Are you willing to give yourself permission to put your own happiness on the list?

Running businesses and managing teams comes with an enormous number of tasks and responsibilities. Our success, or the success of our agency or business, depends largely on our job performance as we take on more and more tasks. For a while, that feels pretty great. I know I like being in charge, staying on top of things, tending to details, getting it right. There is this satisfaction that comes from knowing that I did it. That I got it done.

When we’re not operating out of ego, we’re usually operating out of fear.

I have to do this. It has to be me. How else will I know it’s done right?

Entrepreneurs are especially fond of hiding behind their brand. I’m my own brand. Everything I put out represents me. I’m responsible for what goes out with my name on it. After all, it’s my reputation on the line.

I get it. I’ve been there.

This solitary mindset comes at a high cost.

The first thing we do when the tasks and responsibilities pile up is we give ourselves away. We turn down an opportunity to join a fitness challenge or race because the training schedule bumps into when we do payroll. We don’t go to the barbeque with friends because we have a project or chore looming over our heads and it will feel better to just get it done and over with.

We tell our spouses or people we’re in relationships with that “this is just a busy month” but we’ll have more time in a few weeks. We put off scheduling vacations and we rely on Facebook to keep up with friends rather than touching base in person.

Then, we wonder why success doesn’t feel so great. Why we aren’t happy. Shouldn’t we be happy?

It’s hard to be happy and enjoy success when you’ve sacrificed so much to have it.

It’s easy to blame outside forces like others’ expectations and deadlines. It’s easier still, to fall back on adages like “you have to work hard now so you can play later.” This is where so many entrepreneurs and career professionals get it wrong. They relinquish control over their personal happiness and fail to invest in the idea that happiness is a choice.

You have to make the choice to be happier and make the commitment to doing things differently:

  • Give yourself permission to put your own happiness on the list.
  • Be willing to make hard decisions and be willing to find compromises.
  • Focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses.
  • Back away from your quest for perfection and allow things to be good enough.
  • Examine your bottom line and consider hiring someone to assist you with smaller tasks that might free you up to prioritize other things.
  • Allow others to shine professionally. Too many professionals take everything on simply to keep the spotlight on them.
  • Look critically at the number of hours spent at work or working from home and commit to slashing that number.
  • Stop picking up the slack of others and hold higher accountability with those who are underperforming.
  • Hold firm boundaries around your time and reconsider how much you accommodate your time around others’.

Your happiness starts with your choices.

Make the commitment to choose differently, to do things differently, and to work more effectively. Choose to change the adage. It’s not about working harder. It’s about working smarter.

Start with Heather’s FREE Guide: 51 Ways to Be Happier Right Now

Originally published at on September 26, 2015.

Originally published at