Category Archives: Happiness

Positive Push For Profit


Fostering a happy work environment isn’t a luxury or a soft skill. It’s a necessity to maximize a company’s bottom line, says Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” based on 10 years of research.

To ensure optimism in the workplace, follow these steps:

Change your mindset. Don’t limit happiness to something deserved only after meeting a goal. Prioritize it now, Achor says. The reason? Happiness is a precursor to success. He points to studies showing that optimistic salespeople outsell negative counterparts by 37%.

Seed happiness. Write down three things you’re grateful for each day, with at least one being work-related, Achor suggests. Say them out loud at night. Also consider: meeting with an old friend, watching a funny video, reading a favorite blog or looking at your vacation pictures. Such moves “actually increase the success rates of our work,” Achor said.

Keep relationships strong. Achor cites decades of research showing social support to be the single greatest contributor to personal happiness.

“I found the greatest predictor of success during stress and challenges is the quantity and quality of your relationships,” he told IBD.

Raise the bar. Work effectiveness is dependent on how much possibility employees see in their jobs.

As a manager, help people recognize their greater potential. “Find out the strengths of the people on your team, and help them leverage those daily,” Achor said.

Delegating responsibilities helps managers and instills confidence in the staff, says Frances Cole Jones, author of “The Wow Factor.”

Open right. If you’re scanning the world for negatives first, you miss out on the positives. Achor suggests starting meetings with something positive. Frame work situations as positive challenges, not threats.

Fight stress. After two hours of concentrated work, brain functions slow. Achor recommends taking five minutes of recovery.

“You’ll feel more positive and see a big jump in your concentration and productivity,” he said.

Praise generously. When leaders increase recognition by one instance per day, a team’s productivity skyrockets, Achor says.

“Expressing gratitude is not only wonderful in the moment, but can elevate your overall sense of happiness,” said Walter Green, former CEO of Harrison Conference Services and author of “This Is the Moment,” a book about the power of gratitude. “Those who are acknowledged and appreciated feel valued, but those bestowing the praise reap tremendous benefits as well.”

Albert Schweitzer, the humanitarian who lived from 1875 to 1965, said: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.”

Recognize special people. Make a list of individuals in your company who have made a significant contribution over the long term, Green says. Make bullet points of the things they’ve done, using them as talking points.

Go the extra mile. When communicating gratitude, don’t be ordinary. Avoid that regular lunch, Green said: “Think of a different way to communicate it, because it’s a different message.”

He suggests reinforcing and memorializing the moment with written praise. “Showing gratitude doesn’t have to cost much money, it doesn’t have to cost much time, and the impact can be extraordinary,” he said.

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My new article on Maria Shriver’s The Women’s Conference:

Although “Innocent until proven guilty” is the law of the land, I find many women more than willing to judge—and convict– themselves of daily crimes of incompetence, inefficiency and general disorganization without ever hiring a defense counsel to speak on their behalf, much less consulting a jury of their peers.

I will take one of my typical days as a case in point. Even when I wake at five, take the dog to the park, lead a conference call, go to yoga, speak at a luncheon, prospect for new business, coach a client, and meet a friend for a drink, I will still come home and berate myself for not having stayed on top of my email, done the laundry and organized my speaking schedule. And if I’m anywhere near tax season, the holiday season, or bikini season, forget it.

It’s possible you’ve experienced these feelings.

If you’re one of the super women who also manage to commute to work, take your kids to sports practice and/or go on date night with your husband, I mentally—frankly—build an altar to you. I can’t conceive of the opportunities for personal condemnation these would provide for me.

That said, there are a few things I have slowly, painfully learned.

Contentment is a choice. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has said, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” I’ve come to realize contentment is much the same: to accept that there will never be a day when my business is booming, my bills are paid, my hair is highlighted, my family is adoring, etc. One way Thay recommends to cultivate happiness and contentment is to build in pauses to notice what is working: When your alarm goes off, don’t jump up but lie still and take three breaths; When your phone rings, don’t lunge for it but take three breaths. You could even close your eyes and take three breaths right now.

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