I love my 3 kids, coffee and have a borderline unhealthy aversion to people who crunch their Popcorn or wrappers too loudly during movies – in that order.
From a very young age I have always been fascinated with the study of happiness and pondering one of life’s greatest questions: What makes a person happy and fulfilled?
I was a very curious and odd child. Why would a young child be thinking of these things? Ends up, it was great I did because I had quite an amazing yet long a very bumpy ride ahead.
As a child, I told the Universe that I wanted to experience it all. I wanted to see, taste, smell, feel absolutely everything! I neglected to mention one key thing – I only wanted to experience all the good things. The universe, while remarkable, doesn’t always answer your prayers the way you think it should.
Why did I become a ongoing student on the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment? Out of sheer necessity. My personal story and journey in life has not always been a smooth one. It’s been more like traveling on the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California where I grew up. Sure, there are amazing views and straightaways, but there are plenty of twists and turns, road blocks and ever changing weather. Like life, it’s a brutal drive sometimes, but if you have the courage and persistence to perseverance – the next stunning vista is just around the corner offering up some of the most spectacular views in the world!
The struggles will come, you cannot stop them, but if you work hard and learn how to deal with the bumpy roads; they seem to lead to the best places.
At age 6 (yes six), I suffered my first panic attack. Panic and Anxiety disorder was not yet a diagnosis. They thought I was having an asthma attack and I was rushed to the ER. My lifelong journey with anxiety began.
In my teens following a long and successful career in Gymnastics, I developed an eating disorder. Bulimia was not yet a diagnosis – I think I’m a trendsetter… During that period, my mother clipped out an Ann Landers (advice columnist of that time) article about a mom who discovered her daughter was making herself sick after meals and desperately needed advice. She left the article and a beautiful rose on my pillow – smart mom. It gave me hope and the journey to recovery began.
During this period my study of the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment became an obsession. Neither panic and anxiety or the eating disorder were curable and this bugged me. I was determined and persistent in finding a way back to happiness. Through books, articles, conferences and endless studying I found the tools and inspiration to find a true healthy happiness within my own body.
At the age of 18, my parents divorced and both moved to new cities. The family home and unit were gone and I had a $5.00 net worth. I felt alone, abandoned and scared, even though I had the choice to live with either of parents in another city. Faced with adversity, yet again, I was determined to dig deep and have a good life. I had a lot of skills in my happiness tool box that I put to persistent good use. I knew this wasn’t a dead end but just another detour.
Becoming even more empowered and seeing results with my intensive studies, I continued to read more, attend more seminars, PRACTICE what worked and dropped what didn’t. I chose not to give in to the loneliness and the fear. Within a few years, I had my own family, a home, great friends and financial security.
Overcoming those early obstacles and the continued study of happiness and purpose helped prepare me for future bleak ones that I didn’t even see coming. The loss of my Mother to MS when I was 29 set me into a dark tailspin of sadness, anxiety and deep pain. In my mid thirties, I faced financial disaster and slowly and diligently climbed out of over a quarter million dollars in debt.
Approaching midlife, I, yet again, was blindsided by a major obstacle: I didn’t have a drinking problem, I had a stopping problem. My family history along with a genetic makeup of Irish and American Indian heritage did not make a great combo for moderate drinking. I stopped permanently in 2008.
I got divorced after an almost 30 year marriage. The changes were overwhelming and the thought of beginning my entire life over again after that much hard work was not only daunting but made me feel almost hopeless. I sank into a depression which lasted about 2 years. I was able to work full time but the only way to describe how I felt was: minimally functioning while walking through thick quick sand each and every day. I attempted to never gave up hope, I dug deep into my daily practice of the pursuit of happiness and used every single skill and tool I have studied over the years.
But here’s the thing friends… even though life can be challenging; Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I am happier today than I’ve ever been because I’ve experienced deep pain. I’m stronger than I have ever been because strength grows in the moments you think you can’t go on but you keep going anyway. I’m grateful for the pain that forced me to raise my game. I’m actually grateful for the struggle that made me the human I am today.
As a Pursuit-Of-Happiness Researcher, I am committed to inspiring others through a program I developed called “Connect to Greatness.” It’s based on all of my years of intense research and firsthand experience and gives you a concrete plan to build your best life. I share my Connect to Greatness program through Podcasts, Website and Motivational speaking engagements. You can also join me on Instagram for a daily dose of positive and effective motivation and inspiration (@KaneConnection).
Trust the journey. Even if the road seems a rough at times… You’ll get there!
Join the journey with me.