The Pursuit of Happiness
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m your host today and every day.
John So I was talking to a friend recently about a topic. And we’ve just got into kind of this deep conversation. And I said, OK, so what would you say is the goal or the objective of life? Like, what is the number one thing that most people are after? And, you know, I’ve always been a big believer in this. And I know from my own life, I’ve thought about this a lot. And that is happiness.
John I mean, in reality, that’s what life is all about, is getting to a place where you are happy. Now, there are other things that go along with that. But bottom line is, I know some people that are just genuinely happy and they may not have a whole bunch of stuff they may not have. That’s not how they define happiness.
John They were just happy people. They’re content. They feel great. They look forward to every day. There just doesn’t mean they don’t have bad days, but they’re happy people. And then I also know people that are very unhappy.
John I know people that have accumulated masses of wealth that are very unhappy. So I don’t think money is the answer to becoming happy. It’s not you can talk to many, many very unhappy people that have a lot of money. It is not it may reduce some stress, but it may bring on some other stresses. Money is not the answer, but what is the answer?
John So how do you get happy? I, I find a lot of people, unfortunately, live their life in a way where they recognize that they’re not happy with a part of their life for all of their life. And at the same point and deep down inside, they may even know what they need to do or should do that would change that or help change that. But then they don’t do it. They don’t make the change. And it could be somebody that is in a job that they hate.
John I mean, think about this. How many of you out there are not happy with your job or your career or who knows, somebody maybe has a spouse, significant other a friend who’s just miserable with their job or not even miserable? They’re just unfulfilled. They’re not happy.
John We spend a large majority of our waking hours doing our careers. And if it’s not something you’re happy about and enjoys, then why are you doing it? Know, why are you sticking down that path? I mean, is that going to change? Are you just accepting the fact that this career is not making you happy?
John A majority of your waking hours are not going to be happy. And it’s not just the waking hours that you’re doing it. It’s on the weekends, too. I told you I was. For a long time, I was not enjoying my work. And Sundays I would wake up and the first thing I’d think about is I can’t work tomorrow. I literally got to not like Sundays because they were one day away from Monday. Wow. Was that a wake-up call?
John But I know so many people that are like that. You know, they just live life down this path that is really making them unhappy. And it’s not just jobs, it’s relationships, too. I know many people that are in relationships that are trapped and I’ve been there, believe me, I’ve been there. But in relationships where I’ve been unhappy that I have not done something about it, I knew what I needed to do, but I just wasn’t able or willing at that time to make the change that I knew I needed to.
John And once I did, I was like, why did I wait so long now? I’m happier now. You know what’s amazing is and I really, truly believe this, you have all kinds of things waiting for you in life. And there are all these opportunities. And it might be new people coming into your life. It might be new work opportunities. It might be a new house. It might be a new hobby or interest or whatever it might be. But it’s not going to come to you. And it’s you’re not going to find it unless you let yourself loose and cut and change the path that you’re on.
John So I’m not going to find that soulmate or that person that I really am meant to be. If I’m staying in a relationship that I know is not the right relationship, I just I’m not going to be in the opportunity.
John I’m not going to be in any situation where I’m going to be able to if I am miserable in my job and I know there’s a better job or there’s a better career or maybe a whole different industry unless I’m willing to make a change, I’m not going to see that. I’m not going to ever find that opportunity.
John It sounds pretty obvious, but when you think about it, it’s a lot of people are just waiting for that to smack them in the face and pull them off the path that they’re on right now. It’s just not going to happen. It’s extremely unlikely that that would happen. And it’s just not. And so what we have to do is do something that’s incredibly scary and that is deal with change. We’ve got to step off the path that we’re on, which, believe me, is so uncomfortable. Nope. Nobody likes to do that.
John Most people will actually deal with an immense amount of pain. Rather than the discomfort of change, they would actually stay in a situation with people or someone or in a job or a living situation, whatever, that is painful or not fulfilling. And they’re unhappy they’ll stay in that because they fear the unknown. They fear the change. And what I will tell you is you don’t have to have all the steps mapped out. You really don’t.
John You know, it’s amazing when you take one step and make one decision how much that opens up your eyes and you start to see things you never saw before. You start to see possibilities. You meet people. You see things differently.
John And now step two comes into view. And then, OK, now step three, it’s almost like this path. And if you don’t take that first step, you may not it might be foggy out there. You don’t know. But you take that first step on that first rock or whatnot, and then you see the second rock. Oh, there it is. I couldn’t see it before when I didn’t take the first step. So I didn’t want to take the first step because I don’t know, maybe I get stuck out there. But every step I take. OK, there’s the next one. I got it. OK. Oh, there’s the next one.
John That’s how life works. It’s amazing. And I will tell you, I know I shared this. And if you want to go back to one of the prior episodes where I shared kind of the I think it was the 100th episode. It was where I went through what I did and what my story was, so to speak. And if you remember that, I mean, I was in a great job. I was earning a lot of money and I was getting paid every consistently. I was just and at the same point, I was unhappy. I just was unhappy because I was not able to do what I really wanted to do. And that is what I’m doing today, not just podcasts.
John And I’m talking about leadership consulting and executive coaching and doing keynote presentations and all the stuff that I love to do. I’m passionate about and feel like I can impact many, many more people than just the organization I was leading. Now I’m doing that. But it took me making a really, really, really tough decision. And you know what? I talked about this for years when I was working and developing people and, you know, coaching people. And I always talked about the importance of, listen, you have to take risks and you have to make decisions sometimes that are uncomfortable because there’s an unknown factor there.
John But when you do, your world can totally change. You’re literally one decision away from changing the rest of your life. And even though I had taught that for so long, I didn’t really know what that really meant. I did because I had not really gone through it to the extent that I just did in February of twenty right before this pandemic. But you know what? Once I did it, there were so many things that came into clarity, a vision that I saw that I had not seen before.
John Once I made that move, I realized, OK, and believe me, my whole world was changed because covid came, which was unexpected and all my speaking engagements got canceled. So the reason I had taken the leap and cut the cord and made that tough decision and what was waiting for me now evaporated.
John So that was really scary. But you know what? What I started to see was things I didn’t see before, they you know, so I don’t have speaking engagements. I can do them virtually none of them in person. I can do consulting. I can work with great clients, people that I love. I can choose how I want to get my message out there. I could do podcasts and I could do all this kind of stuff that I didn’t see before. And it was only because I made that decision. And then I started to think, wow, I can change my whole life. I can move.
John I loved living up in Boston, but my family is down here in North Carolina. And this move down here was the best thing I’ve ever done. And I wouldn’t I wouldn’t even really enter the possibility. I couldn’t have had I not left what I was doing before when I did, I’m like, hey, you know what? Now I can do this anywhere, you know, and just new people coming into your life that change your life. And you never you look and you say, you know what? I never would have met this person had I not made that really tough decision back then. I never would have I never this person wouldn’t have ever entered my life. And you could take it back to one even small decision or big decision that has this ripple effect.
John It’s just weird how life works like that. I mean, there’s so many people, unfortunately, that just get stuck and they get immobilized and paralyzed because of the fear of change or the fear of the unknown. I will tell you and trust me on this happiness comes we we each are responsible for our own happiness. It will not just magically come to you. You have to create the life that you want that will make you happy. You have to surround yourself with people that make you happy.
John What you know, I turned 50 and I realized if there are people in my life that don’t make me happy, why do I have them in my life? I mean, honestly, why would I surround myself with people that I don’t enjoy being with or they’re not helping me become better? And I don’t there’s nothing that I gain from that or there’s just they don’t make me happy. Guess what? Now I’m not going to spend any time with you at all.
John You know, we have choice of of how we live our life, what we do during our day, everything. We have a choice and we can control the things in our life that provide us to give us happiness. But we are responsible for it. I can’t put it on somebody else. I can’t blame my unhappiness on someone else. I can’t blame it on a job. I can’t blame it on a person. I can’t blame in a situation.
John If I have the ability to change that and you do so in reality, then I need to put it on myself. I am responsible for my happiness and that means surrounding myself and finding people in my life that make me happy and finding a career that makes me happy and finding a living situation that makes me happy and spending the time with the people that I want that make me happy. Everything.
John If I’m unhappy and this is a great exercise, take a few minutes and just think about it and write it down. What are all the things in my life right now that make me happy? Who are the people? What are the things that I do? What are the things that I think about? What are the things that I hobbies that I have that make me happy? And then what are the things in my life right now that are making me unhappy? Maybe it’s, hey, you know, I’m stressed because of finances or I don’t feel like I’m in the physical shape that I want to be or this job or this relationship that I’m in, whatever it is if it’s not fulfilling, if it’s not making you happy, you can make a change. And you know what? It’s not. Hey, listen, I feel like I’m 50 pounds overweight and I need to lose 50. He great. You know, let’s start with losing one pound. That’s it. Just get on a path and you will feel great about that. Don’t think about losing 50 if you’re in a bad relationship. It’s not, hey, I’ve got to get out of this relationship. I got to find somebody else. I got to get, you know, don’t put all the pieces together.
John Just take one step, have that conversation that you know you need to have. That’s it. Just start with one step and you will be amazed at what happens, the job. Hey, listen, I’m not telling you to go in and quit tomorrow but take one step. That’s it. One step toward bettering your situation.
John Maybe it’s a circumstance at work that’s making you unhappy. Maybe it’s the job and not the company. Maybe there are other opportunities for you in that company. Maybe it’s the career. Take one step, even if that’s how you let me do some research on another career, talk to somebody, or get mentored or coached by somebody that can help me find the right thing for me. Take one step. That’s it. And you will find your happiness goes up just by taking the one step because it’s all about progress. It’s not flipping a switch and getting there overnight. It just doesn’t happen.
John So I hope this was helpful. I love this topic. I talked to a lot of people about it. And having gone through what I have in the last year and a half, it is amazing how your life can change dramatically in a short period of time. Unbelievably so. And it all starts with making one decision and that’s it. And happiness is there for you. It’s right there. It’s right around the corner.
John You just have to make a take one step, one decision that ultimately will open things up for you and change your whole life. That’s it. And you know what I’m talking about. I know it’s in your head as you’re listening to this. You’re like, you know what? This is the. Yeah, OK, I need to do this. This is the one thing that I know will make me happy. Do it.
John And again, I’m here for you. If you want to talk about it, I’m here for you. You know how to reach me. So in any event, thank you for listening today. I hope I hope this episode made you a little happier because now maybe give you a little bit of hope. Hey, you know what? He’s right. I can do something about this. These things are making me unhappy. I can actually change. I can make changes in my life. I control my life. It’s an incredibly empowering feeling when you realize, you know what, I’m not a passenger in the car of life. I’m the driver. And I choose where we go, how fast we go, what turns we make. I’m in control.
John Nobody controls your life. You control your life. You make every decision whether you realize it or not. Sometimes you feel like decisions are made for you. Now you make every decision in your life, who you talk to, what you do, what you think about, what you say, what time are you going to work? Everything you what you eat, how much you exercise, what you listen to, everything you make, every decision in your life, nobody else does.
John So unless you’re a little toddler, unless you’re maybe one, maybe your parents do. So if you’re listening, you’re one. OK, yeah. Your parents make all your decisions for you, OK, even kids. OK, so if you’re 10, maybe even 15 years, some of your parents make some decisions. Right. I get it. But you know what I’m talking about.
John All right. Anyways, thank you for listening. Thank you for watching. By the way, if you are just listening, I do these things on YouTube. And you know what I try to look my best for all of you watching on YouTube. And some of you don’t even know I have this on YouTube. I got a YouTube channel, so go to it. Tomorrow’s leader YouTube channel. Subscribe to that game. You will see these, not just hear them.
John So I hope you are having a great day. I hope you’re having a happy day and like, subscribe, share comments, all that kind of good stuff. Go down below five-star reviews and stay tuned for my book Coming out, tomorrow’s leaders. Surprise, surprise. It’s the name of the book, T.
John Tomorrow’s Leader How the Best Leaders Get Better in a Fast-Changing World Coming Soon on Amazon. Stay tuned. Thanks, everybody. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@lauritogroup.com Once again, that’s John@lauritogroup.com
John Thanks. Lead on!