Whether you’re a fan of Sam Smith or not, his song lyrics certainly provide food for thought: “I don’t have money on my mind, I do it for the love.” Can we say the same about our own careers or those of our staff members? Do they get up in the morning motivated for work because they have bills to pay, or is there a passion for what they do that has them coming to work with a smile on their face?
I am a firm believer that if you work in the world of customer experience you can’t help others unless you feel positive yourself. If you hate your job, hate the calls, hate the customers the outcome is never going to be a happy one for you or for the customer.
Success equals money equals happiness – or does it?
For many people there is a perception that success is a measure of wealth. You’ve made it when you have the big house, fancy car, connections in all the right places, and the overseas holiday twice a year. The problem is that this measure never seems to be satisfied. After you’ve had the big house for a while it becomes ordinary. Then suddenly you feel the need to redecorate, renovate or find an even bigger house to move into. Where does it end, this supposed pursuit of happiness?
Have we got it all wrong?
A study conducted at Princeton University had some enlightening results concerning money and happiness. As people’s incomes doubled they were more satisfied, however, when asked how many happy hours they experienced in a day, this had little correlation to earnings over a certain level of income. According to the study a lack of money and overwhelming debt is a definite cause for stress and unhappiness, even anger. It might then be assumed that more money equals more happiness. However, after a level of earnings above $75000, additional money seemed to have the converse effect. People interviewed were not happy on a daily basis even though they had more money.
If it’s not in money, where is the love?
It seems that finding the love for what we do on a daily basis is simpler than we thought. We’ve just been looking for it in the wrong places.
Gratitude: Let’s start with where we are at, with what we’ve got and be thankful for it. When we start appreciating what we have instead of always wanting what we don’t have, we develop a sense of peace. Often this is because just reminding ourselves of all the good in our lives makes us realise we actually have a lot already. Our health, the ability to walk and even talk, a job to go to, a place to go home to, friends, family. These are basic gems of happiness that too often are taken for granted. I’m all for nice working environments but if you’re not allowed to put pictures of loved ones or happy moments on your desk we are missing an opportunity to feel the love.
Connection: As humans we have an instinctive yearning to connect. Studies show that people with more friends have a higher rate of survival. Relationships do something for our soul. Make the effort to build friendships, genuine friendships, not just business connections, and do it for the pure enjoyment of the relationship and not for what you can gain from it. I always encourage networking across the organisation, wider than just your area, for the knowledge sharing and support this can bring. Sharing the bigger purpose of the service chain, the impact of work on the end customers and the positive feedback provides great opportunities to strengthen connection.
Giving: Simply give, not for what you can get, but just because you can. It doesn’t have to cost anything. It can be a kind word, a thank you, a minute of your time, a smile. Give and experience the joy it brings you to help someone else. One of our most popular takeaways from our leadership courses is the principle of praising effectively: Praise each person in your team for one thing every day. People thrive on encouragement, it literally gives them ‘courage’ and strength. Even if you are not a leader you can make your colleagues and customers feel good with a sincere compliment or a simple thank you.
If this is a key to happiness, and we want our employees and customers to be happy, then these three principles need to become part of our corporate culture: Connection, gratitude, giving – we all need to role-model these, it starts with us!