Lately, I have had a tugging feeling at my soul as it challenges me to understand life’s questions and to share with others the meaning of success, joy and a whole host of things that I’ve discovered on my 25-year career journey. I haven’t written lately not because I haven’t been inspired but because I’m on the throes of writing my next book and busy speaking around Asia. But the one thing that keeps coming up is why in the hell are Asians so busy? In honesty, why are people so busy? I find myself working with complete balance, e.g. on the weekends I relax, enjoy time with my family and just spend some “me time”. Maybe I don’t get it. But, then I think back to when I owned a medium enterprise, worked from sun up to the middle of the night, did community involvement, and squeezed in my family, as well. I was doing everything, and all the while I was getting burned out and not feeling fulfilled. Now, I do more of what I love and less of what I don’t which is a sign of maturity and let’s be real- getting older and just not living for everyone else but rather with purpose and clarity which has it perks. I’m not saying busy people aren’t clear or purpose driven, but if you step back for a moment and truly assess what you do and why you do it, you may discover that you are a hamster on a wheel in a Habitrail (cage). Sure, you are moving and from the outside looking in you even look busy, but you aren’t moving forward.

Are all the things that you are doing in alignment with your higher self and ultimate goal? If you say you want to be married but you have no time to date…there’s a disconnect. If you say that you want to spend more time with your children, but you keep joining organisations that meet on the weekends, there’s a disconnect. You say that you want that prime promotion that requires new skills, but you keep turning down projects because you are busy doing the same thing day in and day out; there my friend is a disconnect.

People say they want this and that, but often they don’t know what they want or at least what it will take to have what they want or what they may have to give up in attaining what they want. I was encountered by a professional who asked me to be his mentor. He explained how he should be so much further along in his career. When I asked what that meant he basically said that he should be earning more money. He even became frantic in explaining how hard he works, the many things that he is doing to achieve success and that he deserves more money based on his efforts and want more money based on what others seem to be achieving. This wasn’t something new: I seem to attract people who want me to help them make money more so than achieve success. I explained that money shouldn’t be the end game. But, of course that is not something people want to hear since many equate success with money. But, for me… it’s about living your purpose and doing what you love. And, not to sound cliché ‘then the money will follow’. I never sought out to own and operate a multimillion dollar business. I simply wanted to do what I loved, and I did it well, so I grew a substantial client base which led to significant contracts, paid speaking gigs, and wealth. In fact, when I look back…I’m kinda shocked at how much money I earned without efforts and energy directed towards the goal of earning ‘money’. When I shared this with him he was baffled and a little annoyed. He asked with disdain, “then what do you want?” I said, “joy. I want joy.” Money does not bring joy. As an American Rapper said, “more money…more problems.” Now, don’t get me wrong: having money is wonderful. I don’t judge people who want it. In fact, I can coach you on how to acquire it. It’s easier to make money than to achieve peace. Having money was great: I loved the ability to travel the world, go in to any store and not look at price tags, step on a car lot and order a custom car, Jaguar XJ to be exact and to have it delivered to me with an over the top British accent saying over the speakers, “welcome to Indigo’s Jaguar. Enjoy the massage and the ride.” So, I’m not going to even pretend that having money is not awesome. But, don’t get it confused with joy which is all I’m saying.

I am richly blessed that I attract money with little effort. I guess money is like a cat. The more you try to pull it in, it becomes coy, moves away and ignores you. I’m not a cat lover and like money, I respect its space and I do me. I focus on me and ignore it, and it then comes to me. Like the fickle cat or like a man who knows you want him more than he wants you, it will move away from you versus towards you.

The purpose of this blog is based on an observation. I notice that people are so busy working, running unending errands, meeting up with this person and that person, and doing stuff. People have become less of Human Beings and Human Doings which I wrote about in another blog. But, why? That is what I’ve been trying to understand. Is it to avoid loneliness, to make more money at some point, is it to find joy or what? I know this person who has not been in a romantic relationship for years (if this sounds like you: it’s not…I’m writing about someone far far away). At any rate, this person works from sun up to sun down, rushes for dinner with colleagues, and goes home to start churning the butter all over again the next day. Then on the weekends, he is running his home-based business, attending meetings for this and that, and just busy as hell, and then complains how exhausted he is all the while wondering when the right person will enter his life. My friend; there’s no room in your life for another entity! After hearing his spiel for many months, it just occurred to me that this person may be so actively engaged in everything except putting energy towards a relationship to avoid being lonely. Maybe staying busy keeps his mind off the notion that maybe he is lonely. Now granted you can also be lonely with someone in your life. I was terribly lonely with my wasband (was my husband now my ex). So, being with the wrong person can bring about loneliness, too. So, what the heck am I getting at? Ask yourself what is it that you really want and why are you doing the things that you are doing that probably aren’t getting you what you want or where you want to be.

Here are 3 simple things that you can practice over the next 28 days to see yourself moving closer to your goals. Hopefully, the following three suggestions will wrap up my rant about joy, loneliness and money into a succinct message:

1. You must learn to be alone to eliminate feelings of loneliness
According to Harvard Researcher in an article titled Good Genes Are Nice, But Joy Is Better, “Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, said Waldinger, and the loners often died earlier. “Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.” There is a difference between lonely and being alone. People simply aren’t spending enough time being alone; thus, some people don’t know how to be alone and feel lonely when alone. Sometimes you need to be alone to figure out things. Have you ever seen a kid just running around until he gets tired and passes out? As a good mom, you get him to sit down way before that and tell him to be still. Oh my god. What is wrong with people who are afraid to be still and allow their mind to process stuff? When you are always in the mix of people and stuff, you cannot hear yourself think. That may be the real issue. You may not want to hear what you have to say to yourself about yourself. I challenge you to take one night a week to go home and be with yourself. What you do with yourself is entirely up to you but give you some “me time”. Learn to appreciate your own company then others will appreciate your company.

2. Be active with things that are truly meaningful
Minimize the gazillion things that you do and start to focus your energy on the more meaningful things. If you are in a women’s group and ½ the women in the group irritate you, then meet up with the few women who you enjoy and stop showing up to be with people who probably don’t like you either. You are not in high school, you don’t have to be friends with people who your friends are friends with. Share yourself and time with people who value you. That is where you will be reenergized. If you go golfing with a guy who cheats and tell horrible stories and you count the minutes until you can get to the 18th hole or rather 19th hole: the bar, just stop! What’s wrong with you? You deserve better. Be with your family who will benefit more from your presence than that guy who will replace you like a pair of wooden chopsticks with splinters. It’s okay to not do what doesn’t bring you joy. Explore what is meaningful and pour yourself into that. You may discover your true purpose and passion by letting go of stuff that you do because it is expected of you. I have been sharing with people whom I coach ‘just because you expect it doesn’t mean you have to accept it.’ If people expect you to show up for shit you don’t like, that does not mean you have to accept it. When you become courageous in saying no and letting go of stuff…you’ll be amazed at what wonderful things you will attract to replace that stuff.

3. Understand what brings you joy
If you are chasing the dream but have not truly identified what makes you tick, you may get what you are chasing and be ticked off. What you think may be a dream may be a nightmare. Spend time identifying the moments you felt your best and what types of people were around, what were the circumstance and what did ‘joy’ at that moment feel like. That’s important. Become clear about what you want, what it looks like and how it feels. If you are pining over some guy who didn’t make you feel your best but for some odd reason he seemed to be the one for you…then let it go. He’ll probably be a nightmare. Remember that rejection is often protection. I digress: that was all about me for a minute. Anyhow, what I am saying is that you need to understand what joy is and what joy is not. According to Webster, Joy is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. It is so important to know what brings you joy so that you can do the things that will put you on joy’s path. Also, this will help minimize doing things that don’t bring you joy. When you know what brings you joy you will be less inclined to accept and embrace that which doesn’t bring you joy. For instance, I was blogging about work, professionalism and career stuff. I do love that stuff, but to write about it weekly wasn’t bringing me joy. What I enjoy is sitting down writing about whatever is in my heart; like now. Some people will embrace this while others will not, but I don’t have to answer to anyone but my higher self. So, I’m doing me, and I encourage you to ‘do you’.

4. Understand that money is not a motivator
According to psychologist, money is not a motivator. If you are chasing the dollars, you will never be satisfied because there will always be more to chase. I use the analogy of the military. A Marine will throw him/herself on a grenade to save other Marines. They weren’t offered more money when they signed up. There was no briefing that said, ‘Anyone who volunteers to jump on grenades will receive a bonus in their pay check.’ In fact, we would get nothing for a heroic act aside from a posthumous medal. We would do it for reasons beyond money such as honour, love of others, love of country, heck the list goes on. Money is not a motivator and that is an extreme example. But, the point is that nobody can pay you enough to do certain things because deep down money doesn’t drive your actions or desires. Want is what drives you. You want a new car, a bigger house, etc.? The question is not what you want, but why do you want that? Maybe you want more respect, maybe you want to appear important, etc. Well, that is easy… you can gain those things in other ways such as community involvement, being a better person, being a good friend, being an exceptional parent, etc. I guess what I’m trying to tell you is to find out why you want this elusive money and figure out how you can achieve it in other ways. Money doesn’t bring joy but not having it when you want it can make you miserable.

I’m just saying.