Recently, I watched a Charlie Rose interview with the King of Bhutan, a small Asian nation commonly known for being the happiest country in the world. One of Bhutan’s biggest goals? A not-so-little metric created by the King himself: Gross Domestic Happiness. This idea that a country would measure its own happiness was seen as a groundbreaking concept, sparking the United Nations to pass its own unanimously adopted resolution to put happiness on the agenda for global development. So, if this movement towards happiness is happening Earth-wide, why aren’t we actively applying it to our own lives as individuals? And why is it so taboo to consider it an active measurement to judge our careers?
I, like many of my fellow Americans, struggle with the concept of happiness in business. I can hear the voices of my father and his father before him calling out “Be productive!” in my head. And these cries for productivity aren’t bound by Monday through Friday or the hours of 9 to 5. They are relentless in their attack on my joy, waking me up on Sunday morning with a need to send “just one email” so urgent it can’t wait until I even step foot out of bed, or interrupting dinner with my husband because it’s the perfect hour to check on a client in another timezone—who may or may not need me.
But this isn’t being productive—and it certainly isn’t being happy. It’s just being busy. And being busy hides us from being present. It hides us from tackling the hard things. It hides us from noticing that we are actually (*ahem*) unhappy.
This past weekend I did that old “Write out your ideal day” exercise, and I was astonished to see just how much I was missing the mark in my career. But the only person who has the power to improve that score is me, just as you are the only person who has the power to improve yours.
I invite you to consider adding Gross Domestic Happiness to your evaluation of your job and use it to create the boundaries that bring you joy. The best part about it is that you can define this in whatever way sounds best to you. It can be the number of times you check your email in a day. It can be having the free time to make yourself a real meal for lunch or indulging in an exercise break in the middle of the day. It can be the freedom to be 100% fully present with your family after 5 PM. Whatever happiness looks like to you, make it a priority in your job just as you would in your personal life. Make Bhutan proud.
Karen Trepte is an Intuitive Business Coach for entrepreneurs with big hearts and even bigger dreams. Her super power is turning soul whispers into business brilliance and translating confusion into clarity. She learned the ropes by starting numerous successful businesses including a flower shop and multiple MLMs. She even used to carry her daughter on her back to sales calls! Karen’s motto is “Work is joy.” http://www.gaijinworkscoaching.com/