Productive work is the foundation for all abiding happiness and earned prosperity. Everyone wants to be happy and prosperous.
Productivity enhances a person’s sense of self-worth, self-esteem, accomplishment and need to make a difference. Being productive isn’t just about getting things done, it is an essential human need, which fulfills our desire to be co-creators of the reality around us.
The ability to co-create in turn enables one’s happiness, and happiness attracts success in every aspect of life, including wealth.
“Without gratitude, happiness will only be short-lived.”
Gratitude is the first guiding principle that drives us to give back, without it, it would be like building a house without a foundation — it will hold up only until the storm hits.
Why is happiness so important in business?
Seven reasons happiness is key to the success of a business
1. Happy customers and employees talk to more people about their positive experience
2. Unhappy customers and employees talk to the most people about their negative experience
3. Happy customers become repeat customers
4. Happy customers will gladly pay more for the better experience
5. Happy customers and employees are very loyal
6. Happy customers and employees will drive your marketing for you, through social media and word of mouth
7. Happy employees are more productive, creative, innovative, open to change, loyal, and profitable
The pillars of happiness
(According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA) 2007)
Feeling in control of one’s surroundings, understanding one’s own resilience, and feeling of empowerment.
Confidence in one’s abilities, knowing one’s strength’s, feedback from others on one’s performance, learning and growing skills, self-actualization and doing meaningful work.
Interacting with others, connecting with people and connecting people, giving to others/being generous, feeling loved, emotional security, acknowledgement and support (mentorship and volunteering).
Your natural confidence level, something you can work on through cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, self-realization, spirituality. It cannot be influenced from the outside world.
Five ways to create feelings of autonomy both with your employees and customers
1. Give people tools to personalize their experiences
2. Build tools that democratize previously inaccessible industries
3. Offer clear and attractive choices
4. Be open and transparent
5. Don’t lock people in
Five ways to increase feelings of competence both with your employees and customers
1. Create simple entry point to more complex systems
2. Allow ways for mentors to interact with newbies (create rewards)
3. Build consecutive levels of achievement into the experience
4. Plant ‘Easter eggs’
5. Don’t talk down to your customer or employees (never do it)
Five ways to increase relatedness both with your employees and customers
1. Build-in multiple ways to interact; social media is perfect for this
2. Have many collaborative experiences
3. Create simple ways for customers and employees to share with a friend
4. Design for generosity, give back to the community not just money, but time. This involves both employees and customers
5. Create online/offline meeting experiences; again, social media is perfect to enable this
Five ways to increase self-esteem within your employees
1. Put an emphasis on positive achievements, and reward calculated risk taking
2. Set reachable goals by having them participate in the process of setting goals
3. Be ok to open criticism as a leader, in order to enable employees to see it as part of the culture instead of taking constructive criticism personally
4. Assist in handling workplace pressure by encouraging mindful meditation, yoga, exercise, and better nutrition, but don’t make rules about it
5. Provide training on leadership to all employees, not just managers, the more a person learns about leadership principles, the more they will develop self-esteem
Enemy number one of success is fear
Often, we reach a cross road in business and in life where we begin to have fears, most of the time evolving around thought patterns such as:
Can I do this? What if I fail? I don’t think I have what it takes. What will others think? How will this impact my future? How will this impact my family? What if I don’t have what it takes?
These fears have nothing to do with the actual reasoning going on in the mind. These are simply the chatter monkeys in the brain, we all have them.
Most people think that what we fear is failure, but I am here to make an argument for the opposite. We fear becoming a success or becoming “the go to” person.
Why would anyone fear becoming successful?
Because when you become that person, there is no turning back. You have to be willing to take criticism, which is where you learn a great deal about yourself.
You will get a lot of compliments too, which can be a slippery slope in making you think you can stop growing.
Balancing knowing you are amazing with humility and acknowledging that everyone is amazing too, is important but it is also equally important to realize that all you can ever accomplish is on loan to you from the Universe, to manage accordingly.
Most truly successful people exude gratitude and know that they are channels in this world, ambassadors of Light.
The fear that often kicks in, is in our ability to be a channel of such a Light in the world. It’s a big responsibility to step into that role.
Many people fear being successful, becoming who they are meant to be, not failing. Besides, failing is not such a bad thing, especially when you realize what it really is.
“Failure is just another successful ineffective approach.”
If science was scared of failing, we would have made no advancements at all; science finds solutions in the process of elimination.
“Failure is built into the success equation of science, and it should be no different in life, and in business.”
Happiness is a choice
Whatever the challenges, whatever the circumstances it is critical to choose to be happy in whatever process you are in. Your ultimate success towards your chosen path of productivity focused on generating values for others, depends on you making this conscious choice day in and day out.
Your business mindset needs to be powered by happiness. Why? A study about gamblers discovered that those who were the happiest won the most money.
“Happiness is a magnet for success, no matter how challenging a situation is, you can still choose to be happy.”
Be happy to be engaged in productive value creating work, and in turn this will attract the right staff, the right customers, and ultimately wealth.
“Truly wealthy people are not happy because they are wealthy, they are wealthy because they are happy”.
Wealth is not just defined by money, because the currency of wealth includes, health, family, friendship, love, understanding, compassion, self-esteem, happiness, money, and time.
Are you creating an environment that encourages employees to go for it all?
“True wealth is multidimensional, it’s in living richly in every aspect of life.”
Encourage employees to pursue their own aspirations
Challenge employees to identify what they are doing today, with where they want to be 20 years from now. A powerful question I have often asked when mentoring is: When you are 70 years old, and are looking back at your career, and your life, what will you be glad you accomplished?
Take careful notes, and then design with that employee a career path that enables him/her to achieve that goal by helping them identify how, and why what they are doing today will contribute to what they value the most.
Create career paths that challenge that employee to learn, and develop the skills needed to achieve their own aspirations, while adding value to the company’s aspirations. You need to not only be ok with the idea that someday your employees will leave but support them so the grow enough to fulfill their own aspirations.
The more employees connect with how what they do, contributes to their own long term success (success they have defined, not you), and the more they sense your real interest in helping them achieve those aspirations, the more motivated, happier employees you will have.
Today many companies have the idea that they can create happiness by providing employees with fun perks, free lunches and dinners, and flexible work schedules, great benefits, and good pay.
All these things are great, and important, but let’s be honest, they are designed to help companies compete for talent, they are not designed with the employee’s fundamental needs in mind.
What are the fundamental needs to be happy?
Productive work is the foundation for all abiding happiness. The ability to co-create enables one’s happiness, therefore you need to engage employees to honestly tell you what it means to them personally to co-create.
“True happiness is tied to freedom. Freedom and happiness are intertwined.”
In a famous 1976 experiment, psychologists in Connecticut gave residents on one floor of a nursing home the freedom to decide which night of the week would be “movie night,” as well as the freedom to choose and care for the plants on their floor.
On another floor of the same nursing home, residents did not receive these choices and responsibilities. The first group of residents quickly showed greater alertness, more activity, and better mood and a year later their mortality rate was half of the residents on the other floor.
Give people the freedom to add value on their own terms and see the kind of magic previously unimaginable your company will create.