"Well, are you happier?"
This question has come at me quite a bit lately. It is a reasonable question, being that I have recently completed the 30 Day Happiness Challenge created by the founder of the World's Biggest Gym and author of The Guidebook to Happiness, Carl Massy. Over the last month or so, I have been asked a lot of questions about the process. Because I was A: swamped and B. Deep in the challenge, I haven't responded to the questions. Today is our lucky day! In an exclusive interview with me, I chime in about the experience.
Why did you take the challenge? Were you THAT unhappy? I mean, come on, you live in Bali for crying out loud!
I'm not unhappy by any stretch of the imagination! I have trying days, sure, and I definitely tend to say yes too much which puts me in challenging spots, but I think I have a pretty awesome life. I also think I can live an even more awesome life. I have been at a bit of a crossroads, wondering if I am living my life as fully as I could be, pursuing my passions and purpose as much as I could do. The challenge came as a birthday present to self, so that I might have the support as I reflect and ask these important questions.
What is the structure of the challenge?
The 30 Day Happiness Challenge began with some "pre-work" to set me up for the actual challenge. Pre-wok included examining personal beliefs and goal setting. The goal setting portion was incredible, and has given me ample opportunity to assess where I am with where I say I want to be. Through both the goal setting and beliefs practices, I was able to see areas where I have been limiting myself, and living life in a smaller way than I need to be living. This realization, if made in isolation without support, could have been a depressing one, but I had the support of a coach, and so it was actually a very exciting discovery. I get to say how it goes from here on out, and I say I am going to live life powerfully, boldly stepping into abundance and joy, love and awareness.
The following 30 days of the challenge were filled with daily activities. In addition to being able to email and ask questions as they arose, each week, I had a checking in session with my coach. It was often in these sessions that things really gelled, and I definitely had a few "AHA!" moments along the way.
You have been looking at happiness stuff for a long time. Did you really learn anything new?
Through the challenge, I had ample opportunity to examine how I am living my life, and how I want to show up in the world. Most of the information was not new; like Carl, I have been on a quest to understand happiness for quite some time, so I am familiar with what many of the 'experts' have to say on the topic. Being familiar, however, does not mean that I put into practice what I know to be effective. The structure of the challenge helped me to stay on task, and gave me something outside of myself to be accountable to. (I learned that I am willing to let myself down more than I will do others. Something to work on!) Because I had committed to the challenge, I forced myself to take me time, to stay on track with my priorities, to live in alignment with my values, and to set right the areas where I know I am out of alignment.
What was your favorite part of the challenge?
There was a lot that I enjoyed, but I think I have benefitted most from the daily routines, or "Daily Blissipines" and from the values exercise.
Blissipines, a term coined by Brian Johnson of the En*theos Academy and Philosophers Notes, are daily habits that we practice to help us up-level our lives, living as happily as we can! The blissipines in the happiness challenge included expressing gratitude, saying thank you, and doing something fun every day. I have the blissipines written out next to my bathroom mirror, and love reflecting on the day through the lens of the list each evening.
The values practice was incredibly empowering for me. When you look inward and ask: 'what are my top five values?' and then step outward to see if you are living according to those values, it becomes really easy to see where you might be askew. For those of us who struggle with telling people "no" when they ask something of us, it is great to be able to turn to these values to see if the request measures up and enables you to live to your values or not. If they don't, it is clear that a "no" is necessary.
Have there been any awesome outcomes from the challenge?
Well, I expanded my personal goal to something WAY bigger than it was before, and I am incredibly excited about this. I have a little secret device I use to know if something is right for me. It is absolutely scientific and well researched. I call it the "Butt Wiggle Test." If something is great, it makes me want to wiggle my tush in a totally alive and energetic way. My new goal makes me wiggle so hard my ears jiggle. And stuff has started to happen. Crazy good stuff. It is like I am a magnet for amazingness. Stay tuned. You will know about it soon. :-)
Let's measure up the success of the challenge. Are you happier in the end? How do you
Yes, without doubt, I would say I am happier. I also feel as though I know myself better, and have a better understanding of how I can show up as the best version of ME. I better know the traps that often lead me astray from my happiest life, and have a tool box filled with strategies to help avoid the traps and get back on track with greater ease. I know I am happier through the measuring strategies provided in the challenge, but more importantly, I know I am happier through my litmus test indicator: laughter. I laugh more. I seek out enjoyment more. I love me more, which enables me to love others more. At the end of the day, I know I am happier because I feel it in my heart.
Should I take the challenge?
Short answer: Absolutely. Longer answer: I think that anything which gives us the opportunity to get clearer about who who we are and how we want to show up in the world is worth embracing. I truly loved the challenge, and found it to be a very positive, life transforming experience. I am confident that anyone who takes it on will find value in the experience.
What else do you want to know? Send your questions my way and I will gladly answer them.
Feeling inspired and want to take the challenge? YA-HOO! I am excited for you and the awesomeness that is coming your way. My butt wiggles just thinking about it. To learn more, head on over to the World's BIGGEST Gym.
Erin Michelle Threlfall
Theatre Artist, Activist, and Educator, Erin is the mother of a budding genius in his 7th year of study. Erin and her little man, Edem, have a plan to investigate world theatre and influence education one continent at a time. Ghana, South Korea, Togo and Bali have been checked off the list of places to live; these days they call Brooklyn home.