Talking Happiness with Stephen Whiteley

12 Aug

This week we are so pleased to feature author, speaker and coach Stephen Whiteley with an interview on a theme we’ve been exploring here on Sister Leadership: Happiness. I met Stephen at the bookstore, Chapters not long ago while he was promoting his book, Happiness Works, Get Yours Here. Stephen used to be a fighter jet pilot, and shares with us today a little on how he transformed his own life “from being a master of destruction to being a master of happiness and harmony.”

Therefore, please welcome to Sister Leadership, Stephen Whiteley – and let’s hear what he has to say on the subject of being happy.

Q: What do you believe are your strengths?

“My greatest strength is my happiness, and from my happiness I get tremendous energy and stamina. This happiness, I was born with  and I carried through much of my life, but there came a time when it left me. I found myself feeling badly, and I remember clearly one day walking  to work and thinking, “I feel bad, I don’t like feeling bad. I got to do something about this.” And so on my journey back to happiness, I discovered the amazing secrets and truth about happiness that I’m now working to spread around the world.”

Q: And what do you think your strengths were when your main strength was lacking, when you didn’t have that happiness?

“When I had lost my happiness, I still had faith in my own abilities to find it again. So I never questioned my own ability to do that, and it was that steadfastness trust in myself that actually allowed me to not only get back to happy, but to exceed my former level of happiness and to understand it deep enough to bring it to anybody who was open to it . . . I also believe in myself to get anything that I want. When I set my mind on anything, I have that steadfast faith that I can do it, and I just keep working until it comes about.”

Q: Could give me an example of when you used your strengths of happiness and steadfast faith to your advantage?

“There was a time when I had a lot of conflict within my family, which was one of the sources of my unhappiness. So as I was re-embracing my own happiness, I was trying to teach this to my family, and I found that they were really resisting that and actually going the other way. So what I did to maintain my own happiness, was allow them to do whatever they wanted and to just focus on improving myself. And this made an amazing difference in our relationships, and allowed us to come together despite our differences.

“It was both my faith in myself and my own happiness that allowed me – even in their teenage years, we had three children in 39 months, anybody who has lived with teenagers knows they get really good at pushing your emotional buttons, and I realized that what I was doing was working. They were doing the things that used to make me angry, and it made me laugh instead.

As a result of that, it’s now been more than five years since I’ve been unhappy in any way. So I believe that when we are prepared to be open to changing our own life for the better, that we can actually end unhappiness for good in our life. When we want to resolve the hurts of the past and release them so they don’t come up in the present anymore to make us feel bad over and over – and then we connect with our soul’s true desire, which I call our purpose for living, that lining those things up makes it easy to focus your present moment on furthering your purpose and expanding your purpose, and allows us to forget about any trouble. Trouble is just now an opportunity for growth, so there is no real trouble.”

Q: Has there ever been a time when your relationships have made it difficult to make a decision and keep yourself in that happy place or get your work done?

“Yes, absolutely, because when you’re in conflict with people nothing changes for the better. Either while you’re in conflict you are just making the relationships worse and not solving any problems, and then after the conflict you have the conflict still going round and round in your mind and making it very difficult to focus on getting anything important done. When we’re in conflict our creativity goes out the window, and our productivity goes out the window.

“So there are several times in my life when I’ve been in conflict with people like that. What I’ve now learned is to be impervious to criticism and be impervious to conflict, because there’s two things that I’ve realized: one is that it takes two to fight – you don’t have to engage with anybody in fighting; and that other thing I’ve realized is when you embrace criticism, when you embrace the person who is coming at you as a attach, then it disarms the whole thing.

“I’ll give you an example. Let’s say somebody came to me and they had a dislike for something about me . . . let’s just say it’s the way I comb my hair. So they come up and they start making fun of it. Like, “who cuts your hair, that looks ridiculous!”

“Before I would have thrown an insult back, (in fact I used to be the head of the verbal abuse group) or defend myself. But now I’ll embrace it. I’ll say, “Oh really? You don’t like it. Tell me, is it the colour, is it the cut, or is it the way it’s styled?” And they’re not used to that kind of approach. So what I’ll get from that is either, “Oh never mind,” and just go away, or they might exaggerate something else and I’ll say, “Tell me more!” to the point where they get that I’m not going to fight back, and I’m not going to engage with them.

“And if they actually have a valid point, if they say, “you know, you said you would do this, and it’s not done to my satisfaction.” . . . I can say, “Tell me exactly what you understood I committed to.” And then, if I believe they’re right, then I can say, “Well thank you for bringing that to my attention, I’ll seriously consider changing that.” And that keeps me resourceful, leaves me in the position of choice, and preserves the relationship . . .

“We all want choice, and to bring about change – the first step is openness. If we are not open to doing things a bit better, doing things a little more, then there’s no sense wasting even a breath on it. So what this does then, it means that we all want to choose where we are going. So by taking on all of the information from them, and not seeing it as an attack, then I can take it away and in my own time fully consider it, fully analyze it, and then make a change when I want to.

What are some resources or strategies you draw on in order to stay positive about the future? How do you make time for things you enjoy, and what benefits do you get from doing that?

“One of the strategies I use to stay positive about the future is to keep a journal. So, every night when I go to bed I write in my journal four things: I write when I’m grateful for from the day; I write what I learned that day; what my successes were; and what my intention for the next day is.

“And then as I go to bed, I fill myself with gratitude . . . for having a nice warm bed, for being there with my wife, for having a comfortable pillow and nice covers, for the fact that I’m going to get however many hours of sleep it is, and how that is going to rejuvenate and regenerate me. So I go to bed with this beautiful intention and then I wake up with a similar kind of intention. Then the first part of the day, I get up early before anybody else, so then I can look after me. I drink some water, I do some yoga, I nourish my mind and my soul with some positive material, and I give myself some good nutrition. This all helps to fill me with gratitude, and appreciate, and with energy to do the things that are important to me.

“This feeds my continuous positivity for the future. It’s how I make time for what I truly enjoy, and it benefits me and everyone around me because I don’t waste time on conflict, I don’t do stress, because I believe there is enough time. I believe I am good enough.  And so it will all work out.

“Having no stress allows me with my high energy level to produce a lot every day.

“And this is the value of true and lasting happiness. I think mostly we don’t understand what happiness truly is, and this is the message that I want to world to have – that happiness is about harmony. When you have harmony with three things: harmony with yourself, harmony with the people and things around you, and harmony with your purpose for living – having those allows us to be very productive, very purposeful, feel very fulfilled, and to find meaning in our way of living. Meaning is the thing that we want the most – more than money, more than sex, more than food, more than sleep, more than love.”

We would like to thank Stephen for his openness and sharing for today’s post on happiness. It is a great honour for us to feature and share different voices & stories here on our blog, and it’s been fascinating to add his unique perceptive to the discussion on happiness. Stephen’s book Happiness Works, Get Yours Here is available through


There are many roads to happiness and ways we can invite more flow of happiness.  Research shows that money does not create happiness, once people get past the poverty line. Therefore, HOW can we create more happiness? A starting point may be for you to check out Stephen’s book, but while you’re waiting for that shipping delivery, here’s an idea you can try right now with a friend nearby:

In the previous  Sister Leadership blogs, we have spoken about anchoring and how we can break a pattern of thinking that does not serve us. We have also shared the NLP communication model of how our perception of how we see the world creates our realities to be happy or not.

When we pause to meditate or go into a trance (we are often in one and do not realize it), we connect to a higher level of being that can be felt in every pore of our bodies.  When we create this state of wellbeing/happiness, it may be difficult to be in a place of judgment. When in this state of wellbeing/happiness and non- judgment, I challenge you to ask yourself how you see the world after you meditate or in trance? If you had a problem before you meditated or put yourself in a trance, I am curious to know if the residual feeling of the problem has disappeared (at least for a little while) when you ask yourself where is the problem now? Imagine that we can take a pause and observe a situation with the freedom of inner-peace and happiness.  Once we have tapped into this exquisite place of happiness, only practice of anchoring into our bodies makes the masterfully happen into an innate way of being. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at anything.

At this time, I would like to bring you a new tool in my NLP tool box as a certified hypnotist. It is about investing a couple of minutes  with a friend at your side . . . click here to access our PDF script for Pausing with hypnosis: A way to direct happiness into  your life

Let us know if you enjoyed the exercise!

Till next week,



One Response to “Talking Happiness with Stephen Whiteley”

  1. Stephen Whiteley October 14, 2013 at 16:38 #

    Great article for those who want more happiness and success in their way of living. There are a couple of typos but the article has some great insights.

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