success

Success and Happiness – which comes first?

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Harvard researcher Shaun Achor has demonstrated through his various studies that happiness does not necessarily come from success. In fact, he goes as far to suggest that it’s the other way around. He contends it is only by being happy that you can achieve true success. So if this is the case, how does one become happy in the first place?

super heroAn interesting study conducted by Michael Norton from Harvard Business School proposed one possible solution. His hypothesis was that money can in fact buy happiness. However the caveat to this very much surrounds what you actually do with the money. Over the course of his research, they gave $50 to a variety of different people and one group were told to buy something for themselves and the other had to be spend it on somebody else. Post this activity through a variety of questions used to assess a relative degree of happiness, an interesting finding emerged. On a consistent basis those who spent money helping people they knew or even total strangers derived a far greater sense of happiness from this versus spending it on themselves.

This has also been validated in research on lottery winners who very often, through their self indulgence with their winnings, lose all their friends and family and very often end up extremely unhappy.

So what can we extrapolate from this that might be pertinent to the world of work and business? Money is one way we can give of ourselves but there are also many other ways such as supporting colleagues, praising others, helping out with challenging situations or volunteering your time. It is the actual process of giving that is so gratifying from which comes a sense of happiness.

In fact there is also a positive knock on or reciprocal effect to all of this; one that builds positive relationships, teamwork, alignment and the pursuit of a common goal. So rather than think how you might achieve success, how about unconditionally giving first, realizing the happiness it gives you and then seeing where it leads you?

Responsibility & Choice

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During the most recent presidential election it was intriguing the level of fear that seemed to exist around this much, and some would argue over, publicized event. People were genuinely worried sick about the outcome if the side they supported did not win. There is some irony in this given that the United States is heralded as the land of freedom and where democracy reigns supreme; yet an election outcome was being greeted by fear.

When we vote, we have a choice and democracy is such that, as a nation, we should take responsibility for those whom we elect; whether we like them or not. With this type of government we are supposed to respect whomever the system chooses to elect. However what often happens if we don’t get the person we want, we slip into victim mode complaining about either higher taxes or inaccessible healthcare, depending on your perspective. Read more

Work and Happiness

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Harvard researcher Shaun Achor has demonstrated through his various studies that happiness does not necessarily come from success. In fact he goes as far to suggest that it’s the other way around. It is only by being happy that you can achieve true success. So if this is the case, how does one become happy in the first place?

An interesting study conducted by Michael Norton from Harvard Business School proposed one possible solution. His hypothesis was that money can in fact buy happiness. However the caveat to this very much surrounds what you actually do with the money. Over the course of his research, they gave $50 to a variety of different people and one group were told to buy something for themselves and the other had to be spend it on somebody else. Post this activity through a variety of questions used to assess a relative degree of happiness, an interesting finding emerged. On a consistent basis those who spent money helping people they knew or even total strangers derived a far greater sense of happiness from this versus spending it on themselves. Read more

Golf and Business

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

During the recent US Masters Golf Tournament it was hard not to be struck by the many similarities the game of golf has with business. The golfer is the product, they hire people such as agents and so many of its subtleties are quite metaphorical for many aspects of entrepreneurship. Above all every golfer would testify that this is a dream come true; they love playing golf, they are good at it and they get to do it full time as a career.

Business Lesson 1: Work at something you are good at and love doing (why not?).

There was one point in the tournament where the eventual runner up Louis Oosthuizen putt to within, what was described as, “a dimble from the hole”. Each golf ball has approx 400 dimples per ball and when you consider the size of a ball it will give you some appreciation for how near the ball was to dropping. He still had to putt it into the hole and it counted for one stroke. In contrast Bubba Watson who went on to win, hits one of the longest drives on the PGA tour averaging 313 yards per drive and they also count for one stroke. Watson had the elation of success and Oosthuizen had to settle for second place and bitter disappointment; if only for that dimple. Read more

The Entrepreneurial Life

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A local well know business school defines Entrepreneurship as “The relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled”. This definition is perhaps open to debate and pretty narrow in scope but it revolves primarily around three major elements, namely:

1. Product idea and development

2. Financing – personal, friends, bank, angels or VC

3. Exit – sale or replacement by competent CEO

This is quite normal perhaps for a high tech start up but there is much more to your typical entrepreneurial endeavor. The first two points are valid but thereafter it can take on many variations with the “Exit” obviously being just one. What appears to be missing is Quality of Life. Many people also start new enterprises to create a career, to build some wealth over a period of time, to create a legacy for their family and very often to be in control. Some would argue that it is all about being the King (in control) or Rich or, is there more to it? Read more

The Changing Face of Leadership – Part 1

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Although change is typically reactive, there are a set of circumstances emerging that are forcing leaders to reconsider how they can be most effective. In fact leadership is facing a tipping point. So what is driving this? There are two significant factors emerging, one that has to do with the External Environment we live in and the other is The People who work in it. Let’s consider the External Environment where there are four distinct shifts taking place

1. Community Definition

With the tremendous advances in technology, the world has truly become a smaller place. The internet, outsourcing, ease of travel and communications has led us to a point where our frame of reference is no longer local or even national; it is truly global. Read more