Reporter: You had such an incredible year, I would imagine the best of your life, right?
Me: Hmmm (I thought long and hard about the question).
Reporter: Wow, you have to think about it? Shouldn’t your answer be an automatic YES? You starred in two new shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network, released a best-selling book and earned nominations for an NAACP Image Award and your industry’s Best Matchmaker and Relationship Coach of the Year! Come on, man, what more could you want?
Me: No, it actually WAS NOT the best year of my life. In fact, I wasn’t very happy this year.
I learned an important lesson this year:
Happiness is driven by feeding our values.
It’s that simple. Don’t feed your values, and I guarantee you’ll feel a substantial part of life is missing. Feed your values and you will possess a sense of fullness beyond measure.
What are values? These are our guiding principles of life. I like to call them our rule book of living. We all have values. No one has better or lesser values than anyone else. For example, my top three values (in order of priority) are spirituality, family and creativity. What this means is that I live for these categories; they are essentially the fuel to my being. Without them I am empty.
As I reflected upon 2012, I realized that despite my many blessings, I neglected to feed my top values. I spent less time practicing my faith and fellowshipping than any year in my life. I spent less time with my immediate family. I didn’t create or innovate like years before. Instead, I mostly participated in activities where I was a role player, not a role maker.
A feeling of emptiness had been weighing on me throughout the year, but I felt ashamed to publicly talk about it. I mean, how foolish would it look if I tweeted a photo of myself eating dinner with Oprah and the next tweet said I’m not happy with my life right now? But I’m putting an end to my front today. Knowing I’m not alone gives me strength to speak up. Also, I’m driven by a desire to share how I was able to remove the mean mug from my face.
How did I do it? I fed my values.
Just a few weeks ago, after discovering the anorexic state of my values, I promised myself to start making decisions within the framework of my values. When I did, it was just like I hit a rest button, and that old friend, happiness, came charging back! I started attending church and fellowshipping throughout the week, and adjusted my schedule to travel less and be at home the majority of the week. I started driving my son to school and picking him up. Also now, on weekends there is a high likelihood friends and family will be in my living room, feet up, sipping on Red Stripe. On the creativity front, I’m currently developing a new web series as well as creating innovative projects that break the mold for my industry.
Bottom line: Focusing activities within my core values has helped me regain control of my state of mind.
If despite your many blessings, you still feel a sense of emptiness. I encourage you to reflect upon your life and ask yourself a simple question: When was the last time my values were fed?