Clayton Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School and lead author of How Will You Measure Your Life. His journey begins as he noticed two things about graduating students; some did quite well successful and making lots of money. Yet many of them didn’t enjoy their work, had mediocre relationships with a few in jail. Not a great picture of the image we have about the success that comes from the best business school in the world. In this article I will look at what he has to say about happy relationships – work life and home life.
Finding Happy in Your Work Life
Happy and success aren’t about making heaps of money or having the perfect family. It’s a balance between motivation and being deliberate. Christensen states it’s impossible to have a meaningful conversation about happiness without an understanding of what makes us tick. Most of us don’t understand the true nature of our motivations – and thus, ourselves.
Making heaps of money does not make you happy if you hate how you earn that money or how the company makes money to pay you. Money might make you tolerate your work life or the relationship you are in, but it won’t make you happy.
More importantly what are the things that bring you satisfaction? These are the things that motivate you, fill your tank and make you feel alive! So, part of the process of seeking happiness is to know makes you feel alive, brings you purpose and meaning.
Once you start to get a clear picture of what success and fulfilment looks like for you, you have to ensure that you put your time, money and energy towards them. One of the mistakes that we often make is to dedicate our efforts and resources to the things that yield the most immediate and tangible accomplishments. As an example, many people prioritise things like a promotion, getting a new car over things that require long-term work to see a return, like raising good children and having a loving relationship.
Finding Happy in Your Relationships
Christensen says that the relationships we have with family and close friends are the most important sources of happiness in our lives. Putting them on the back burner – no matter how important it seems at the time – is a big mistake. By the time we realise that there are serious problems in a relationship, it’s often too late to repair them. As a relationships coach I concur. I often see people who have waited too long to get help. Help is not impossible but the longer you leave it the more work you need to get it to work. Reach out to me before you get to that place of no return.
Here’s a way to ensure that it never gets to the point of no return!
Good relationships need consistent attention and care. There will always be an ebb and flow of how intense that attention can be, but it must always be there, never allowing things to be running on empty. There are two forces that will work against you here.
First, it’s tempting to invest your time, energy and money into things that give you an immediate payoff. Like that promotion at work, or that next big project that needs your full attention for weeks at a time. Second, your family and friends will almost always be supportive of you, but how many times can they sit and wait for you to remember them? You must guard against this and put in the time and effort into the things that will help nourish those relationships on a regular basis.
Jobs To Be Done in Happy Relationships
If you want to find the key to strong and healthy relationships, you need to figure out the jobs that need doing in the lives of those around you. These things will vary from relationship to relationship, and the key is to listen to the other person deeply (long enough) to find out.
In the areas of your life where you can choose your relationships, you’ll want to look for somebody who you want to make happy – somebody you find yourself wanting to sacrifice for. Why? Things are not always rosy and when they are not going well you will dig deep and be there for the other person.
Christensen rightly points out, if falling in love is the ultimate understanding of each other’s jobs to be done, then what cements that commitment is the extent to which you each sacrifice themselves to make it happen and continue to invest to keep the love fire burning.
Not sure how to do this? Message me and I’ll share with you how you can keep the love fire burning.
Christensen ends the book with a powerful line: Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all of the time.
This is your measure – choose what you stand for and do it and that will determine your happiness!