Episode 137: Unveiling the Secrets to Lasting Happiness with Ellen Wong

Season #6

We know that the journey of pursuing our artistic passions and building our small businesses is both exhilarating and demanding. In the midst of chasing deadlines, perfecting our art, and managing the daily intricacies of our creative ventures, happiness might sometimes take a backseat. But what if we told you that finding happiness and fulfillment can actually enhance our creative process and elevate our businesses? 

That's why we're excited to share some invaluable insights with you from Episode 137 that touched upon a topic near and dear to our hearts: achieving lasting happiness as creative entrepreneurs. We've dived deep into the conversation with Dr. Ellen Wong, an expert on happiness. Quynh met Ellen at a mastermind conference and was impressed by her insights on happiness, prompting her to invite Ellen to the show. Ellen shares her personal journey of overcoming anxiety and depression and her quest to understand true happiness and its cultural aspects.

Here’s what you’ll learn when you listen:

  • The significance of redefining success on your own terms and avoiding pursuing goals solely for external validation.
  • How to cultivate contentment through the "nine pillars of happiness" by nurturing relationships, purpose, and self-awareness.
  • Insights into navigating major life transitions, like retirement, while maintaining a sense of purpose and communication in relationships.
  • Questioning the pursuit of traditional markers of success in the entrepreneurial world and aligning business goals with personal desires.
  • The value of making intentional decisions by reflecting on motivations, identifying limiting beliefs, and ensuring actions align with authentic selves for a happier and purposeful life journey.

Now, we won't give away all the details here—we want to encourage you to listen to the full episode to truly grasp the depth of these insights. But below you’ll find three key takeaways that can reshape how we approach our creative paths and entrepreneurial endeavors. Are you ready to discover the secrets to lasting happiness? Let's dive in!

Redefining Success on Your Own Terms

In the fast-paced world of creative entrepreneurship, it's easy to get caught up in the external markers of success—revenue numbers, social media metrics, and industry recognition. Ellen encourages us to pause and reconsider what success really means. She challenges us to redefine success on our own terms, aligning it with our unique values and passions.

When you listen, you’ll hear an example of a certain paper flower artist who initially measured success solely by the number of orders she received. As her business grew, so did the pressure to meet higher demands. However, she realized that this path was leading her away from the joy of creating intricate paper art, which was her true passion. This realization prompted her to redefine her success by focusing on the quality of her artistry and the personal connections she forged with her clients. This shift not only brought her more fulfillment but also allowed her to create art that resonated deeply with her audience.

You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out who shared that story, but it’s a perfect reminder that success is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It's not just about achieving predefined milestones; it's about creating a journey that aligns with our individual desires and aspirations. This means acknowledging that our version of success might differ from traditional norms, and that's perfectly okay. It's about embracing the freedom to define success in ways that resonate with our creative spirits.

The Power of Prioritizing Authentic Contentment

In the midst of our entrepreneurial hustle, we often find ourselves caught in a cycle of chasing after goals without pausing to ask, "Is this truly making us happy?" The episode introduces us to the notion of contentment—finding genuine satisfaction in our present moments while still pursuing our aspirations. It's a powerful reminder that our pursuit of happiness shouldn't be postponed until we hit specific milestones, but rather integrated into our daily lives.

You may achieve impressive growth and recognition in our industry. But for many of us, the happiness that brings can be overshadowed by the constant pressure to achieve more. Contentment within the journey is key to avoid this pitfall. Embracing contentment doesn't mean abandoning our ambitions; it means infusing our journey with moments of joy and self-care. As creative entrepreneurs, our well-being is integral to the quality of our work. By learning from these stories and incorporating contentment into our daily lives, we can cultivate a healthier, more sustainable approach to our creative endeavors. 

To uncover more insights and stories that exemplify the power of contentment, we invite you to tune into the full episode with Ellen. It's a conversation that may just inspire a transformative shift in how you approach your creative pursuits.

Embracing Change and Redefining Retirement

As creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, our journey is often marked by change and evolution. The episode delves into the concept of retirement, shedding light on how our identity and purpose might shift during this phase of life. It's not uncommon to hear stories of people experiencing a sense of emptiness or disconnection upon retiring, particularly if their identity had been closely tied to their career for decades.

A compelling example from Ellen is that of a couple who had devoted their lives to their careers, putting in long hours to provide for their family. However, as retirement approached, they realized that their deep connection had waned over the years due to their individual pursuits. The episode explores the importance of nurturing relationships and prioritizing communication throughout our journey, rather than relying solely on external factors to bring us happiness. By fostering connections with loved ones and being open to change, we can redefine retirement as a new chapter of growth and exploration.

This insight serves as a reminder that our journey as creative entrepreneurs is intertwined with personal growth, relationships, and change. By embracing the lessons shared in the episode, we can approach retirement and transitions with a fresh perspective, ensuring that our journey remains fulfilling and purposeful. To gain a deeper understanding of how to navigate these transitions and embrace change, we encourage you to listen to our conversation that offers valuable insights for both our personal and professional lives.

"More often than not, our drive and what we call ambition is what is pushing us to work all those extra hours... The key is, do they matter to you? And do you actually want them?... You have to decide what life you wanna live and then go backwards from there and then make a decision about how your business is gonna support that." - Ellen

In a world often driven by external markers of success, Ellen’s insights serve as a compass guiding us toward a more fulfilling and purposeful path. Let's embark on this journey together, redefining our own version of success, nurturing contentment, and honoring our authentic selves. As creative entrepreneurs and paper artists, we have the unique opportunity to infuse our passion and creativity into every aspect of our lives, leading to a more balanced and joy-filled existence. So, don't miss out on the chance to delve into the full conversation. Your journey to happiness and fulfillment awaits—one intentional step at a time!

For more inspiring discussions and helpful tips, be sure to join us on the Paper Talk Podcast or in our Facebook group. Please also consider donating on our website to help us keep producing great content like this. Together, we'll continue to grow, learn, and celebrate the artistry of paper flowers. Thank you for being part of our wonderful community.


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