"So start tomorrow, right now. Welcome to the first few seconds of your bright, beautiful future."
Cindy Kent was the lead Conversation Starter at our 20th Anniversary Conference in 2016. As a thought and purposeful leader, her values are central to all she does and how she does it.
In nearly five decades of life, and too-many-experiences-to-count later, I have come to realize how misguided the notion of finding happiness is. You don’t really find happy, in truth, we make happy. Finding Happy is an ill-conceived notion, that inherently implies that happiness is some illusive by-product of luck or fortune or even, some edenic destination—a wistful, ideologue of a reward at the end of one’s diligent pursuit. Instead, I believe, we make happy—one decision, one choice, at a time.
The very idea that we make happy can be hard for some people to accept. Why? Because if we accept that we make our own happy, then it places the responsibility of our happiness squarely on our own shoulders. As such, it puts an end once and for all to the infamous “blame game” and the convenient opportunity to blame someone, anyone, for our failing to achieve the love, success and happiness that we desire. It would mean that the years we’ve spent blaming friends, parents, spouses, partners and employers for failing to make us happy were in fact, a bad use of our good and precious time. It does not mean that these individuals are abdicated from any wrong-doing, but it does suggest that we maintain absolute control over the effect that we allow their actions to have on our emotional and mental well-being. Fundamentally, happiness is much more about our reactions than it is about the actions themselves—reactions, which are completely within our own control. At some point we must make the choice to let go of the pain and hurt inflicted by others and choose to forgive them, let it go and MOVE ON. In fact today, or better yet right NOW, you can choose to let this very moment be the last bit of hurt that you ascribe to any event of your past. As you take deep cleansing breaths, you are releasing the bitterness of yesterday and taking in all the joy and hope that tomorrow brings. If you choose to wait, to have one final pity party or to savor the familiarity of pain’s bitterness one last time, then tomorrow will never come. So start tomorrow, right now. Welcome to the first few seconds of your bright, beautiful future.
So what is happiness? Happiness is the deepest level of contentment that you can possibly imagine, a sense of fullness that envelopes every fiber of your being. It is soul joy—a knowing that you are where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing at this very moment in time. It is not a feeling, for feelings are fleeting, but instead it is a sense of wholeness and being completely at peace in the moment. Happiness is inextricably tied to purpose. Walking in purpose and living life on purpose, by its very nature is a higher order of livelihood. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that many people go through their entire lives having never experienced the depth of peace that comes from a life truly lived.
After years of “ordinary-ness,” the human spirit that is purposed for greatness will eventually take one of two paths. It will either grow dull and bitter, having convinced itself that ‘this is as good as it gets’ or two, the intensity of frustration will fuel the yearning to find ‘something more.’ It is at this point that one becomes increasingly aware that what you’re doing now, or even what you’ve spent the last twenty or thirty years doing is not fulfilling. This can be a frightening and overwhelming experience fraught with questions and self-doubt. What will I do instead? I don’t have the training or education to do what I really want to do. Will I be able to meet my financial obligations? I have a thriving career; people will think I’m crazy to leave this great job. Be assured that these feelings and questions are normal—and necessary—milestones as one endeavors to make happy.
Cindy (Smith) Kent
Innovative Healthcare Executive. Focused Operational Growth Leader. Visionary Change Champion. Public Speaker.
President & General Manager, 3M Infection Prevention Division
Subscribe to this blog now to get your 2x/week spark of purpose