If you want to change the world, work on being happy

Happy group of people standing togetherYou might be thinking that all the buzz about happiness is a lot of bunk. Yet isn’t it part of the human condition to want to be happy? Can you actually become happy? As a leader, why would being happy matter?

You can become happy when you’re intentional about working at it. It matters to your leadership because what’s inside impacts how you show up; how you show up impacts those you lead; and those you lead will perform better and achieve greater results for your organization if you’re a happy leader. Your organization, through greater results, has the potential to change the world. And who wouldn’t want that?

So if you want to change the world, start by working on being happy. Happiness is an inside job, meaning only you are responsible for it. Start here:

Know what is valuable to you, and align your life and leadership accordingly: If you don’t know what you value, take a values assessment to get some ideas. The hard part is to stay intentional about aligning your life with what’s most important – use reminders or surround yourself with people who can give you feedback and help you stay true to what you value.

Don’t let what goes on in your daily environment impact you negatively: Learning to let go of annoyances and toxic people might make a big difference in your happiness level. It’s not always easy, but keeping what happens in perspective (“it’s not the end of the world”) can sometimes help.

Be grateful: There is lots of information and research to show that gratefulness is a big part of learning to be happy. I can personally attest to my gratitude journal making a big difference in my happiness quotient. I notice a difference in my attitude when I neglect to journal daily about what I’m grateful for.

Do things you love: Many leaders have big, demanding jobs that cause a lot of stress. Stress and happiness don’t live together well. Make time to do things you love outside of work. Time with family and friends, a beloved hobby, or spending time in nature are some examples. What have you given up doing that you tell yourself you’d like to get back to? Why not get back to it now?

Give to and serve others: We’re hard-wired to connect and give of our talents to others. Studies show that taking the opportunity to help someone can make you happy, extend your life, and improve your health. The truth is that you don’t need to spend a lot of time to reap these benefits, and it will help you to counteract the stress you have.

Relax and play: Have you noticed that you have a more positive outlook after a day, a week, or more of relaxation and play? A lot of leaders take every bit of vacation they have. Unfortunately, others don’t even come close. Getting away from the office for more than an hour or two to have some fun can make a positive difference on your happiness index.

Your leadership success will be easier and more fulfilling when you are happy. What steps do you need to take to become a happier leader?

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.

One comment on “If you want to change the world, work on being happy

  1. Mary Jo, such a great post – one of techniques I use on myself, when I feel tension or anxiety…is to simply smile…. the smile immediately releases the negative feelings and I am able to look at the situation from a different perspective. I have noticed this happens most frequently while driving, so I’m sure the passing motorists look over and think….’what a happy guy’ 🙂

    Very appreciative of your thoughts –

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