Being happy is one of the strongest motivators for us all. Some people feel bliss can only be achieved after the big client is landed, the financial goal is met or other substantial milestones are achieved.

In the hectic life of a business owner, joy can seem elusive. Delaying gratification is a key characteristic of entrepreneurship. It comes with knowing that long hours, hard work and a fair share of discomfort will pay off in the long term. The stress of building a business, along with the responsibilities of family, friends, maintaining a home and a certain lifestyle can lead you to believe that happiness is always in the future.

The problem is, you are missing out on all the good of right now. Planning to be happy later not only creates the bad habit of overlooking what is currently happening, but it is gambling on a future that may unfold differently than you expect. While constantly striving for more is a driving force for entrepreneurs, many are so focused on what's next or what someone else has, they fail to recognize how good they have it.

There are common attitudes - joy thieves - that can rob you of taking pleasure in today. Spend time identifying the mental habits that distract you from the positives and put undue emphasis on the negative.

Here are 5 of the most common joy thieves and how to conquer them.

Envy

It's easy to look at someone else and imagine how great their life is while feeling defeated by what you view as your shortcomings. Jealousy can actually be instructive; it can offer clues about what you want for yourself. Mild envy of a friend's career can signal that you need to make some changes in your own profession. But it becomes a problem when you are so focused on what someone else has that you ignore your own success.

Remember that there will always be someone with a bigger business, more money in the bank or a larger pool of clients. Keep working toward your goals but take the time to appreciate what you have already accomplished.

Fear

This can undermine your best efforts and stop them in their tracks. It can cripple you with indecision and keep you from the things you want out of life. Just because entrepreneurs have the fortitude to strike out on their own doesn't mean they don't have doubts or insecurity.

Fortunately, you have several opportunities every day to flex your "courage muscle," whether it is by reaching out to a new networking connection or making one of the dozens of decisions that can promote your business. Take inspiration from others who have overcome challenges and displayed courage in the face of adversity.

Comparison

"Comparison is the death of joy," as Mark Twain said. When you consider that there will always be someone smarter, faster or better it becomes clear that judging yourself against others is clearly a bad choice. Your job is to make the most of your own talents and gifts in pursuit of your personal definition of success, not someone else's. If you don't think you're where you should be, take a moment to consider everything you've created. You are probably doing far better than you think.

Neglecting Your Health

If your only exercise is walking from the parking lot to your office and most of what you eat is passed to you through a car window, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage by not taking care of your physical well-being.

Place a premium on your health with nutritious food, enough sleep and daily exercise. You get more out of life when you are physically well, thus enjoying a higher energy level. Like bliss, don't postpone your health. It is easier to maintain wellness than to try to get it back once it's gone.

Bad Vibes

Attitudes are highly contagious, whether they're good or bad. No matter how optimistic you try to be, being around people who never have a good thing to say about anyone or anything will wear you down.

Seek out the things and people that inspire you, not drain you. Invest in relationships that help you be the best version of yourself. Stay in touch with friends who easily make you laugh and challenge you to be better. If you work in close quarters with a Negative Nancy or Pessimistic Pete, minimize your interaction. Save your energy for investing in people who will support your positive outlook.

Published on: Feb 22, 2017