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“The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced.” – Michel de Montaigne

Happiness is such a great topic to discuss don’t you think? The Happiness Project has truly been a fun book to read. Not only have I learned a lot about the science behind happiness, but it was inspiring to follow someone along their 12-month journey to become happier; someone who has a lot of the same challenges many of us do—being authentic, having meaningful relationships, getting the most out of and growing in your career, and being a fantastic, loving mother, among many other goals. You don’t feel so alone on your journey when others are right there with you. It’s comforting.

There are so many reflection points for me in this book that I can blog about it forever, but in the spirit of reading and sharing with you many wonderful books, I will choose to end my happiness observations by chatting about passion. Gretchen Rubin’s theme for the month of September is “Pursue a Passion.” According to Rubin, “Happiness research predicts that making time for passion and treating it as a real priority instead of an ‘extra’ to be fitted in at a free moment (which many people practically never have) will bring a tremendous happiness boost.”

Would you say the same is true for you? It is for me. I can share many examples, but a fresh one is reading. Reading is a passion of mine, and through my blog and my Relaxed Book Club (for personal development), reading has become one of my top priorities for 2010.

Rubin challenged herself to write a fifty-thousand-word novel in thirty days, which amounts to 1,667 words a day. Yikes! Well, for her it was so thrilling. Rubin shared: “Writing a novel provided the ‘atmosphere of growth’ that, I was becoming more and more convinced, was essential to happiness; I’d included this element in my First Splendid Truth, but it was even more significant than I’d initially understood. The satisfaction gained from the achievement of a large undertaking is one of the most substantial that life affords.”

What passion is just an “extra” in your life right now that you can make a priority to give you a happiness boost?

So was Rubin’s Happiness Project successful? She believes it was. I will let you enjoy the read as I did and check out her happy ending, but I will share that because she was able to work on the kinds of things she truly enjoys versus those things which are more forced, she really loved working on her goals for September. She also gives much of the credit for her success to her Resolution Chart, which was her daily “Bible” and kept her on track.  If you’d like to see a copy of Rubin’s Resolution Chart you can send her an email to: grubin@gretchenrubin.com. Just type “Resolution Chart” in the subject line.

So, care to continue with me on my journey? March’s selection for my Relaxed Book Club is Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? by Seth Godin. In his new book, Godin examines how a person becomes indispensable. It is a person within an organization who acts as an artist, puts his/her soul and passion into the work; it is  “emotional work.”  Sounds amazing….I can’t wait to begin (today!) and I hope you will join me.

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.

Happy Trails, my friends!
Monique