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Are you chasing success, hoping it will make you happy? Maybe you’ve got it backwards.

Over the years, I’ve met many successful people. Some were happy, some not so much. Too many people accepted the idea that “unhappiness” was required “dues” along the path to success. Someday, once successful, they’ll magically become “happy.” Thus, the  spectacle of salespeople working around the clock, missing family events, abandoning hobbies, and staring at smartphones from a beach chair. The horror of watching people literally working themselves to death.

But what if we could work ourselves to life?

Don’t misunderstand: Achieving any goal requires hard work. It requires planning, dedication, focus, money, technology, and skills. But the question remains: Do we have to be unhappy on our way to success. Better still:

What if happiness was the secret ingredient that makes being successful easier?

Consider the idea: Can we become more successful by making happiness the priority? Let’s narrow it down to career success, for our example.  What part does pursuing happiness first play in growing our careers?

In my experience, people who shift their thinking – who begin pursuing happiness first – discover an empowering ingredient that provides them endless energy, creativity and enjoyment on the path to success. Whatever the goals, making happiness a priority acted as a magnetic force that improved their results.

[tweetthis]Consider what it would mean if you worked towards happiness every day.[/tweetthis]

You could make very different decisions about everything. The most important decision would be to abandon the energy-sapping belief that sacrificing is necessary to reach goals. Instead, you’d act upon decisions which promote and preserve happiness as your vital resource. The implications would be immediate: Deciding to surround yourself with positive people, who encourage you, and celebrate your hard work, in the office, at home, online. Curating only proper jobs – work you believe in, customers willing to properly reward you, jobs you do at peak performance. Incorporating personal passions into your work, transforming a task into a hobby.

The work itself becomes different: Working becomes one’s way of enjoying life daily. You’d stop rushing through the work just to get it done (and then go off and do something happy). There would be pleasure in the actual doing of the job. Necessary activities cease being “necessary evils” and become “anticipated goods” that fill you with energy and enthusiasm. You do things you enjoy better. Inevitably, you’d do them well above the level of others around you.

The ripple effects of pursuing happiness touch your creative side, too. Imagine moving away from producing things like leads, emails, reports, transactions, money, and moving towards creating things. Connecting your creative skills – to cook, draw, take photos, talk, play – with formerly dull tasks at work that could shift your value proposition outside of any competitor’s range. Bringing your personal creativity to bear on your work simply cannot be copied by anyone else.

Best of all: creative, positive work becomes its own form of marketing; its own value proposition in the marketplace.

Now what about success? Would making happy-based decisions attract the success you crave? My experience tells me it does. I’ve never met a happy person who wasn’t successful at things they determined to do. Second: happy, energetic, creative people easily attract all the clients, co-workers and mentors they need to reach their goals. Happiness becomes their magnetic secret weapon, pulling valuable resources into their personal orbit. Great clients, meaningful work, drive, passion and dedication are the by-products of someone radiating happiness.

Most of us know  how to work harder. We constantly design ways to work more. There’s no shortage of cliches extolling sacrifice over joy. But I don’t buy them any more. I’ve seen the scars of such ideas on the faces of too many seminar attendees. I’m tired of seeing people for whom exhaustion has become a way of life. It doesn’t have to; in fact, it shouldn’t ever be. There’s plenty of time to work – with no guarantee of success.

Yet each of us can decide to work happily, every day. Guaranteed.

Success, I’m certain, will then not be far behind.

[tweetthis]Great clients, meaningful work, drive, and passion are the results of putting happiness first.[/tweetthis]