Find Your Own Happiness or Bring Joy to the World?

What is it that truly makes us happy?   

We see a lot written about finding our own happiness, putting the responsibility of happiness on each individual.  If you aren’t happy, make difference choices and then you can be happy.   

And while I agree there is value in everyone trying to find the joy in our circumstances and love in our relationships.  I do think external factors influence us and to deny that is harmful.   

I also think not feeling a sense of responsibility or obligation to our fellow man’s happiness is a bit selfish and even dangerous – look at our world.  If we are responsible solely for our own happiness, then we should do only what makes us happy.  Mother Teresa found joy in helping the poorest of poor, but from accounts of her journals – she also had some very dark moments, some that almost kept her from becoming a saint.  In other words, she didn’t always do the things that made her happy in the moment.  She did what she felt was right and that brought her a deep sense of joy, but I am sure at times watching humanity suffer was difficult.  

Placing responsibility on others to find their own happiness, may not be the best answer and it may not bring us that deep inner joy we desperately long for and need.  And, those going through tough times may feel extra grief from this judgement, that on top of everything else – they can’t even make themselves “happy”. Not all circumstances are easy to see around in the moment.   

Caring about others, what they feel and how they hurt has been shown to bring a deep sense of joy and connection.  It may be inconvenient, and it may not always be sunshine and flowers, but focusing on others might bring us joy and, in the end, bring us more happiness than focusing solely on us. 

People need us to hold space for them.  To be there without judgement.  To accept, to love.  Not to offer advice and not to judge.  As leaders, take in others suffering and offer back love and kindness.  Make this world a more compassionate loving place. 

May our quest for happiness be a quest for our fellow man’s happiness and in the end may we find a deep sense of joy.   

May the wellbeing of others always be our responsibility and may we find joy in caring for humanity.   And how ironic would it be if the deepest sense of happiness came from the quest to make others happy, not at our expense – but with us.

With Purpose,



Boat on ocean

How often do we work on teams and find ourselves frustrated with team members?  

How do you handle it?  

For many of us, we are probably the ones carrying the extra work load or ensuring everyone stays organized.  But, sometimes we are the ones that might not be our best selves or contributing all that we had hoped.  

I had an experience, a humbling experience, when I wasn’t the best teammate.  I had to apologize.  I showed up not as prepared as I would have liked.  I had a migraine coming on.   I also had a whole lot of “other stuff” going on.  

I apologized.  The team was one that I didn’t know well, so being vulnerable wasn’t easy.  I sent an email after the meeting, apologizing again.   We met a second time.  I apologized again.  The experience wasn’t good and I felt terrible.  

It reminded me of a few things… 

One – don’t make assumptions.  

How often do we make assumptions about people?  The point of accountability is to speak directly to someone, to go directly to someone when we have an issue.  It is very possible our assumptions aren’t correct.  

Two – don’t talk about others when they aren’t around, talk directly to them.  

When we choose to talk about others without including them in the conversation, when we choose to solve the problems that involve someone else without including them in the conversation or the solution – we will never create an environment where people can be their best selves or where we find the best solutions.  

Side note – I get it.  For years I thought so many things were easier if I just did them myself.  Relationships were better if conversations were avoided.  But, I was wrong.  

If we personally need to discuss something, we have to have the difficult conversation with the person.  We have to ask the peer, co-worker or employee about the deliverable, the issue or the situation.  

If someone comes to us about another person, we have to ask them if they first had a conversation with the other person.  We can’t let them talk about others when the other isn’t there to defend themself.  We have to shut it down and refuse to listen.   We have to encourage and mentor that person to go to the other person and have the conversation.  

Three – allow others to do things their way, it might not be our way but it might also be better.  

Know that by always doing things ourself, no one else ever learns, builds confidence and no one else is ready to step up should something happen.  

Accountability is hard, but it is also beautiful.  It isn’t always the leader that holds the team accountable, peers holding each other accountable is the sign of the most productive teams.  Leaders should foster this kind of team.  

With Purpose,