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25 things happy people do differently

The 25 things happy people do differently

  • Shannon Kaiser
WE all experience moments of insecurity, frustration, stress and even depression, but for some of us, these moments last longer than others, writes Shannon Kaiser. Like many people, I’ve gone through some major life changes over the past few years. I was stuck in depression tied to my corporate job. My breakdown turned into a breakthrough, which gave me clarity to follow my heart and change direction in my life. I moved across the country to live my soul’s purpose: to be a travel writer, life coach and public speaker.

One important step I took in my transition was to align myself with happy and successful people. I studied their behavior and learned that there’s a clear system and pattern in place to tap into true happiness. Through difficult life changes, we can learn a lot about ourselves as we grow into the people we’re meant to be.

I used to be sad, depressed, and insecure. Today my life is much different; I’m happy, healthy, fulfilled, and I love every second of my life. I attribute my newfound freedom to this magical list of habits of highly happy people.

Whenever I feel out of alignment, I return to this list and it gets me back on track. These are the steps of highly happy and successful people, but I reframed it to be in the present tense, so it becomes a go-to list to pull anyone into a happier state. Maybe it can help you through a tough time.

1. Stop worrying, if it is supposed to happen it will.

2. Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.

3. Don’t let your happiness depend on anything outside of yourself.

4. Stay close to everything that makes you feel alive.

5. Listen to your body, it will lead you to unlimited health.

6. Surround yourself with people who see your greatness.

7. Make peace with your past.

8. See all setbacks as growth and expansive opportunities.

9. Comparing yourself to others will hurt your health and steal your joy.

10. Don’t give up, EVER.

11. You always have a choice.

12. Stop chasing what’s not working.

13. Believe wholeheartedly in miracles.

14. Don’t postpone joy.

15. Trust the universe, there is a plan greater than yours.

16. Wake up every morning with a grateful heart.

17. Remember things take time.

18. Always trust your gut.

19. No need to change people; just love them for who they are.

20. Don’t resist change.

21. Forgive yourself.

22. Your life is a creative adventure.

23. Release expectations and enjoy the journey, there is no destination.

24. Just do you.

25. You’re not broken or damaged. You are perfect just the way you are.

This story first appeared on Mind Body Green

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Most People Don’t Under-Perform, They’re Under-Led – 5 Ways Leaders Sabotage Performance

Not too many people get out of bed in the morning, head in to work, and say to themselves “I’m really looking forward to screwing up today!” Sure, there are always a few bad apples with horrible attitudes that seem to thrive on getting away with doing the least amount of work possible, but by and large most people want to succeed on the job. So why do we struggle with so many under-performers in the workplace?

“I think most people don’t want to under-perform,” Kathie McGrane, Course Manager/Management Analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said to me in a recent conversation, “they’re just under-led.” Kathie’s insightful comment got me thinking about the ways leaders unknowingly sabotage the performance of their people. Here’s five common ways:

1. They don’t intentionally focus on building trust – Trust is the bedrock foundation of any successful relationship. There isn’t a business or leadership strategy around that will make up for a lack of trust between leaders and followers. Without trust your leadership effectiveness will always be limited. The problem is that most people think trust “just happens,” like some sort of relationship osmosis. The truth is that trust is built through the use of very specific behaviors, and if leaders don’t specifically focus on establishing healthy, high-trust relationships with their people, under-performance will be the norm.

2. Lack of clear goals and expectations – This past week I conducted a job interview and the candidate described the training she received at her previous job. She said “I was given a Sharpie pen, shown to my desk, and told to ‘figure it out.’” A CEO I’ve coached in the past was explaining his frustration about one of his VP’s not “stepping up” to lead like he expected him to. When I asked him if he had made those expectations clear to the individual he replied, “Well, now that you mention it, no, I haven’t.” And we wonder why people under-perform? Your people need to have clear goals and expectations so they know exactly what is required. Make sure they know what a good job looks like.

3. Leaders use the wrong leadership style – When it comes to leadership, one size does NOT fit all. Leaders commonly under or over-supervise people. Under-supervision is when the leader is too hands-off when an employee needs more direction and support on a goal or task. Over-supervision is when the leader micromanages too much when the employee is competent and committed to do the task on his/her own. Leaders need to understand that a person can be at different levels of development on different goals or tasks. Just because an employee may be a superstar in organizing and managing projects, doesn’t mean he/she is a pro at giving presentations to a group of executives. Leaders need to use a variety of leadership styles to give employees the right amount of direction and support they need on each of their job areas.

4. They don’t stay in touch with performance – Leaders not being aware of the performance trends of their employees is often a cause for under-performance. Leaders should have regular one-on-one meetings with their direct reports every 1 to 2 weeks. The one-on-one meeting serves to keep the leader informed of how the employee is doing on his/her goals and tasks, and it allows the employee to ask for needed direction and support. Too often leaders fall prey to “seagull management” – They occasionally fly in, squawk and make a bunch of noise, crap all over the place, and then fly away. Don’t be a seagull manager. Stay in regular touch with your employees so you can give them the day-to-day coaching they need to succeed.

5. Fail to give helpful feedback – Many leaders fail to give any feedback, and when they do, it’s often not very helpful to the employee. One type of feedback is praise. When employees are doing a good job, let them know! A well-timed praising does wonders for developing trust in a relationship. Redirection is another type of feedback that leaders should use when an employee’s performance is off-track. Redirection is specific about what needs to be corrected, timely and relevant to the situation at hand, and about moving forward. Don’t gunny sack feedback and surprise the employee with it at the annual performance review.

When leaders find that employees are under-performing, the first action they need to take is to look in the mirror and examine what they’ve done (or not done) to set the employee up for success. There are certainly situations where leaders will find they’ve done everything possible to help an employee perform at an acceptable level and the best thing is to part ways. However, leaders will often find they’ve unknowingly sabotaged the performance of their people by neglecting some of these leadership fundamentals.

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Personal branding. Why should you stand out of the crowd?

A trucker hat, jeans and t-shirt, and arm tattoos certainly help Ben Couzens to stand out at the office.

Aside from his edgy look, the Melburnian also happens to be a country-raised, softly spoken artistic director of one of Australia’s leading ad agencies. He’s known for loving a joke, never being short of an idea, always hitting deadline, working hard and playing in a band in his spare time.

These attributes have all contributed to a personal brand that has helped him rise through respected advertising agency Clemenger BBDO, where he has made some of the best-known ads in Australia.

Couzens says his “personal brand” – or the way he chooses to present himself – isn’t a deliberate strategy. Instead, it’s a true reflection of himself that has emerged after learning from a previous boss that while he should take his job seriously, he didn’t need to do the same for himself.


“I think it’s important to be yourself and handle situations and people in your own unique way. If everyone handled things in the same way, coming to work would be pretty boring,” he says.

Kellie McDonald’s personal brand extends to wearing the colour orange every day, in what has become a powerful personal branding tool for the Queenslander. The founder of Ginger Days Recruitment, which sports a bold orange logo, says wearing her corporate colours helps existing and potential clients recall her business name. Having a strong personal brand also gets her foot in the door, she says.

“I always make sure I have something orange on, whether it’s a phone cover, a watch or a handbag so it ties back to my brand,” McDonald says.

Being known as the cool guy, the office wallflower, the computer geek, or the one always up for a beer after work, affects how others view you – including your boss.

Finding a positive way to stand out at work is increasingly competitive, prompting some recruitment firms to offer professional development services in personal branding.

Rachel Quilty, the chief executive of Brisbane personal branding firm Jump the Q, says the number of professionals wanting to develop a specific strategic style has grown.

“Consider yourself a brand. Image management is vital in today’s business world. Improving your image and personal brand is an investment in building your personal profile, reputation and the results you will achieve – and deserve to achieve,” Quilty says.

Those with an excellent personal brand, reputation and references will be hired first, promoted quicker and afforded more authority and respect, she asserts. “Personal branding also affords you more mobility within your industry.”

Personal branding expert Heidi Alexandra Pollard says your brand is built from the thoughts, words and reactions of other people, so is shaped by how you present yourself publicly, both offline and online. Your personal brand is something you have control over, so work on being the image you want others to see, she says.

“We believe that who you are is more important than what you do, so who cares if you are the cleaner, secretary or clerk – if you do it uniquely and with your own memorable style, you will be remembered, respected and referred,” Pollard says.

Considering the three words you would like people to think of when they hear your name can be a great way to determine what your personal brand might be, she says.

You represent and live your brand via your handshake, your social media presence, your business card, desk or office space, the way you dress and the accessories you wear and use, she adds.

“Consistency is key. It’s no good promoting what an efficient and effective personal assistant you are if your appearance is messy and dishevelled,” Pollard says.

“Think about how you can publicly be that brand, and then map out all the elements of your personal brand and even clip photos, images and brands that you feel represent who you are.”

But creating a personal brand has to come from the heart, advises career psychologist Danielle Fletcher of Ascends Personal Branding.

A personality profiling tool like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can help achieve a deeper understanding of your personality traits and how you can use them to achieve your goals, she says.

“Knowing your strengths and talents enables you to carve out a niche, but understanding your personality is what will really help you to drive your brand forward.

“Strong brands are built through constant reinforcement of their key messages, and people’s perceptions of each other are the same,” Fletcher says.

Couzens says while it’s common to judge people on how they look, it’s irrelevant.

“I don’t think you need a gung-ho personality or to have bright pink hair, or be covered in tatts to stand out or make an impact at work. But I do think you can make an impact by jumping in feet first and giving things a crack, having a say and asking questions if you don’t understand or agree with something,” he says.

His boss, Peter Biggs, agrees, describing Couzens as a true professional. “He thinks ‘we’, not ‘me’. He’s unflappable. He has a mercurial brilliance. And he has intimidating tattoos.”

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Benefits of Coaching

There are many wonderful benefits associated with professional coaching. Did you know individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles?

Consistent with a commitment to enhancing their personal effectiveness, they can also expect to see appreciable results in the areas of productivity, personal satisfaction with life and work, and the achievement of personally relevant goals.

According to the 2009 ICF Global Coaching Client Study, companies that use or have used professional coaching for business reasons have seen a median return on investment of seven times their initial investment. Individual clients reported a median return on investment of 3.44 times their investment.

Coaching can help with a variety of goal areas. Findings from the 2010 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, showed that more than two-fifths (42.6 percent) of respondents who had experienced coaching chose “optimize individual and/or team performance” as their motivation for being coached. This reason ranked highest followed by “expand professional career opportunities” at 38.8 percent and “improve business management strategies” at 36.1 percent. Other more personal motivations like “increase self-esteem/self-confidence” and “manage work/life balance” rated fourth and fifth to round out the top five motivation areas.

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About Coaching

Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.

Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.

The Nature and Scope of Coaching

Part I: With Respect to Psychotherapy

Who The Client Is
The individual coaching client is someone who wants to reach one or more of the following: a higher level of performance, learning, or satisfaction. The client is not seeking emotional healing or relief from psychological pain.

The coaching client can take action to move towards a goal with the support of the coach. The successful client is not excessively limited in the ability to take action or overly hesitant to make this kind of progress.

How Service Is Delivered
Coaches and clients arrange the schedule and means of contact (e.g., in person, by phone, or via e-mail) that serve them both. They are not constrained to follow a standardized schedule or means of contact.

The Relationship In Coaching
A coach relates to the client as a partner. A coach does not relate to the client from a position of an expert, authority, or healer.

Coach and client together choose the focus, format, and desired outcomes for their work. The client does not relinquish the responsibility for creating and maintaining these nor does the coach take full responsibility for them.

Coaching is designed to help clients improve their learning and performance, and enhance their quality of life. Coaching does not focus directly on relieving psychological pain or treating cognitive or emotional disorders.

Time Frames
Coaching concentrates primarily on the present and future. Coaching does not focus on the past or on the past’s impact on the present.

Coaching uses information from the client’s past to clarify where the client is today. It does not depend on resolution of the past to move the client forward.

Coaching assumes the presence of emotional reactions to life events and that clients are capable of expressing and handling their emotions. Coaching is not psychotherapy and emotional healing is not the focus of coaching.

Relationship To Psychotherapy
Coaching can be used concurrently with psychotherapeutic work. It is not used as a substitute for psychotherapeutic work.

Advice, opinions, or suggestions are occasionally offered in coaching. Both parties understand that the client is free to accept or decline what is offered and takes the ultimate responsibility for action. The coach is not discouraged from offering advice, opinions or suggestions on occasion.

A coach makes a request of the client to promote action toward the client’s desired outcome. A coach does not make such requests in order to fix the client’s problem or understand the client’s past.

Part II: With Respect to Consulting

In all of the following statements, the word ‘client’ is used to denote the person who is being coached, regardless of who is paying for the service.

Coaches are experts in the coaching process and may not have specific knowledge of a given subject area or industry. Where coaches have expertise in other areas, they may use it to facilitate the coaching process. Coaches do not use this particular expertise to diagnose, direct, or design solutions for the client.

Relationship is the foundation of coaching. The coach and client intentionally develop a relationship which is characterized by a growing and mutual appreciation and respect for each other as individuals. This relationship is not an adjunct to or byproduct of the coaching. Nor is it based on the client’s position or performance.

Use Of Information
In coaching, information drawn from the client is used by the coach to promote the client’s awareness and choice of action. This information is not used to evaluate performance or produce reports for anyone but the person being coached.

Coaching has the freedom and flexibility to address a wide variety of personal and professional topics. In any given coaching relationship, coach and client alone determine the scope of their work. Coaching is not necessarily restricted to a narrowly defined issue nor is its scope determined in any other way.

Contribution To Results
In coaching, any contribution the coach makes to producing the client’s desired outcome is through on-going interaction with the client. The coach’s role does not include producing a contracted product or result outside of the coaching sessions.

Ongoing Impact
Coaching is designed to provide clients with a greater capacity to produce results and a greater confidence in their ability to do so. It is intended that clients do not leave coaching with a perception that they need to rely on a coach in order to produce similar results in the future.

International Coaching Federation Australasia

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August 7, 2012 · 4:28 pm