Executive Coaching Articles

Happiness Is More Important than Money

Joel’s greatest gift has been in helping me realize that I had stopped being involved in my personal life. My dissatisfaction with my job had taken over my life. Joel helped me to make a personal commitment to change my work habits and re-invigorate my daily efforts with my current employer. It is much easier to get through each day focusing on commitment and putting effort and thought into how I conduct myself. I am much more optimistic and passionate. I am in control of what my future will be.

Jason Bowen, Business Banking Officer,Bank of America

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you the kind of misery you prefer.” (Anonymous)

Does that describe your job situation today? Does your current work satisfy you? Really? On what levels? If you were asked to write down your #1 long-term priority, would you choose happiness or money? Let’s take a closer look at those priorities. Ask yourself these three questions.

  1. Are you here by accident? Many of us have fallen into a particular line of work by accident. We learn about a job opening through a friend or we jump to a new position because it offers higher pay. We stay with a job because we need the benefits or because we honestly believe we don’t have any better options.
  2. Are you in the zone? Perhaps you’re staying with a job because you’re in your comfort zone. You like the familiar faces, the routine tasks. The job offers a level of salary you can survive on but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a lifetime of happiness. Many people with college degrees who have restricted themselves to jobs within their field of expertise have discovered that.But here’s an “aha” moment: the percentage of people who are actually working in the field in which they earned their degree is quite small. In most cases, we major in whatever believe offers the greatest opportunity for success at the time. Newspapers report a severe shortage of engineers and suddenly many of those intent on financial success major in engineering. Or teaching. Or law. It’s the “soup of the day” syndrome. But then they discover that they don’t love being an engineer. Or a teacher. I’ll bet you know a lawyer who’s now running a restaurant. Or a teacher who just bought a winery. That’s the real zone.
  3. Are you protecting your investment? We spend four or more years studying a field and when we think about the cost involved, we assure ourselves we truly love this vocation. Five or ten years down the road, we discover it has lost its allure. But the perks and salary we’ve achieved convince us that we are locked into this life. Our field of vision shrinks to fit only that which we currently do. It doesn’t make us happy. It doesn’t fulfill the dream of what we could be. But it does pay off those student loans, so we accept it because we believe that’s the way life is.

Let’s take a second look. Let’s evaluate what we get out of work versus what we would like to get. Where does money rate on your scale? How about happiness? Work relationships? The actual work you perform? By looking at all the elements we expect to get from our work and rating them in order of importance, we can begin to determine what we most value. Then we can start finding ways to emphasize those value factors. The bottom line is this. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably decide you would rather have happiness than the misery money can buy.