Many people go into business to make money so they can use it to do things that make them happy. Other people go into the same line of business because it actually makes them happy. Guess what? The people who are happy are making a lot more money than the people who are just focused on the money.
Happy guys just have it all over miserable guys because they’re happier. The key is this: If it makes you happy, if it plays into your passion, if it makes you want to get out of bed in the morning, it will keep you going in a good way, for a long time. Big, huge money—cover of BusinessWeek and Forbes Magazine kind of money—is created by entrepreneurs who have passion and drive for what they do, and who go about it smartly and with smiles on their faces. Here’s how they get there:
1. Happiness first, money next. Stop focusing on the money. Focus on your business, your clients or customers, your employees and your systems. Make sure everything is running smoothly and everybody is being treated well and feeling good. Then look at your money. Chances are that when your happy ducks are in a row, so are your financial ducks.
2. Turn off the news. That means news feeds, TV, radio and whatever channels you're attached to daily that stream in fear, terror and the apocalypse. Leave the “if it leads it bleeds” media mentality. The more you feed that junk food to your mind, the more you’ll believe the world sucks and the more unhappy you’ll be. Remember, what you feed, grows. Stop feeding fear.
3. Sleep. Sleep isn’t just something you do so you can function; it's something that you need and that should really be a part of your business strategy. You need sleep to stay refreshed and energized so you can survive the marathon of growing a business. Being well rested, by the way, also makes you happy.
4. Relationships. As a general rule, people feed off of other people, in good ways as well as bad. Focus on the good feeders—the people who give you energy just by being around them. When you pick your business relationships, surround yourself with happy people—they will make you happy.
5. Share. Share whatever you have with at least one person (more is okay) every day. Maybe offer someone a stick of gum, a piece of the several pieces of fruit you brought to work or a ride somewhere. You’ll figure it out—your parents and kindergarten teacher didn’t pound this skill into you for naught—and when you do, you'll feel great.
6. Express your gratitude. You probably didn’t notice that people do stuff for you all day long, right? How about that old guy who held the door for you at the restaurant or the person at the grocery store who let you cut in front of him because you only had one item and he had 27? Next time, don’t just nod and say, “Thanks.” Stop, look the person in the eye and say, “Thank you, I appreciate that. I needed a kindness today.” You’ll not only wow them, but you’ll inspire them to repeat their kind actions the rest of the day.
7. Random act of kindness. Speaking of kindness, random acts of kindness not only make other people feel good, they actually make you feel good, empowered, in control, confident and happy. Studies show that giving and receiving causes our bodies to release endorphins—which are the body’s natural happy hormones.
8. Connect with friends. People, relationships and family are what make most of us truly happy. Take time to significantly connect with someone who makes you happy. There's a lot of different ways to do it. Go to lunch—and talk about something besides work. Send them a handwritten card expressing appreciation for something they did for you lately. Surprise them with a favorite book or audiobook on Kindle. Share something you know will make them smile—a photo, cartoon or video you’ve found.
Be happy. The success of your business depends on it.
Read more articles discussing ways to find happiness through work-life balance.
Mike Michalowicz is the co-founder of Provendus Group, a business growth consulting group that helps companies whose growth has plateaued to grow again (and fast). Michalowicz is the author of The Pumpkin Plan and the business cult classic, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.