When’s the last time you thought about what makes you happy? What makes you tick? What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
For me, the first thing that ‘ignites my fire’ everyday, is sipping a cup of coffee while reading the latest version of the Economist. It’s something that takes between 15-25 minutes and it’s a habit that I carve out time for because I know that it gives me the right kick-start.
This specifically allotted time to do something that puts a smile on my face, is what Jurgen Appelo says is the key to happiness.
“Happiness is something you create – it is not something to achieve.” Founder of The Happy Melly Business Network and creator of Management 3.0, the entrepreneur, author, speaker and self-described creative networker designed an entire management module in chapter eleven of his latest book, Managing for Happiness, on the happiness of workers.
His extensive research led him to the conclusion that happiness is not happenstance. Instead, it’s something we decide, it’s a mindset we embrace and it’s a lifestyle we adopt.
Happiness is one of the most important ingredients to living a productive, fulfilling and engaging life, both personally and professionally, yet it’s something that so many of us forget to actively implement into our own lives and into our companies. We often think happiness will just happen, or that after a series of events transpires it will somehow be ‘reached’.
How many times have you heard yourself (or someone else) say that ‘once this happens, I’ll be happy’? When I get that job, when I find a partner, when I make more money, when I move into a bigger house….that’s when I’ll be happy. By constantly re-assuring ourselves that happiness is right around the corner, that we only need a few more pieces of the puzzle to fall into place, we’re not actively creating our own happiness. We’re not taking control of our lives, we’re waiting for the ‘when’ to occur and we’re waiting for happiness to find us.
Yet as Jurgen points out, happiness is “a path you choose, not a destination to arrive at.”
For a lot of us adopting this idea requires a mindshift: Away from the pursuit of achieving happiness, towards actively implementing it into our lives.
This is a concept more and more individuals and organizations are starting to embrace. It’s the idea of optimizing happiness so that we’re all champions of our own workplace engagement and of fostering an environment of positivity.
Today there is a greater focus on caring about employee motivation and how to encourage happiness in the workplace. Startups, like Barcinno, Cyberclick and Mobile Jazz (to name a few) are placing more emphasis on job satisfaction.
So what are some tangible things we can do to start creating our own happiness? As a result of Jurgen’s research, he’s created the 12 Steps To Happiness – all backed by science.
Ultimately if we can start implementing more of these facets into our lives, we’ll greatly increase our happiness. By growing happiness and engagement at work, we’re directly enhancing our productivity, our creativity and ultimately our profitability and success.
Mobile Jazz, for example, has implemented the happiness ingredients of experiencing and socializing by organizing 1-2 month long company retreats. Three to four times a year they rent a villa with a good internet connection so that everyone can work remotely and be together. This year alone they went to Cape Town and Bali and other destinations in the past have included Thailand and skiing in the Alps.
“We treat our employees very well and give them a lot of responsibility and autonomy and it pays off,” says Stefan Klumpp, co-founder of Mobile Jazz. He says his clients and customers are so happy that the company hasn’t had to make an outbound sale since inception in 2009. All clients come through word of mouth and recommendations from existing clients.
In addition, says Klumpp, due to to the company culture, he’s able to enjoy a lot of personal freedom and peace of mind because he can trust his employees. “Two months ago I completely disconnected and decided to work on a small sailing boat crossing the Pacific from Micronesia to New Caledonia – just for fun as a life and learning experience.”
What can you do start implementing the 12 Steps to Happiness into your own office or professional life? Create a difference and be the change in your company. Jump on the happiness bandwagon and adopt and share the 12 Steps to Happiness with your friends, family and co-workers.
You can download the 12 Steps to Happiness poster (to hang in your home or office for continued inspiration and motivation.
There’s also a great Slideshare presentation on the Happiness of Workers.
Professional Life and Executive Coach and certified Learning in Action Emotional Intelligence Facilitator, working one-on-one with fortune 500 companies, medium sized organizations and individuals focusing on leadership skills, communication, transitions, public speaking and lifestyle design. Hosts Barcelona’s first English speaking coaching radio show, also available on iTunes.