Just last month I was lucky enough to be taken on a business trip to Europe. There was a group of us leaders that were traveling together and visiting Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy. It was magical.

It was my first trip to Ireland and I loved it, especially when we got to the coastline. We visited the Cliffs of Moher which are absolutely breathtaking. I live in Boulder, CO which is beautiful and have also traveled around the world quite a lot, but I can’t ever recall having my breath taken away like this.

I stood there transfixed and in absolute awe. It is an amazing place. The weeks prior to this trip I had been so stressed out with work, that my mind was all over the place. Even the first few days of this trip, my mind wasn’t even completely present, although it was winding down slowly.

But at the Cliffs of Moher that all changed. All those annoying worrisome thoughts that had caused me so much stress, anxiety and frustration just dissipated. I was just so present and in the moment.

There was an old local guy giving us a little history lesson and guided commentary of the Cliffs. I envied how simple his life appeared, how relaxed and happy he was and even though he had probably told these stories thousands of times, he was loving it. He was so proud and you could feel his connection and appreciation of where he was at.

One of the stories he told us was the Legend of The Mermaid of Moher. A simple story of a local fisherman who once spotted a mermaid and went and sat next to her on a rock. While they were talking the fisherman stole her cloak, which by the way was what allowed her to return to being a mermaid, ran off and hid it in his house.

He promised to return it to her one day if she married him. She agreed and they had a son and daughter over time.  He never did return it, but one day while out fishing she found it in the house and she managed to finally escape and return to being a mermaid in the sea.

A very simple story I know, but this old guy just loved telling it. He was beaming from ear to ear and the magic of the Cliffs had completely changed my point of focus and I was also beaming from ear to ear.

I got back on the bus and I was just completely shaken up by my experience that day. The simplicity of the legend, that I wouldn’t even have given a second of thought a day earlier, was ringing loud in my ears.

It reminded me of how we become so preoccupied with work and achieving our goals that we actually miss out on life. I suddenly realized how so many of us, including myself, are driven by fear. We work harder and strive for more money, more promotions, more sales, more revenue, more car, more house and on and on, hoping it will all bring us more happiness.

But really what is driving us is fear. Fear of not being worthy, fear of not being good enough, Fear of lack, fear of letting others down.

Yet that focus on more and more is no different to the Fisherman who stole the mermaids cloak? What did he think he would achieve? A better life? More happiness? A perfect family? It was just an illusion that he was chasing.  Because when his wife finally returned to being a mermaid, and she always would, he would be left with just himself. The life he was chasing was just an illusion that could not make him whole.

That is what the legend of The Mermaid of Moher taught me. It reminded me to stop chasing higher and higher goals and becoming more and more stressed just for the sake of achieving.

Instead, I have to focus on being happy and content right here and now with what I have.
@hayleyhobson (Click to Tweet!)

There is nothing wrong with goals, but rather we should focus on enjoying every step of the journey, otherwise if we fail to reach them or if they are taken away, what are we left with?

Are we going to be like the fisherman who was living an illusion or are we going to be happy and content no matter what we have?



Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit hayleyhobson.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Image courtesy of Giuseppe Milo.