Updated: Aug 5, 2021
I hear people talk about success and happiness as though they are one and the same. They are not. Without knowing the distinction between the two and intentionally tending to both paths your life runs the risk of being lopsided.
You say you want to be successful. However, how will you feel when you manifest the pictures in your mind, yet still struggle with an old hurt, trauma or insecurity?
There are countless books and blogs that outline the path to success. Yet, the internal work required to turn success and happiness into a packaged deal is under-acknowledged.
Here are five crucial internal practices to ensure the inner effort that supports happiness.
1. Identify Who You Want to Become
Instead of giving all your focus to what you want to do, take a moment and contemplate who you want to be(come). This means taking an inward look at your Self. Ask your Self how do you want to feel inside? Don’t just say, I want to be happy. Identify what happy looks and feels like to you. What kind of relationship do you have with your Self? Do you trust your Self? Do you treat your Self like your best friend or beloved partner? What does confidence look like? Do you follow through? It will be easier to navigate the external world when you invest internal time learning to truly love, trust, and champion your Self.
2. Identify 5 Core Values to Guide Your Actions
After you identify Who You Want to Become, identify 5 core values that can act as your North Star. These core values will guide you when making key decisions. They will help choose the people and partnerships you commit to, and also support you in thinking and taking actions that align with who you say you want to be. If, for example, you say in practice #1 that you want to be more compassionate, you may want to consider making compassion one of your core values. Identifying and honoring your core values will hold you accountable to the person you aim to be.
3. Choose to Grow
I don’t have to tell you that there’s an area in your life that needs you to pay attention to it. Instead of avoiding this area, feeling shame, thinking and hoping that your success will rid you of the discomfort it causes you, put on your big girl or boy pants and intentionally free your Self from this challenge. The saying, “Pay me now or pay later,” is particularly apropos when it comes to internal fears and hurt that we try to avoid. Avoiding past issues does not make them go away. The only way to resolve the past is to address it. Otherwise, the discomfort you feel robs you of your ability to truly be confident and happy.
4. Tell Your Self the Truth
The starting point for a thriving life is for you to become in sync with your Self. Self-trust begins with telling yourself the truth about everything – how you really feel about what you’re doing, who you are, how you are behaving, etc. You may not be ready or feel capable of telling others the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, to eventually be able to authentically do you, practice telling your Self the truth. When you find yourself dancing around the truth, practice talking to your Self out loud as you complete this sentence: If I tell myself the truth, I feel/am/want ________. Telling yourself the truth will allow you to align with and lovingly work with your Self.
5. Envision New Possibilities
Historically challenging issues can seem impossible to overcome. Previous failed attempts at change can leave you believing that there are some issues in your life that you just have to live with. This belief can have you feign wellbeing for the world while quietly suffering internally. However, you can exercise new thoughts and gain greater personal power in relationship to even your most challenging issues. Start by actually envisioning a better more transformed experience of your issues. Ask yourself often, how can I be better with this? How can my experience of this change for the better? Asking an open-ended question allows a part of you to open to the possibility of change and activates a process that mystically supports and guides making the change your desire.
Engaging these five practices will build and strengthen your connection to your Self and move you towards success that includes happiness. Thus, in the words of today’s youth, becoming fully alive is a “dope-ass” way to live your best life from this point forward.
Tina Lifford plays Aunt Vi on the critically acclaimed television show, Queen Sugar. The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness is her first book; released by Harper Collins, November 2019, and is full of the kind of internal “actions” that will transform your thinking and your life. You can also join her at a workout in her Inner Fitness Studio to practice strengthening your wellbeing and making it actionable in your day to day life. Don't miss the latest news from Tina Lifford and The Inner Fitness Project. Sign up our monthly newsletter here.