“Please come and pick up your daughter. She has pink eyes and you know it is contagious”. I got this phone call from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher couple of months ago. Leaving my boss a quick message, I rushed to the door to pick her up from school. Just as the elevator door opened, my boss ran after me and shouted: “You have to come back. We have a big problem”. Yep! Here we go again.
So, there I was between trying to figure out what the disaster was, calming down my agitated manager, texting my husband and mother to see who could pick up my daughter, I was out of breath and exhausted. Lucky for me, grandma saved the day and pick up my daughter. I got home at 7pm, exhausted from a hectic day at the office and my daughter was all over me. Then, it was making dinner, giving her a shower, calming her down, answering more emails from the office and on and on. By the time I got to bed, it was 11:30pm. Then I would be up at 6:30 am the next day and jumped on the next day roller coaster.
More and more, I found this to be my normal day as I climbed that lofty corporate ladder. Between a demanding career, being a mom, a wife, a daughter and a sister, I was exhausted. Also, I was feeling very guilty and overwhelmed. I constantly felt that I wasn’t spending enough time with my daughter on top of which I felt that I was falling short of my career goal because I hadn’t dedicated 110% of my energy to move up the corporate ladder.
One day, it just hit me. I was earning more money than I ever had, my finance was stable, and I was moving up on the ladder, yet I wasn’t happy. When I started I was earning a pitiful CAD$32,000 per year yet I was happy. I had a balanced life and I didn’t lose my hair and stressed out most days. Now, I earned a high 6 figure income, I have a comfortable life, and a nice sounding job title but I am tired and stressed out most days. Isn’t this the success that I have been working so long and hard to achieve?
We live in a society that defines one’s success by career a monetary status. It is not difficult to see why most of us jump into the conclusion that to be considered successful, you must have these two things. If you type: “successful person” in Google, you will see this:
These are all individuals who have had tremendous financial and career success. They fit in the mole of our standard of success, but are they happy? Do they have a fulfilling and blissful life? I would venture that Oprah, the Omaha or even Mark Cuban can probably say they do. Maybe? But Abraham, Marilyn, Arnold and Elon, really? That was when I realized financial security and successful career doesn’t equate to happiness. Duh! Why did I make this assumption in the first place? Why was I so blind to this common sense thinking? Now the question for me became: do I want to be happy or be successful?
To be happy may mean that I must view success in a very different lenses. It may mean that I need to toss aside what years of Ivy League business school taught me about success and view my life in a completed way and putting my happiness in the center of it all. Success shouldn’t just be about financial and career achievement, it should be about the sum of one’s life accomplishments in finance, career, and relationships that make one’s life complete. Success should be what make you smile, make you feel blissful and complete. It shouldn’t just about the blazing headache, neck pain due to stress and corporate politic just to have one more zero added to your paid cheque.
Money is necessary, but it should not be the be all and end all. There are more important and beautiful things in life. Like your child’s smile that can lit up your gloomy day, a good stroll and conversation with your sister that you make you laugh out loud, a hug from your partner that seems to lift the weight of your shoulder or event your mother’s constant nagging about what drinking cold water can do to your system. It should be the sum of laughter, memories, and moments of blissfulness in the company of people who you love. It may not be the conventional way that our society and even our school system have declared what success should be, but I know this is my definition of success.
Strangely, my sister arrived at the same spot that I was in. I knew she was having a hard time at work because her manager was the boss from hell. We all had one of those managers at one time but her boss was a special case of the devil wears..well..no, not Prada, more like panda. Having enough of the devil Panda boss’s mental mind games, my sister decided her mental health was more important than a job and so she walked out. Then, she promptly moved in with me to find her new life path. Yep, we pretty much do everything together.
So there we were: a stubborn, pig-headed, career driven maniac Capricorn and a cosmetic addict, fashion obsessed, light feet traveler, self-declared lifelong bachelorette, and loving auntie Gemini. We both had one thing in common at that point: stress out and the need to re-exam our life’s priorities and focus. What would give us clarity and stamina to discuss and debate? Ah, Pinot Grigio was the natural choice.
After so many years of leaning in and battle bruise to prove it, we needed to re-examine our life choices and to start a new path to define our own path to happiness and bliss.
To achieve happiness, we believe that we must have balance in three important aspects of our life:
We came to this conclusion by starting examining what are the most important things in our life. Let’s explore why these three elements are so important in our life.
Yes, money is not the be all and end all, but it is an important aspect of life. Many of us dream of wealth in times of desperation, especially when experiencing the lack of money. Wealth is important as it is the main currency for the trade of goods and services that we need to meet basic survival needs. You know what I am talking about: foods, shelter and clothe is optional. I don’t judge if you want to be freer in your choice of clothing. More than just basic survival needs, wealth can give you the power to live the lifestyle that you want (Kate Spade bags, travel, eating out, etc.), and not a lifestyle that you are forced to accept. This was why we both worked so hard to climb the ladder in careers that did not give us any fulfillment. We were only chasing wealth after living without much for so long. .
We still need wealth to acquire and maintain the lifestyle we wish to have, however, we are now questioning what that life style is? Big house? Beautiful clothes? What is it we were chasing? We all need to have enough wealth to live a quality and happy life. However, what type of lifestyle you want to live and how much money you need to support said lifestyle is entirely up to you. No one can tell you what the right amount of money you need. You are the boss of your life and you alone have this answer.
I just like to point out that the lack of money can dampen happiness when you are forced to live without the things and experiences that you truly desire due to lack of wealth. Financial stress is real and your happiness can be seriously stripped away by stress and anxiety associated with financial debt or the risk of it.
And I agree that wealth does not equate to instant happiness and there are a lot of unhappy wealthy people out there. Hello, Abraham, Marilyn, Arnold and Elon! I believe that the biggest problem with these wealthy and unhappy folks is that they are trying to live a lifestyle that they think they want instead of the lifestyle that they truly desire. If I can venture a guess, it is a result from the need to compete with others in their social class instead of focusing on their own desires and purpose in life. Take Mr. Musk for example. Everyone agree that he is a genius. This man taught himself programming at 12 (the average student just learned the basic math at 12) and he is filthy rich. He is basically a living god to a lot of young people. But is he happy? Just look at his personal life and you will get a sense if he is truly happy. So, it is important that you target the things and experiences that truly generate positive and long-term happy emotions for you and people you love instead of the common short-term superficial joy which will quickly leave you dissatisfied. Remember the designer bag or a gorgeous dress that hide and show your fabulous figure, it is just a short term solution, not a long term fix.
I don’t believe that you need to be super wealthy nor do you need to make a drastic change to live the minimal life style to feel happy again. Wealth is important because without wealth, you are either living a life of much limitation or you are continually increasing your debt load as noted. The lack of wealth will limit the resources you have to support your health and well-being and prevents you from living out many of your true dreams and desires. Moreover, an increased debt load further escalates limitations on life and seriously puts you at risk for stress and depression. On-going lack of wealth will seriously impact your true happiness and state of health.
So, don’t discard wealth as just another materialism concept. Wealth in the right context is a powerful and important component of having a happy life. As such, we concluded that you need to have sufficient wealth to provide for yourself and your loved ones. How much and what is the right amount of wealth is the answer that only you can decide. The key to personal financial health is to feel in control and know that you have enough money to have options. If you’re working too much and you don’t have time to enjoy life, then you miss out on life’s purpose.
There is mental and then there is physical aspect of health. Both are important and crucial to enable you to have a happy and blissful life. Often, we get so obsessed with our careers (yes, I know!), with dating, and with wealth that we forget about our health. When you are in your 20 and 30, it doesn’t seem so bad, but when you hit the big 40, you will notice the gradual changes in your body and health. Ladies, childbirth will also do a number of unpleasant things to your body, so be aware.
I want to draw a clear distinct different between our mental (the mind) and physical (body) health though both are correlated and impact each other. Poor or declining physical health can lead to an increase risk of developing mental health problems. For instance, my mother suffers from arthritis and the pain can really shorten her fuse. She tends to get very agitated when her bone aches due to this disease and will lash out quicker. Physical health importance is easy for us to grasp because it is visible. You can see how physical disadvantages impact one’s quality of life and in general most of us know how to keep physically healthy through diet, exercise and good sleep habits.
Instead, I want to talk further about mental health. Poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health. You heard about famous and wealthy people commit suicide due to depression, so the danger of mental health is real and it can be deadly. Being aware of the implications of decline health (mental and physical) is paramount to maintain one’s happiness. Excessive anxiety, depression and stress can contribute to physical problems such as heart disease, ulcers, colitis, headaches and musculoskeletal problems. Anxiety and stress can also reduce the strength of the immune system, making people more vulnerable to conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer. As important as it is to keep your body in tip top shape, keeping your mind at a healthy state is just as crucial (or even more so in my opinion).
Making health a priority is important to having a happy and blissfully life. Simply put, you can’t enjoy life if you have poor health mentally and physically. This doesn’t mean that you should start to exercise excessively, eat only organic and healthy food, mediate and avoid stressful situation life a plague. No, everything is in moderation and we encourage you to research and seek experts to help you live a healthier life. As I said, you are the boss of your gorgeous and healthy body and mind, so find ways and time to make it a priority in your life so you can have a better quality of life.
If you are enthusiastic and just plain jazzed about the work you do, it will be more likely for you to overcome the many obstacles. That’s not the case for the two of us, especially Helen as she hates her job. There is a direct correlation between passion and output. The more enthusiasm you have, the more inclined you will be to work harder at improving yourself thus allowing you to continuously get better at the work you do. Passion is a powerful motivator that can push people beyond their limits and strike to the impossibilities. Steve Job and his passion (to the point of obsession) with perfection and technology transformed the world we live in. And there are countless examples of how one’s passion could make the impossible into reality.
However, as we examine our career choices we both realised that we have never been passionate about any of our jobs. It was simply well paying jobs with nice titles, and we wondered why we have no motivation for work. For Helen, at the end of her time with the Panda boss there were days when she literally wakes up and get panic attacks at the thought of coming into work. That should have been a sign to her. We realised we have never done what we love to do instead of we’ve always done what we must do. We believed that they can’t earn a living doing what we love. For example, just because someone love being a juggler doesn’t mean that you can make a good living off juggling. Wrong! cirque du soleil and Guy Laliberté. Check it out! Yes, you can.
Now, if you can’t see yourself quitting your well-paying job to take a chance on being a juggler, try out a side job or project. Take us for instance, ex-banker and finance analyst who want to have a blog about finding and having a blissful life. Anything is possible if you believe. I know it is scary and overwhelming to follow your passion, but you don’t know if you can success until you try. It’s possible to pursue your passion outside of the office if you make it a priority.
So, don’t think that you have to make a drastic life change decision to pursuit your passion. It can be a gradual build up to get your comfortable with each stage of change before moving on to the next. I know a banker who paints frequently and her paintings were sold at a decent price. Also, a project manager who writes romance e-books in his spare time and make a small side income. Don’t ask me how I know he writes romance e-books. I promise him that I won’t out him on this. The point is: these people love working on the stuffs that they are passionate about. When you have something that you are passionate about in your life and you can work on it, you will feel happier and have more moments of bliss in your life.
It is quite simple don’t you think? Wealth, Health and Passion. These are 3 secrets to our happy and blissful life. Often the toughest answer is the simplest one. Now, to find “the what” is quite simple, to know “the how” will be the harder part. To have a happy and blissful life, all these 3 elements in your life must be in balanced and harmony. This is gonna be harder than walking on a tight rope, ladies!
How are we going to accumulate a decent amount of wealth that will allow us live in the lifestyle that we desire? How can we take a better care of our physical and mental health? How will we inject passion back into our life to feed our mind and soul? We will admit, we don’t have all “the how” figure out yet, but we know that we are passionate about this this topic. The thirst to find the “how” answers is the reason we started this blog to explore these topics. To talk to like minds women who want to or already on a quest to find a happy and blissful life.
Let’s open the dialogue, ladies. Let’s brand together to help one and another to find a better way to live our life, to bring colour, laughter, passion and love back into the life of constant hectic and chaos. We are smart, independent and resourceful. And together, we think it is possible to all live happy and bliss. Join our conversation and share your ideas.