Anita Goyal MBE shares her tips so we can LEARN to be happy and successful.
What’s the Secret to True Happiness?
If there was one secret to achieving true happiness, wouldn’t we all do it? But life just isn’t that simple. To be happy and successful we have to work at it. But working at it isn’t the same as hard work, or tough work. Working towards success and happiness can be fun, enlightening, a pleasure in itself. I’m a firm believer that when we look at our lives and assess them, we can formulate what it takes for us to be happy – and a great starting point is G Cubed. If we give, feel grateful, and grow, we not only feel comfortable in our own skin, and develop the confidence to achieve, but we are able to support others to do the same (G3= Happiness).
The LEARN Strategy
With this in mind I would like to share my LEARN strategy. By fulfilling five aspects of life, we can LEARN to be happy, and live an enriched and fulfilling life. It is this strategy that I take into the classroom through my Personal Development Workshops to encourage emotional intelligence from an early age. These are tools we all need to live by, but many of us – me included – only discover them as adults.
What does LEARN stand for?
L – Love
E – Enrich
A – Appreciate
R – Relationships
N – Networks
Let’s start with Love. Following the sudden death of my first husband I was forced to reassess my whole life up until that point. I had been in a troubled and challenging marriage, and had allowed duty to supersede love as my driving force. You not only have to learn the importance of choosing a partner, or people to surround you, that you love, but to learn to love yourself. To appreciate your own qualities, and to celebrate them.
Next comes Enrich. When you enrich your life you evolve, and you can evolve into the best version of you. I truly believe I am my best me, and living my best life, but that wasn’t always the case. I have learned through experience, and I continuously seek out new ideas and challenges. During lockdown many of us learned new skills – anything from cross-stitch to a new language! It’s so valuable to enrich your life with new skills and avenues.
Every new year I create a vision board and set myself goals for the coming year. For several years I had wanted to host my own podcast, so that went on my board every year. Then during lockdown I had the time and the motivation. I put the feelers out on LinkedIn, I found the right team, and now I host a successful podcast and have had some truly incredible guests join me on it. This has enriched my life and career and given me a new creative outlet. It is important that we don’t just collect material objects, but experiences, and then we share these experiences with others.
Appreciation is a critical quality that we can all apply. As vice president of children’s charity Barnardo’s, and Ambassador of the Alzheimer’s Society and Hallmark Care Homes, I feel grateful every day for the incredibly hard-working teams we have that have worked throughout the pandemic to support the most vulnerable in our society.
I also believe in personal appreciation. When I return home from a trip I am grateful for my home, for my bath, for my bed. I spend a few moments every day to explore gratitude and encourage everyone to sit, reflect, and appreciate. The more you acknowledge your gratitude, the easier it is to identify, and it encourages a positive outlook that can be applied to all aspects of life.
Relationships are a vital part of life, but it is important we create the right relationships with the right people, so that we can allow ourselves to truly be ourselves.
Relationships with close friends and family need nurturing. If, like in my first marriage, you are confronted with disruption and have to deal with a lack of emotional connection it contaminates all aspects of your life. You need to form positive relationships, support loved ones, and ensure you are able to have a relationship with yourself and identify your true needs in order to be true to yourself.
A good friend gave me the book Are You The One For Me by Barbara De Angelis and it is the book that changed my life. It enabled me to know what I was looking for in my next partner, and to know my non-negotiables when it comes to forming relationships. When I met my now-husband, Avnish, eight years ago, I was in exactly the right frame of mind and he delivered everything that I needed. We are an empowered partnership and encourage each other to thrive. That is what a healthy relationship should be.
Finally, we have Networks, and whether these are networks of friends, family, or like-minded business people, they are essential to creating a rounded character who can reach their full potential. There is a saying that you are the average of your five closest peers. I firmly believe this. Together we can be stronger. I draw from my networks for advice, for support, for help in furthering business prospects, and I make sure I give back too.
If I identify someone I would like to be in my network I explore how we can communicate and work with each other. Much of our business is formed from networks and Avnish and I will often dine with people in our networks and attend events to expand our network.
One prime example is the inspirational Pinky Lilani. Pinky is an author, motivational speaker and women’s advocate and also founded the Asian Women of Achievement Awards. I ensured I was able to access her network and worked towards mutual goals, and through hard work and perseverance found myself on a trip to Cambodia with her. You create your own success and I was able to observe somebody I admire hugely, from a close perspective, due to networking well.
I would advise people to identify who they would like to be in their network, then to reach out, be it over social media, by inviting them to events, or establishing mutual networking opportunities. Don’t be afraid to identify your goals and do what it takes to achieve them.
Emotional Intelligence is Key
By encompassing all elements of LEARN into our lives, and teaching children to adopt this approach from an early age, we can work towards success and happiness, and developing an emotional intelligence from a young age.
My aim is to bring this outreach personal development programme to 10,000 young people by December this year. The enrichment programme is free, I want to help and to make a lasting difference, and after the past 18 months emotional intelligence and a healthy mindset has never been more crucial for the development of the next generation. For more information on this and to involve your school or young people take a look at our video here.
Anita Goyal MBE is the chair of the Hemraj Goyal Foundation, Trustee of the Hallmark care homes Foundation and founder of the Enrichment Experiences in Education programme. She is a passionate philanthropist, international speaker, an author and host of the Relight Your Fire podcast.