Success And Happiness; A State Of Mind, Not A Destination. (Part 2)

“Not always sunny, but always in a sunny state of mind.”
-Lilly Pulitzer, entrepreneur, fashion designer, American socialite

(Read Part 1 here)

To succeed and be happy, you must first define what these concepts mean to you. Differentiate your ideas from others. Make it personal. If you don’t, uncertainty and vagueness will erode your motivation. However, even with crystal clear clarity, there’s still one more step. You must transform your definitions into a state of mind rather than a destination.

Let me explain

If you want to earn a million dollars and enjoy doing it, that’s a clear goal. The goal is your destination. It describes what things will look like when you arrive. When you receive a certain amount of income and can say you enjoy the process, you will have achieved what you want.

However, what about the quality of your journey to that destination? How will you handle all the detours and wrong turns you are bound to make along the way? What will be your GPS to re-route your trip and get you back on track? 

You have to find a way to keep it sunny, even when it isn’t.

State of Mind.

Do you remember the song “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel? It was popular in the late ’70s and the first few lines featured the “piano man” singing:

Some folks like to get away

Take a holiday from the neighborhood

Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood

But I’m takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River line

I’m in a New York state of mind

The inspiration for the tune came from Joel’s pride returning home to New York after spending three years working in Los Angeles. He was literally on a Greyhound bus along the Hudson River (probably coming back from the airport) when the idea came to him.

Joel captured a particular state of mind that enabled him to leave behind the glitter of Hollywood and return to what was essential for the next stage of his success and happiness. This state of mind helped him sustain the energy and enthusiasm needed to overcome the discomfort that transitions often bring.

I’ve seen all the movie stars

In their fancy cars and their limousines

Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens

I know what I’m needin’

And I don’t want to waste more time

I’m in a New York state of mind

Make it real.

To actualize your version of success and happiness, you must first create a state of mind that reflects it. Otherwise, you will chase an elusive fantasy that doesn’t seem close enough to be achievable. There are too many distractions along the way to sidetrack you.

It was so easy livin’ day by day

Out of touch with the rhythm and blues

But now I need a little give and take

The New York Times, the Daily News

Live the benefit now.

The mental and emotional payoff of your goal has to be precise, compelling, and immediate enough that it will keep you focused no matter what obstacles you encounter.

For Joel, that meant connecting with the gratification New York gave him; the rhythm and blues music scene and the intellectual stimulation of its newspapers. 

Yes, New York was his destination. What got him there was the private paradise he created in his head about that city. His state of mind.

It comes down to reality

And it’s fine with me ’cause I’ve let it slide

I don’t care if it’s Chinatown or on Riverside

I don’t have any reasons

I left them all behind

I’m in a New York state of mind

Interestingly, more than thirty years after “New York State of Mind” was famous, Billy Joel sang it at The Concert for New York City, the 2001 benefit for the family and loved ones of first responders lost during the 9/11 terrorist attack.

His performance was a show-stopping declaration that New York and the U.S. were committed to returning to normal, one way or another. The country had engaged in a collective state of mind to see them through to their goal.

What state of mind do you need to create to see you through to your goal? 

Action Tips:

  1. Describe your success and happiness goals in one or two sentences. Do this for one area of your life, such as career, personal relationships, health, etc to help you be more specific.
  2. Get clear on what feelings and thoughts you will experience when you achieve that goal.
  3. Decide to inhabit those feelings and thoughts now by connecting with meaningful images in your mind. Create a private paradise to sustain your motivation and willingness to do what it takes.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this newsletter trio in the next issue, Learn to harness your attention with purpose.

Thanks for reading. Until next week, 

Jo-Aynne von Born, Certified Professional Coach

→Don’t forget to reserve your spot for the FREE resilience webinar on August 25 here!

(This post was reprinted from my newsletter Authentic Success. You can subscribe to it here.

By Jo-Aynne

Professional and Personal Development

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: