Pursuit of Happyness – at Work

I’m so glad that Will Smith is nominated for best actor for his role in “Pursuit of Happyness“. I loved that movie – not just for its cinematic appeal (I do love movies!) but because of the story it portrays. Based on the real life of Chris Gardner, the movie (and book) is about a man who had every reason to fail – yet succeeded beyond belief.

 The real Chris Gardner had no university degree; no connections; and eventually at one point ended up homeless, with a failed marriage (his wife left him) and all alone to raise and provide for his young son.

Despite those odds, Chris Gardner (as portrayed by Smith) went on to create a tremendously successful life with a career that lead to a multi-dollar business in the financial brokerage business.

What was his secret? Who knows for sure but what seems clear to me is that this man had something very powerful:  A vision for “possibility” and a better future — with passion; a strong belief in himself – of his worth and abilities; and an unstoppable, tenacious ‘make-it-happen’ attitude playing out consistently in his actions no matter what the obstacles. He worked hard, no doubt. But he made it happen!

Wow!!!!  Who wouldn’t admire that?

How many of us with our wealth of special qualities, strengths, experience and goals — often let our dreams go unrequited – and our passion unfulfilled…maybe even eventually forgotten?  

The defining difference between the “Chris Gardners” of the world (and many of you/we are in that camp) is all about ‘will’ (not as in Smith:); belief (in self and a possibility); and commitment (to be all we can and do what we can consistently to actualize our dreams).  You don’t have to strive to be a millionaire.  Any dream will do. 

In Gardner’s website he says his mother, Bettye Jean, was an early inspiration for him. He grew up with hardship – but with loads of love from his mom. She’d say that despite where he came from he could do whatever he set his sights on and achieve his goals. He believed her and felt he’d have to find a career he could be passionate about and one that would allow him to be “world-class at something.”

Sigh. Gotta love that. 

Now over to you: 

  • If you truly believed in yourself and recognized all your gifts, strengths, wealth of experience — what would be possible?
  • What would you be willing to work for and to give it your all?
  • What are you passionate about? If you don’t have the ‘whole’ answer – just tidbits of what gets you going and engages your interest?
  • What would get you out of bed on Monday mornings and say: “Thank Goodness it’s Monday morning! I can’t wait to get to work?”
  • How much stock do you put in to your doubts and what others say to feed those doubts?
  • If you could temporarily quiet some of those doubts what would that other side of yourself say (the knowing and self trusting side)?

 What does “Happyness” at work and in life look like to you?

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