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The Difference Between Being Successful and Being Happy

The Difference Between Being Successful and Being Happy

Understanding the difference between being successful and being happy is vital. Success is great, but not if it costs your happiness. If you are meeting the challenges of your life with a light, free heart, then you’re doing it right. Keep going! But if you find yourself dragging along with your heart behind you every step of the way, it is time to stop and rethink. Here are some vital differences that will change the way you see success and happiness.

1. Success is meeting deadlines. Happiness is working toward your goals.

Meeting deadlines is a good thing, but if you are regularly unhappy while you’re doing it, it’s time to figure out why and fix it. Could it be that you are meeting other people’s deadlines, i.e. taking on work that is not yours? Are you working in a field that is in line with your gifts and natural strengths? If not, you may feel like you are swimming upstream. Living from deadline to deadline can be a hamster wheel that will exhaust you.

Goals are stepping stones that take you to your dreams. They aim your life in the right direction–closer to what makes you come alive inside. When you live towards your purpose, you will find an energy bubbling through that will carry you. Goals will have also have deadlines, and meeting those deadlines will bring success–the happy kind.

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.” -Dennis Waitley

2. Success is working your way to the top of your field. Happiness is flowing in your purpose and gifts.

You may be climbing the corporate ladder, aiming to be top of your class, or be the fastest in your running club. If success for you is a single achievement, a destination you are aiming at, you may find yourself living in transit; stuck on a gray train between “here” and “there.” You could feel as if life is passing you by, a messy blur past your window. The aim of getting to the top is not just reaching it, but rather the growth you experience as you go.

When you figure out what you’ve been created for, and start doing it, you will find a satisfaction and contentment that you never imagined possible. Opportunities that you’d dreamed of will find you, instead of you sweating to make them happen. Start doing what you were created for and watch the doors fly open.

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“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” -Andy Rooney

3. Success is focusing on accumulating wealth. Happiness is focusing on improving your life.

Money is useful, and having enough of it sure makes life a bit easier, but it never brings a guarantee of happiness. Some of the most miserable people on our planet are those who have the most money.

There is wealth that far outweighs a fat bank balance. Investing in relationships brings a return of love and shared experiences that money can never buy. In the same way, spending time perfecting your abilities will bring an increase in your natural talent. Ask any pianist what an hour a day at the piano can bring. Invest your time into more than just making money.

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. Success is promotion above your peers. Happiness is being respected by your peers.

Being promoted is a good thing to work towards. But clawing your way ahead, no matter who you have to step on to get there, will not bring you lasting satisfaction or peace.

Being kind and valuing the people in your circles costs you nothing and will earn their respect. It doesn’t matter if they are above or below you in rank; treating everyone as unique individuals worth your time and love will carve you into their hearts.

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“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

5. Success is lying awake at night, worrying. Happiness is sleeping at peace.

If you climb a ladder built only by your own hands, you’ll spend a lot of time hoping it is strong enough to hold you up. But when you build with others, and start to climb higher, they will gather around ready to catch you should you fall. This will bring a security that means you can sleep easy at night.

There is a deep peace that comes with being where you’re meant to be, doing what you’re meant to be doing. Happy people are able to put their heads on the pillow at night and don’t carry the weight of tomorrow by themselves.

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” -Winston Churchill

6. Success is staying ahead of the pack at any cost. Happiness is thriving in everything you do.

Successful people tend to work themselves beyond what their bodies can cope with. The put their health on the line, feeling they can’t spare time towards eating right, getting enough exercise, drinking water and getting sufficient sleep. The only thing that matters to them is staying ahead.

Happy people thrive. They enjoy their lives and will grab opportunities with both hands. They understand the value of looking after themselves and, because of this balance, are able to achieve more.

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“If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” -Proverb

7. Success is finding a life partner. Happiness is keeping your partner for life.

It is a remarkable thing to find the one who gets you. That soul who shares your hopes and dreams, can make you feel better when you are sad or disappointed; the one who loves you just as you are. With so much in common, it is easy to think that a long term relationship should be effortless, yet the truth is, in fact, the opposite.

The first step is deciding that your partner is a keeper, and then spend the rest of your days building on that foundation. Be generous and hold nothing back of your love, patience, generosity and kindness. Remember everything that you pour into your significant other, will come back at you through them.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” -Robert A. Heinlein

8. Success is keeping the knowledge you glean to yourself. Happiness is sharing your expertise freely.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are. You’ve put in the time, paid money to do the courses and it shows in your achievements. Many people at this stage will hang onto their know-how out of fear that others will surpass their accomplishments. Insecurity will hold you back from the joy of seeing your abilities multiplied in those who learn from you.

There is something beautiful in having your student outdo you. Being brilliant at what you do is one thing, but to be willing to pass everything you know on and to see your students soar higher than you? That is when you know you have mastered your craft. It takes confidence not to be intimidated by the success of others. Their success does not take away from your talent; in fact it amplifies it.

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“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.” -Maxim Gorky

9. Success is striving for more. Happiness is contentment with what you have.

Are you living in a rut of “not enough”? A life spent chasing bigger, better and more will leave you empty and tired. Shift the focus and, instead of being an accumulator, start living as a distributor and watch your happiness sky rocket.

Open your eyes to the blessings surrounding you. Live aware of how much you have. If you can’t see it, take a day off and hang out with someone who has less than you. Choose to be grateful and appreciate every tiny detail of what you have.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig

10. Success is to live driven. Happiness is to live fueled by passion.

For each mountain you climb, there is another waiting for your feet. There will always be another deadline, another urgent matter that can’t wait. If you live in waiting for the sound of a whip crack from behind you, it is time to re-evaluate. If fear is your greatest motivator, take it as a warning light on your dashboard. You can’t keep running at that pace; something has to change or your health and relationships will suffer.

From the outside, a driven person and a passionate person might look equally busy, but they are running on different fuel. When you work with what you feel most passionate about, you will have energy, a love for life that is infectious and a productivity level that gets stuff done. Your instincts will be sharp and there will be fresh initiative for everything you tackle. It’s worth taking the time to get to know yourself and figure out what you are passionate about. Then do that thing!

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Albert Schweitzer

Featured photo credit: 066 006.jpg/butkovicdub via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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