Pursuit of happiness

If the pandemic has given us nothing else, it’s provided perspective both in home life and work life. In particular, it’s been a huge reminder of what’s most important. I’ve said that more than once lately, but the theme of pursuing happiness persists. 

I recently made a new friend. This person is smart, accomplished and has a long career made up of jobs that would impress anyone. We’re the same age. But there is one thing that’s very different between us. This friend is dying of terminal cancer. He hasn’t known about it for long, and he wasn’t given much time.

We spend most of our lives waiting for the future. We’re waiting until our work gets better. We’re waiting for another time to travel. We’re waiting to take risks. We’re waiting for a promotion. We’re unhappily trudging through life, waiting for something new. 

And, unfortunately, that future we’re patiently waiting for is not guaranteed.

Although my friend’s story is sad, it’s also inspirational. He is using his time to pursue the things he loves. He’s traveling, surfing, and spending time with friends. He’s living without fear, and he’s no longer doing the things he hates. There’s no more time for being unhappy with a job or living an unhappy life. He is pursuing his happiness.

If you don’t love your work, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate. Companies are being more flexible than ever. Many jobs are remote. And some companies are offering new perks to help their employees with work-life balance. If you’ve ever wanted to work for a company that’s not located near your home (but you don’t want to move), this is the time. If you’ve ever wanted to move (but haven’t been able to because of your job), this is also the time.

Steve Jobs famously said, “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

That is a simple yet important concept. We’re all going through a period that feels out of control with fewer choices available to us than we would like. We may feel stuck. But don’t lose hope. In the same way that the pandemic has closed doors, it has opened new ones. Look for those new doors, and redesign your life so that you can pursue your own happiness.

– Career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching. copelandcoaching.com