When I was younger I used to associate happiness with buying a kinder egg surprise. The older I get the more blurred my definition of happiness becomes.
Research has identified that relationships have the deepest impact on our level of happiness, more so than any other factor combined. This brings me onto my next point as said by Jim Rohn, you are the combination of the five people you are around the most. So, hang around with time wasters and a time waster you will become.
In this current moment I cannot say that I have achieved my deepest desires, I definitely haven’t reached the peak of my life yet. That moment where you hear yourself say ‘Ah, I am proud of me, I did it’ has not reached me yet. But, picking what to study at university was a pretty big decision which was shaped by those five people around me. The five people you need around you to be the best version of yourself are:
- Your cheerleader
- A friend
- A peer
A cheerleader is someone who is going to believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. For many of us, this person is our mama. Yes, she is always there telling you that you can do it. But for me, during the decision process of whether to study Mathematics at university, my mum actually questioned whether it would be too hard for me. I remember her asking me if I think I could do it (side note: Hell yes I could do it, I am a boss, go me).
Then we have the mentor. A mentor’s job is to point you in the right direction. Don’t get too caught up in whether the mentor is a formal or informal one. I can hear you all say ‘How on earth do I ask someone to mentor me?!’ You are looking for someone who has a willingness to share information and someone with the capacity to point you in the direction which you want to go in. You will know this person because they’ll have information for you to consume: books, podcasts etc. The trick is to pick one person who shares the same core values as you, it can get quite confusing when you look to too many people for this role. Your direction becomes confused and you find that you are being pointed in seven directions rather than the specific one that you want to follow. My mentor is Rosa Parks; she is someone who stood up for what she believed despite the social stance towards African Americans at that time. This inspired me to study Mathematics despite it being a subject that is traditionally studied by males, as they are believed to be ‘biologically more logical than females’.
It can be hard to reach your goal when you are taking the same actions over and over. This is where a coach comes into play. A coach is someone who is going to push you outside of your comfort zone so that you can maximise your full potential. This person can range from your manager at work to your school teacher. One of my goals last year was to improve my public speaking skills. As a result my manager suggested that I present to 80 people. This really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me gain better insight into what it takes to be an engaging presenter.
Among all these people, you need a person who knows your truest heart’s desire. A person who recognises you, sometimes more than you recognise yourself. This person is a friend. No, not your 200 friends on Facebook or Instagram, this person is the one person who brings you back to reality. A friend is someone who asks “does this really make you happy?”. During the rollercoaster of achieving your goals, your friend will remind you of your values and bring you back in line with your morals (or at least that’s what they should be doing anyway, if they’re not then bin them). Oh and of course, a friend is always there for a good old gossip.
Last but not least, we need a peer. A peer is someone that is after a similar goal as you, a person who is in the same industry as you and knows the ins and outs of your daily job. The difference between a peer and a friend is that your friend doesn’t necessarily understand your work, so they cannot support you in that department. Your friend will simply ask ‘does this make you happy’ whereas a peer is a person who keeps your head in the game. I recommend that you select a peer who is better at the job than you are, this will motivate you to be on their level and also allows you to learn from them.