As a master coach I’ve worked with successful C-suite executives, partners, business owners and entrepreneurs who also excelled in something else—unhappiness. Inward discontent that then shows up in their team, in their organization and in their personal lives.
And yet, over thousands of coaching hours, I’ve also worked with successful AND happy individuals, many of whom I’ve helped to improve professional success while increasing their personal happiness. These leaders possess six common characteristics:
#1: Stable roots.
Having stable roots doesn’t necessarily require a balanced home or a perfect childhood, even a predictable life. Rather, this characteristic speaks to an individual’s clear sense of self-awareness and consistent temperament, which contribute to a Sense of Self that isn’t negatively affected by challenging circumstances or overwhelmed by life’s ups and downs.
#2: An inclination to help others win.
Winning signifies success. We look good. We feel good. We’re rewarded. When we help others, it’s a different emotion—something like profound well-being. Moving beyond ourselves impacts the wider world, contributing to a Sense of Community and Belonging.
#3. A clear and shared set of guiding principles.
Highlighting underlying rules of engagement and invisible patterns is an important leadership capability. Simplifying and codifying complexity in meaningful ways allows others to be efficient, successful, focused and fulfilled, which speaks to a Sense of Meaning.
Contagious and inspiring individuals are able to create a Sense of Purpose through their words and actions that inevitably spills over to others, by motivating them and shaping the bigger picture.
#5. The ability to put wins and losses into perspective.
Wisdom, knowledge and experience contribute to the ability to judge a situation’s importance and urgency. If an individual can take the rough with the smooth while maintaining a learning orientation and a performance mindset, it fosters a Sense of Perspective.
#6. The tendency not to take themselves too seriously.
A self-effacing Sense of Humor requires a sense of humility. Being able to laugh at ourselves and find lightheartedness in challenging situations reinforces our shared human experience. It diffuses tension and creates connection, even in the darkest of times.
When we understand that success is actually a by-product of happiness and not the other way around, we can then develop a deeper understanding of the human condition and a joyful appreciation of the world.
Focusing on these six senses (Self, Community and Belonging, Meaning, Purpose, Perspective, Humor) allows us to create the conditions for a successful AND happy life. Are you ready?
Jamie Ramsden is a certified executive leadership coach and founder of Adastra Consulting (www.adastraleadership.com). A former Chief Executive, Jamie has been coaching C-Suite and Senior executives around the world for over fifteen years.