Are You Letting Others Dictate Your Happiness? Am I?

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Humans are a strange breed. For starters, we are warm-blooded mammals that have hair and produce milk, like whales, only slightly different. Second, we are self-aware beings. As we grow older, we learn more about ourselves, while only asking more questions about our origins and how we fit into the world that we know. As time passes, many of us start to see that some folks never leave the world that they know, and others, well, they yearn for the adventure to start something new and uncomfortable in their lives.

Some of us create our own happiness or the pursuit of it at least, while others drift through life and let others take control. It's a tough balance. Especially in the working world where lines are drawn and limits are tested, letting others dictate our happiness is a major issue I have noticed not only in myself, but in those around me as well.

Why do we let it happen?

Is the thought of actually enjoying to work for someone else completely dictated by their management style, leadership techniques and emotional intelligence levels? Or, is it dictated by how much money you make and how much value you bring to the organization? A little bit of both? Yet, when work ends and we all go home at the end of the evening, morning, or afternoon, we usually forget about our boss's leadership qualities that we dislike or admire, and move on with our lives.

So, why do so many of us let others dictate how we feel about ourselves both personally and professionally? Sure, we're afraid of losing it all to some degree or not having enough money to pay the rent, but why do we let fear dictate us at times when we need courage the most? Is it that powerful? Heck, if you saw the sales numbers for IT this summer, you'd say that fear is definitely that powerful and we're all just along for the ride. Maybe we like being afraid. Fear seems to be pretty ingrained into our systems, so maybe it naturally brings out the bravery in us all. I wouldn't be too surprised if that was the case. However, there is a major difference between the acknowledgement of fear and the paralysis it can carry on a personal level.

So, I want you (me) to try something.

Think about some things that bring you fear and write them out.

I'll start.

1.) Failure and bankruptcy

2.) A trapped mentality

3.) Loss of desire or passion

4.) Loss of key friendships

5.) Neglect

6.) An authoritative boss

7.) Ego

8.) War

9.) Hate

10.) Violence

11.) Relying on others for everything

12.) Letting work dictate my own happiness

13.) Accepting that happiness is a destination and is not always the answer

14.) Ignorant people

15.) Spiders (yes, I included them)

16.) Spiders crawling on my face when I sleep (that's much scarier than solely seeing a spider in my room)

17.) Stagnation

18.) Boredom

19.) Death

20.) Growing old and losing touch

21.) Etc. etc. etc. -- I could probably write down 100-200 of them.

Most people don't like sharing their fears. Many mantras preach never to show it, but I am a firm believer in showing vulnerability to gain trust. Let it all out there, folks. The coaches and bosses throughout the years that I never clicked with were always the ones too afraid to show their vulnerabilities and fears. We are all humans and we all are afraid. While some believe that showing vulnerability and admitting our weaknesses is in fact, weak, I would urge you to think just the opposite. By being completely open to failure and risk, we open ourselves and all of our doors to the endless possibilities that we face in this life and the next.

My coaches that were too afraid to admit their weaknesses were never fully able to coach. My teachers, the same. My bosses too. Once we stop putting our happiness and dreams into the hands of others and let our guards down, good things start to happen. Walls break down. Doors open where others close and we start along the rightful path of what we want.

What do you want? Think about it for a minute today. What do you want in life and the life of those around you? Forget about your parents. Forget about your student loans. Forget about your boss. Forget about your business coach, past sports coaches or teachers. It is not about them. It is your life.

How do you want to live it?

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.  You can find it and follow me here: