A few days ago, I was on the phone with with someone very dear to me; someone I respect as a professional, and am proud to call friend.

She recently launched her own business, which she was very excited about.

This was her dream. She quit her job to pursue the dream. She is ostensibly living the dream.

But talking to me the other day about her business, she said, “I’m not happy.”

That stopped me in my tracks.

This is someone who is full of life, always has a good thing to say about other people (even when I don’t), and is as close to a human dose of Vitamin B as you can get.

But she’s not happy.

What is happiness, exactly?

Image: Robert Nunnally via Flickr, CC 2.0

I know there are dictionary definitions for it

But I don’t know if that makes happiness any easier to identify, let alone attain.

We get so busy doing this, doing that, going here, going there, excited about a new development, crushed by another that did not pan out.

How often do we stop to think about whether we are happy or not?

Or stop, and just be?

We all deserve to be happy.

And especially if we have chosen to leave the beaten path and strike out on our own… it better make us happy.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Why go through the hassles of setting up a business, drumming up clients, dealing with the various taxes, blah blah blah, if it doesn’t make us happy?

While I still don’t have a perfect definition of happiness – and probably never will – I think I am happy when I don’t want to be anywhere else, don’t want to be doing anything else, don’t want to want.

When I am content in the moment and wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

My dog Suzy gets this.

Here in the U.S., we have far too few holidays and we put in a ridiculous number of hours at work.

Which is probably one of the reasons the few holidays we do have get jam-packed with “stuff.”

By the time they’re over, we’re exhausted, vowing to turn it down the next time… and then we do it all over again.

We owe it to ourselves to figure out if we’re happy.

And if we’re not, how to change that.

I don’t mean the “I’m so irritated by ___ ” that we all go through, probably more often than we care to admit.

But consistently, over several months, if we are restless, searching, discontent… we are not happy, and we need to change that.

So as you head into your Labor Day weekend, please ask yourself: are you happy?

My wish for you is that you are.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke