100% Jodi: The Inconvenience of Happiness

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Do you prefer convenience or happiness?

You may be thinking, “Both!” But the reality is our long-term happiness and satisfaction usually requires a long series of inconveniences. In this episode I’m making a case for why you actually want to be inconvenienced a lot more.

Hello, I’m Jodi Flynn and welcome to the Women Taking the Lead podcast. I’m an executive leadership coach, author, speaker, workshop facilitator and I have the joy to work with women leaders who want to hone the skills that will allow them to thrive in Senior Leadership. I know I’ve met a woman I would love to work with when we start having a few laughs about our tendencies toward perfectionism and people pleasing.

I had been living in Maine for the past 18 years, but I am currently in Massachusetts staying with family while I prepare to make my final move to Virginia. Thanks to the beauty of technology, I’ve been able to continue to work with women all over the world even in the midst of so much movement and transition.

I do individual coaching as well as workshops and team retreats, and I am the current President of the board for The Maine Women’s Conference.

I spend the free time I have catching up with friends and family, coordinating my move to Virginia, and finding calm by watching the Great British Baking Show.

Applied knowledge is power

If you spend any time with teenagers and young adults you’ve probably witnessed many occasions where they choose the short-term pleasure or convenience over the long-term gain.

Currently living in a home with a 9-year-old, 13-year-old, and 19-year-old, I am treated to many conversations and behaviors around this very topic. I’ve also had a very direct conversation with my 21-year-old nephew about this.

We’re always faced with things, great and small, that we’d rather not have to do. But if we want to reach our goals and find satisfaction and fulfillment – the things that truly make us happy – we have to make some sacrifices.

You might be thinking, “Jodi, why are you taking a podcast episode to talk about this? I already know this.”

I absolutely know that you know this. What I would ask you is, how closely are you living this?

When working with my clients we make the distinction between what we know and what we believe.

Sometimes we hear an idea or theory and think, “That sounds about right. That makes sense to me.”

And if there is some science to back it up, we then consider ourselves to “know it.”

There’s the saying, knowledge is power, but that’s not exactly true.

Knowledge is potential power. Applied knowledge is power.

If you are making the sacrifices necessary to achieve satisfaction and fulfillment in your life, great!

If not, use this episode as a gentle reminder. Though we may “know” something it’s often helpful to have reminders to live what we know.

Here are some examples of the short-term sacrifices or inconveniences I invite you to make so you can live a life that brings you satisfaction and fulfillment.

Have those hard conversations in a timely manner

You may put off a hard conversation because you don’t want to rock the boat. You want to maintain harmony, and bringing something up for discussion with cause upset.

That’s not harmony. That’s false harmony. What you have is something fake vs. real connection.

Yes, sometimes people get upset when they are held accountable. There are ways to have a conversation that don’t put the other person on such a defensive, it turns into an argument. And if you struggle with this and need some support, this is something you and I could work on together.

Remember, if you are not calling out behavior that doesn’t work for you and you are not setting and protecting healthy boundaries, it will prevent you from feeling truly happy. At best you’ll describe your life as okay or fine. You deserve more than that.

Another short-term inconvenience is…

Working that little bit extra to stay on top of what is going on

There are always times in our lives, in our work, that we have spikes of activity and there’s more to do to stay on top of everything. That is normal.

While having a life that works and allows for free time, rest and recovery is important, recognize that to truly be fulfilled and satisfied you’ll have to ride these turbulent times. You may even enjoy the change of pace for a short while and then you’ll truly enjoy your down time.

If it becomes too much or goes on too long you may need to evaluate your current commitments and obligations to decide what you need to let go of.

Again, if this is something you need help with, I’m here for you.

I have a process in my coaching system where we take a look at your values, your goals, and the lifestyle you want to be living, to make sure what you are involved in is in alignment with all those things.

This segues nicely to another short-term inconvenience for long-term gain and I believe this is one that will resonate with most of you.

Saying “no” even though it is uncomfortable and awkward in the moment

This is so you’re not investing endless hours later doing something that is not in alignment with your goals or your values.

If you have any tendency toward people pleasing this is probably your biggest downfall. You hate to be unhelpful or let anyone down. So, you say yes to too many things. Until you’re exhausted and have to completely clear your schedule for your own survival.

What I’ve come to learn is that saying no to things you don’t really have the time for, or are not that interested in, is actually a gift to the other person. They can move on to get help from someone who has the bandwidth and is 100% happy to help.

If you’re saying yes because you don’t want to say no, you are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

The last example of an inconvenience I’m going to mention in this episode, though there are many I could give, is one that will sound counterintuitive but I’ve got a case I’m going to make.

There are times that you will need to…

Sacrifice that next opportunity so you can take some time away to rest, recuperate, and get back to yourself

This isn’t advice you typically hear out there, but you are not typical. The sooner you accept that, the better it will go for you, your wellness, and your long-term goals.

The women in my community tend to be driven, ambitious, want-to-change-the-world-or-at-least-my-corner-of-the-world-kind-of-women. You don’t need the whip cracked over your head because you’re probably already at capacity, over capacity, or about to be in that condition.

Opportunities, making a difference, and making progress gets you fired up, while wasted time and going nowhere drives you crazy.

These are all forces for good if channeled well.

However, as human beings we all require rest and periods of reflection. It’s how we process our experiences and come back stronger.

You may have amazing dreams and big goals but if you do not make the sacrifice of putting it on hold from time to time so you can take care of your overall well-being you’re going to putter out.

That’s putting it gently because your body has ways of making you stop if you don’t voluntarily do it on occasion and I assure you when that happens it will be incredibly inconvenient.

Do yourself, your body, and your goals a favor: sacrifice some short-term progress for long-term gains.

Making these sacrifices can be difficult so I want to offer you some tips to make it easier for you.

Making sacrifices more palatable 

First, change your perception. Rather than focusing on the short-term inconvenience or cost, focus on the long-term payoff.

If we focus too much on what we dread about the conversation we’ll convince ourselves that it’s not worth it, but that’s a misperception. Correct your perception by taking a longer view. How will the next days, weeks, months and years look if this issue keeps reappearing?

When you are trying to decide if and when to have that hard conversation, imagine what life will look like after you’ve addressed your issue or concern. If you no longer had to concern yourself with this, what could you move on to and put your energy and attention to?

The light at the end of the tunnel

In regard to working a little bit extra to get through peak times of the year or in your work, focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and know exactly when that will arrive.

For instance, if tax season is your busy time, plan a vacation for just after so you have something on the calendar that declares the busy time is over. This also gives you something to look to, something you can think of as a reward for putting in all those extra hours.

If it’s the winter holidays, maybe block your personal calendar the first two weeks of the new year to stay clear of any extra projects or activities that don’t revitalize you.

The vacation and the time blocked on your calendar acts as a set expectation, for yourself and others, that you are unavailable. For the calendar you may need to communicate your hiatus to friends and family.

A simple, “Hey, this year has been a lot and as a part of my strategy to stay happy and healthy I’m going to go dark for a couple of weeks in January. I’ll be happy to reconnect and make plans mid-January. I hope you are doing something kind for yourself as well!”

The ability to issue a “soft no”

To help you say “no” to things that don’t work for you I have a few suggestions.

One, decide now what your availability is and what you are willing and able to give.

Two, to prevent you from saying yes as a knee-jerk reaction, get into the habit of saying “let me think about it.” It sends the message to the other person that you are willing to consider their request but doesn’t commit you to anything.

Last, have a templated “soft no” response ready to go at all times. The soft no looks like, “Thank you for thinking of me! Unfortunately, I’m [already overcommitted/taking a break/going in a different direction] and will have to decline.”

What are you busy doing?

As for skipping an opportunity to get some rest, again look to the long-term gains of being at your best when you are working. Remember, you are worth feeling rested, strong, and clear on your direction.

Question whether the next opportunity is really something that will be advantageous to you. I love the quote, “If it’s not a ‘Hell Yes!’ it’s a no.”

If you think you can’t take time off because you’re too busy, ask yourself the question, “Busy doing what?”

Those activities that are keeping you busy, are they so important that you can’t put them aside for a short time while you take care of yourself?

I’ve rarely found some activity to be so crucial to my or my loved one’s survival that it can’t wait until I get back.

This is another suggestion that is asking you to change your perspective on the situation. Now, if it is that critical and you can’t step away at this time, inquire as to when you can. Again, having something to look forward to can make the short-term inconveniences bearable.

It’s not convenient to make these sacrifices but there are huge payoffs to be gained in the long run. I love the expression, do something your future self with thank you for.

We’re not in it for the short-term superficial pleasures, we’re in it for a deeply satisfying and fulfilling life. That takes sacrifice and being willing to deal with inconveniences.

An additional resource

If you are looking for more resources to help you with your leadership and personal development check out Accomplished: How to Go from Dreaming to Doing. This is a do-it-yourself coaching program and you can purchase it in multiple versions: soft cover, kindle and audiobook format on Amazon and Audible.

I hope this was of value to you and here’s to your success!

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