The Biggest Shift You Need to Make for More Success and Happiness Now

by Alli Polin on April 25, 2017

We all know people who are constantly talking about the good old days. No matter where they are or what they’re doing, life was better before. In fact, many of those people are on the search to recreate the magic. They’re always moving from job to job, hoping that one of them will have the spark they crave. Or for others, it’s relationship to relationship or town to town.

When I lived in Philadelphia, I’d take the train from Chestnut Hill to the City for work. On the way, I’d always see a sign on one of the apartment complexes we passed. It said, “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now.” I thought, “How stupid. No kidding.” Now I get it. 

In a world where everything is temporary, we’re all just passing through. However, there’s a problem with the passing through mindset – it’s never home but only a train stop. 

For five years I’ve lived in a furnished rental home. My belongings are in a storage facility in Northern Virginia, and our rental could be described as vanilla at best. Our friends here who also live in furnished rentals were shocked last year when we bought a new couch and new kitchen table and chairs. 

“Why?” they asked.

“Why spend the money when you have another one in storage?”

“What was wrong with the included furniture?”

Here’s the deal: I was tired of just passing through and was ready to be home now. 

I needed to hang curtains, art, buy an area rug, and a colorful table because living in a vanilla world is life sucking after a while. (Sorry to those of you who are thinking vanilla is your favorite flavor. Imagine it all over your walls and furniture, and I’ll bet it’s not as appealing.) Most people here count the months or years until they’re leaving. 

“When I get home again,” they say. 

“At home, things will be different,” they say.

“You are home,” I say. “For as long as you’re here, you’re home. Act like it. Embrace it.”

Want More Success and Happiness? Here’s the Key:

It’s simple: Stop romanticizing the past and waiting for the future. 

You’re here now. If you act like a temp, you’re in for a long wait to be happy; to be home. Even if it’s not your forever home, act like it is. It changes everything. 


If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now

It’s okay to love the past, but not if it threatens your ability to be happy now. I’ll say it once, twice if you need to hear it twice – the past isn’t coming back. It’s not. Even if you went back, it would never be the same. 

What if, instead of looking to what’s next, you allowed yourself to go all in right here, right now? What would change? Not your circumstances. The thing that would change? It’s you.

Success and happiness are both within your reach when you go all in. When you’re invested, you’re home. 

What’s Home?

To me, home is more than where you sleep at night. At the office, it’s also more than the location of your desk or the name of the company on your business card. Home is where you’re planted. No, that doesn’t mean forever, but it’s the place you’ve chosen to grow. There is limited growth at best when you refuse to grow roots, build connections and get deeply engaged.

When you’re never willing to stop long enough to make anywhere your home, you’re putting off success and happiness. Truly. When you’re in the passing through mindset, only the past or the future has all of the good stuff. Come on, that’s no way to live or lead. 

What Will It Take to Stop Passing Through and Create a Home Where You Are?

I’ve worked with people who tell me that they’re buying time in the current position or company. Buying time? More like wasting time waiting. I’m a big believer that the time spent between where you are and where you’re going isn’t simply waiting, it’s a time for creating

Stop Being Afraid Things Will End Here

Just because you fully show up in your current circumstances doesn’t mean that things will never change. In fact, it’s the showing up and giving 100% NOW that will create your next opportunity and your next. 

Paint the Walls and Make Your Mark

Decide you’re IN IT. That you don’t want to live a vanilla existence and want to make your mark. You don’t have to wait to do that! Success and happiness depend on you shining right where you are. You know what’s the best feeling in the world? When you make a positive impact. A big one. You can’t do that without being invested. 

Make the Choice

There are always costs and benefits from doubling down on your commitment. However, straddling the past, present and future is more like an uncomfortable game of Twister. Choose. Make the conscious choice that this is where you want to be – and are meant to be for as long as you’re there. 

The quickest way to be eluded by success and happiness is to chase it. It’s there for you now, I promise. Remember, “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home.” It’s up to you to unlock the door and walk through it. 

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ April 25, 2017 at 8:09 am

Very provocative post you have written Alli. It has many levels and messages. On the outside it is addressing happiness and contentment and success. As you read through it a second time, it tackles deep choices and even procrastination head on!

It reminds me of an old saying “If you’re not where you’re at, you’re nowhere.”

Great insight. Great post. Love it.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


Alli Polin April 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

Many thanks, Kate! That’s a great saying too – definitely ties in perfectly. It’s so easy to get caught up in happiness and success as a final destination. If that’s the case, the ride is something we’re supposed to tolerate and get through. Life is so much more than that…

With gratitude,



Lori Gosselin April 25, 2017 at 8:34 am

Hi Alli,
Wow, could a post be more timely?! I’ve been in transition for 7 months now and it IS difficult to settle in when I know this is temporary but don’t know when it will change.
Years ago, I had a conversation with my grandmother. I asked her the secret to happiness. She said, “Be where you are.” Wise advice.
Funny thing about this reluctance to accept “here” as home because it is temporary. We have no idea of what really is temporary. I could never have seen myself where I am now but being where I am now is the only way I’ll get to where I want to be. Don’t you just love paradox!


Alli Polin April 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

Transition is something I know well, Lori. It’s the floating, the waiting that makes it the hardest. We’re missing out too. By the way, your grandmother was clearly a very wise woman!

Being present, making our home where we are does crazy things in terms of where we’re going! Somehow, things still change and evolve. 🙂

May thanks for your comment!



Lori Gosselin April 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

It takes a wise woman to recognize the wisdom in another.


John Thurlbeck April 25, 2017 at 9:02 am

Kate put it brilliantly! I loved your thoughtful provocation too.

Happiness comes from within and being true to yourself is a major starting point. Procrastination is also a killer! I try to do the one and avoid the other … but maybe tomorrow will be better!


John 🙂


Alli Polin April 25, 2017 at 9:55 am

You’re too wonderful, John. Your travels are actually an inspiration because by investing the time your adventures, you too have found your home… as a world explorer.

Here’s to knowing our true selves and letting them shine!



Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ April 25, 2017 at 11:08 am

Thank you John. You, Alli, and I are of one mind in that being in the moment takes us much further than just looking ahead.


Terri Klass April 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I love your description of home: “Home is where you’re planted.” It is so true that we deserve to grow no matter where we are. In one of my first jobs I was a lowly credit analyst that didn’t carry much weight. But as I worked with the numbers I began to realize that I might be interested in pursuing my MBA. So you are so right that getting connected wherever we are will help us move to the next step with more wisdom.
Thanks Alli and will share your wise words!


Alli Polin April 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Always appreciate your stories. Brings things to life! (and that’s what it’s all about). Thanks so much, Terri!


Narayan Kamath April 25, 2017 at 11:43 pm

One of my favourite quotes from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig is:

The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality

Yet, as you rightly point out, we rarely live in the present – we are stuck in the past or in a desperate dash to the future. To experience happiness, we need to experience the present – not recall the past or simulate the future.

Thanks for a great read!


Alli Polin April 26, 2017 at 3:39 am


Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I admit, for many years Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has been on my “I should read someday” list. Your comment has encouraged me to make that day today and I’ve downloaded it on my kindle to start reading.

I agree happiness exists here, now.

Many thanks!



Chery Gegelman April 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm

I loved this Alli!

That delicate balance between embracing the limbo that comes with transition -without unpacking, and wisdom to know when and how to be 100% wherever you are.

Mentally, emotionally and physically…

I’m still in the limbo of the most recent transition – but thinking of when we painted the walls in our villa in Saudi and when I started to do more there and less online…

Thank you for sharing!


Alli Polin April 26, 2017 at 8:37 pm

To some extent, we always feel the force of transition. Even here, I know that there’s an end. I will be moving back. However, when I allow the end, the finish line, to be my focus, whew… I miss out on a heck of a lot.

Can totally relate to painting the walls of your condo in Saudi! We painted one room here – the one where we spend the most time. Soon, we’ll need to paint it back to the vanilla color it started. Beginnings, Endings and the Now 🙂



Scott Mabry April 26, 2017 at 10:32 pm

Excellent story, Alli, and I love the way you related it to an experience many of us have known. It is so easy to miss everything available to us in the present while we are lost in a fantasy about a somewhere-else that will make us happy(er). Very much appreciate this important reminder.


Alli Polin April 27, 2017 at 9:06 am

Many thanks, Scott! Easy to get lost in the fantasy instead of choosing the hard work of being present (and happy) now.



Cynthia Bazin April 30, 2017 at 8:06 am

Awesome day to you Alli. As you know you are one of my favorite bloggers. You always have something that really hits home with me. Everything is awesome in your article. But I love where you say, decide you’re ‘In It’. Sometimes it’s just a few words that you hear at the exact time you need it that makes all the difference. I appreciate you Alli. Have a beautiful day. You are extraordinary!


Alli Polin May 2, 2017 at 6:25 am

You’re too wonderful! Here’s to being IN IT! (I know you are)




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