When I hear the phrase life coach I picture a middle-aged woman backlit by the afternoon sun and wearing a peasant top. She uses words like manifest and Universe.
And then there’s Tim Brownson. Tim is so not that life coach.
Tim is a balding Brit who’s more likely to drop an f-bomb during a session than the M word. He is a rabid critic of the Law of Attraction. He is not afraid to use controversy as a marketing tool.
And he is a really good life coach.
I’ve worked with Tim before. He was excellent at catching my negative self-talk and limiting beliefs and knocking me out of my own head. He is tough, smart, helpful, and encouraging.
This is what Tim has to say about happiness.
How do you define happiness?
So glad you started off with such a simple question Britt!
Happiness is so difficult to define and people often confuse it with pleasure. People think they are happy when they receive that pay raise, go on vacation, buy a new house or any other number of things, but what they are really experiencing is pleasure.
I think happiness resides in a more abstract and certainly less materialistic space.
If a person is in alignment with their, then I think t here is a case to be made for saying that by and large they will be happy. But as we know, happiness like pleasure or any other human emotion for that matter is fleeting. It comes and it goes.
A person could be living the dream in every aspect of their life and practicing their core values, but the death of a loved one, a serious medical illness diagnosis or receiving any really bad news can remove their happiness in an instant.
The people who I admire the most are those who have cultivated total peace of mind and equanimity. I think they are some of the happiest people in the world because they don’t get bogged down by the vagaries of life. They live it day-to-day without the need to fret about the future or feel regret about the past.
In other words I have no fucking clue, sorry!
How do you make happiness a priority in your life?
I’m not sure I do, at least not on a daily a conscious level. On the other hand I left a very high paying career ten years ago to pursue coaching because I knew it was what I really, really wanted to do.
Sales was killing me and I was stressed senseless, so I guess at that point I was making being happy a major priority.
You can tell I’m making this as I go along because I just realized that I meditate every day, and what is that if not a conscious effort to be happier and keep my stress levels to a sensible level? I also go to the gym 3 or 4 times per week and I always get a happiness boost from that, and I listen to stand up comedy every day because I just love laughing!
So I guess the answer is meditation, exercise and lots of humor.
Oh and loud music, I listen to a lot of dance music.
What “shoulds” have you let go to pursue happiness?
I think the biggest is that I should earn a certain amount of money. I have never earned as much coaching as I did in my last full year in sales and I couldn’t give a crap.
Not that I’m averse to having more cash, in fact I aim to hit that figure in 2015. But now money is a byproduct of delivering massive value and helping others because the pleasure I get from my work is worth waaaaaaaaay more than living in a house with 9 bedrooms, a swimming pool and a Butler called Butler.
I have also let go of the feeling that I really should grow up.
I’m not going there, it’s a trap and my brain insists that I’m 22 not 52. My body has other ideas, but who cares because my brain is running the show?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about happiness?
Oh bloody hell Britt I have no frickin’ clue! The problem is like you, I have read so many books, watched so many talks, done so much training and spoken to so many people that everything blurs for the most part.
I think the most important realization I had, and it may have come in the form of advice I honestly cannot remember, was that we spend half our waking lives at work and as such it should be doing work we love. My last 10 years in sales were for the most part miserable (at least when at work) and I wouldn’t encourage anybody to do a job ‘for the money’ if it has them dreading every Monday morning.
Don’t compromise with happiness, it simply isn’t worth it.
As a life coach, what do you wish most people knew about happiness?
That it doesn’t come from external crap. Everybody gets the concept of money not buying happiness, but they get it for everybody else and not themselves. They still think the 20% raise, the Mercedes SLK or Jimmy Choo shoes will make them happy because buying such things raises our status and the brain releases lots of lovely dopamine in recognition of this.
But as humans we’re amazing at adapting to our circumstances (both good and bad), so whereas those things may well bring short-term pleasure, that will soon wear off and another dopamine fix is needed.
Hang on I may need to reassess. My wife just came in and she said the Jimmy Choo shoes really do deliver happiness and I should buy her a pair so she can prove it. This is your fault Reints!
Get more of Tim at his blog, A Daring Adventure.