As kids, we dreamed of a stellar professional future and conjured up the steps that would take us there, but if we also assumed that our success would automatically include an exhilarating sense of happiness, fulfilment and wellbeing, we might have been mistaken.

Many executives report disappointment when they reach the pinnacle of their career.

“Here I am today in the role I imagined for myself, but I feel that I’m still breathlessly chasing the position I’ve already achieved. I have financial comfort and a beautiful family, but I’m exhausted and edgy. Where’s the feeling of completion and contentment I thought would come with my achievement?”

The answer is simple and yet complex – we need to recalibrate our ‘thinking’ and the life-long, programmed beliefs that have ruled our behaviour. (“If I work long and hard, I’ll have the life I’ve dreamed of.”)

As an outgrowth of reaching for the top, we can easily become addicted to results-focused thought patterns, attitudes and behaviours.

We strive, chase, sacrifice, posture, compete, shield, and defend and… unrealistically, expect this encoding to drop away once we land the top job. It won’t, unless we make a mindful effort to change it, but to what?

Here are 5 uplifting mind games that will help shift your focus from a ‘Hard-Yakka HEAD’ to a ‘Fun-Loving HEART’.

5 uplifting mind games

  1. Build relationships

    Place a fresh focus on connection and engagement with family, friends and colleagues, not because it’s useful, but because it feels good.

    Results from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a 75-year research project, shows that good relationships play the starring role in keeping us healthier and more content through life – “Those who lean into relationships are the happiest.”

  2. Find meaning and purpose

    You’ve proved your ability to achieve, now is your moment for self-actualisation – your time to ignite activity around what you love, what you’re good at, and what you’ll enjoy contributing to the world.

    Connecting with our life purpose allows us to align our decisions, activities and relationships to what we value most, above and beyond our role at work.

  3. Polish your presence

    Great brands generate an emotion: Apple, ‘Think different’; Toyota, ‘Oh what a feeling’; or Nike, ‘Just Do It’.

    What’s your brand? What effect do you have on others? Sit in their chair at the board table and view yourself from their perspective. What do you see? Anything you’d like to change for the future?

  4. Build your legacy, now

    How do you want to be remembered? Revisit your leadership identity as a senior executive, partner, parent, and/or friend.

    Your legacy is tied to both a memory of your ‘presence’ and the contributions you make in service to others. Thinking ‘legacy’ can help pull you away from the daily to-do list often enough to focus on the bigger picture.

  5. Have More Fun

    It’s easy to become serious and mechanical as we focus on achievement at every turn, and this has an effect on the quality of our chemistry, charisma and health.

    Think the ‘Big 3’ as you walk through reception each morning:

    • Have fun! (Give yourself permission)
    • Find fun! (Scan for opportunities)
    • Be fun! (Intentionally lighten up)

    In a recent interview Richard Branson commented, “I’m a big believer that if you find happiness, then success will follow. Happiness encourages good life decisions, bolsters wonderful relationships, and opens up doors to great opportunities.”