I’m honored to have had happy@work selected for their “10 Books on Happiness at Work” list by the esteemed Ritz Carlton Leadership Center” and posted on their blog. I consider it a real honor to be associated with them and want to acknowledge all the people at New World Library for challenging me to deliver my best work. Thank you.

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“Unhappy employees spend only 40% of their time on task, according to research from iOpener. This means that unhappy employees are only working two days a week. Besides slowing down production and innovation, unhappy employees are sharing their negative perceptions with the rest of your workforce and consequently spreading discontent. No one enjoys working with a “Debbie Downer.” More importantly, no one enjoys being a “Debbie Downer.”

Building good will, showing genuine care and valuing employees should be a priority at every organization. Employees are responsible for their own happiness, but this does not preclude organizations from providing the tools, resources and culture that will inspire more joy at work. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 10 books that offer advice, strategies and tips to help managers and employees improve workplace happiness. (Books are listed alphabetically)” (READ MORE)

We’ve all heard the idea of living “one day at a time.” Twelve Step groups like Alcoholics, Narcotics, Gamblers, Debtors, Over-eaters, and other “anonymous” groups all stress the principle of taking life one day at a time.

Ram Dass titled his classic book, Remember: Be here now.

And of course, Ekhart Tolle wrote his seminal work, Power of Now (New World Library) about living in “Presence;” being fully in the present moment.

Sunrise photo

Why do this?

To begin with, much of your day-to-day worries and concerns, which exist only in your mind, disappear when you place your full attention in the present moment.

Worries are based on a concern about a future event which may or may not happen. Self help legend, Norman Vincent Peale, said that ninty-five percent of what most people worry about never occurs.

The other thing you get rid of is baggage from your past. It too does not exist in the present. So now you can put away the stick you’ve been using to beat yourself up over past mistakes. It, too, has no place in the present moment.

Whatever you did or did not do prior to now is of little importance. It’s over. You can learn from past errors but that’s about all you can do with the past.

Lamenting over lost opportunities will prevent you from seeing the one’s that are right in front of you, waiting to be acted upon.

That’s why you’re not likely to see a successful person agonizing over a perceived past failure. They’re too busy seizing the next opportunity to come along.

What you’ll get

Aside from the things you’ll eliminate from your mind, like like worry and past regrets, there are numerous advantages to living in the present.

To begin with, as Metaphysical teacher and author, Louise Hay once wrote, “The point of power is in the present moment.” Since it’s the only time that actually exists, it stands to reason that it’s where life is happening.

Since the “present” is the only time that exists, it is where you are able to tap into solutions to the challenges you may be facing. It’s where your true power lies.

If you believe in a Higher Power, God, or whatever name you use, you know there is help available to us from that Power which created all of life.

By being fully present you can access that Power. You literally cannot access help from Higher Forces if your mind is cluttered with worrisome and fearful thoughts. Remember the Bible statement, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Being present relaxes you and, over time, will lead to improved health and well being. People who meditate regularly tend to live longer, have better physical health, improved cognition, and are less stressed.

If you want to delve further into the many benefits of meditation, look into the work done by Dr. Herbert Benson, author of the “Relaxation Response.”

How to be more present

Whenever you sense your mind venturing into the worrisome future or lamenting about a past that is long gone, stop what you’re doing and become still.

Take one or two slow, deep breaths and feel yourself centered in the here and now. Feel the ground beneath your feet, listen to the sounds around you, smell the scent in the air.

Simply sit quietly and observe your breath going in and out.

As you sit, feel the energy coursing through your body. Sense the aliveness as you feel the energy traveling through your hands and arms, throughout your body, down your legs and into your feet.

You may choose to imagine a bright white light coming down from above and circulating through your body and out your feet, continuing down deep into the earth.

Doing this simple practice whenever you’re feeling stressed or worried will, almost immediately, ground you in the present moment. As you continue this, breathing deeply the entire time, you will feel a sense of calm come over you as you enjoy the soothing effects of living in the present moment.

The big payoff is that the more you practice this, the easier it becomes to calm your mind. Your mind becomes used to the relaxed mental state and begins, on it’s own, to generate more of the same brain waves. This explains why meditators, as a rule, say they are more relaxed throughout their day.

Action step:

Spend 10-20 minutes each morning for the next 30 days. You can add evenings if you’d like. Many people meditate twice each day.

  • Journal your feelings.
  • Write 3 things you are grateful for in your life.
  • Ask yourself if you’re feeling happier and calmer overall as a result.
  • If yes, would it be a good practice to continue?

(that’s how I started meditating almost thirty years ago:-)

You’ve probably heard the idea that some people, by their nature, perform whatever task they’re doing to the best of their ability – Eagles, while others just seem to “get by” – the rest of the flock, sometimes referred to as Pigeons.

Bald-Eagle

While I have nothing against pigeons, especially since I’m a native New Yorker, they’re not your ideal role model for success.

The differences, while many times subtle, are no less important to the success of the business as well as that of the individual.

My recent experience, illustrated below, will demonstrate this in more detail.

I was recently attending a business function at a nearby restaurant. The wait staff was excellent, attending to every detail enthusiastically, however, there was one waitress who “went the extra mile.”

I had asked her for a sparkling water, since I do not drink alcohol. Though it was not part of the beverage selection, she managed to locate a bottle of San Pelligrino water and poured me a glass.

At that point, for all practical purposes, her job was done, however, since she’s clearly an “Eagle” she didn’t stop there. Throughout the evening she kept a watch on my glass and managed to be there whenever it looked like it needed filling.

Eagles think beyond the task at hand. They anticipate what else they can do to be helpful to whomever they’re serving.

Eagles pay attention and are always on the lookout for ways in which they can provide more service and, at the same time, increase business for the company.

For example, the electronics salesperson who makes sure you have all the necessary cables and connectors to use your new purchase is anticipating your needs.

You’re happy they did so and it increased the total of the sale, resulting in an increase in revenue for the company. Everyone benefited all because the salesperson was paying attention and thinking about the customer’s needs, not just doing their job.

Four ideas to increase employee engagement

Hire for attitude
I’m not impressed with how great a salesperson you are if your attitude is poor. People can be trained in selling skills, which are more easily learned than behavioral changes like attitude.

Ensure people feel connected
The fastest way to accomplish this is to take time to praise people for a job done well. Further, involving every employee in the company’s vision and ensuring they can see their role in it will go a long way toward increasing employee engagement.

Invest in your people
Companies who stress training and development of their employees enjoy higher revenues and stock prices. Programs, like our happy@work programs teach, among other things, how to manage your emotions and stay in a positive mental state. Salespeople in a positive mental state are 37% better at selling than those who are negative or neutral. People in general are 31% more effective.

Give back
A recent survey of Millennials listed “giving back” as one of their top five criteria for working for a particular company. Good for them. Giving back is the right thing to do. When we all give a little, a lot is accomplished. Companies who have a culture of giving typically enjoy more success than their competitors.

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If you want more Eagles on your teams, contact us now to learn how our happy@work programs can help your organization increase employee engagement and inspire more Eagles.

Email 

Phone (215) 794-3826

 

"October Orchid"

People who have been to our home, or seen photos on social media, continually comment about how great our plants look.
Aside from watering them and adding occasional soil nutrients, the other thing Georgia does is give them attention. She talks to them, names them, and, in general, recognizes their presence.flowers

There was a wonderful book, “The Secret Life of Plants” (Harper & Row 1973) that documents the effects of our thoughts on plants. The authors found, not only did plants respond to our thoughts and feelings toward them but that they were responsive even when the person was miles away at the time.

Plants, along with most other living things, respond to attention, praise and recognition.

Isn’t that what we all need . . . recognition?

If you’re familiar with the work of Masaru Emoto, author of “Hidden Messages in Water,” you may have heard about his experiment with the two bowls or rice and school children.

rice bowlsIn this experiment, Dr Emoto placed portions of cooked rice into two containers. On one container he wrote “thank you” and on the other “you fool.” He then instructed his class to read the labels on the jars aloud everyday as they passed them by.

After 30 days, the rice in the container with positive, appreciative thoughts had barely changed, while the other was moldy and rotten.

What about you and I?

Do you think we’re all that differnt than other living things on earth? Not likely.

People, like plants, animals and all living creatures need recognition and attention in order to flourish.

This is what Maslow referred to as “belongingness” in his “Hierarchy of Needs” theory, published in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.”

In the workplace, the one thing that keeps coming up when people are asked about their situation at work is, not so much that they’re being asked to “do more with less” but that they’re not being recognized for doing it.

People need to be recognized, especially at work. Regardless of budget cuts and salary freezes taking a moment to recognize and compliment someone on a job well done is something every manager and supervisor can do immediately to help improve employee engagement and happiness in the company.

When a manager or supervisor recognizes our contribution to the company we automatically become more engaged in our work.
How hard is it to take a moment to tell someone you appreciate the job they’re doing?

This practice can be carried over into your home life with a similar result. Taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate something your spouse or children has done will raise their self-esteem and enable them to feel better about themselves. Again, this costs nothing and need only take a moment.

In my new book, “happy@work – 60 Simple Steps to Stay Engaged and Be Successful” (New World Library), I wrote a chapter titled, “Become a Value Finder” (Page 49). The idea behind this simple suggestion is to start recognizing the greatness in us all and acknowledging that, instead of continuing the fault finding that has become so commonplace.

One of the fastest ways to improve conditions in any organization is to implement the practice of recognizing people’s contribution to the company. Make a point of doing this often and, whenever possible, as publicly as possible.

Let your people know that you appreciate them and the part they play in the company’s success.

It doesn’t take a lot to make someone feel better about themselves and, when you do, you’ve helped to increase their happiness and, as a result, their engagement and productivity.

Yes, businesses need to pay attention to the bottom line, however, generously giving praise and recognition creates no additional expense while having an immediate positive impact.

Action steps

1. Make a list of the people in your organization and, next to each name, write one or two things you appreciate about the person. It may be something simple like the fact they make the coffee when they arrive or it may be a major account they just landed.

2. During the next week make a point of seeking each person out and telling them, in person if possible, how much they are valued and appreciated by the company. Don’t be surprised if they “light up” and their productivity immediately increases.

3. Encourage this practice throughout the organization. Follow the advice of the late self-help guru, Zig Ziglar who suggested that we, “Catch people doing things right”

4. Be sure to include yourself on your list. Acknowledging your own accomplishments will motivate you to further success.

 

A challenge can mean different things to different people. Some people, when they hear the word, will think of someone being challenged to a duel.

Some will see it as something to be overcome, like a health challenge, while others will embrace it and use it as motivation to reach for and accomplish a personal goal.

The motivating types of challenges are the ones we look for. They cause us to move out of our comfort zone and allow us to pursue our dreams and ambitions.

A challenge of this type may include being ranked #1 in 800 meter category in the NCAA Track and Field conference, like a young man I met recently.

Or it may be like the one I took up in 1996 with the publication of my first book, Handbook to a Happier Life.

At the time I had no idea if I could do it or if anyone would actually pay money to read what I wrote. Fortunately for me, people liked the book and my career as an author took off.

Your present challenge may be more personal in nature like someone I met recently, Dave Jeffries.

Dave has taken up the challenge of riding his bicycle from Miami Fl. to Boston Ma, a ride that has him riding some 75 miles a day, every day. He said, and I can imagine, you get to see the country up close and personal. 

Click on the photo to connect with Dave on his Facebook page.

dave-bicycle

Whatever your particular challenge is you owe it to yourself to step up to it. Yes, you’ll be moved out of your present comfort zone.

Everything you want that you do not have is outside your comfort zone. The only way to have it is to move out of your present comfort level and stretch yourself. Otherwise, you’ll never know your potential.

If you need something to motivate you, use this sign I once had on my desk. It’s one of the reasons I published Handbook to a Happier Life, way back in 1996.

if you don't do it

Ask not what your company can do for you . . .

On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy, in his landmark inaugural address, challenged the American people with the now famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” You can read the entire speech here 

John-F-Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

It became a mantra that marked what was to become the beginning of a new era in the United States; one of prosperity and great social change.

Kennedy must have known that this statement would challenge people and have a positive result. And that it did.

In the decade that followed, we landed a man on the moon, businesses began a period of massive innovation and growth and the nation began to thrive. Great social change took place, righting many wrongs. People in general stepped up to his challenge of building a better nation for everyone. Life in the early and mid sixties was pretty good in the U.S.

Flash forward to today with our current epidemic of unhappiness in the workplace, a condition that according to 2013 Gallup poll, is costing our economy almost half a trillion dollars a year in lost productivity.

Since the release of “happy@work – 60 Simple Steps to Stay Engaged and Be Successful,” I’ve been immersed in employee engagement issues as we are offering our “happy@work” workshops and coaching to help companies increase employee happiness and engagement. Study after study has shown this to result in increased productivity and revenue.

This has become an important issue for me personally, for obvious reasons.

If you stop and think about the figure above, you’ll soon realize that there is no way we can compete in a global economy with this low level of employee performance.

If we hope to continue, for future generations, the quality of life we’ve come to expect in the United States this must change. And it must change now. While it is important for companies to invest in the growth and development of their employees, engagement is a two way street. 

Perhaps we all need to ask a better question like, “What can I do for my company?”

When Kennedy spoke his powerful words it shifted people’s focus 180 degrees, from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”

That was the game changer

When we approach life with a giving attitude we invoke the “Law of Reciprocity” which essentially teaches us that you cannot give without receiving. The universe is always in a state of balance.

Whatever you give out will come back, multiplied. This is one of the “secrets” to success.

If you want more love, give more love. Be more loving. If you want more money look for ways in which you can serve your company and customers.

If you want more time, give of your time. This is why people say, “If you want something done give it to a busy person.” We instinctively know that, somehow, busy people get more done. This is, perhaps, because they give freely of their time, they seem to have more of it.

At work people ask, “How can I get a raise?” Wrong question.

The way to get that raise and become more successful is to instead ask, “How can I add more value to my company?”

In the case of a business owner you might ask, “How can I be of more value to my clients?” Or “How can I add more value to the community I serve?”

My friend and colleague Don Lafferty (pictured at right), a recognized social media authority, regularly gives of his time to share ideas with a local group of us who meet to discuss social media strategies. Giving back is not uncommon among successful people.don lafferty

At home, a husband might ask his wife, “What can I do to help you?”

I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that if you were to do this with whomever you live with, you would experience a warm and welcoming response.

Think about the last time someone did something nice for you. How did you feel? Didn’t you, almost immediately, want to do something nice for them in return?

Of course you did. It is our natural response to want to reciprocate the kindness.

It’s a simple formula, if you want more, give more.

If you want to open to your full potential you may want to begin your day by asking, “Where may I serve today?” You can do this before you even get out of bed.

Simply ask God, the Universe, Source Energy or whatever name you give to the source of life, how you may be of service. Then just lie there for a minute or two and listen quietly for inspiration.

You may receive an idea immediately or something may come up during your day. As you learn to become quiet and listen for guidance, you’ll begin to sense it more and more in your life.

You may receive it as an impulse to take a particular action or call someone. You may meet the person who can help with something you’re working on or be invited to an event where you learn of a business opportunity.

At work you might ask yourself an empowering question like, “How can I do my work today in such a way as to add more value to my company?”

Please come back and comment here to let us know what happened.

 

One morning when I was writing happy@work, I found myself online searching for information about “water.” I was in the midst of a short chapter about drinking water as an energy tip. Considering how many people do not drink sufficient amounts of water I felt it was a necessary chapter. You can’t be very happy at work if you’re dehydrated.

Camel and WaterMy Google search that morning led me to a world of information about the negative side effects of not drinking sufficient water – dehydration – particularly as it relates to back pain and, interestingly enough, dementia.

Speak with almost any chiropractor and you’ll learn how many of their patients, complaining of back pain, are dehydrated.

And there is a pile of empirical evidence pointing to dehydration as a contributor to dementia and Alzheimers.

During autopsies of people with Alzheimers most of their brains were dehydrated. And speaking with people who work in assisted living facilities confirmed that their residents with dementia who drink more water are more alert and responsive.

Other symptoms that can be caused by dehydration, according to Web Md, are loss of mental focus and heart palpitations. More about symptoms of dehydration.

There are a myriad of good reasons to be drinking the recommended amount of water daily; typically about eight glasses or, as some sources recommend, half an ounce of water per 1 lb. of body weight. For a 140 pound person, it would be 70 ounces or about nine glasses, assuming an eight ounce glass. Soda does not count, nor does coffee or tea. As a matter of fact coffee will add to your dehydration.

water and sunflower #happyworkA colleague of Georgia’s started bringing a large water bottle, like the one to the right, filled with sliced lemon, cucumber and mint leaves to work as a way to increase her water consumption. This inspired Georgia to do the same so now she’s getting a decent amount of water each day. After a few weeks of this new practice she has more energy and feels happier more of the time.

Since so many people seem not to like the “taste” of plain water, adding fruit slices may be just what you need to motivate you to increase your water intake.

However you choose to do it, drinking the recommended amount of pure water each day will go a long way toward improving your overall health and well being.

And if you want more tips for being happy at work, at home or anywhere else, get a copy of my new book,

happy@work - 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful

 

Back in April of 2013 I attended a local health fair, comprised of several health professionals talking about and demonstrating their products and services.

NutribulletOne of the practices that caught my attention was drinking Green Smoothies made with deep green vegetables like Kale and Spinach. Never liking Kale as a child made this an interesting challenge for me.

What started as a simple practice – making a green smoothie each morning – has continued for more than a year now.

Frustrated with my small blender, I bought a Nutribullet, (photo left) a kind of super blender that liquifies whatever you put into to it. I highly recommend the bullet, which costs $89 here at Amazon. 

As a result of establishing this practice, I’ve lost about twenty pounds, all without actually trying. When I began the practice my goal was to improve my health, though dropping some weight is never a bad idea for me.

Equally important to the weight loss for me is that I feel great, have more energy, and am consuming five or six servings of deep greens and fruit daily; something that is steadily improving my health.

For an added nutritional boost, I typically include a scoop of vegetable protein, ground almonds (grinding makes them easier to digest), and cacao for it’s chocolate flavor and high levels of anti-oxidants. Cacao is raw chocolate with zero sugar. And it’s chocolate!

Health Tip: Thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Rosie Battista, author of Sleeping Naked After Forty, I use 3/4 of a cup of greens and 1/4 fruit, instead of half and half as recommended by the Nutribullet book. This cuts down on the sugar from the fruit.

Seeing the results I was getting, my wife Georgia joined me in my morning practice and is drinking a smoothie daily. By the way, if you’re wanting to lose weight faster, you can make two smoothies a day in place of a meal or with a light, healthy food choice.

In my opinion this is one of the smartest additions I’ve made in my lifelong commitment to improving my health and fitness. While I’m thrilled with the results in the year plus I’ve been doing this, I can see a huge long-term health benefit to continuing.

Adding green drinks, smoothies and juicing to your diet can go a long way to preserving and improving your health.

Here’s an earlier post I wrote, Simple Weight Loss Tips That Work.

It’s never too late.

Three and a half years ago my Uncle George called me wanting to meet for lunch to discuss his health. He had been undergoing cancer treatment for some time and had reached the point where his doctor told him to go home and, when he was ready for hospice, to call him to set it up; that they could do nothing more for him.

I met with him in a diner in Staten Island where he was visiting family, from his home in Florida. George had known for years of my interest in health. Aside from telling him what I thought and what I would do in his situation, I gave him a copy of the book, Breakthrough, by Suzanne Somers and a copy of Life Extension magazine, published by the Life Extension Foundation and suggested he make his own choices.

Fortunately, for Uncle George, his son-in-law, a Cardiologist, had just completed a certification in Integrative Medicine and was onboard with using natural treatments to help maintain his health.

George changed his diet radically and began drinking juices and green smoothies. He became involved with learning, with the help of people at Whole Foods, what to eat and drink for health.

Yes, Uncle George, the last of my late father’s brothers, did pass in April of this year, however, he enjoyed another 3 1/2 years of life as a result of making a commitment to his health.

We’re all going to pass one day. That’s not the question. How we live until then is very much within our control and, especially in matters of health and fitness, it’s never too late to start taking better care of ourselves.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”400px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”2″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]If you want to learn more ideas about living your best life, no matter what your age, grab a copy of Don’t Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body [/dropshadowbox]