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Where's your happy?

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama

What’s "happy" got to do with business?

Just about everything.

If you don’t like your work, the people you work with (or for) or (outside of that) your life or yourself in general, then your career suffers and you bring down the people around you. On the flip side, if you are content and currently bringing joy to your workplace, chances are you’ll lift the people and teams with whom you work. These people will fight over who gets to partner with you on projects, and your work will be efficient and productive. Chances are, that shine of yours will earn you a promotion or attention – bringing more goodness into your life. Being happy is an amazing generator of good work and good will.

It’s also no secret that happiness is a struggle to find – and to keep. It’s something you choose to do, not something you are entitled to have or something your employer can give you. It’s an everyday challenge to "be happy" when there is so much potential stress from life and work events that can easily run you down and zap your reserve. Every morning you must wake up and make it a conscious decision: “Today, I choose happy.”

The Dalai Lama says he achieves happiness from how he interacts with people: “I try to treat whomever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness.”

It’s taken a while (and a lot of bumpy roads) but I now recognize and embrace that happy is a choice – and I hope that someday when people reflect upon me, they will say, “She was crazy! She was organized! She was a great mother/employer/businesswoman/competitor/friend - and she was happy!”

There is no end to the list of reasons to be unhappy, and I’m no Pollyanna. When it relates to business, it’s most difficult when employees come to me with the multitude of reasons why they aren’t happy. This piece of entrepreneurship alone can zap a person of joy. It’s therefore unproductive (physically and emotionally) to spend time trying to fix things that:

a) Aren’t your problem;
b) Aren’t related to the employee’s work or the business;
c) Can’t be fixed.

Of course, we are all human and therefore know how easy it is to become wrapped up in these issues, regardless of whether or not they are worth our time or energy. To help us all avoid these happiness-draining pitfalls, here are some tips for the pleasers out there – those of us who want the best for everyone, often at the cost of their own calm:

• Put down your phone/email/computer. Experience life in the moment and face-to-face. This applies to work meetings too as well as social interactions.
• Find a hobby and love it. If you lost your hobby, go find it again – or find a new one!
• Stop being a jerk. Seriously.
• Sleep. It really helps!
• Eat – but not just anything. Eat what’s good for you, and what makes you feel good.
• Exercise. (OMG – there’s a muscle there?)
• Multitasking is fancy talk for procrastination. (I should know; I am the Queen of Multitasking). Instead, try to focus your attention on something and get that one task done before moving onto the next.
• Work on making that first impression. It can lead to lasting relationships – which in turn will make you feel good.

I am far from perfect, and these tips certainly pertain to me as well – but the small changes and tweaks that I’ve made in the last year have helped me to carve out time for change – and (most importantly) time to choose to be happy. The renewed focus and positive vibes have helped me tremendously with better team building and more effectively achieving goals.

Obviously, not every day can be grins and giggle, but if happy is the choice versus unhappy, and we look at challenges or conflict as opportunity, those ‘down’ days are going to be much easier to get through. 

If you Google the word "happy," you’ll find pages of tips from everyone from Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama to the average Joe with a blog.  Do some research and see what you find.

Can you find your purpose? Can you find your happy?

The purpose of our lives is to be happy. -- Dalai Lama

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Erin Gibbs
Erin Reilly Gibbs is CEO, founder and owner of American Vein & Vascular Institute Practice Management . The company oversees American Vein & Vascular Institute — a network of vein and vascular clinics owned and founded by her husband, Dr. Gordon Gibbs.  The companies have more than 50 employees, operating in Pueblo, Parker, Canon City, Vail Valley, Littleton and Colorado Springs in Colorado and in Arlington, Texas. The management headquarters are located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. Recently, Erin’s team was selected for ColoradoBiz Magazine’s Top 100 Women-Owned Companies and the entire organization was a 2014 winner for Colorado Companies to Watch. She can be reached at egibbs@avviusa.com or 719.242.8650.

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