As it is the International Day of Happiness today I thought I should share some assorted thoughts regarding the topic.
Happiness may have different meanings for different people. But we can all agree that it means working to end conflict, poverty and other unfortunate conditions in which so many of our fellow human beings live – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Like so many other things, happiness is something you build into your business culture. A friend of mine, Morten Middelfart, said “Disruption always starts from below”, and I agree. But more important I think, like happiness, that the culture where disruption and happiness resides always has to be built from the top down. It’s up to you as a leader to walk the line and set the bar for your business. To start creating a culture where conversations can take place.
I think if you succeed in that, a transformation of your business will start, and creativity will lead to disruption. Happiness will follow. But this isn’t something that can be turned on and off like a switch.
Shawn Achor talks more about this in the Happiness Advantage, (a great book by the way). He says “average” tailors everything that we do. Being normal is merely average. But if we can change the lens through which we perceive reality we can become happier. We can go from being average to a culture with conversation, creativity and happiness.
But there’s a trap along the way, and that is to fail to be positive in the present, to focus just on the next report, the next goal through short-term thinking. “If we just reach this month’s sales target, then…”. But there are always new targets to be met or new goals to be achieved.
What happens when we focus on the short term is that we push happiness to the opposite side of success and our brains see it as an unreachable goal.
So how do you attain happiness? What drivers should be in place? A couple of clues are given in “Happiness is the New Productivity”.
To start to transform your business there must be passion. A passion you can pass on to the people that are following you or to your employees. By showing gratitude and listening to people, celebrating what went right every single day, and by giving, you can start the transformation to a happier business.
Remember that even though goals are good, happiness can’t be tied to them. Happiness is from the journey toward a vision. Your vision, is the reason people are following you in the first place.
Keep that vision alive. Be social. Start to listen to people and reach out to them. Be vulnerable and ask how you can help, or ask them for help. Tell your story, and form your business around that story, and that of your followers, or employees. Aim for happiness, and success will follow!