I had a Perfect Moment today. It wasn’t a standing ovation in front of a thousand people. It wasn’t a phone call from a publisher sharing some good news. It wasn’t a Fortune 500 company calling to book a leadership presentation or coaching engagement for their team. No, it was a far more important thing that occurred in my life on this morning. And it was incredibly basic (as are the best things in life).
As I got out of my car in the parking lot of our office, I noticed an amazing fragrance in the air. It was pure beauty. So sweet and breathtaking. I looked around and saw that I’d parked under a tree overflowing with red and pink blossoms. Spring had sprung, and the tree was spreading its magic. I just stood there. Closed my eyes, entranced by the smell. And the moment. I felt grateful to be alive. Sure, I have challenges I’m dealing with (the only ones who don’t are dead). Sure, life could always be better.
But happiness is all about gaining a sense of proportion and perspective. And we all have many blessings in our lives, like people who love us or work that gives our days meaning or healthy kids or simple gifts like food on the table and two eyes to see through.
Like the Perfect Moment in the parking lot. Life is so very short. Yes, it’s important to focus on excellence in your career and arriving at splendid success, however you define it. I totally agree with that. But equally important is enjoying the ride. Laughing. Having fun. Experiencing adventure. And not missing out on Perfect Moments. Mostly, they are free. And they are right in front of you. Today. If only you make the time to look for them.
Here’s a simple idea that has worked brilliantly for the executives and entrepreneurs that I coach: if you want to be happier, do more of the things that make you happy. I know that seems like an obvious point – but it’s not. As we leave the wonder years of childhood, most of us stop doing the things that make our hearts sing. One CEO client told me recently that when he was young, he used to love to take long solo rides on his bicycle. “I stopped doing that when we had kids and work demands took over. Life just got busier. But those moments out on that bike came from some of the best days of my life.” Another client, a phenomenally successful entrepreneur, shared that his passion used to be playing his drums in a rock band. “Those were incredible times. Then I started my business and it began to consume me. I miss playing music. I’d lose myself in it.”
Here’s your To Do: make a list of your 10 Greatest Passions, 10 activities that fill your heart with joy and remind you of how good life can be. And then, over the coming 10 weeks, inject one of those pursuits into your weekly schedule. Powerful thought: the things that get scheduled are the things that get done. Until you schedule something, it’s only a concept – and extraordinary people don’t build remarkable lives on concepts. They build their greatness on action and near-flawless execution around their deliverables.
They get things done.
This 10-week program works. When you get back to doing those things that lifted your spirit and sent you soaring, you reconnect with that state of happiness that you may have lost. And part of the purpose of life is to be happy. Really happy.
Excerpted from The Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma, published by Harper Collins and available in good bookstores.
Robin Sharma’s 10 Great Passions:
1. Helping people in organizations across the world Lead Without a Title.
2. Time with my two children.
3. Learning through great books and interesting conversations.
4. My morning cup of Columbian coffee.
5. Skiing powder snow on a perfect winter’s day.
6. Great art galleries like Uffizi in Florence and the Tate Modern in London.
7. Walking in the woods.
8. Traveling to fascinating places in our remarkable world.
9. Experiencing great food from different cultures.