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5 Tips for Happy Family Relationships

Creating a Happy Family is an Investment Family relationships can be some of the most challenging and most rewarding relationships in our lives. When relationships at home are going well, we feel much happier and better equipped to endure stressful situations in other parts of our lives. What better way to increase our overall happiness than to invest in happiness in our family relationships? Here are 5 tips for creating and increasing happy family relationships that you can start doing right now. Each of these things takes only a minute or two to do. Try them all. See how they improve your family’s overall happiness. 1. Create Opportunities to Express Gratitude Set up a bowl or jar with some scraps of paper beside it. Each day, perhaps just before dinner, ask family members to write down something they are thankful for. Periodically—such as when the bowl gets full, as part…

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5 Ideas to Create an Atmosphere of Employee Appreciation in Your Team

Benefits of Employee Appreciation We all crave appreciation, even when we already know we’ve done a job well. When is the last time a coworker or boss showed appreciation for what you do? Do you remember how it made you feel? In the 1940s, Lawrence Lindahl conducted a study on employee motivation. The results may surprise you. During the study, supervisors and their employees were asked, “What motivates an employee?” The number one answer was “appreciation for a job well done.” This is pretty amazing for a number of reasons. One is that appreciation is free! Motivating an employee doesn’t always need to come from bonuses or pay increases. Simply noticing a good job and offering praise can be a huge motivator. You might be thinking that our culture and workplace culture may have changed since the 1940s. It was a long time ago, that’s true. But these study results…

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Minimalist Living: Why Fewer Things Equals Greater Happiness

If you’re a creative person, a pack rat, a shopper or a collector, minimalist living and the idea that fewer things equals greater happiness may feel impossible to you. It doesn’t have to be! And you don’t have to be a true minimalist in order to decrease the amount of possessions you own and increase your happiness. Who’s in Charge Here? If you’ve seen the movie Fight Club, you may remember the scene in which Tyler Durden talks about the paradox of owning things. “The things you own,” he says, “end up owning you.” It’s especially easy to feel this in our lives when things aren’t going well. For example, when something breaks can mean having to take time to find someone to fix it and then squeeze extra funds from our budget to cover the costs of repairs. Even maintaining and cleaning out stuff can end up making us…

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The Link Between Curiosity and Leadership

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” – Albert Einstein Think about children for a minute. They’re naturally curious, imaginative, and always learning, always looking for new experiences and information. They know what they want, and they chase after it wholeheartedly. Does you hear your childhood self in this description at all? There are a lot of good things about “being an adult: the knowledge and experience we gained, knowing what we want and don’t want, the discipline to stick through a task even when we don’t feel like finishing it. Those are things kids aren’t so good at doing. But what about the benefits we’ve lost? Where did that natural curiosity and that vivid eagerness go? Many motivational experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. I believe we are all natural born leaders, but some of us have…

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How to Increase Your Productivity Without Working More Hours

More Work Doesn’t Equal More Productivity According to the American Dream Project, the average American works between 43 and 51 hours per week. That’s a lot of hours! One key question to consider as you plan your own workweek is, are you getting the best productivity from your work schedule? Does working extra hours actually make us more productive? The truth is, it doesn’t. In fact, the United States is ranked 5th in productivity behind countries like Norway, Belgium, and Ireland. Yet people in those countries work fewer hours than we do. So, how do we make our working hours more productive? Work Time Versus Productive Time Here are some interesting facts to consider: The average person is only productive 5 hours a day, yet our average workday is 8 hours, or more! Fewer people take breaks and vacations than ever before, which means people spend more time working than…

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Happiness Comes From Your Mind

What do You do When Feel Unhappy? Everyone has days when they feel down. What do you find helps you on those gloomy days? Do you go out for a meal? Maybe see a new movie? Visit a friend? Take a walk? Do you get a buzz from jogging or going to the gym? Maybe you find it energizing to go shopping. Or perhaps you treat yourself to an ice tea with friends to overcome your unhappiness. We all have our preferred methods to shake off a dreary day. Sometimes those things are enough to make us feel better in the moment. But science tells us something interesting about achieving real happiness. Right now, scientists are in the process of showing us how happiness can only come to us through internal change and positive daily habits. Other things might lift our moods for the moment, and that’s not a bad…

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Top 3 Myths About Change Management

Did you know that… “Studies show that 70% – 80% of change initiatives in organizations fail” -John Kotter As an organizational psychologist, I can tell you that this alarming failure rate is often attributed to the human factor! Here are 3 classical myths that I frequently deal with in my practice. Myth #1 – It is important to communicate the information in groups Several organizations formulate a communications plan and focus on presenting the changes in information sessions to employees. The goal is to deliver the same message to all employees so they can hear it at the same time and in the same way, minimizing misinterpretations and rumors. Warning!! This often has the opposite effect. Within a group, many people avoid speaking and asking questions. I often say “after every meeting, there’s a meeting … it’s the real meeting … the bosses are not invited and employees really say…

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Creating Happiness

Creativity or Problem-solving One of the amazing things about humans is our constant endeavor to create or improve things. When we are inspired to create something, we demonstrate our passions or talents. When we run into a problem, we want to fix it and come up with a solution. These days it’s not unusual to complain about something and hear someone say in response, “There’s an app for that!”. Whether we are trying to express our creativity or simply improve our lives, coming up with something new seems to make us happy! Inventions are all around us. From books and music to sports and games to comfort items to technological gadgets aimed at making life simpler. Someone created every one of them! Any form of creativity is enough to fill us with happiness. Think of the joy that comes from cooking a special meal, decorating your office, coming up with a tool for…

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3 Reasons Going Outside Makes Us Happier

This is the perfect time of year to boost your happiness by going outside every day. What’s amazing is you don’t have to spend hours outdoors in order to receive the happiness benefits. Just a few minutes each day is usually enough to make a big difference in our levels of happiness and energy. Going outside is free. It’s easy. And it offers some pretty significant benefits to our health. Here are just 3 of the reasons to put going outside on your daily calendar starting this week. 1-You Need Sunlight to Make Vitamin D Your body makes vitamin D while you’re out in the sun. Researchers believe at least 1 billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency.  When we don’t get enough vitamin D, we can begin to experience symptoms of a vitamin deficiency, such as fatigue, increased vulnerability to illness, back pain, and even depression. OMG! All those things would…

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3 Common Performance Management Mistakes

Good Management is Key According to Gallup, a US firm specializing in management research, in a survey of more than one million Americans, “people quit their bosses, not the organization.” The effect of mismanagement is widely felt. Gallup also determined that poorly managed teams are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed teams. As an organizational psychologist, I can confirm that an apparent lack of commitment from employees is often the result of the absence of effective leadership from their boss or bosses! The following are 3 common mistakes that I have often observed in my practice and tips that could help you improve your performance management skills. 1 – Waiting until the end of the project or the year to give feedback We often wait before giving feedback for several reasons: lack of time, we do not want to disrupt, derail or demotivate people; it is…

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Two Tips for Managing Stress and Improving Focus and Effectiveness

Did you know… According to the Statistic Brain website, 76% of people cite money and work as the main causes of their stress. As an organizational psychologist and happiness expert, I can tell you that people think it’s normal to be stressed, overwhelmed and tired, but it’s not! Certainly, when experiencing it, stress gives energy, but in the long run, it hurts our performance. Stress is the answer to a perception of danger. In difficult situations, the adrenaline released allows us to be fast, strong and agile. It’s very practical in the moment, but in the long term it harms our physical and psychological health. Here are the 2 most effective tips I recommend in my practice. 1-Breathe Slowly and Deeply By slowing down our breathing, we send a signal to our brain that we are in control. This allows us to react better because we are more effective when we are calm than…

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Leadership Tools: 4 Steps to Handle Difficult Relationships

We’ve all experienced them. We can’t get along with everyone, right? Difficult relationships can be stressful, frustrating and exhausting. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to run a business or be a leader or work with people without encountering some difficult relationships. With a few simple tools, though, you can learn to minimize the roller coaster ride dealing with these challenges. You can learn to manage your own reactions in ways that put people at ease and diffuse frustrating situations rather than allowing them to escalate into bigger problems. Here are 4 steps which will help you handle these challenging situations in your professional life. Realize You’re On the Same Team. Whether the person you are having issues with is a customer, coworker, peer, or friend, recognize that the issue is the problem, not the person. You can’t control another person’s reaction or…

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Give the Gift of Experiences

What do you buy the person who has everything? Have you heard people ask this question? Sometimes it seems overwhelming to try to think of a gift for a friend, coworker or loved one when they seem to have everything they could ever want already. It’s probably because you’re thinking of giving them a thing, an object, something they could easily buy. I’m going to tell you a secret about gift giving that will change how you think about birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas celebrations. Ready? Here it is: the best gifts aren’t items. They’re experiences. Opportunities to Buy Experiences Are All Around Us Look around your community for local events and experiences. Take a music-loving friend to hear a community orchestra or a jazz ensemble. Find a new park or trail to hike together and pack some fun snacks to share along the journey. Is there a show or an…

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5 Ways to Find Happiness and Inspiration at Work

Are you happy and inspired at work? If you spend eight hours a day, five days a week at work, you will spend more than 2,000 hours on the job in a year. That’s a lot of time! If you enjoy your job, then 2,000 hours probably flies by. But if you struggle to find happiness in your work life, it can seem like an eternity. So how do you find ways to make work a source of happiness? It’s not an impossible question! There are lots of ways to bring happiness into your workday. Here are five questions to ask yourself about your job which will help you uncover sources of happiness beyond that paycheck hitting your bank account. 1. What parts of your company or job inspire you? Inspiration comes in lots of forms. Maybe something inspired you to apply for this particular job, like being able to…

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Leadership Tools: Building Your Ideal Team

  How to Build Your Ideal Team One of the best and sometimes trickiest parts of being a leader is having the opportunity to build your ideal team. Choosing the right employees can make a huge difference in the success of your company. Employees represent and translate your company’s values to your clients. What do you look for in an employee? You probably already have an idea of the education or skillset you’re looking for. But how do you determine if a person has the right personality or work ethic to be a great fit for your team? When interviewing prospective employees, always try to notice their energy level and to understand their motivators. Does he seem passionate about he’s saying? Is she eager to put her skills toward the job? Build Your Ideal Team with the Right Values and Motivation Ask questions about what drives the person. Do his…

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Increase Your Productivity and Happiness

Start Your New Year Off Right with This Simple Technique Happy New Year! This is the perfect time of the year to start new habits for healthier, happier living. It’s also a busy time of year. Being busy can add extra pressure to our schedules and mean that we need to be extra productive. With so many things on our minds, it can be tricky to focus on one task at a time, and we can end up hopping from one task to another to another without actually completing much. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone, and I’m here to help. Making a few simple changes to how you approach your work periods can really impact your productivity. One of the most effective changes is to work in short, focused bursts. Take quick breaks in between work sessions to let your mind relax. A great…

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Being Grateful

We have so much to be grateful for. It’s that time of year…the holidays, the parties, the excitement! You probably have a lot to be grateful for and may take some things for granted. You don’t need much in order to be happy. Many people without a lot still find real happiness in their daily lives. Have an Attitude of Gratitude What you do need in order to be happy is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Take a moment to reflect on the past year and make a list of 10 things you have to be grateful for. Note the things you tend to overlook. Think of what you do have instead of what you don’t: health, family, work, home, friends… Focusing on these blessings will foster an attitude of gratitude in your life. And that attitude is like fertile soil where happiness will grow and flourish. Develop a…

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Celebrate 21 Days to Happiness E-Learning with a 3 Day Happiness Challenge

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – to Work on Your Happiness! This is the best time of the year to work on your happiness. It’s almost Thanksgiving in the United States and just a few short weeks until Christmas. Taking a few minutes now to center yourself and focus on your happiness can help you have the best holiday season. Very soon I’ll be launching my new 21 Days to Happiness E-Learning. I’m so excited to share it with you! The e-learning will share all the practical, effective happiness habits and resources I’ve put in my book, but in a fresh, interactive format. You’re going to love it! To help start our holidays off right, I’m offering a three-day Happiness Challenge. Each day, I’ll ask you to do one task that’s guaranteed to help boost your happiness. And, if you participate along with me, you can enter for a…

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Five Easy Ways to Improve Your Happiness

Variety is the Spice of Happiness Have you ever felt trapped by your day to day schedule? Maybe you feel like you’re busy all the time or you simply don’t have anything coming up soon that you’re really looking forward to. Being busy or simply maintaining our day-to-day responsibilities can make life feel monotonous. We feel like we’re missing something. Trying something new– big or small– can give us a boost of happiness in a lot of ways. Not only does planning the new thing give us something to look forward to and anticipate, actually doing it can be a fun adventure. Then we have a story to tell and a memory to look back on, which is like a happiness bonus! 5 Cheap, Easy Ways to Boost Your Happiness with Something New Here are some quick and easy ideas for new adventures you can try on any budget and…

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Leadership Skills: Motivate for Success

Great Leaders Create Great Leaders We’ve all faced the temptation as leaders to simply direct people by letting them know what we need done. Sometimes it feels like if people would just do what we want them to do the way we want them to do it, everything would be so simple. Great leaders resist that temptation because they know the most effective kind of leadership involves empowering their followers and team members to make decisions and take ownership of tasks. Remember: great leaders create more great leaders. Motivating people to take ownership is easier than you think. One of the key components is simply understanding what motivates your team members. What are their values? What do they need from their job in order to feel successful? What type of management style best supports that success?   Identifying Key Motivators You can figure out what motivates your team in lots of…

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Happiness Versus Pleasure

Seeking Pleasure In our society, we spend a lot of time seeking pleasure. We work hard, and many times we want to play just as hard. Having fun and spending time with friends are great things, but those pleasure-seeking experiences don’t always leave us feeling truly happy. Why is that? The Difference Between Happiness and Pleasure Pleasure is that momentary high we feel in the midst of a good experience: a fabulous meal, a hilarious joke, making love, and so on. It comes from an external source. It’s a response to what’s happening around us, directly affecting our senses. Unfortunately, this great feeling doesn’t last beyond the good experience causing it. Happiness is a long-lasting feeling that isn’t directly affected by what’s happening to us in the moment. It has some overlap with pleasure. For instance, if you go out for dinner with a good friend, you will experience pleasure…

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Leadership Tools: Clarity in Communication

Clarity Begins with Our Mighty Minds Did you know our brains communicate information at the rate of some four billion neuron impulses per second? All that information feeds through our senses, and yet we’re only consciously aware of about 2,000. That’s only 0.00005%. If you stop to think about it, you’ll begin to notice things you normally wouldn’t be aware of. The feel of air moving in and out of your nose, throat, and lungs. The touch of clothes on your skin. The thrum of your pulse. The number of things in your field of vision- most of which you probably weren’t actively looking at. Before I pointed these things out, you probably didn’t even notice them. The good news is that our brains have developed highly sophisticated ways of sifting out the less important information and pushing the important stuff to the top of our notice. This keeps us…

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How Connections Create Happiness

Connections Are Key Do you want to know one of the best secrets to true happiness? It’s probably not what you think. One of the greatest ways to have a happy life is to create connections with others. Does this sound too easy? Too hard? The truth is, relationships can be challenging. But they also bring the greatest rewards we can imagine. Connections with People Think about the people in your life with whom you have connections. You look forward to seeing them. They give your life some unpredictability. Something to look forward to. You never know exactly what they’ll say or do. A chat with a friend or peer can provide an opportunity to celebrate your successes or share a disappointment and gain some perspective or get some advice. “A joy that’s shared is a joy made double” Proverb Connections with Nature In addition to connecting with people, forging…

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20 Ways to Make Someone Smile

Spread Happiness with a Smile Do you want to put a smile on someone’s face today? Maybe make their day a little better? It won’t cost a single penny or much time to do just that. And because smiling is contagious, you’ll find that making one person smile causes happiness to spread like a sweet smell on a warm breeze. 20 Ways to Make Someone Smile Challenge yourself. See how many of these smile-spreading techniques you can complete this week! 1.  Smile at someone. 2.  Compliment a friend or work colleague. 3.  Donate something to charity. 4.  Take a friend out to lunch. 5.  Let someone know you miss them. 6.  Make a surprise call to your partner or a friend at work, just to say hi. 7.  Hold a door open for someone walking behind you. 8.  Hug your partner for no reason. 9.  Share a joke with someone.…

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Are You Chasing the Butterfly of Happiness

Is Happiness Like a Butterfly? Sometimes we treat happiness like it’s an elusive butterfly in the garden of life. Imagine a young child in the garden on a summer day. He sees a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower. He wants to see it close up, touch it, and hold it in his hands. But as he moves towards the flower that the butterfly is resting on, just as he gets within reach, the butterfly moves to another flower. And so the child follows the butterfly to the next flower, and then the next. But the butterfly always stays just out of reach. Even to adults, happiness can seem just like that butterfly: always just out of reach. It can become almost an obsession and the words “if only…” become an increasingly large part of our thoughts and vocabulary. “If only I had more money I would be happy,…

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Leadership Tools: Conquering Fear

What do you fear? Stop for a moment and think about this: what keeps you from living your dreams? What problem tends to dominate the average person’s life without us even noticing? The answer: FEAR! People live every day in fear. Fear of not delivering, of dissapointing others, of being judged, of losing wealth, fear of conflict with loved ones, fear of making the wrong decisions. We are afraid to be ourselves, afraid to grow up, afraid to make commitments. The list goes on and on. Think for a moment. Does this apply to you? The fear of living life to the fullest may have paralyzed you. If you let it, this fear will cause you to hold yourself back in your business and in your personal life. Most people live life in the grip of this fear without ever becoming aware that it has control over them. Fear can…

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Leadership Tools: Effective Listening

Effective Listening Isn’t Waiting Your Turn to Speak All too often we are far more enthusiastic about talking than we are listening. Yet effective listening is vital for effective communication. Would you believe that most conflicts are simple misunderstandings? When we are actively listened to we feel valued and are far more likely to be engaged and compromise if necessary. Listening is about far more than words. Watching facial expression and body language is often a far more accurate barometer than the words that are being used. For example, think about the way you know a genuine smile from a false one. A genuine smile reaches the eyes of the person smiling. A false one is usually just an upturn of the lips. 10 Tips for Effective Listening Here are some practical tips to help you develop your listening skills and improve your communication with others. Make eye contact. Looking…

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Nature: One of the Greatest Sources of Happiness

The Cost of Time Spent in Nature Going outside is free!  Nature is there for everybody to stand and stare and take happiness and comfort from.  The trees do not distinguish between rich and poor, strong and weak, man and woman.  Warm sunshine is free; the glow of the moon is free. You don’t have to pay for the cool breeze, warm seashore, towering mountains, smooth flowing rivers, or the dark and inviting forests. You can enjoy them all for free. Take Time to Enjoy Nature Around You Instead of sitting during a break, try taking a short, brisk walk outside. Take your lunch to a park or outdoor area and enjoy a picnic. This weekend, invite a friend to hike a nearby trail with you, or take a day trip to a park or forest. Explore someplace new! While you spend time outside, breathe deeply. Look at the sky.…

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You are Your Own President

Welcome President You Congratulations! You are the president of your own nation, and it is called “Imagination”…get it? “Imagi-NATION”. This particular nation is the driving force behind your life and is the underlying factor for your future. You have an enormous responsibility as the President of this nation because its success depends entirely on you. Its entire population (you!) can’t succeed without you. Whoa! That’s a lot of power. You’re in charge! Take a minute to internalize the power you have as the President of your own life. Among many things that you have is the power to choose and/or consider. You get to hold the votes on who is allowed to live in your nation and on how your nation operates. It’s so exciting to think that we are the CEOs and designers of our life. Each of us has the ability to imagine such powerful dreams for our…

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10 Keys to Happiness

We are Always Pursuing Happiness Think about it … every single thing we do is intended to make us happier. The people we choose to spend time with. The ways we spend our time.  And yet sometimes we get distracted and do things that actually move us away from this goal. We all have the potential for genuine happiness. We make choices throughout our lives. Each option is like a series of locked doors in front of us. We choose which path to follow and open the door we’ve chosen. The result of all these choices combined determines our level of happiness. Make the right choices and happiness can be yours. Ten Keys to Greater Happiness Here are some tactics we can follow on our journey toward genuine happiness: 1. Look For The Positive In Everything:  You know the old saying about a glass being half-full or half-empty? Finding the…

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Vital Leadership Question: What Does Our Organization Reward?

  A Good Leader Listens What sets leaders apart? Good leaders not only ask good questions, but they actually listen to the answers. Ask people in your organization: “What does our organization REALLY reward?” Listening to the answer may help you achieve a huge increase in results. Over the years I’ve worked with thousands of leaders, and I’ve learned that many organizations reward the wrong things. Some organizations may pay lip service to rewarding people for what is viewed as the right things: getting the right results in the right ways. But what they may really reward, often in terms of promotions and job perks, are things like “not rocking the boat”, seniority, managing their image, working HARD, but not SMART. Transform Wrong Rewards into Right Results Here is a way to transform wrong rewards into right results. 1. Find out what your organization really rewards. Take some time to…

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Secrets of a Positive Attitude

Managing Your Mental Diet Are you bombarded by thoughts of negativity? Have feelings of insecurity, stress or worry? This is normal… just watch the news and notice how many stories are negative and dramatic! You are what you mentally and spiritually eat. This is the time to go on a diet– a diet of “positive attitude”. You have to literally stop feeding your mind negative things. Ask yourself, is this thought positive or negative? What do negative thoughts look like? Well, they start with “can’t” rather than “can”, “no” as opposed to “yes”, or focus on “won’t” instead of “will”. We tend to let our thoughts control us. Let’s flip this around. Identifying the Subject of Negative Thoughts A great way to know what we are negative about is to ask those people who are closest to us. Ask your spouse or a close friend how they would rate your…

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Taking Responsibility as a Leader

  “With great power comes great responsibility.” Who could forget the ever-famous line from Spiderman, spoken by Peter Parker’s uncle: “With great power comes great responsibility.” In the movie, society expects Spiderman, a comic book, TV, and movie superhero, to take responsibility for saving his town or even the world from evil because he has super powers. Indeed, he never lets us down. With the power he possesses, he makes sure to be responsible in using it for the good of the people around him. Leadership is not all that different from being superheroes. Yes, you may not have super powers like Wonder Woman and Spiderman, but you have the power to lead other people towards success. This is so much greater and stronger since it is a power that can be used by real people in this real world. Being a leader requires a great sense of responsibility. The power…

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Work-Play Integration: The New Work-Life Balance

Integration for Life Harmony Balance. It’s a nice word but the reality is hard to pin down. It may not even put us on the right track in our quest for fulfillment and happiness. Today we will talk more about  “work-play integration”. Let’s think about integration, which means bringing the various pieces of our lives into a cohesive whole. We each have many roles, goals, responsibilities and life plans. We have to consider all of those aspects globally and identify clear priorities. Identify Priorities Experience shows people best at balancing their lives are ones who have very clear priorities and their own clear definition of success. They know what’s most important in their lives. These are people who can say, before it happens: if I have to make a choice between different activities, I know what my biggest priority is. Recognize the Choices You’re Making Sometimes we fall into going…

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Leadership Tool: Delighting in the People You Lead

  Leadership entails getting results, and getting results entails human relationships. One of the best leadership tools you can use is delighting in the people you lead. The more closely the leader and the individuals of the team bond, the more results will usually accrue. However, sometimes leaders and the people they lead look at those relationships as somewhat one-sided. For example, charismatic leaders are commonly defined by sentiments bestowed on them from people. But great leadership is really a two-way street, also involving sentiments from the leader to the people. We can never reach our full potential as leaders until we are delighting the people we lead and, through that delight, leading them to get continually better results while they become continually better as employees and as people. To use this leadership tool properly, three things must be kept in mind. 1. Delight must keep high expectations. In your…

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5 Great Reasons Smiling Makes Us Successful

Smiling is a simple thing to do, but it can make a huge difference in how we feel and how we’re perceived by the people around us. Here are some great reasons to give us a grin. 1. Our smile shows others people that we are likeable and helps us connect. If a stranger or new coworker approaches you and gains eye contact with you and then treats you to a smile, you’ll have a fairly good idea that they are friendly and likeable. Which type of person do you prefer? A person that has a tired or overly serious face; an expression that may reflect their inner thoughts of boredom and worry; or would you prefer someone who is usually smiling and shows that they have an enthusiastic passion for life? Few of us would choose a miserable person to talk to whether it’s in our work or personal lives. Let’s face…

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Staying Focused on What Matters

Are you in a hurry? When you go about your day, take a moment to look at the people around you. Do they look like they’re in a hurry to get somewhere? Have you had the experience of asking friends or coworkers to meet for a gathering, only to be told, “Sorry, I’m super busy”? ” Maybe you’ve been the one to have to put off get-togethers or activities because your schedule simply doesn’t have openings for those fun events. Busy seems to be the “new normal”…I noticed it can be embarrassing not to be busy these days! It’s easy to become chronically busy. It’s easy to develop the compulsion to be successful as fast as possible. It can be tempting to feel like in order to achieve our goals, we have to compress five years of work into one, by moving five times faster! But what’s the cost of…

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3 Steps to Deal With Worry

Are you a worrier? “I know worry works because nothing I worry about ever happens.”   Have you heard of this quote? It sounds funny, but it’s not far from the truth! It’s normal to worry from time to time, but more and more people seem to worry about the smallest stuff. They also worry about the big things, too, of course, like health, relationships, and finances. Because worrying can be overwhelming and counterproductive, when writing my book 21 Days to Happiness, I decided to try to understand it through research and dedicated the chapter “Don’t Worry Be Happy” to address how to decrease it. Maybe you’d like to know what to do about it. 3 Strategies for Peace of Mind: 1) Practice catching yourself. During a recent phone call with a friend, I caught the person worrying 5 times about 5 different things. I’m not kidding. “Hey, you’re worrying again.” What I’ve learned is…

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Change Your Thoughts and the Rest Will Follow

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw Creatures of Comfort Change often has a negative connotation for many people, especially when we have no choice. We are creatures of comfort and we automatically seek out what feels good in the moment. We long for comfort and this usually comes from that which we know; that which is familiar to us. Our minds and nervous systems are designed to find and attach meaning to everything. Something new can feel stressful, even scary.Comfort in Patterns Your mind and your nervous system has to understand and adapt to the unknown and this process feels uncomfortable on many levels. Our nervous system works primarily by conditioning and by repetition we notice consistency and assume patterns. This system is really there to serve us in helping us being more efficient and to be…

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7 Unique Ways to Make Someone Smile

Making Someone Smile is Easier Than You Think. Do you want to put a smile on someone’s face?  Maybe make their day a little bit brighter?  It doesn’t have to take much time or money on your part.  In fact, many things can be done as a part of your normal routine and cost little or nothing.  We  often underestimate how people can be affected by an act of kindness and they are contagious, so it’s well worth the small effort. Try out one or more of these 7 ways today, and put a smile on someone’s face. Spread a little happiness today! 1. Send a positive message. We often don’t take the time to send a positive email or text message. Handwritten notes are even more rare…just grab a “Post-It”. Start a new practice: take a few minutes to write/send a positive note on a regular basis. You just…

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Finding Balance at Work and Home

Sometimes We Chase the Wrong Things In a culture obsessed with high tech gadgetry, cellphones, credit cards, fast cars, large houses, and job titles, it should be no surprise that most people experience stress and anxiety.  The strain of striving after material advantage and the dictates of the Almighty Dollar have made many people virtual slaves in their jobs. Even after working more than 50 hours a week or getting every material need and luxury that money can buy, many people still live unhappily.  Success at work, instead of bringing fulfillment, leaves many people with a feeling emptiness and disillusionment. But there is still hope for the tired professional and the exhausted worker.  Stress and anxiety need not ruin lives and careers.  To get back on track, it may be helpful to consider the following advice on how to be an achiever who lives a balanced life: Identify what’s important…

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How Office Plants Can Boost Your Happiness

Get a plant and bring nature indoors. Well, most of us are eager to take a few days off for the holidays. Here’s an idea: plan to buy a plant for your office or home. If you don’t have the chance to go outdoors as much as you would like, why not bring a little outdoors, indoors? Even a small plant can make a big difference! Working indoors all day can feel draining sometimes. One simple way to boost your happiness in the office is to bring a little nature into your workspace with you! While you can’t control the indoor climate in an office, you can improve the way the space looks and feels by brightening it up with a plant or two. Office spaces can easily become too hot, too cold, too dry or too damp. Finding the perfect balance of temperature and air quality for a group…

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Giving Happiness

We ALL want happiness We all want to feel useful and make a difference. It is even better when we get appreciation and recognition. We tend to look for some kind of validation from friends, family and our colleagues or boss. It makes us feel good about ourselves and raises our confidence in ourselves. It can create feelings of positive self-esteem, which is very important. It makes us happy. But how do you get the appreciation and recognition, or those positive responses from others? Be the happiness GIVER Instead of waiting for others to notice the good things about ourselves, be the person who notices the good in others. Make a point to praise the people around you, even for small things. Thank a person who holds a door open for you. Offer appreciation for a job well done. Notice the things your peers do well and compliment them. Point…

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How to Use Success Strategies for Happiness

Choices, choices Success and happiness tend to go hand and hand, but you have to define what would make you feel successful and happy. Sometimes success and happiness will lead you in two different directions. For example, you may find that your current situation makes you happy, but if you ever want a promotion, you will probably have to give up some things in order to step up to your new challenges. You should always consider what is more important to you at that time. While financial success can be appealing, the happiness which comes from personal success often lasts longer and feels better. Set Your Happiness Goals Life can be frustrating or seem meaningless at times: get up, to work, run a bunch of errands, repeat! You should set some key goals in order to find happiness and success. Take time to consider what kind of life you want…

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5 Choices to Create Happiness

We’ve all met people who seem to be happy most of the time. You may have assumed these people are just naturally happy, or that they are the lucky people who have an easy life, or they had really loving parents. Often, this is just not the case. In my book, 21 Days to Happiness, I explain how happy people make specific choices regarding their thinking and behavior. Happy people tend to consciously or unconsciously think and behave in ways that result in happiness. Unhappy people unconsciously think and behave in ways that create unhappiness. What choices and thoughts are you making about your happiness? Wherever you are on the happiness continuum, you have the ability to make changes that improve how happy you are. Here are 5 key areas to help you get started. 1. GRATITUDE Happy people are consistently grateful for what they have, rather than complaining about what they don’t have. They notice…

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