Knowing Me, Knowing You: What It’s Like To Work With A Happiness Consultant

I began this newsletter series with my first article entitled It’s Not All Space Hoppers And Yoga – Here’s Why You Should Care About Happiness In The Workplace. (If you haven’t read that one yet you can find a it here.) In it I addressed some of the preconceptions about happiness consultants – mainly that we don’t arrive with space hoppers in hand and make everyone do downward dog. 

In this article, however, I thought I’d go into some more detail about exactly what it’s like to work with a happiness consultant. Scrap that. What I actually mean is I’m going to tell you what it’s like to work with ME. There are a few of us happiness consultants out there but I can’t talk about what it’s like to work with them. No doubt we will have some things in common, but also do some things differently.

So in the words of Maria Von Trapp let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Working with me can take a few different forms. It may be that I come along to your office, or if that’s not practical we get together remotely. I prefer to get together in person wherever possible. I think it’s so valuable for you to be able to feel my energy and vice versa. It’s much easier for me to tell if something is or isn’t really resonating if we are all in the same room. It also make the interactive elements much more fun (still no space hoppers, I promise). However, we have all learned to adapt to working virtually and we can certainly make a remote session work really well.

We might be meeting for a one off workshop, at a leadership event or away day, or as part of a series of workshops. I might also be lucky enough to have been invited to work with you over a longer period of time, perhaps for a series of workshops or even to do some one-to-one work with you or some of your people. 

However we are meeting and for however long I promise you three things:

  • You will learn at least one new fun fact about happiness (hopefully much more than one!),
  • You will leave feeling more knowledgable about the role of happiness at work and how you can influence your own happiness,
  • You will go away with a list of things you can do straightaway to start increasing your own happiness and that of your team.

Whatever the session we will most likely spend some time looking at the science behind happiness, which is mainly rooted in the area of positive psychology (with a bit of neuroscience thrown in for good measure). As a lawyer I was trained to find the evidence – and that’s exactly how I approach workplace happiness. When we understand why our brains work in a certain way, it makes it much easier to understand what we can do to influence that, or even just be aware of what is happening. 

The science forms the backdrop for workplace happiness but just telling you about the science will only go so far. A bit like giving you one of those fancy calculators they made you buy for GCSE maths, showing you how to use it and expecting you to be able to get an A. The real magic happens when you take that science and learn how to use it in day-to-day life. What I’ll add to that to take the magic to the next level are some insights and learnings from my years in leadership. Having extensive experience in the corporate world, including a LOT of time on leadership programmes, and in training and workshops, I know how important is to give people something they can take away and use to make a real, immediate difference to their life. Hands up how many of us have sat through a really dry session and just felt like it was a waste of our valuable time? My aim is to make my sessions interesting and engaging so that you feel motivated to take some steps to invest in your workplace happiness (and that of your teams). 

When it comes to workplace happiness I want to show you why it matters, I want you to feel as excited as I did when I realised how much I could influence my own happiness. It was like being allowed into a secret club. Now don’t get my wrong this stuff isn’t easy, if it was we’d all be happy at work and I’d be out of a job. There are lots of misconceptions about happiness and I’ve talked before about some of those myths (check out my Five Myths About Workplace Happiness article here). It’s not about toxic positivity, being happy all day everyday – it takes commitment from you to make changes. But I am here to help. I will show you how to make those changes, how to understand what’s going on in your brain when you feel stressed or unhappy and how to influence that. I’ll also show you what your organisation can do to allow its people to feel happier and create a more positive workplace culture. 

So how does that sound? Do you like the idea of working with me? If you think this might be for your business but aren’t quite sure let’s have a chat. No obligation, just let me tell you a bit more. Send me a message today and we can agree a good time to talk.

#happinessatwork #workplaceculture #leadership

5 myths about happiness at work

Wrong. The absence of disease isn’t health and the absence of misery isn’t happiness. Just because we might do enough as leaders to not have our people crying at their desks doesn’t mean we are invested in their happiness. Just because an employees comes in every day, does a good job and leaves without complaining about anything doesn’t mean they are happy.

Wrong. It’s right that some some people are more naturally optimistic but, with practice, you can become happier. There is a wealth of science that shows, when we know how, we can train our brains to be more positive. Asking someone to write down three good things that have happened in the last 24 hours may appear glib but this is about training the brain to spot positive things. When we learn to look for things we see them more easily.

Wrong. In fact blind optimism is a bad thing. Who wants to be in a plane where the pilot never believes anything bad can happen so doesn’t bother doing all the safety checks (not me for sure!). Just like in the world of work we don’t want to fail to look out for the risks and dangers, we just don’t want to be overwhelmed by the fear of them.

Wrong. The science tells us that being happier at work makes us more productive, more resilient, more creative, more accurate, more analytical, less likely to take time off sick, leave or burnout. Who doesn’t want those benefits? Yes, what a great wellbeing initiative to be able to say we are interested and investing in your happiness but it goes much further than that. There are real business benefits to helping people increase their happiness.

This one is only a half myth. Yes, people need to be invested in working on their own happiness but as a leader it is for us to help them with that, to show them we value their happiness, to allow them time to work on it, to give them the tools they need to become happier at work. Importantly we need to help them understand why being happy at work is important. As a leader if you can show you are invested in your own happiness it will show your people they should invest in theirs too.

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