Every semester at Harvard Business School, on the last day of class I deliver a lecture, not on building and sustaining a successful enterprise, but rather on building and sustaining a happy life.
I often start with something like, “In just a few months you’ll graduate and embark on what to many, including your selves, will be prestigious, lucrative, high-profile careers. But if you want to also have happy lives, you need to know the purpose of your life. Take the time, even if it’s at midnight each night, to figure out what you are meant to do. Or in the words of my colleague Howard Gardner, learn to cultivate existential intelligence, or the ability to make meaning of life.”
One of my personal missions is to inspire others to discover their purpose in life. As such, what started as a lecture has now become a book I co-authored with James Allworth and Karen Dillon. While our book focuses on individuals across the board, Whitney Johnson’s book Dare, Dream, Do further drills down on the topic by thinking through the question of how do women build a happy life. Through powerful storytelling, she dares women to rethink their current fundamentals, to measure their life by the only yardstick that matters – what she specifically is meant to do, including the importance of teaching her children to dream. The book then moves to provide women with specific tools for identifying what it is they were meant to do, recognizing that creating a meaningful life emerges from answering the deepest questions about our life’s purpose.
It concludes with the injunction to simply begin. It may be frightening at first. There will be much that you can’t predict. But it is only in the doing, that you can ultimately build and sustain a happy life. For anyone who has pondered the question, “what should I do with my life,” for anyone who is seeking fresh inspiration, advice and tactics, I recommend Dare, Dream, Do. Whether your purpose is to circle the globe or draw your family circle, Dare, Dream, Do helps make that discovery possible.
Mehmet C. Oz, MD, is the author (with Michael F. Roizen) of such New York Times bestselling books as YOU: The Owner's Manual, YOU: Staying Young, YOU: Being Beautiful, and YOU: On a Diet, and the health expert of The Oprah Winfrey Show. He is professor and vice-chairman of surgery at New York Presbyterian Columbia University and the medical director of the Integrated Medicine Center and the director of the Heart Institute. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of Who's Got Your Back:
So many of us are caught in a constant tug-of-war between work and wellness. Keith Ferrazzi’s Who’s Got Your Back offers a strategy to execute on your most ambitious plans without costing your happiness, well-being, or sanity--in fact his program promises to enhance them by building deeper, more supportive relationships. Ferrazzi offers a nine-step approach to building what he calls “lifeline relationships,” an inner circle of deep, trusting peer support partners who serve as advisors, cheerleaders, and accountability watchdogs. These are more than colleagues, more than friends--they are true, caring comrades in arms who respect you enough to tell you like it is. The gem of this program is that Keith pays attention to the mechanisms that have been proven to make change stick--a striking difference between most self-help programs and Ferrazzi’s signature “let others help.” What’s more, with Who’s Got Your Back you’ll create relationships that are meaningful well beyond your shared success--a rare and welcome gift in the world of professional development.