Turn up Happy

If a fire-fighter arrived at a fire worried about the laundry, one could be forgiven for thinking that something was not going to go as planned. And yet, everyday, leaders can fail to turn up to lead their teams with unfinished business on their plate. 

The beginning for moving from coach to leader, from manager to leader is to deal with your own stuff so you can turn up to lead others through theirs. In other words, “Turn up Happy.” 

This means, you are happy before you work, speak, write, achieve, get married, get divorced, attend the graduation, win the golf tournament or the lotto. You’re happy before you lose the weight, finish the book or buy that car. 

Happiness that comes from doing or getting or having is a very vulnerable happiness, an emotional happiness that can be stolen in a blink and therefore has no base for leadership. Unreliable people don’t get trusted.

The first place people have to rely on a leader is that the leader is actually going to turn up, 100% of the time with their laundry done, their desk clear, their head straight and peace in their heart. A stressed leader is no leader unless the people they lead are even more stressed, a self fulfilling prophecy.

When somebody asks you, “what makes you happy?” there are many ways to answer. But the best answer for a leader at home or at work, at least the best internal answer is nothing makes me happy, “I’m happy naturally.”

In the West we are in the habit of seeking things to make us happy, and this turns life into an emotional roller coaster. Food, people, addictions, alcohol, work, knowledge, relationships become a passport to happiness rather than the celebration of it, or even better, a way of giving it.

In happiness it is always wise to remember, you can’t give what you haven’t got.