5 Articles that Will Help You Be Happy

Help You Be Happy
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This post will be published on November 1, 2013. Just two days prior, the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6. As a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan, I was disappointed to see them lose. However, I was even more disappointed by the overreaction to the loss among the Cardinals faithful.

It appeared most St. Louis Cardinals fans’ lives hinged on the success of the team in the World Series. One bad pitch, one strike out, one error appeared to be cause for life-altering speech and action. I understand rooting for your favorite team but being happy only if your team wins – Come On! We are better than that.

While reading the desperate reactions of St. Louis fans on Facebook and Twitter during Game 6, I started wondering how many people are truly happy. If such a trivial event can turn your life upside down, what does that say about the rest of your life. Because of this, I went in search of some articles that can help you be happy.

The five articles I found that will help you be happy are as follows:

ASK THE READER: What Do You Believe is the Number One Factor for Bringing Happiness to Your Life? Asking readers to give reasons as to their happiness is not exactly a novel idea but it isn’t often done. Brendan Baker, through his site The Start of Happiness, helps people be happy. Read this article and the comments below and see what resonates with you.

Moods Decide Your Fate – 5 Ways To Choose Your Mood  This is a short series of articles, each article having a different mood you can choose. Rob White paints a vibrant picture but does so in a simple, easy-t0-read manner.

When Did We Stop Smiling?  Brent Peterson, through his Stand & Inspire site, tells it like it is. People stop smiling out of habit. Have you stopped smiling?

How to Be Happy @ Work: Stop Doing These 10 Things  Instead of telling what to do to be happy, here is a list of 10 things to stop doing. Count how many you’re guilty of on a daily basis. Stop doing just one and see what happens. Stop all of them and the sky will be the limit!

3 Steps to Connect with Your Authentic Self for a Happier Life You may think this article, simply because it’s from the site tiny buddha, is a little “woo woo.” It’s not, I promise. If you follow the three steps in this article, you will be closer to being happy.

You’ve got to be happier if you read all five of these articles. If not, do you at least believe that it’s possible? It is. Happiness can be achieved by all. You can do it!

Role Models Are Not Just For Kids

role models
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Who did you look up to when you were growing up? Were your heroes the popular athletes or musicians of the day? What kind of role models did they end up being for you? What about in your early adult years? Did you even have role models or were you too old for that?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role models I’ve had in my life. My parents and teachers were the role models of my youth. They are still role model-worthy but I’ve broadened my mind to look up to and learn from others for particular reasons.

Dictionary.com defines a role model as:

“a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”

Notice that the definition does not address the type of success or behavior of the person. Most adults think of a role model (or a mentor) as someone with financial success. However, success can come in many different forms, as you’ll see by my choices of role models.

My role models were not selected on purpose. I wasn’t looking for them. Two of the three role models found their way into my life and one is a family member. I look up to these three people because of unique behaviors of each. One represents how I want to deal with financial success. One demonstrates how to treat other people, especially a spouse. The third portrayed a life dedicated to God.

My Uncle 

My uncle and his brother grew their family real estate investment business to a point they are no longer “active” in the day-to-day running of the business. The company’s assets and equity are substantial and provide a very nice life for my uncle, his brother and their families.

I don’t look up to my uncle because of his wealth. I look up to him for two other reasons, albeit related to his wealth. First, he (and my aunt) do not act rich. They are the most down-to-earth people I could ever dream of meeting. I love talking with them because how normal they are.

Some wealthy people put off an air of supremacy and make it difficult to approach them. Even though they are my relatives, they will talk to anyone. They love meeting people and making friends. They are courteous and fun. They are loving and helpful. They are truly great people.

The second reason I look up to my aunt and uncle is because of their generosity. They believe their wealth is to be used to benefit others but they do not want any notoriety from their generosity. I know of only a few things to which they have been big contributors but I know they are always willing to help others. It’s refreshing to see people with wealth who do not feel entitled by it. They are great role models.

Mitch

I knew Mitch from very early in my life. He always took an interest in me and made sure to always ask me how and what I was doing? He became my spiritual role model. Mitch was a public elementary school principal and an elder in my local church congregation.

Two times in my life I needed a written character reference and he was gracious enough both times to accept my request to write them. I don’t know what he wrote either time but they must have been good because I was accepted for both roles. Because of the way he treated me growing up, I knew he would do a great job and be very honest with what he wrote.

Unfortunately, Mitch passed away from cancer several years ago. In fact, he lived with cancer for many years and fought to survive long past when the doctors said he should. I never asked him but I can only imagine he fought that cancer how he did so he could teach the gospel of Christ to as many people as possible.

Years before his death, but still while having cancer, he began our congregation’s prison ministry. He would go to the prison every Sunday afternoon to teach and minister to the inmates there. Even though he was often hurting and tired, he walked his way into the prison rather than accepting assistance. I assume this was so he would not receive pity but be seen as a source of strength to those he was teaching.

Mitch was the smartest man I’ve ever known. There was little, if any, of the Bible he did not know. He could quote scripture endlessly. He tought Bible classes weekly, sometimes on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. When he retired from the school district, he gained additional time to study for these classes. However, he did that well before his retirement and still while battling cancer.

He loved his God and his family. Mitch was a great role model as a father of two girls, the husband of a wonderful woman and as a spiritual leader. To this day, I’m still motivated to study and/or teach each time I think of him. Mitch earned my respect because of his spiritual commitment. I hope someone looks at me in that way one day.

Joe

Joe and Betty were married almost sixty years. During that time, they rarely left each other’s side. I don’t remember the exact details as both Joe and Betty told them, but they met while Joe was in military service. They married soon after their first meeting. They knew it was love at first sight.

That love never waned. When talking with them, my wife and I could see the love they shared. They still looked at each other the way Denise and I looked at each other only a couple of years into our marriage. They often talked about their first meeting, their marriage and life together. Those stories never got old.

We met Joe and Betty at church. Their son and his wife placed membership at our congregation and they soon brought Joe and Betty to visit for worship services. It wasn’t long until they both converted and followed God’s plan for their salvations.

From our first encounter with Joe and Betty, Denise and I felt like they had adopted us as their grandchildren. They took us in (and we fully accepted their loving nature) and became very dear friends of ours. Unfortunately, both Joe and Betty have passed from this life.

Those of us who knew Joe and Mitch well, often joke about how they are likely sitting next to each other talking about their time here and being actively involved in watching us. Mitch and Joe created a bond during their short time together on Earth. I have to believe that bond has continued.

Joe was the type of man I wanted to be as it relates to how I treat others, especially my wife and children. When I am old, I want to have that puppy-love look for my wife as he did for Betty. I want to praise all aspects of my wife like he did for Betty. He was the ultimate example of how to be a husband and I hope I can be that one day as well.

Conclusion

These role models are very dear to me. In fact, my wife and I planned on honoring both Mitch and Joe if we had a son. Before Cara or Leeann were born, we hoped one would be a boy so we could call him Mitchell Joseph. We looked forward to teaching him about his namesakes. Of course, I wouldn’t change having my girls and I still honor Mitch and Joe by thinking of them often.

Even though two of my role models have passed from this life, their legacies and memories live on. I think of them daily and they continue to change my life. I hope I have as much of a positive impact on others by the time my life ends.

What will your legacy be? Do you live your life so you can be a role model for others?

If you remember the role models of your youth or still have some today, forward this to them and tell them how much they mean to you. Do it before it’s too late. You can also express those sentiments to the world by leaving a comment below.

Why I Love Public Accounting: Flexibility

Flexibility

Does your job keep you from meeting personal priorities? Do you miss your kids’ events because of work? Are you traveling all the time and have to find out details about your family’s activities by late night phone calls? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you likely are not afforded much flexibility in your job.

In this post, I described reasons 12 and 11 as to why I love public accounting as a career: travel and working with decision-makers. Reason number 10 as to why I love public accounting is the flexibility I have. As long as I take care of my responsibilities, I can work when it is convenient for me. Sure, I have to generally abide by set office hours but I’m able to arrive late or leave early if needed.

Early in a public accounting career, schedules are not that flexible. You work when and where you’re told. You don’t have much flexibility within the first few years. However, the longer you stick in the profession, the more flexibility you will achieve. It’s something to work for so don’t give up on it.

Maybe a partner or two will be watch dogs and make sure you work at least 8 to 5. Most are not like that though. Today, more than when I began in public accounting in 2000, it is easier and more socially acceptable to provide flexibility to employees. It is not as frowned upon by the old school partners as it used to be.

Generation Y especially appreciates the flexibility that can be achieved through hard work and tenure. They want to make their own decisions and not be told what to do all the time. Actually, I think this is true of most everyone, regardless of generation.

I’ve been lucky my entire career to work for a great boss. He provides only the oversight needed instead of being a micro manager. He does not want employees to work late nights and every weekend. In fact, it is quite frequent that he tells me to not come in on Saturday.

Because of my boss, I know it is okay to attend my kids’ events, even in the middle of busy season. I know it’s alright to leave early during a weekday to attend my oldest daughter’s high school games. I’m afforded the flexibility to take a vacation day without notice. It’s such a blessing to work for a great boss and a great company.

If you’re a business professional, do you have flexibility with your schedule? If so, in what ways do you take advantage of the flexibility? If not, what can you do to be given that flexibility. In many cases, employers will make special arrangements for top employees. Is that you?

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Why Public Accounting is a Great Career

Public accounting is a great career

Public accounting is a great career field and I love my job in it. Can you say the same thing about your job and your career? I talk a lot here about loving my job. You can love your job too if you change your attitude. However, this is not going to be a “change your attitude” type of post. This is simply going to be me gloating over all the benefits and great things I experience by working in public accounting.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I chose public accounting as a career. I made the decision to major in accounting because of a high school accounting class. In reality, it was just a bookkeeping class but I loved the work. The class was boring because it was so easy but the work itself was pretty interesting.

At that point, I changed from potentially majoring in chemical engineering to accounting. That was all the due diligence I did. It’s amazing it worked out. More than 17 years later, I’m still in public accounting.

Obviously, I chose the right career path for me. I’m lucky. Not everyone chooses a major and sticks with that career for as long as I have. I’ve stayed in public accounting for several reasons which I will discuss here. Hopefully you can identify some of these same traits in your job and/or career and can love your job as much as I do.

Here are reasons number 12 and 11 for why public accounting is a great career (I’ll eventually work my way up to number 1):

Travel

There is an extreme difference in business travel between the Big Four public accounting firms and other firms. My firm, is a national top-tier firm but we do not primarily focus on working with huge companies. Because of this, we get to travel but it is not always to mega cities.

Many of our clients, and mine in particular, are primarily based in smaller towns and cities. While I’ve been able to travel to great cities such as Boston, San Diego and Chicago, I mostly travel to smaller cities. I thoroughly enjoy working in smaller cities. It can be very interesting to learn the history of a small town, the famous people who grew up in that town and the current status of the local economy.

It’s also a pretty good perk to build an inventory of hotel rewards points from all of my travels. These rewards points come in pretty handy when traveling with the family…and we do a lot of traveling.

Decision-Makers

Another reason public accounting is a great career is because I get to work with decision-makers. From Day 1 in my career, I’ve worked directly with my clients’ CEOs and CFOs. This isn’t necessarily the case when working for a Big Four public accounting firm. In many cases, their staff work in one lower risk area for months at a time and may never meet with the CFO or CEO.

It was a little intimidating to interact with these decision-makers when I began my career. However, I learned they are regular people just like me. It’s very interesting though to listen to them and learn about the business decisions they have to make.

Traveling to different cities and working with decision-makers are two reasons why I believe public accounting is a great career. In future posts, we will explore 10 more reasons why public accounting is a great career. I have my list already compiled but let me know in the comments below the reasons you believe public accounting is such a great career.

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How are you doing?

How are you doing

You pass a co-worker in the hall and ask, “How are you doing?” Typical responses are:

“Not too bad.”

“It could be worse.”

“It’s party cloudy.”

What do all these responses have in common? They each contain some form of negativity. Are our lives really that bad? Mine isn’t but I still fall into the trap every now and then. My typical response is, “I’m well and you?” That still isn’t as good as it should be.

I’m great! I’m terrific! I’m wonderful!

Why don’t you respond like that? Here’s why…

You aren’t happy with yourself. But, why not? You woke up this morning. You had enough food to eat if you chose to take time for breakfast. You have a job. You have a family and a roof over your head. Your life is great.

Why are people in third world countries with fewer material blessings happier than you? They enjoy life for what it is. It’s an opportunity to enjoy what we have instead of worrying about what we don’t have. Relish those small moments in life that happen so you can enjoy the memories forever.

One older gentleman I knew always responded to the “How are you doing?” question with one response: “Terrific!” Even his last day on this earth, I’m told Jack was still terrific. Nothing got him down. He enjoyed his life. He looked forward to his future eternity in heaven.

Friends and family celebrated the life of another dear friend just the other day. Joni lived for several years with cancer but never let it extinguish her room-lighting smile. Joni was the ultimate example of how to live with a terminal illness.

She enjoyed every moment of life. She enjoyed her time with her family and friends. She enjoyed her time with cancer. I’m told Joni said she was thankful for her cancer because it made her closer to God. How many of us are that strong to have that attitude?

You may be busy enough at work to cause you stress. You may be driving an older car. You might even struggle to pay all your bills each month. You can still be terrific.

Being terrific is just an attitude adjustment away. You can be happy. You can even rub off on people and make them happy. Smiles are contagious. Do you want to be the cause of others’ happiness or misery. It’s up to you.

The next time you’re asked, “How are you doing today?” I hope you answer with “Terrific!”

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