Contributor Life Lessons:
Wilma Jones (Author of Better, Not Bitter)
*Are you happy at the moment?
Yes, I am very happy at the moment. I start every day with a positive perspective because I have a morning routine of gratitude, movement, mindfulness and eating right to boost my body and my brain function. I always feel like I get a jump start on my day after a smoothie, at least a 20 minute interval run/walk and then a couple of eggs. When I miss it, I don’t feel right. In addition, have made a concerted effort to ‘live in the moment,’ as much as possible because our family is approaching another big shift in 2016. Both of my sons will graduate – one from college and the youngest from high school. I want to make sure these are memorable times for all of us, and happiness for us all is a big part of that.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
“Stop worrying so much about what other people think. Do you.”
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I learned to be more gentle with myself. I’ve done a lot of changing over the past 5 years since my divorce. There are goals I expected to reach that took longer than I expected. There are others I have yet to achieve. But it’s OK. I have made bad decisions and good ones. I have experienced financial stressors when things didn’t go the way I expected. Then other times things go so much better than I expected. I have learned to always expect the positive, and that’s usually what happens.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
The Living Happier platform has shifted into the professional aspect of applying the principles of positive psychology to your life, focusing on improving productivity and increasing teamwork. I recently debuted the ‘Living Happier @ Work‘ seminars and workshops to great reviews. In the next year I want to expand the seminars to other organizations, corporations, non-profits and associations as well as presenting the version for student professional development for colleges and universities.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
My secret hasn’t changed since my last Life Lessons: Courage. It is the most important part of my personality. It doesn’t mean I am not afraid from time to time. Sometimes more frequently than others. It just means I refuse to allow fear to stop me from doing something. It may take me a minute. I may not accomplish something the way others think I should. But I have enough courage to keep going the way I think is best for me.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I stay grounded through spending time alone everyday in meditation. It helps me to be mindful of my thoughts. I always had a strong prayer life, but I’ve found that adding a short period to be still daily and focus on my breathing and clear my mind has provided stress reduction and more peace to my life.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I still don’t have regrets. If I mess up or trust someone that I shouldn’t have, I stop and try to figure why I did it and work to ensure I don’t repeat it. That’s it. I’m human and I mess up sometime. I am trusting and kind-hearted and sometimes I trust the wrong people. Oh well. I am still here and I keep it moving. I am not going to let bad experiences or fake people deter my grind. However, I will do more extensive Google searches on people, their businesses, customer reviews and even their kin in the future. IJS.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
The most important lesson I have taught my kids is love. I still believe it’s the most powerful thing in the world. I still tell my sons how much I love quite frequently. Like daily. They have no doubt that they are the most important people in my life. But they also know about self-love now, something I didn’t exhibit a lot when I was married to their dad. I did for others and ended up unhappy and miserable. Now I know about the importance of loving on me first so I have something left to give someone else.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I am doing better, but I am still working on that talking too much thing. One thing I am working that is related to that is becoming a better listener. Not just hearing what people are saying but now, listening to what they are saying. Just trying to go deeper in understanding others.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am proud that I did the single mom thing successfully. My sons are good men. Their dad is involved in their lives, but I have been the rock. So I am savoring these moments, but also visualizing their futures and how the hard step I took 8 years ago to be a happier person on my own has helped them be the people they are becoming. Many people may not understand, but I think time has shown that it’s better to raise children in a happy and loving home rather than one full of tension and tears.
*When were you happiest?
My happiest point in life hasn’t changed from when I was a 7- year old kid, thus far. I have had a pretty happy life when you look at it, marriage, kids, great experiences, jobs and family. But to be honest with you, I don’t think the happiest point in my life has even occurred yet. I have so much more life to live (unless I get hit by a bus tomorrow) that I think my happiest times are yet to be!
*What ten words best describe you?
Happy. Energetic. Courageous. Passionate. Smart. Generous. Funny. Outspoken. Tall. Leader.
Wilma Jones is an author, blogger and expert speaker. She’s a divorced, single mom of two sons. She blogs on the personal side at Living Happier After. Catch the Living Happier @ Work programs at WilmaJ.com. She can be reached at Wilma@WilmaJ.com