love. It is hard to find what you love however, nervousness can make the leap into a new career or start up particularly daunting, especially if it's all new to you. But the statistic says that 85% of workers today are dissatisfied and unhappy with their careers*. You simply won't find happiness in a job you don't enjoy.
There are so many opportunities out there and it's up to us to seize them. You could find your happy in your hobby, with your children, or maybe starting your dream business part time. But the idea is that if you are doing something you love, with passion and commitment- there is no reason this can't generate more happiness in your life. You can't change anyone else's behaviour, but you can change yours.
Happiness is a mind set. There is nothing in the world which can make you happy, unless you choose it.
Introduce more happiness into your life. (and it's not about buying anything...)
You can ask yourself more questions:
What is your "drainer" and what is your "energizer"? (as in what brings you down, and what lifts you up)
Who are you surrounded by? Are they going to lift you up or bring you down? You need to address if you really need them in your life if they are having a negative impact on you.
You have 29,000 days** on this planet, are you using them to follow your dream? Are you living your life how you really want to be living it?
Finding your purpose, following your passion, celebrating the small wins and practicing gratitude can create happiness. Talk to yourself how you would talk to others can massively impact your happiness levels.
So what makes me happy?
First and foremost, as much as they tire me out, my children make me ecstatically happy. They have the biggest part of my heart from the moment they were born. My husband, time with family and my friends. They are the people who make me happy and I am so grateful for their support. My small business and the learning journey I am on makes me happy. It is hard work, it takes up alot of my time (particularly my evenings), but it is MY small business.
This week I bought a flat pack toy box for the play room and I spent a chunk of time building it myself. It wasn't the easiest thing to build but I carefully followed the instructions, screwed in all the screws, tapped in all the dows, turned all the bolts. After all my effort, I ended up with a great storage box for all the boy's teddies. It took me alot of effort and time, but I am really proud of the result. This is akin to all my effort I put into my small business- as like building a toy box- I am proud of what I am achieving. What I have learnt by listening to Wednesday's chat is that I should be celebrating all the little wins. And you know what I am gong to!
What makes you happy?
A great exercise is to write down three things you want to celebrate each day- small business wins, parenting wins, whatever you like wins- they can be big or small. Then you can look back over them and see how far you have come. Practice gratitude for the fact you can find the happy in those things. And be proud!! - You should be proud that you got this far reading my blog post, it's a particularly long one this week. Go You!
In other news....
I roped my husband in to help me with my website this week. I have a vision for a new feature and it is almost coming to light, thanks to his help! I will be able to talk more about it in the next week or so.... if I can keep a lid on my excitement. Follow me on Instagram, sneak peeks may be shown.
I just want to highlight a few things this week:
Have you heard of the Happy Place Festival? It's usually an actual "in a field" type festival but this month Fearne Cotton has curated the festival- online. It runs up until 12th July and it's completely free! Samantha Clarke is appearing at 8.30pm on 30th June, find out more about her talk here. She really is an inspirational speaker and she has so many great tips and ideas to bring more happiness into your working life (and thus life!).
This is the link for Holly Tucker's Instagram if you would like to find out more about her. If you are a small business, it's well worth watching her LIVE chats. She also hosts a small business tea party each Friday- although I believe tomorrow's one, which starts at midday, is the last one (sad face!).
If you would like to find out more about Samantha Clarke and her book (pictured above), this is a link to her Instagram. She has also written a fab article on elle.com: 8 Experts' Tips For How To Be Happy At Work
And of course, I have to mention, the Time For You gift box 20% off offer ends this weekend. There are only 2 boxes left!! So if you would like to send this gift to someone (you can include a personalized message) or perhaps to yourself (self-care is important!) then the offer ends on this coming Sunday.
So that's it from me this week. Wow, alot to think about I think. Happiness is such an interesting concept- I think I could muse about it for days!- would that bring me happiness perhaps?!
I would love to know your thoughts- it already raised an interesting conversation between myself and my husband where he proclaimed that he doesn't really think anyone actually wants to be happy......
....But that I think warrants a whole other blog post all on it's own!
*Statistic taken from @_loveitorleaveit_ Instagram account.
** Number of days and concept from Holly Tucker