Happiness is the highest level of success

Lately I’ve been thinking about living up to my potential versus being happy right where I’m at. Do I really have to choose between the two? Should I want to take on more at the cost of happiness because that’s what we’re supposed to do?

I absolutely love my job. There is no other job or position I’d rather do than what I’m doing right now. If I retire as a bartender at Pebble Beach, that would be just fine with me. Things may change some day, but for now, that’s what I feel.

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With that said, recently I’ve been feeling like I’m not living up to my potential. It’s so funny and weird because my job is fulfilling and makes me happy. I get to bartend at a prestigious golf course, help provide an experience of a lifetime, and make folks from all over the world happy. Meeting celebs & high profile peeps is a fun perk too. Well, when I actually recognize them. Ha!

I am passionate about my job. I truly want every single guest I come in contact with to have an exceptional experience. I have a system down. From driving the course backwards, being a chameleon to blend in with different personalities, how to mix drinks and keep the pace of play moving, to the three questions I ask almost everyone. Just in case you’re wondering they are:

1) How’s your game?

2) Where are you from?

3) Is this your first time playing Pebble?

I will also remind them to watch out for the birds, because they work for me. Those punks steal food, wallets, keys, even a Rolex watch once which is a legend around the course, to whatever they can get their beaks around. They even know how to open zippers. Seriously, somewhere in  birdland, a bird  has a nest full of really cool stuff. And I wanna be his friend.

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Pic: 7th hole

Inevitably the short conversation leads to a chuckle and some good luck wishes for and exceptional experience playing 7. (Our signature hole that is probably on a gazillion bucket lists)

As you can see, I love what I do. I often drive the course and think, wow, they pay me to come here and do this. #mindblown But let’s circle back to the potential side of how I’m feeling lately.

After doing some soul searching aka talking to Mike about it over coffee, the truth is, I am not living up to my potential and I’m not being challenged.

I LOVE a good challenge and there is still some work to do and things to perfect, but overall I feel like things are kinda stagnant lately. I have the capability to grow within the company. I just don’t have the desire to. I’m happy, so why not leave well enough alone. Ya feel me? And now the 23 year old Jacqueline is cringing. Ha!


It’s ingrained in us to work hard, do more, get a college education, climb the ladder, strive for more, keep going, etc. Those are all good and awesome, but you know what? I truly believe that happiness is far more important than meeting or exceeding your potential. I mean, we are exchanging minutes of our lives at a job. Take a minute and let that sink in.

It’s a huge deal.

I’m not willing to exchange happiness for a prestigious title behind my name. Having bartender or beer chick is fine by me. Maybe this theory isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. And I’m pretty dang content with it.

Please feel free to share your thoughts!!


13 Comments on “Happiness is the highest level of success

  1. Great post J! I will have to circle back around tomorrow to drop my opinion. But well done on putting “pen to paper”. I think everyone struggles with this… be back later.

      • So, it’s interesting reading the comments. This post though… I actually had to talk it out with other people to get my thoughts correct where I could type it out.

        Here’s my take (only my take) on the situation…this is relateable on so many fronts. It doesn’t have to be about a job right? Could be about acting or cooking, or even running. No one is going to know if your truly happy but you. And… and this is where you have to be honest with yourself…really really honest…

        Being truly happy, means that you are perfectly content and don’t need to try for anything greater. You are HAPPY IN THE PRESENT, regardless of outside influences or possibilities. That could be your grandma, or even the cowboy telling you, “you are destined for something greater”…The may be right. But who are they to tell you if you’re happy or not?

        For me, the key phrase is “in the present”. That is powerful because things change. Ish happens! The thing is, only you can figure out what your ultimate happy place is regardless if you think you can do better or not. The better or not does not even come into play if you are truly happy…in the present.

        “With that said, recently I’ve been feeling like I’m not living up to my potential”…if you’re already thinking about not living up to your potential, then to me IMHO, you’re not happy. To me, fulfilling your potential is when you’ll be happy.

  2. I think it is great that you are so happy where you are, but I also think that you have bought into the fallacy that you have to have one or the other. You can work hard, be challenged and be happy. I have been extremely happy and content in my career for the last four years, but husband knows how to challenge me and make me want to achieve more. I am still at my job but also working on my masters degree to become a Nurse Practitioner. Am I happy when it’s crunch time studying for a big test or writing a paper? Not always, but as soon as its done I feel excited, relieved and know that I will be so happy that I am doing this. Now when I graduate next year I will have to stop working in my current job, but then I get to go work somewhere new, and I know how it feels to work somewhere where I am valued, respected, challenged, and have fun all at the same time, so there is no way I will compromise when I am looking for jobs next year. I have every faith that I will be happy and even more fulfilled in my next career step. Maybe even happy in ways I can’t even imagine yet. I don’t think you have to trade one for the other. I think you just have to be wise and make sure you can get both.

    • I am a nurse practitioner, and it is the best of both worlds!! 🙂 good luck in your schooling!

  3. This is such a great post! When I was graduating college my advisor told me I should go to medical school “because I could”. For a long time in my life I made decisions based on the fact that I was smart and “should” do things. But then when I was 26 I took a leap of faith and took a job being an administrative assistant! I felt like people would judge me but I loved that job! And it made me so happy. Now 17 years later I am still w/ that company but have moved into another job (that I love). Just proved to me that no matter what it is, follow your heart….do what makes you happy. Those that love you will only be happy for you and support you. And P.S. I want to work at a golf course like you when I decide to retire from my current job. What an AWESOME job.

  4. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that the ‘job prestige’ and good pay that sometimes go with it do not make me happy….what makes me happy is enjoying every moment and loving what I do! Who cares if you are not living up to your potential (as you say)….as long as you are happy and living each moment to the fullest!!!

  5. I so wish you had posted this a year ago. I decided to leave a job I was in for 10 years, working with great people, easy job, comfortable, and some good benefits but I thought I should do more, have a bigger title to my name. And it was the one of the worst mistakes of my life. The job I left for was horrible, the people were horrible, everything. I cried every night for 7 months. I tried to go back to my old job but they had already replaced me. I’m in a different job now and I’m not miserable but not happy. I was happy and comfortable and now that’s gone. I am still sad and sick to my stomach every day about it. I guess it’s a learning experience but it has been so tough.
    So you do what makes you happy!

    • Hey, Jamie, that is a very difficult thing to happen. But DON’T feel bad about it because you ALREADY made the decision, sunk costs are sunk and you can’t go back. If you were still in your old “comfortable” job, you don’t know what might have happened. Maybe you would be sitting there resentful, wondering what else is out there. It doesn’t matter to say “I’m glad I did” or “I wish I hadn’t” or “everything happens for a reason” because how you feel about the past doesn’t change what happened. How you describe your feeling (sick/sad) sounds like the feeling after a break-up! Which we all know eventually goes away 🙂

      • Thank you for your reply. It’s funny that you said it sounds like a break-up because I’ve said the same thing to many people since I left! 🙂
        I appreciate you taking the time to respond and you’re right, I can’t go back so i need to look forward and stop thinking about it.

  6. Here’s the thing: most people are happy and content just as they are, they have things great – so why shake it up? Well, because if you’re not stepping outside of your comfort zone – are you really growing? There’s a big world out there. The biggest thing for me is to keep learning or trying new things – this could something as simple as taking up guitar lessons or taking a new course or selling everything off (in a secure job in a city I loved) and moving halfway across the world…yeah I did that. Did I lose a LOT in the process – absolutely. But did I learn a lot? Yeah I did. If you’re happy in your job, you could look at what’s going on outside work that could fulfill you or help you grow. There’s a great quote…”The sooner we leave our comfort zone, the more we realize it really wasn’t that comfortable after all.”

    And to Jamie above – I’ve made a lot of mistakes like that – it’s all part of life. Put on your big girl pants and aim to find something else that makes you happy. The thing about taking risks is that they don’t always pay off. But you sure as heck learn something from it. Life is not always meant to be perfect or easy….”The purpose of life is not to be happy – it’s to help others, show compassion and be of Service.” Remember that.

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