My guest today is a New York Times bestselling author, as well as a speaker, blogger, and recognized expert on the topic of happiness.
A happiness expert? Oh yes, there is such a thing. Gretchen Rubin takes the topic very, very seriously. She put her Yale education to work with the goal of finding out systematic ways that people can cultivate, achieve and maintain happiness in any facet of their lives.
The book that came out of her study, The Happiness Project, took the world by storm. Book clubs adopted it, college professors assigned it, psychiatrists recommended it to their clients. This topic really resonated with everyone who read it. It’s an amazing title and I strongly recommend you give it a read.
Not surprisingly, my talk with Gretchen turned out to be one of my favorite interviews ever. It went in some surprising directions, offered tremendous food for thought, and really hit home for me in terms of how to define success.
Honestly, this interview is so rich that I don’t want to summarize it too much here. You really should listen to the whole thing.
In the meantime, you can download our free giveaway for this week, which Gretchen herself designed. It’s a PDF guide called “Working Better Than Before,” and it’s meant to help you understand your work habits and gain insight into how you can maximize your creativity and productivity. (You can also use it to help your clients!)
Get Gretchen's PDF "Working Better Than Before"
If you just can’t wait to find out what Gretchen and I talked about in the interview, I’ll give you a few teaser points of what we covered:
We live in a world of one-size-fits-all solutions…especially as entrepreneurs. “Do it for 30 days,” “Start small,” “Give yourself a cheat day,” and on and on. If you’ve tried the solution of someone you admire, only to be frustrated by not having it work for you…guess what? Not all strategies work for all people! Gretchen says her research led her to discover that the really important first step in changing our habits is to begin by figuring out what is true for us.
“If we want to figure out how to change our habits, we have to figure out what’s going on with ourselves and the change has to come from a true understanding of who we are.”
If there is something you are struggling with, ask yourself if there was a time in the past where you did a better job with this. Was there a time when it came easily to you? What was different? Why was it easy then and it’s not easy now?
"A lot of times people, due to pressure, feel like they are failing because what all of the experts say should work doesn’t work for them."
Gretchen points out one of the puzzling things about habits: it’s easy to understand why we find it hard to make a habit of something we don’t want to do, but it’s often just as hard to make a habit of something we love! (And yes, she gives an answer to why this is the case.)
"The secret is to question all the ways you could think about setting it up so that it would work for you. You can find a way that will allow you to succeed and be the most productive and most creative, the healthiest."
According to Gretchen’s research, all people fall into one of four types when it comes to how you respond to expectation (your own or someone else’s). Those types are upholders, questioners, obligers, and rebels. Knowing which one you are makes it a lot easier to know what it takes for you to come through on a commitment. (You can take this quiz at Gretchen’s website to find out which type you are.)
“The secret of adulthood is accepting yourself and expecting more from yourself.”
The “just accept yourself” message gets frustrating to people who are very progress-oriented. But the people in “grow, grow, grow” mode eventually feel dissatisfied that they can’t ever just be okay with themselves as they are. Gretchen talks about the mindset that allows all of us to strike a happy medium between these two.
"Research suggests that about 40% of everyday life is shaped by our habits. If we have habits that work for us we are far more likely to happier, healthier, and more productive."
So how does understanding ourselves and how we form habits contribute to the growth of our business? Gretchen goes over this, too. (Hint: you know how great it is to generate sales on autopilot? It starts with getting your work habits on autopilot.)
"One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."
As soon as you can, click here to listen to the full episode. Gretchen’s insights will help you set a foundation that makes every aspect of your business stronger…and makes you a lot happier in it!
And don’t forget to download the freebie for this week, “Working Better Than Before". It helped me a ton (which I talk more about in the podcast) and I know it will do the same for you.
Get Gretchen's PDF "Working Better Than Before"