By Anastasia Antrobus
In today’s modern society there is a lot more that we believe we have to compete with and live up to. A lot more things that we think we have to be the absolute best at (our careers, our relationships, our fitness regimes, our health, social lives etc) and in trying to be the absolute best, people seem to be actually becoming more burnt out, more stressed and their mental health is taking a real hit.
RUOK? Day is today, September 12th 2019. A day put in place to empower and inspire every one of us to connect meaningfully with one another, with the people around us and to start a conversation with anyone whom we think may be struggling with life.
There is someone that I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting that displays and really stands behind this cause, as well as the belief that we don’t need just one day alone to do these things, that we can be this way with one another every day. Someone who really believes in wanting to make the world a better place, in wanting to ensure that people not only live happier lives but are happier with, and in themselves in general. Someone who believes that the little things are in fact the big things and make the biggest difference. Someone I strongly believe is making a real change and leaving an impact: Julian Pace, creator and face behind the ‘Happiness Co.’
Now some of you may be asking what exactly the ‘Happiness Co’ is or what it’s about. ‘Happiness Co’ is a social enterprise that was created to inspire and encourage all of the people in it (hey that’s us!) to make the world a better and happier place. Why the need for this you may ask? Attempted suicide risks are increasing year on year and feelings of loneliness and isolation are reaching breaking point. ‘Happiness Co’ is an action over awareness company. They work extremely hard putting their energy into giving people the tools to recognise their emotions and manage their triggers.
In Julian’s own words, ‘Happiness Co means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To some, it’s a place they work in. To some, it’s a place where they are building a career. To some, it’s a place where they volunteer to help the community. To others, it’s a place to find the tools that help them in their everyday life. To me, it’s my life’s work. As a business entity, it’s a social enterprise, which means the heart of a charity and the mind of a business. We work in the pre-emptive space of mental health with a clear focus on happiness.’
Sounds pretty special right? Well you wouldn’t be wrong in saying so.
‘Happiness Co’ is fast becoming a Global Impact Movement, now catering to schools, the corporate world and of course to individuals. From live workshops to workplace happiness pillars, the overall focus is always on happiness at heart and what can be done to help people achieve their overall happiness. Julian strongly wanted to create a movement, a brand that stood for people, by people, and not just in their best times but in their most challenging. He wanted ‘Happiness Co’ to really mean something to people, something symbolic and that meaning was hope and the possibility to be better tomorrow than we were today.
The ‘Happiness Co’ initially didn’t come from a moment of brightness. Julian’s story isn’t one of light and cheerfulness but it is very raw, powerful and shows you that it is truly ourselves that determines the outcomes of our lives. That you can fight for yourself or against yourself and in turn, limit or extend where your life goes. That you can be a victim or a victor and that it is 100% your attitude towards life and people, that makes it exactly as it is. Pretty powerful right?
If you ever get the chance to meet Julian, he will be the first to tell you that all stories come from “moments of impact.” ‘Some good, some bad and some so incredibly painful but they are what creates our story.’ The reason Julian created the ‘Happiness Co’ begins in losing his father to suicide on his 21 st Birthday. This changed the way he saw the world, the people in it and more importantly, the way he saw himself. Julian shared that the best way he could describe this moment was:
‘Someone coming into my life and switching off the light. From that moment, the next five years were the darkest moments of my life. So over the last 12 years of my life, they have been my worst years and my best. Clearly, there is always an upside, and I share this with people; pain is real, and suffering is a choice”. It’s the choices that we make that define the person we become – we are not our mistakes or our past. I built Happiness Co to help people with their pain, their challenges and to alter the feeling that they were disempowered to change the story. I promised to do my best to make the world a happier place by trying to inspire the people in it. I wanted to show that we turn our pain to become our power and sadness our strength.’
Mental Health and Happiness are important. They should be important to you. They should be important to me. They should be important to all of us. Julian said it pretty well; ‘Happiness is a combination of achievement and fulfilment. Achievement is all the external things house, cars, marriage, kids and work. Fulfilment is all the internal stuff, like how you feel about the person you are. Then once you put these two areas together to where you’re content, I believe it comes down to how you continue to you grow and contribute positively to the lives of others. People need to stop believing that their past is automatically going to be indicative of their future. We need more people wanting to take responsibility for where they are in their lives and improving their self-worth. Making their happiness a massive priority, because once you have a strong sense of love and happiness within you, that’s when you become the person you have always believed you could be.’
I honestly don’t think I could have said it better myself. We only get one life and we all have the opportunity to make a positive impact and a difference in not only our own lives but also in the lives of those around us. A small gesture goes a long way. A 2-second compliment can change the direction someone’s day was headed or how they were feeling. We have the power to change the way we want our lives to go. We have the power to help family, friends and even strangers do the same. Kindness is an incredible incredible gift and the power it holds isn’t one to be taken lightly.
More information on ‘Happiness Co’ can be found here.
More information on RUOK Day (today September 12 th 2019) can be found here.
If you are experiencing a personal crisis you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via https://www.lifeline.org.au/
R U Ok? day is but one day a year, let’s work on being connected with each other and checking in year round.