Being content: Is what you have the thing you hoped for?

happiness mindset stress

Hello and Happy Monday!

The last few days have been a whirlwind for me - and it got me thinking of you and something you might resonate with.

Last Thursday, I flew from Minnesota (my home base) to Florida. On Friday, I spoke four times at a partner retreat, then I flew to California to speak at an all-attorney retreat on Saturday. Yesterday (Sunday), I flew from California to speak at the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) Conference. 

Thursday morning I woke up in my own bed, and it would be six nights before I’d sleep there again.

Before I left my house Thursday morning, I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

I hadn’t finished packing.

I wanted to put a few more finishing touches on my upcoming talks to make them just right.

We were running low on milk, I still needed to send Mother’s Day cards (don’t forget Mom this week!), and I had to switch to a bigger backpack so that I didn’t need to check a bag. 

It felt like a lot, and I was feeling a bit grumpy and stretched thin about all of it. 

Until I realized - this is actually exactly what I want to be doing. This is what I dreamed about when I started my business - getting to speak at attorney events across the country and help organizations and individuals improve their lives - professionally and personally.

I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do when I took the leap into entrepreneurship almost two years ago.

Why am I complaining? I’m literally living a dream I had for so long. And this is what it looks like.

Is it perfect? No. I never expected it to be (or at least shouldn’t have expected it to be.)

Is it hard? Yes. I work really hard and strive every day to deliver top-notch quality to my clients. It’s not easy, but it’s deeply gratifying.

I can’t complain about a dream or a plan that’s come true.

I love this quote from Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

Contentment is one of my values, and I encourage my clients to seek it as well, as it increases well-being in many ways. When we are content, it relieves so much stress and striving. It doesn't mean we are complacent, but it means that we are content where we are right now rather than comparing our lives to some idealized version or someone else’s “Insta-perfect” life. 

What do you have that you see as stressful and hard that was once among the things you hoped for?

Your job? 

Attending law school? 

Your partner?

Your kids?

Your home?

You might be living the dream of your younger self and not even realize it. You might be wishing it was different, and yet this is actually what your younger self worked for and wished for. 

Take a moment to be grateful and content for what you’ve created in your life - it’s a lot, and you have so much to be proud of and grateful for, even when it’s hard. 

It doesn't mean there aren’t tweaks to be made. There are likely parts of the experience that aren’t what you planned or hoped they would be. 

But recognize the path you had to take to get where you are, and that you did it! And this is the journey you chose. It may help you find more joy and peace when things don’t necessarily feel joyful or peaceful. From that space of contentment, empowerment, and perspective, it’s easier to make positive, thoughtful, and intentional change.