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What It Means to Be Happy: Lessons from My Self-Exploration Journey

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What It Means to Be Happy: Lessons from My Self-Exploration Journey
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I am the type of person who only starts working harder when I hear, “no, you can’t do this, it’s impossible.”

I am obsessed with achieving new things: there is something satisfactory in looking back and seeing how far you have become.

As you can imagine, this mindset quickly turned into an endless race for bigger and greater results.

The constant flow of motivational posts across the web did not help.

Just recently I watched a video of my marketing friend fearlessly climbing Mount Elbrus, which made me want to do it, too!

I saw people constantly doing impossible things, which was only adding fuel to the flame.

It took me a while to realize that I don’t have to take on every single challenge.

Think of the 80/20 rule: 20% of our actions give us 80% of the results.

So conquering a limited amount of goals, the ones you feel most passionate and excited about, is what will bring you true happiness.

I want to share my journey of self-discovery with you to show how I changed my priorities and focused on what I wanted my success be instead of jumping on the bandwagon and chasing the “success” defined by motivational coaches and inspiring bloggers.

Please remember: This is my story which means a copy and paste approach probably won’t lead to the outcomes I’ve reached so far.

Actually, this is similar to any digital marketing strategy: sadly there is no “one-size-fits-all” practice that could work for every business. However, you can grab some inspiration and ideas that you can further adjust to your situation.

So I hope this post will help you start enjoying your life and what’s even more important to invest more time in doing what really matters to YOU.

Create Your Own ‘Blue Ocean’

The term “blue ocean” was invented by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, professors at INSEAD.

This managing theory claims that the most successful companies create new market spaces instead of trying to compete on overcrowded ones.

One of the most noticeable examples is Cirque du Soleil.

A traditional circus performance with animals and clowns was barely letting the artists have the ends meet – they needed to come up with something groundbreaking.

Cirque du Soleil decided to bet their buck on a one-of-a-kind theatrical production with acrobats and they hit the jackpot!

They created their own blue ocean and became world-famous.

W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne found that more than 70% of people are not happy with their job.

You do not have to be a part of this statistic.

You always have a choice to change your daily life.

It took me a while to find my blue ocean because there were so many tasks I enjoyed doing.

Finally, I came up with a strategy that helps me successfully sell my services and have a good level of visibility.

This strategy turned into the creation of the Digital Olympus conference. It was not designed for me to find clients but to improve our agency brand awareness and to keep strong bonds with industry experts.

We have had great success in attracting outstanding talent to the event.

A good number of people who did their first speaking gig at Digital Olympus became quite well-known experts like Craig Campbell, Laura Hogan, Aisha Kellaway, David White, and many others.

Hopefully, our conference helps our speakers create their own “blue ocean”!

Review Your Dreams as a Child & Make Them Come True

When we were kids, all of us had so many wishes and dreams.

Well, we don’t have to give up on them just because we grew up.

It is never too late to go back to your dreams and try to make them become your reality.

I am not suggesting to engage in activities you used to love in elementary school. But think about how you can use your child’s aspirations and turn them into something an adult you will also enjoy.

For example, when I was a kid I was dreaming about learning to ride a horse. Unfortunately, my family could not afford it back then. But now I can!

I have my own horse now and 5 days a week I start my day by riding it.

It is almost like a meditation for me: I get distracted from work problems, recharge, and simply do something different from a routine.

For somebody who spends most of her day in an office, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

What It Means to Be Happy: Lessons from My Self-Exploration Journey

One more reason why I love horse riding is that it helps me start achieving something not profession-related.

Plus, I can always tell a funny story to my client or use it as an entertaining ice breaker at a party.

Read More Fairytales & Never Stop Dreaming

Remember the time when your parents were reading a fairy tale to you and you felt like you were not in your room anymore but a part of the story?

I love that feeling because it lets me experience new worlds without having to leave my apartment.

Reading fairy tales is still the not-so-guilty pleasure that helps me escape reality for a little.

Fairy tales contain so many life lessons and they provide a guaranteed happy ending when you are feeling blue. It also makes you a better human through sympathy and learning about other people’s perspectives.

You can also try fairytale therapy.

Fairytales are stories of wisdom passed down from generation to generation. They often are a step-by-step guide on how to deal with various problems.

Through exploring fairytales with similar issues that what you are going through in your life you might be able to come to a resolution or at least get encouraged that you will persevere.

Regularly Go to Museums, Theaters & Art Expositions

I love art in various forms starting from Russian porcelain and ending with opera.

In fact, I have a book on my dining table with a bunch of well-known expressionists that I open when I feel especially sad or when I simply seek for beauty and inspiration.

No one would argue with the fact that looking at fine art always makes us feel better.

At least on a bi-weekly basis, I try to find a few hours to check out a museum or temporary exposition to rejuvenate my mind and get ignited fresh ideas.

There were a good number of solutions to various problems that dawned on me while I was observing the masterpieces of well-known artists.

In fact, every time I am in London I go straight to The National Gallery that has an exceptional exhibition that keeps fascinating me.

Of course, you don’t have to only observe you can also create!

Art therapy is known to be therapeutic and has many mental health benefits such as reducing stress and boosting your self-esteem. It could include anything from doodling to adult coloring books to simply painting.

By releasing your creativity, your mind will get distracted from your daily struggles and possibly even come up with innovative solutions. It’s a great way to self-discover and maybe even turning art-making into a hobby or skill.

Adjust Your Working Schedule

If someone had told me a few years ago that I would stop working on Fridays, I would have never believed it. But now I don’t work on Fridays and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I know that some digital agencies in the UK have started to practice a 4-day work week.

However, that’s not popular in Europe – and absolutely not a thing here in Russia.

That said, I’ve noticed that my colleague’s and mine’s productivity has grown quite a lot as soon as we decided not to work on Fridays.

So if you have this chance, try speaking to your manager or teammates to see if it could be an option for your organization.

Honestly, the decision to skip working on Fridays came from the realization that everybody procrastinates on Fridays anyway.

It just makes sense to let yourself have a rest and come back on Monday with twice the energy and enthusiasm.

Define Your Own Success &Be Happy!

Dalai Lama once said, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your actions.”

This is time for your self-exploration to figure out what makes you truly happy.

Once you have this answer, go ahead and do those things.

Try to do one thing a day that brings you joy.

It can be something simple like reading a fairy tale before going to bed or more grand like thinking of your own “blue ocean” and how you can achieve it.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
GIF provided by author, August 2019

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Alexandra Tachalova

Founder at Digital Olympus

Alexandra Tachalova has worked in digital marketing for over six years. She is a digital marketing consultant, helping digital businesses ... [Read full bio]

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