Friday, May 04 2012

Working For Happiness

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I recently finished reading Tony Hseih’s book “Delivering Happiness.” Tony has done an extraordinary job of articulating the importance of challenges and strategies for creating happiness in work. Tony notes that “Without separation of work and life, it’s remarkable how values can be exactly the same.”  Is there really such a thing as work/life balance or is it really just life balance? Life is work .whether work means your career, your job, your hobbies, your family, your relationships .The balance we seek in “work life balance” is really just about being happy in life.

Here are a couple of ideas on actively creating happiness and balance:

1)    Focus on things that matter; don’t worry about the things that don’t
  1. Stay focused on areas that you can impact change and make a difference. We have a tendency focus our time and energy around things that we cannot control and in the big scheme of things, they don’t really matter.
2)    Focus on creating outcomes/solutions rather than the problems
  1. Complaining is easy – We can usually find an audience that wants to participate in our pity party… the best gift you can bring to this party is your refusal to buy into the problem and instead work towards developing empowering alternatives or solutions. Step up and take responsibility for impacting change.
3)    Don’t complain – Rather explain then inspire action and change
  1. If you want or need something or have a concern – talk to someone who can impact change.
  2. Take responsibility for yourself and don’t apologize for your point of view.
  3. It’s your job to take initiative when you notice issues or have ideas on how to make situations better so that you, the team and the company can succeed. Tony Hseih notes, “The best team members have a positive influence on one another and everyone they encounter.”
  4. As a leader it’s your job to listen to your team – To always want to hear them out and strive to understand and appreciate where they are coming from. Tony notes in Delivering Happiness, “The best leaders are servant-leaders … they serve those they lead.”  Encourage your team to voice their concerns and opinions AND set the expectation that they should be able offer solutions and ideas on how to fix the issue/solve the problems.
4)    Move your body every day
  1. Whether it’s an early morning workout at the gym, a walk at lunch or an evening stroll with the dog, get your body moving every day. Moving keeps you body and mind healthy and strong.
5)    Never stop growing or learning
  1. Read, watch a TED Talk online, dig a little deeper into your friend’s latest Faceboook post on social issues. In work/life take action and responsibility for your personal and professional growth.
6)    You will fail sometimes
  1. Try anyway.
7)    Remember we are all human
  1. It’s hard to remember sometimes … but we are all human. Just because someone has accomplished a lot doesn’t mean they have all the answers or are always right. And vice versa, just because someone hasn’t accomplished a lot yet doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice or a lot to contribute. People make mistakes and need to take responsibility for their own actions. Work to create an environment where the people you interact with feel heard, supported and ultimately happy to be a part of your team.
Work is defined as the Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.  Happiness is work and is something worth working for.

Finally, Elizabeth Gilbert summarizes happiness perfectly,

“…People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is a consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings….”