Your ‘Happy Place’ could be a moment in time, a location, or a feeling. It brings you to a state of flow where everything is moving in the right direction. You may lose track of time, you are having fun and are living a passion. Does that place, time or feeling come to mind right away? If so, great. You can stop reading now and go there, do it, feel it! If you feel denial, resistance, or confusion when trying to identify your Happy Place, read on and I will help you discover how to find it.
The other day I was listening to the Rich Roll podcast when he was speaking with James Altucher about many aspects of their lives. It wasn’t a classic interview. It was more of a conversation where they were both asking the questions. When the conversation shifted to what they want to be doing in the future, both of them said “I don’t know”, but they were thrilled to be working in their Happy Place right now and expected that to continue long into the future.
Both in their late 40s, they have had what many people would see as extremely successful lives. James founded and sold several companies worth millions as a young entrepreneur and Rich was a Stanford swimming star and a corporate lawyer. But what appears to have shaped these guys the most is their catastrophic failures, James spending away his fortune several times and Rich battling a crippling alcohol addiction.
Today, neither of these guys are doing the work or leisure activities that led to these extreme challenges. James has split with all his former business partners and Rich left working in law several years ago. Now they both have hugely successful podcasts (The James Altucher Show, The Rich Roll Poscast) based on personal growth but what I really found interesting was that right now both are in a Happy Place, spending their work and play time doing things they loved to do in their early teens.
James loved to write as a kid, keeping journals of all the happenings around school. Today, he is a successful author and blogger. Among his books are Choose Yourself and The Rich Employee. Rich has brought athletics back into his life IN A BIG WAY. He finds joy in pushing his body to the limits and has done multiple ultra triathlons (double Ironman’s) among other endurance endeavors. He now uses this passion to promote and inspire healthily living habits through physical activity and a plant-based diet. He promotes these in his books Finding Ultra and THE PLANTPOWER WAY and public speaking opportunities.
Like these guys, I am fortunate to know where my happy place is but unlike them I have been blessed to live, work and play in my Happy Place for most of my life. Most of the regular readers of this blog could probably guess where my Happy Place, as I try to go there at some point every day of my life. For me, I find my Happy Place exercising, racing, traveling in the wilderness, and inspiring others to work together through leadership. When I reflect back to when I was 15 years old, I can honestly say I was doing all these things back then.
You might say, ‘what about your family, Shawn?’ Yes, today my Happy Place includes spending quality time with my wife and kids but when you look at your true passions that take you to your Happy Place, it is ok to be selfish and remember a young you, free of the responsibilities and burdens of today. As a 15-year old, you were (most likely) not encumbered by the pressure and necessity to make an income so spent your free time you did what came naturally, what you were good at, what you loved to do.
It is at this age that most of your passions are discovered and cemented into your brain. The fortunate people realize this and make it a part of their life for a lifetime. Some may even earn an income from their passion. The unfortunate ones lose their passions or never discover them in the first place, usually because they succumb to the outside pressure of family, friends and society and go on to live the life someone else pictured for them or they feel they are supposed to be living.
Former professional Triathlete Scott Tinley once said, “Do what you love to do, do it well enough and someone will pay you to do it.”
As a guy who was a professional camper for 15 years, I realize I am in the minority who has been able to create an income from working in my happy place. If you are doing the same, fantastic! If your current career doesn’t take you to your happy place, it’s ok. The key is finding and making your Happy Place a regular part of your life. This will keep you happy when you have to deal with all life’s challenges that are necessary but not the most fun, such as dealing with a challenging boss or changing diapers.
So, where is your Happy Place? I would love to hear about it let me know in the comments below.
Until next week… Embrace the Adventure!
Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author, Ironman competitor, expedition guide and podcast host.