THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – What makes you happy and why?

New-Intl-Day-HappinessMarch 20th is designated as the United Nations International Day of Happiness, so lets reclaim as many happy moments as possible and discuss/share what makes us happy.  This is fundamental to both our professional success AND maintaining a healthy work/life balance and it is based on interaction and feeling. Basic and real connection. That’s magnificent engagement – a thing most organisations strive to obtain.

In fact, according to a recent survey by the charity Action for Happiness, 87% of people would pick being happy over money, and the chief reason for happiness was their relationships with their friends and family. In other words: not money or what it can buy.

The charity’s Director of Action for Happiness Mark Williamson said: “The UN Day of Happiness is about the fact that happiness really matters. It matters for us and our loved ones – and it matters for our countries and leaders too. All around the world, people are recognising that real progress is about more than just growing the economy – it’s about increasing human happiness and wellbeing”.

Join the movement raising awareness of what makes people happy, and don’t forget to SHARE the pic that makes you happy more than anything else.  So lets try and bottle it, if only for a day and say why it makes you happy. Here are the pictures that always make me smile, I shared them on Facebook and Twitter earlier this morning:

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Why do they make me happy?  Its about people, time and place.  The combination of all three makes me very happy indeed.  The first pic is one of only two occasions I’ve managed to get the most special people in my life in the place that means the most to me = happiness overload!!  The second is a wonderful consequence of the first!  The next time I get to update the first picture is on 9th August this year, when we are all in this special same place yet again, at the marriage of our second son.

So, this is about right people, in the right place, at the right time.  A level of engagement organisations strive to achieve and pay many £££££ for.  If each of us was to take just ONE lesson from our happiness pictures, and translate that lesson into the workplace, it would be a much happier place for everyone.  My lesson, for many years now, involves: patience/tolerance/acceptance/making the most of our differences/enjoying what we are all striving for at the time/finding the positive excitement in our goals/building better relationships.  I’ve tried to live these values at home, and in work.  Only those I’ve lived and worked with can say if I’ve achieved it.

Someone provided me with some formal 360 feedback once that said (and I quote): “Sharon does everything possible to build happy, harmonious and productive teams”.  I guess I succeeded a bit 🙂

What would your lesson be?

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THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Look up, not down!

How often do you look up to people? Do you endeavour to seek and find the good in everyone you meet, or do you make judgement calls based on first sight. What do you think of this?

Now look at yourself and answer this question honestly!

THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – World Book Day – what are you reading?

darwinThis was a question asked by the Chartered Management Institute last month, of future leaders.  The CMI launched an essay competition for those under 30, focussing specifically on this question.  For any future young leaders amongst our readers, the competition can be found HERE.  The deadline for submissions is 15th March 2014.

Management and leadership competence and development has been a long-time interest of mine.  Keeping up to date with current thinking is hugely important to Aresko generally is I am to be able to add value to any client situation.

So, given its World Book Day today, I thought it would be timely to share what we are currently reading to enhance our thinking AND declare what our favourite management text is, and why.

I am currently reading: “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook (previously Google and the US Treasury Department).  It’s about her story of women, work and the will to lead.  It starts with her experiences as a senior executive at Google in her first pregnancy and outlines (now) obvious workplace modifications to enable organisations to keep the skills and experience of pregnant female employees – of whatever level.  It continues in this vein, outlining why some and not others “lean in” and tackle issues in the workplace which make things better for bigger numbers of people, i.e. leadership examples.  It’s a marvellous account of  the value of women vis a vie the context of the workplace being male oriented.  I like the book a lot and it never ceases to amaze me why many women shy away from leadership roles in the way that men never would.  I’ve always been a bit of a “I-feel-so-strongly-about-that,-I’m-going-to-do-anything-I-can-to-make-it-better” kind of woman.  Many moons ago, my dear Dad called me “goal orientated” and it was the first time that phrase had ever touched my young years.  Little did I know it would form the majority of my professional life experiences in the future!

Again, many moons ago (2001 to be precise as I rediscovered the book today and when opening it found I had written my name and the date on the inside cover.  This is a habit I have with books, it plants them firmly in a specific time of my life), I read a tiny little book called:  “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr Spencer Johnson.  I read it just because I was told to read it.  It was on my reading list for my MBA which I was undertaking at the time.  I opened it with trepidation and discovered a fabulous little story of how to cope and deal with change.  Cheese being a metaphore for whatever the big thing is in your life that you desperately want and need to happen at the time.

It is 73 pages of big writing which had a profound inspiration on my future career pathway.  You can read it easily in an hour or two and I will promise you, you will read it many times thereafter.  Personally, I’ve probably read this about a dozen times now.  I’ve moved house 3 times since I first read it and its always been in the “must not lose” box when packing.

It’s the story of some mice in a maze trying to find the cheese.  It explains why some are more successful than others at the task and the wider application of the messages it contains is never-ending!  I would love you to read it too and let me know what you think.

What are you currently reading and influenced by?  What would be your pivotal framework for that essay we talked about at the beginning of this post, if you were (or indeed you are) entering that competition?

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