Tag Archive for 'happiness'

Video - How do you define success and happiness?

Check out my latest video explaining how success is more than just money and stuff within your small business.

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How do you define success and happiness?

Congratulations, your small business is successful. But has what kind of success has it produced?

There are times when being one with your business is not only a good thing, it’s essential. But extreme commitment weaves a fine seam between business and owner. And unfortunately, entrepreneurial single-mindedness often results in the opposite of what’s intended: a business in jeopardy, run by unhappy humans.

The best way to be a successful AND happy small business owner is to define success in many ways, including having a life that’s balanced with richness outside of the business.

A small business is more like a patchwork quilt than a security blanket. Some patches represent good things and some not so good. Some patches are about the business, others are about the owner, and some are hard to tell. Small business happiness is found by those owners who feel successful regardless of which patch is in front of them.

Having multiple touchstones of success, not just money and stuff, helps keep the rough patches in business and life in proper perspective. Clearly getting a new customer contract is a measure of success. But so is being able to schedule the time to attend a child’s school activity in the middle of the day.

If you became a small business owner to find financial success, good for you; as a capitalist, I admire that motivation. But if you think getting rich will make you happy, get your umbrella out because I’m going to rain on that parade with these two truths:

  1. Wealth only provides options, it does not guarantee happiness.
  2. If you can’t be happy without wealth, you aren’t likely to be happy with it.

Now let’s talk about being serious and having fun.

Reasonable people disagree on where we will spend eternity, but most agree that this is our only trip through this life. And every moment that goes by without some kind of joy is a precious opportunity lost. You’re no doubt planning for success this year, but have you made any plans to have fun? Not the trip to Disney World. Are you having fun on any given day as you run and grow your business?

If you want to have maximum small business success, learn how to run a tight ship while encouraging your people to laugh and find joy in their work.

And one more thing: don’t forget to laugh at yourself — in front of others. Those are usually the best laughs of your life.

Define success in more ways than just money and stuff. And don’t forget to have fun.

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Recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the pursuit of happiness in your small business with happiness expert Kita Szpak. Click on one of the links below to hear what she and I had to say. I’m also interested in what you think, so please leave a comment.

Is happiness part of your small business ownership? with Kita Szpak

You only have the right to the PURSUIT of happiness. with Kita Szpak

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Balancing our work and life

Work is essential as the activity that delivers the things necessary for our survival as humans. Beyond survival, work is the lever of our intellectual curiosity and the blessing that has produced civilization.

Congratulations, civilization, because many small business owners love what they do so much that they actually don’t think about it as work – or that they would ever stop.

Alas, facing that indictment, this business owner would be guilty as charged.

B.C. Forbes (1880-1954), founder of Forbes magazine and grandfather of Steve Forbes, said, “I have known not a few men who, after reaching the summit of business success, found themselves miserable upon attaining retirement.”

Is Mr. Forbes warning us about retirement or the dangers of a life without balance? If the latter, consider this Blasingame Small Business Principle: “The work we love can morph from blessing to curse if it exists without balance.”

If you love your work, congratulations; but simultaneous with that love, make sure you also love whatever can counter-weight your work to balance the scales of your life: golf, tennis, knitting, or — and this is a big one — your child’s ball game.

Research shows that balancing our beloved work with other interests enhances physical and mental well-being, and actually increases productivity. And it makes us much more interesting and desirable to be around.

Balancing work and life is easier for employees than it is for an owner because they’re typically concerned only with their assignments. But when the proverbial “buck” stops on the owner’s desk, it’s loaded up with all of the challenges and opportunities facing every aspect of the business. And even if you’ve acquired the ability to take all of this in stride, “all of this” quite simply just takes a lot of time.

Consequently, achieving balance requires conscious intention, plus a little bit more. Finding the right combination of work and balance in the life of a small business owner requires the execution of at least three of the things that we use to achieve success in our businesses: planning, scheduling, and discipline.

The virtue of having a business or financial plan is self-evident. But we should be just as disciplined about a plan that balances work with other interests. Otherwise, paraphrasing Mr. Forbes, we may become miserable upon retirement.

Surely, the recipe for happiness includes work, relationships, and experiences that create memories.

Make sure your memories aren’t just about work.

I talked with Jim HarterChief Scientist for Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices and author of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, about achieving balance in life both personally and professionally. Click here to listen or download our conversation.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Defining success in more ways than one



There are times when being one with your small business is not only a good thing, it’s essential. But extreme commitment weaves a fine seam between business and owner. And, unfortunately, entrepreneurial single-mindedness often results in the opposite of what is intended:  a business in jeopardy, run by unhappy humans.


The best way to be a successful AND happy small business owner is to define success in many ways, including having a life that’s balanced with richness outside of the business.


A small business is more like a patchwork quilt than a security blanket.  Some patches represent good things and some not so good. Some patches are about the business, others are about the owner, and some are hard to tell. Small business happiness is found by those owners who feel successful regardless of which patch is in front of them.


Having multiple touchstones of success, not just money and stuff, helps keep the rough patches in business and life in proper perspective. If you became a small business owner to find financial success, good for you; as a capitalist, I admire that motivation.


But if you think just being rich will make you happy, get your umbrella out because I’m going to have to rain on that parade with these two truths:


1.  Wealth only provides options, not a guarantee of happiness.


2.  If you can’t be happy without wealth, you aren’t likely to be happy with it.


Small business success can actually be found in being able to attend a child’s school activity in the middle of the day, as well as in getting a new contract.  And you should be as proud of being able to give back to any worthy cause as you are of the reason you can give back: your business’s financial strength.


Now let’s talk about fun.


Reasonable people disagree on where we will spend eternity, but most agree that this is our only trip through this life. And every moment that goes by without some kind of joy is a precious opportunity lost.


You’re no doubt planning for success this year, but have you made any plans to have fun?  Not your trip to Disney World.  Are you having fun on any given day as you run and grow your business?


If you desire maximum small business success, learn how to run a tight ship while encouraging your people to laugh and find joy in their work.


And one more thing: Be sure to laugh at yourself — in front of others.  Those are usually the best laughs of the day.

Write this on a rock… Define success in more ways than just money and stuff. And don’t forget to have fun.

On Monday, I talked with JoAnna Brandi, The Customer Care Coach, about what it takes to be happy and keep the good and bad stuff in perspective. Take a few minutes to listen and tell us how you keep your life in balance.


For more great Small Business Advocate content, click HERE

Nourish every part of your life

One of the things that has become abundantly clear about modern humans is that there are definite rewards and consequences for the way we live our lives.

The most obvious example is the way we treat our bodies — this stack of protoplasm that drives our spirit around. Surrounded by plenty and extravagance, our eating habits can lead to longevity or brevity. We know that smoking shortens life, as does drug and alcohol abuse. And since more and more of us pursue a sedentary profession, lack of exercise can affect our quality, as well as our length of life.

Recently, a cardiologist friend told me that over half of his practice involved treating patients who were sick because of their lifestyle alone. A sobering statement.

But that is an example of what we do to our flesh and blood. What about that thing I mentioned that is driven around by our protoplasm, the spirit?

At this stage in my life, I’ve noticed that many people my age are emotionally and spiritually adrift. When I use the word “spiritual,” I’m not talking about theology, although that could be part of the equation.

In my anecdotal observation of this phenomenon of humanity, I’ve noticed that everyone I know who fits this “adrift” category has one thing in common: They have lived their lives without having anything in it that was more important than themselves.

This group was more likely to not have an active faith life. They were more likely to have not volunteered over the years for some social, community or religious cause that allowed them to contribute to people whom they would never meet. In short, they had spent very little of their lives putting others first, including their own children.

What have I learned from my observations? I’ve learned that just as we should nourish and exercise our protoplasm, making sure we avoid things that harm our flesh, we should also nourish and exercise our spirit. And in my opinion, one of the best ways to do this is to spend as much time as possible putting other people, and worthy beliefs, above our own immediate gratification.

What does this mean for small business owners? I think it means that we should take care not to let our precious business, that we have nurtured from birth and love so much, become the single most important thing in our life. This is a challenge I make to you and I also make it to myself.

Oh, and cut back on the doughnuts and get yourself to the gym a couple of times a week.

A while back on my radio program, I talked about what it takes to be happy with my friend and long time Brain Trust member, Jim Donovan. Jim is an international bestselling author whose books include This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal and Don’t Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body. Take a few minutes to listen to Jim’s sage advice and leave your thoughts on achieving a work-life balance.

Are you taking charge of your own happiness? with Jim Donovan

Find a higher level of happiness

Did you know that there is actually a level of happiness, higher than your garden variety happiness, that can be attained by knowing that you are happy, and knowing why you are happy? Consider this quote from Henry Miller,

“It is good to be happy; it’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and know why and how … and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss.”

I like that thought, but reading it made me coin a new term: happiness-squared, or H2 for short. I like that better than bliss. Bliss is such a presumptuous word, don’t you think?

Here’s the question: What makes you happy? No, really. Think about it this time. Close your eyes, take two deep breaths and think about what is most important in your life; because that is where your happiness comes from. Might be children, work, creating, faith, things like that. Not money. Not stuff. If money and stuff are what you think makes you happy, I propose that you aren’t really happy.

Here’s the challenge: Work hard, create, build, yeah, make money, too. But don’t forget where real happiness comes from. Work on attaining some of the H2.

On The Small Business Advocate Show I’ve talked with two of my Brain Trust members, Jim Ballard and Jim Donovan, on how to be in charge of your own happiness. Jim Ballard is a management consultant, leadership trainer, motivational speaker, consulting partner with the Ken Blanchard Companies, and author of What’s the Rush? and Whale Done. Jim Donovan is an international bestselling author whose books include Handbook to a Happier Life and This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal, and his latest Don’t Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body. Take a few minutes to click on one of our discussions below and leave your thoughts on what makes you happy.

The paradox of happiness with Jim Ballard

Are you able to be happy with what you have? with Jim Donovan

Are you taking charge of your own happiness? with Jim Donovan




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