The Unhappy Many

I was recently reading a great blog post by Lolly Daskal where she pointed out something amazing. Only 15% of people are happy at work. I found this stat remarkable and almost startling how many people are not happy. Work is something most of us do from the time we turn 16 until we retire at 65 (if we planned well). In those 50 years, we spend between 50-52 weeks a year at our jobs, working 40+ hours.

That is a long time to be doing something you do not like. Happiness, like many things in life, requires effort so we need to learn how to join that 15%. We have already talked about how to lead your team to happiness but that may have been putting the cart before the horse a bit. Being a leader that creates the proper environment for happiness to flourish while not being happy yourself is an incredibly challenging thing to do.

So what can you do to put some happiness into your life?

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What Lies Beyond Comfort?

Psychologists define comfort as a state of well being and is a combination of physical and psychological factors. Unfortunately, we do not grow our skills while comfortable (our waistlines may grow, but that is a different story). Pushing oneself out of our comfort zones is critically important in the pursuit of better leadership.

There have been some wonderful talks on the dangers of the comfort zone but here, we’ll look at my favorite place where media has provided us an example of the benefits of going beyond our comfort zone and the incredible growth that can take place out in the unknown.

Finding Nemo is the 2003 Pixar film where Marlin is the single father to his son, Nemo. Nemo, however, has a short fin which makes swimming dangerous. Nemo spends his early life with his dad trying to ensure he has everything set up for as much success as possible and keeping him safe and comfortable.

On Nemo’s first day of school, his dad tries to continue keeping him safe and comfortable in a way the Nemo clearly finds embarrassing. In an attempt to prove himself Nemo swims off the dreaded drop off and toward a “butt”. Upon touching the boat, Nemo begins his triumphant return back, only to be captured by a diver. Continue reading

Effort Reigns Supreme

This summer, I got to take a journey to New York. While there, I got to watch The Iceman Cometh, which is a play from 1939 written by American playwright, Eugene O’Neill. This play came in at about 4 hours long and starred Denzel Washington. With it being this long, I don’t need to regale you with every detail but an important take away from the play is that effort counts twice.

The play follows a bunch of drunks who all consider themselves down-on-their-luck individuals who have big dreams of chasing their dreams.

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However, the one highlight of their year is when a friend, Hickey, is coming to the bar. Hickey has a history of working hard throughout the year then blowing his savings buying everyone in the bar drinks and throwing a massive party. The opening part of the play is everyone getting excited about the person who is going to bankroll their drunkenness. The barflies talk about how excited they are to see Hickey and how after he comes, they will chase their pipe dreams. Continue reading

What Is Leadership?

Leadership is a term that means so many things to so many people. It is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. How to lead, however, is challenging. Most everyone has had a bad leader or manager. From leaders who are unable to admit when they are wrong or don’t know the answer, struggle to effectively communicate, have unrealistic expectations, or cannot adjust when market conditions change.

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Photo by Mathias Jensen on Unsplash

Leaders are made, not born so this blog is about becoming a better leader. Inspiration and lessons about becoming a better leader can come from anywhere. However, as a society, we have a naturalness bias. Continue reading