While the old adage “Location, Location, Location” might be the number one rule in real estate, its spirit certainly rings true for personal and professional happiness and success as well.
Have you ever lived in or been to a place on vacation that just felt so right? Somewhere that makes you feel in the zone and perfectly at home?
For me, that somewhere is a little town (little as in one square mile!) along the Jersey Shore called Ocean Grove. I’ve spent anywhere from a few days to a month here every summer for the last 12 years. I’ve stayed with family, rented a tiny yellow beach cottage, and stayed where I am right now, at a cozy bed and breakfast across the street from the ocean. As in see the sunrise over the Atlantic without leaving my bed!
I keep coming back to this haven because of the serious bliss and inspiration that envelop me while I’m here. Must be something about the ocean waves, salt air, and all the friendly, witty people here. Maybe it’s the yoga classes I take on the pier that extends over the ocean. Or the incredible food in town or at the Italian places in neighboring beach towns Asbury Park (OMG pomodoro at Porta) and Bradley Beach (melt-in-your-mouth bakery cookies (apricot 7-layer!!) at Del Ponte’s.
Perhaps it’s the dozens of dogs (like the pug Zoey) I meet walking joyfully with their pet parents. Or it’s chatting with the many New Yorkers here for their shot at weekend chill. Oh, and my wonderful, extended family and the many friends I’ve made here over the years are pretty important, too. Obviously, it’s the combination of all these things that cause me to head home feeling completely refreshed, happier, more amused and compassionate. Never fails.
Location matters so much because in order to thrive we need to be in a place that does something for us. It might provide us comfort, inspiration, freedom, support, energy, safety, creativity or other conditions that allow us to do and be our best.
I have a friend who stayed in a job for many years because it paid well, it provided security and it was in the city his family called home. However, I continually saw that his ideas weren’t appreciated, his high standards were mocked and his chances for advancement were null. Over time he became a shadow of what he might be.
Once he gained the courage to explore new opportunities, every aspect of his life changed. It was like the moment the Wizard of Oz goes from black and white to full, saturated color. Now he is at the top of his profession implementing new, innovative ideas that weren’t welcome in his old job. He’s living in a new city that provides a far more engaging environment for his family, and he is a bright shiny star in every way.
It’s easy to get stuck, discouraged, depressed or unsure of ourselves when we are in the wrong place. The sad part is, sometimes we don’t even realize that’s what the problem is!
If you think that could be you, give some serious thought to what a different environment might do for you — whether that be where you live or travel, where you work, or even who you date or spend time with — and envision how this new place or new people would help you be the most fulfilled, happiest you. It’s an absolute-must consideration to infuse into your job search or career transformation.
A word of caution: visualize the range of possibilities but be sure not to romanticize things. Think of what your day-to-day in your new spot would look like – commute, neighbors, house, weather, schools, convenience of doctors, vet, shops, recreation. What would a bad day look like there?
While happiness comes from within, sometimes we need just the right location to let our inner bliss shine on through.
P.S. I often wonder what Mick Jagger’s life would have been like had he never left his hometown of Dartford, England (which, survey says, is the UK’s second most unhappy place). I imagine he would have felt a wee stifled, and the world would have so much less Satisfaction. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Mick, but that’s another story.
P.S.S. If you’re considering a career move, check out my free “Reimagine Monday” checklist, featuring the 24 outcomes you want to achieve for maximum career transformation success.