How To Be Happy
Struggle and Triumph
In 2004, I was the lead attorney in a law office in Northern Michigan, married to a vibrant woman. I lived in an awesome, chalet-style home next to thousands of acres of National Forest. I was a five-minute drive from Grand Traverse Bay and had countless opportunities for outdoor adventure within an hour's drive. As a person who has always been committed to living with joy and abundance, I should have been on top of the world!
Instead, I was deeply unhappy.
The management team at my office was disorganized, cutthroat, and intent on finding ways to undermine the rest of us. It was a struggle to do my job well, but the most heartbreaking challenge was staying engaged and positive with my wife and being happy and energized enough to appreciate all the beauty and opportunity around me. I had to get out. The truth is, I knew in my heart that practicing law was not a fulfilling life path for me. I had to find a different career. The way out for me came from a surprising place.
The Turning Point
I had hours alone in the car as I drove to courthouses all over northern Michigan. In those days you could rent books on tape by the week, so I rented tapes to distract myself from my unhappiness at work. At first I rented history, fiction and comedy. One day I happened upon a Tony Robbins tape - I think it was Awaken the Giant Within. That blew my mind. Here was a guy who not only said you could take charge of your destiny and live a positive, happy life, but who also gave you real action steps to do it.
I listened to that tape three times and it was just the push I needed. I embarked on a journey of learning that still continues today. I listened to everything I could get my hands on by Tony and soaked up positive energy from virtually every motivational speaker, high performance coach, and positive or unique thinker I could find. I've attended, listened to or read Zig Ziglar, Deepak Chopra, Jim Rohn, Earl Nightingale, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Magic Johnson, Brendon Burchard, Simon Sinek … virtually anybody with a positive message.
Turning Theory into Action
As I studied, I put their theories to the test. I tried out their systems on myself. I also reflected deeply during long walks in the woods. I thought about who I was and what I wanted to contribute to the world. I've always tried to seize everything that life has to offer, but at that time in my life, the push from the experts and the deep reflection helped me completely change my path. I learned that - truly - we create our own happiness. And beyond that, the steps you need to become happier, more effective, and more fulfilled are not that complex.
What I Know
You and I deserve happiness, we're capable of getting it, and there are a lot of resources to guide us on our way. This isn't just a pep talk, it's a certainty for me because I've put it into action in my own life. That doesn't mean we'll never have any struggles, but it does mean that we can envision a path for our lives, get on that path, and find fulfillment.
Since I committed fully to being in charge of my own destiny, I've published seven books, started several successful businesses and a publishing imprint, and helped hundreds of people navigate their way through business and personal challenges toward becoming more effective and happier. More importantly, I'm happy, engaged with my family, friends and business partners, and committed to sharing what I've learned with people like you.
How I Serve
My latest work - featured here - is Permission - The Event. It features a very simple idea - that you (yes, you!) can do better. You can be happier, more effective, better at work, healthier and more vibrant. And one way to get started is to surround yourself with people who give you unconditional positive regard. That means they encourage and support you no matter what (you can read more about it in my article How to Stop Feeling Guilty). You can express your hopes, dreams, and personal obstacles, and they give you support and warm feedback while carefully avoiding the trap of negativity that seems to be stifling much of the world right now. Eventually, you can develop your own internal voice of affirmation. That approach helped change my life, and I believe it can help change yours if that's something you need.
I'd be very grateful if you'd read more about Permission. If you think you'd find it helpful, please consider signing up (use the promo code ROCKSTAR to save big). If you're not ready to make that commitment, sign up for my newsletter. I promise to never share your information with anyone, and to always do my best to provide you with helpful ideas with a minimum of "snake oil" or salesmanship.
If you have stories of struggle and triumph, I'd love to hear from you. I can't respond to everybody, but I'll always do my best to read your words and try to share the lessons with my audience.
And whatever happens, I wish you every success!