Leading Self Purpose Self awareness

What’s your goal in life?

Happiness starts by understanding who you are and the ability to be who you are at all times.

As I’m about to finish my Zappos audiobook ‘Delivering Happiness,’ the last section of the book is called ‘End Game.’

The section addresses the topic of happiness and makes the case that if we peel back the onion far enough, in the end, we’re all looking for a bit of happiness in our lives.

We just have different ways to get there.

But it all starts with the question:

‘What’s your goal in life?’

Followed by the question:


If you keep asking ‘why’ often enough, you’ll eventually get to the point where happiness is an important driver.

Happiness starts for me understanding who you are and the ability to be who you are at all times.

Yes, you need to conform enough to be effective and successful, but that doesn’t mean you should pretend to be or be forced to be someone else than you are.

Therefore, ‘Be’ is the second cue in my playbook.

Short reminder: cue #1 is Pause.

Pausing is getting to the understanding part. That’s the time you take for yourself to ask yourself a few questions, like the one above.

For me, I’m clear about what I want from my life, and I’m clear about my work.

Where I do my work is not of the utmost importance, as long as my job allows me to be who I am and allows me to be creative, progressive, and do meaningful work.

Meaningful because I simply believe there is still a lot of work to be done to create an environment where people can bring their whole self to work.

Again, within the boundaries of a (values) framework, but not compromising on the authenticity of each associate.

That’s the fight I’m willing to fight.

And that’s why I’ve often been characterized as a troublemaker or rebel.

For a long time, I carried this perception around like a badge of honor. I was proud of the fact that people were calling me a rebel or troublemaker.

I was proud that I was often the first or the only to address what so many other people were thinking but not willing to say.

And to be honest, I’ve also rebelled intentionally sometimes, just because it was fun to see well-paid executives becoming uncomfortable, not knowing how to handle a situation well out of their comfort zones.

It only proved to me that if you’re not self-aware, you often do not know how to deal with adversity.

Think that one through for a moment.

After some self-reflection over the years, I’ve lost some of that pride in being a rebel.

It’s not about being a rebel.

It’s about helping create the environment you’d like to see for yourself and others.

It’s about making others see that rebels do care and are, in fact, not troublemakers.

Rebels care about work more than anyone else. That’s why they are willing to engage in a conflict.

Rebels need good leaders as coaches.

Leaders who challenge them. Leaders who allow them to challenge in return and will listen when they disagree.

Leaders who recognize the positive intention behind the actions of a rebel.

That requires leaders who know themselves, are themselves, and allow others to be themselves as well.

Leaders who understand that all success and happiness in the world depend on who they are first.

That’s my goal in life. Helping those leaders and their teams.

Your turn: What’s your goal in life? Why?

Do more of what makes you happy!


NB. This is the second publication in a series of ten connected to the 10 cues in my playbook “MIND.SET.GROW. – 10 life-changing cues for success and significance”.

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