A New Start

Where I work the whole staff get together every quarter for a two hour working lunch.  It’s my meeting – I write the agenda and I try to incorporate presentations, exercises, videos or stories into it to inspire and motivate.

In April 2019 I was standing in front of the staff and getting them to do an exercise that Shawn Achor (author of The Happiness Advantage) often runs with large groups of people.  In groups of 2 facing each other, Person No. 1 is instructed to remain neutral in their face and show zero emotion.  Person No. 2 is to look directly in their eyes, and for 7 seconds smile genuinely and warmly at their partner.

The outcome obviously is that No. 1 finds it impossible to have their face remain emotionless.  This is because we are wired for human emotion and warmth.  We swapped the roles and the room turned into raucous laughter, as this time they knew what to expect. It was a fun experiment, but the next thing that happened surprised me.  I found myself telling them that I would be running a course starting the following month for anyone who wanted more happiness in their lives.  I can be prone to spontaneity, but this was way off my radar.

Fast forward one month and I’d found the time to research and put together the first lesson.  My husband and I tried out all sorts of names for size – he created me a website – and Achieving Happiness was born.  It was built on the mantra of:

Happiness is a choice – I want you to make that choice and influence others

Happiness is contagious – I want you to spread it

April 2020 was the last time I blogged.  Easter weekend.  In the space of weeks our lives all turned upside down by COVID-19.  I’ve had more time to write, but I lost the drive.  How could I expect anyone to believe that achieving happiness is possible, when so much can be taken away so rapidly?  I think I felt I was trite and delusional, rather than passionately optimistic.

So much has changed in me over the past 20 months.  I now realise that we can achieve happiness, and then be sad, and grieve, and worry.  And then we can get back on the horse and make the choice for happiness and spread this uplifting contagion instead.  Be careful.  Be kind.  Some are not ready.  Some are in dark places.  Maybe all you can do is sit with them.  Be with them.

And always remember “If you see a person without a smile, please give them one of yours”.

How much time have I got?

Time. It’s one of the greatest equalisers. We all get the same 24 hours per day, and what we choose to do with it is largely up to us.
There has been a shift over the last few years in how people relate to their use of time and how they communicate about it.
This blog discusses that.

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