Have you checked your “Happiness ROI” lately?
Whether you’re an employer or employee, you may want to give it a try. It may just improve your business or career.
At the April 2016 CMA luncheon at the Fairmont Palliser, speakers Melodie Creegan and Karen Judge shared their experiences and ideas on happiness and how it enhances business success for both employers and employees alike. Creegan is President and Founder of Mosaic Communications, and Judge is a self-described “Happiness Geek” who aims to help others develop happiness skills through coaching and her website.
In their presentation, “Maintaining Creativity, Innovation & Productivity in a Challenging Market,” both speakers suggested that through developing one’s individual happiness level, both employers and employees alike can achieve a positive return on happiness or “Happiness ROI.”
They cited research and personal experiences supporting positive business outcomes from a happy state of mind, noting that developing happy work environments, taking time out for oneself, and reaching out to others in times of distress, rather than turning inward, can result in business success through greater focus and improved business relationships.
Among the key points they shared:
- Research shows that happiness is a choice–meaning it can be consciously developed through gaining happiness skills and habits and exercising them.
- Contrary to what most people think, happiness precedes success, not the other way around.
- Relationships are the key to happiness and to developing success in business, not just in one’s personal life.
- Businesses that regularly monitor their happiness ROI can benefit from higher creativity and productivity levels.
Creegan, who has more than 20 years of marketing and branding experience, noted that she has discovered that crises often lead to opportunity and growth, and that relationships are critical to business success.
Judge, a proponent of positive psychology who through public speaking and one-on-one coaching aims to help others develop happiness skills, shared bottles of “Happy Water” and small bags of candy with luncheon attendees to spread her message of encouragement to choose happiness and experience happiness daily.
Judge noted that in our frequently negative world, we are generally either going into or coming out of a crisis. “Happiness is really learning how to successfully manage those crises,” she said. When we face uncertainty in life, it forces us to improve, she added, noting that “we humans don’t generally do anything differently until we hit rock bottom. “
People tend to think that simply working hard alone will bring future happiness, with a promotion or a better house, she noted, but positive psychology research indicates that people who experience happiness now, rather than just hoping for it in the future, are more successful in business, experience greater productivity and higher sales, etc.
The good news, Judge said, is that whatever our circumstance, we can learn happiness skills and achieve success through them, citing Harvard educated researcher and positive psychology proponent Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, from whom she takes inspiration. Achor is one of a variety of researchers who has written about why some people perform at above average levels, regardless of their environment. He and others in the field have found that that brain and other research show that a few people (whom he describes as outliers) are able to experience happiness, despite highly negative environments by consciously choosing to be and exercise happiness skills.
In his work, Achor, who has studied those outliers, quotes research showing that our brains can be modified to be more receptive, and thus open to positive change and success. Judge explained that we can become those outliers who manage to find happiness, despite the odds against them, taking small daily steps toward happiness, such as acknowledging and expressing gratitude, being in nature, and building relationships.
Most people do not naturally possess ‘happiness skills,’ she noted, but they can develop them, she noted, adding that regular practice is needed to remain effective at using happiness skills, which like muscles, will atrophy without exercise. Her suggestions to the audience:
- Learn to develop and practice “happiness skills” such as being in nature, doing what you love, reaching out to others in kindness and service.
- It’s never too late to develop one’s “happiness quotient” or level of happiness.
Based on the reactions of the audience members to the presentation, they appeared to appreciate this message (…and the candy).
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