RE­DE­FINE YOUR HAPPY

If you’re not reach­ing your goals, re­con­sider them – says Lisa Has­sell, agency direc­tor of We Are Good­ness

Computer Arts - - Contents -

Lisa Has­sell of We Are Good­ness talks about ad­just­ing her pri­or­i­ties

All my life, I’ve prided my­self on be­ing a glass-half-full kind of a per­son. I seem to have been born with an un­wa­ver­ing (and some­times ir­ri­tat­ing) abil­ity to put a pos­i­tive spin on ev­ery­thing, from failed re­la­tion­ships to frus­trated clients, and as a re­sult have faced life head-on with a kind of naive op­ti­mism – in no small part be­cause I also hap­pen to be a sin­gle par­ent.

When I de­cided to launch a busi­ness in 2015, my friends and fam­ily ex­pressed their con­cerns, know­ing full well that my ex­pe­ri­ence of such en­deav­ours was limited. Yet I trusted my gut in­stinct and did it any­way, and do­ing so has meant some of the worst and also the best times of my life. Fre­quently mea­sur­ing my sense of self-worth by how well I have man­aged to jug­gle fam­ily life with a ca­reer has un­sur­pris­ingly chal­lenged some of my core be­liefs around how I de­fine hap­pi­ness.

Last month, I stum­bled across an ar­ti­cle about Google X boss Mo Gaw­dat, whose ‘equa­tion for hap­pi­ness’ struck a chord with me. The for­mula ex­pressed in his new book Solve For Happy is as fol­lows: “Hap­pi­ness is equal to or greater than the events in your life, mi­nus ex­pec­ta­tions of how life should be.” This gave me food for thought. I re­alised that I had be­come so fix­ated on where I thought the busi­ness should be, that I had lost sight of ev­ery­thing we had al­ready achieved. By com­par­ing my­self to those with a five- or even 10-year ad­van­tage, I had not only placed a huge weight of pres­sure on our shoul­ders, I was burn­ing my­self out try­ing to keep up with im­pos­si­ble goals.

Ex­pect­ing to hit the ground run­ning without any bumps in the road was un­re­al­is­tic, yet I stub­bornly be­lieved it was pos­si­ble. No sur­prise then that it came as a shock when re­al­ity hit. How­ever, while ac­cept­ing our lim­i­ta­tions and play­ing to our strengths has not been an easy les­son to learn, ad­mit­ting de­feat has been a re­fresh­ing and re­ward­ing ex­er­cise for ev­ery­one in­volved. By shelv­ing some of our more am­bi­tious plans and re­fo­cus­ing on the here and now, we have af­forded our­selves the breath­ing space to be ob­jec­tive about what we hope to achieve. More im­por­tantly, we also now take the time to cel­e­brate the smaller mile­stones with a real sense of achieve­ment.

As Baz Luhrmann af­firmed on Ev­ery­body’s Free (to Wear Sun­screen): “Some­times you’re ahead, some­times you’re be­hind. The race is long and in the end, it’s only with your­self.” Has redefining your life goals helped you be­come hap­pier? Tweet your thoughts to @Com­put­erArts us­ing #De­signMat­ters

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