I got often ask by my colleagues why 90% of the time, I am happy & smiling. I – as any other human – cannot be 100% happy and relaxed but I do train my 90% of happiness. Every day.
Let me highlight couple of points that have helped me to be happy and thus being successful:
- Prime yourself for success: I learned the first time in the book The Happiness Advantage about this concept. Essentially, it is about incorporating some habits so that you prime yourself (and your thinking) towards success. In my case, I do this with a daily morning routine (at the cost of my roommates. Sorry Daniel & Roland). I start my day with my favourite 3 songs and think about positive/winning moments and visualise them. Regardless how my mood is in the morning, within 5–10min I feel energized and happy
- Every day gratitude: I have – every day – a moment where I am vocal about my gratitude: Thanks for the good weather, thanks for this experience or couple of times a week I do a THANK YOU prayer before I fall asleep. This helps me to highlight everyday that I am grateful to have family & friends that love me (and vice versa)
- Understand your “foundation”: I regularly do a “foundation” exercise. Usually in very intense and/or challenging times I look back at a piece of paper which looks like a tree. At the core I have highlighted the things that make me happy: spending time with my family, reading books at weekends, doing regular exercise, knowing that I have a handful of very close friends I can count on anytime and my passion & interest in art. As you can see it doesn’t say anything about money and/or material things. I try to detach myself from these (external) validation points so that I focus on my core which makes me happy. And no, money doesn’t make me happy.
- “We either win or learn.”: People who have worked with me know that I highlight (sometimes too often) the quote of Nelson Mandela: “I never lose. I either win or learn.” I try to remind myself always before and after a challenging situation, task or competition about this quote. By doing so, it helps to see each challenge as a learning opportunity that you can grow with.
- Embrace “the struggle”: This is another one that I usually highlight after my team(s) or myself went through an exceptionally intense or difficult time. It is from my Austrian colleague Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” I think there is very little to add to this point.
- Exercise and/or meditation: I have been (very) active since my childhood. I do need my 3–4x a week exercise otherwise I have too much energy (and all the people around me get annoyed). I guess I have inherited this from my Mum. One thing that I started to learn (thank you, Patrick) is to embrace meditation. Yes, meditation. 5 years ago I would have laughed about it but after an intensive mediation training I started to really benefit from it. You will need 4–5 weeks to feel the impact but I can strongly recommend it.
Now the obvious question: what do I do during the 10% of the time when the “world falls apart”: I think everyone has to go through his or her crises and work on his countermeasures – the following things have helped me a lot:
- Family: For me, I cannot highlight enough the sheer power and unconditional love you can get from your family. I have had my rough rides with my siblings and parents during my young adulthood (sorry for all the police situations we had inside & outside our house) but I realised the power of family the first time I lived +6,000km away (in Canada) and ‘survived’ by myself. For me, family is the number 1 factor to get me back on track.
- Partner: Secondly, having a mature and trustful partner (either girl/boyfriend or close business partner) that you can openly talk about your challenges and (mostly) wrongful thinking can help a lot to get a different perspective. Your partner will (overtime) know you best and also knows what drives you (and what/when things drive you nuts). It takes a lot of “balls” to open up but this is something that I should have done much earlier.
- Coach: For anyone who is running a business (and/or leadership position) I can strongly recommend to get a coach. A coach should be someone who is not related to family (no, your cooler brother is not a coach) and it shouldn’t be your partner or friend. There are certain things that you cannot and/or do not want to discuss with your family and/or business partner. So a coach can be a neutral and helpful person to guide you in good – as well as in challenging times. I do meet my coach 1x a month and see it as an investment in my personal as well as professional life.
- Advisor: I learned the power of an advisor (or as I call them my “godfather”) early on. Michael Brehm has been my first godfather and I am very thankful for his support and advise over the last couple of years. I usually look up for people that I admire and/or want to learn from and then I ask them whether they are open/willing to meet/speak 1x a month. These are usually business-related advisor so a form of economic incentive is usually included (such as advisory shares). I have learned a lot from people like Michael, Stefan Glaenzer, Damian Doberstein, Patrick Linden, Dirk & Teruhide Sato just to name a few. I value their opinion and thoughts highly and can say – for sure – that these people have helped me to be a 10x better entrepreneur. Thank you my friends!
So next time when you try to establish a good habit (and/or go through challenging times) I recommend you to look at one of these points. Happy start into your day and keep smiling 🙂