Happiness is a product of our choices, most of the time. Choose it!Rebecca Sutherns
Rebecca’s definition of happiness and how she prioritizes that which brings her joy:
I think happiness is a byproduct of living in alignment with your values. For me, that includes investing in relationships, surrounding myself with beautiful things, being curious, doing meaningful work, contributing to my community, being thankful.
Being kind to others and making their lives better brings me joy, so I look for ways to do that in my paid and unpaid work. I spend time with my husband and children. I choose work contracts that are meaningful, with people I enjoy. I make and eat yummy food. I try to maintain a rhythm in my days and weeks that lets me get the rest I need: time for sleeping, knitting, chatting with friends, singing. It’s about choices and clear priorities. I know that when I am in a positive frame of mind, I can be of better service to others, so I do make that a priority.
Her Happiness Tip for you:
I believe that happiness is more likely to come when we don’t focus on it, or on ourselves. It’s a result of being part of a larger story that is not all about us. I find I’m happier when I remember that.
An element that contributes to happiness at work is working with people you enjoy — who are fun, smart, and who make you better.Rebecca Sutherns
How Rebecca found happiness at work and the lessons that she learned along the way:
I am very happy at work, and thankful to be able to say that. As a solopreneur, I appreciate having control and flexibility in my schedule. I enjoy the variety and constant learning that come from handling multiple projects as a consultant. And I am confident I am making a positive difference to the people with whom I work.
Some parts of what makes me happy have stayed constant over the 20+ years of my career, and others have shifted over time. I have always sought out work that is meaningful — I want to be doing something that matters and that makes a positive contribution. I have gradually focused my efforts on the elements in my work that make me happiest. I have learned to market the skills that I most want to use. I have had to learn how to balance working alone and working with other people; when my children were little, I valued the quiet of working on my own. Now that they are bigger and the house is quieter, I find myself seeking out more social contact in my work. Even the amount of paid work I need to find my happiness spot has changed. Earlier in my career, I valued part-time work very highly as I was juggling it with many other responsibilities. Over time, I have welcomed the opportunity to work more hours in my paid job than I used to.
How Rebecca deals with stress and overwhelm in the workplace:
I love to travel. I always have our next trip percolating in the back of my mind. I love having something exciting to look forward to, and trip planning is a favourite creative pastime. If I am feeling overwhelmed, I do find it helps to remind myself of the benefits of working this hard — and often that involves looking ahead to our next adventure!
If you haven’t found your happiness spot at work just yet, here’s what Rebecca suggests:
I think we are happiest when what we are doing aligns with who we are and what we most value. So I would suggest finding work that is a good fit with our temperament and with what is important to us. When we are doing things we think are important and that suit our personality, we are more likely to enjoy them. I realize it’s a privilege to be in a position of having choice over the work we do, where and with whom.
Rebecca Sutherns, PhD, is a strategic planning coach and Certified Professional Facilitator with over 20 years of experience passionate about helping purpose-driven leaders align what is important to them with what they actually do. She is the founder and CEO of Sage Solutions, a Canadian consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning, stakeholder engagement and coaching services. She is raising four young adults with her high school sweetheart, loves watching sports, knitting, and travelling the world.
To find out more about Rebecca, visit her on LinkedIn.
Photo Credit: Trina Koster