Happiness at work with Kathryn Owler

What does happiness at work actually mean ? Can we build it consciously ?

Kathryn and I discuss the much debated and often elusive subject of happiness at Work. We delve into the world of searching for the ‘dream job’ and what that actually means, how educational systems concentrate often on improving weaknesses rather than focusing on strengths. We explore the different elements of happiness and particularly post COVID the question of “what actually brings me joy ?”

The shift from profit to purpose, and stop the busyness to create the time to ‘be’ as well as the time to ‘do’ at work are highlighted as Kathryn shares her insights, research and experience on this subject.

The main insights you will get from this episode :

  • Wellbeing, fun and happiness need to be understood to offer practical support and help for people on their transformation journey; COVID made the topic more high-profile as people asked themselves: what brings me joy?
  • Searching for and achieving a ‘dream job’ can be disillusioning after a while – is it the grand reward we long yearned for? It follows on from the conditioning of work hard = good results = job satisfaction = success = work harder.
  • It is a relatively new phenomenon to challenge this, and it brings with it profound learning, often retrospective regrets, disappointment, fear, but also relief and the possibility of something better. Such an epiphany often instils a desire to share it and help others.
  • Happiness (at work) is an elusive, multi-layered, aspirational and complex concept. Most commonly it is achieved through a sense of purpose, challenge and competence; patterns from research suggest men enjoy ‘mastering’ a challenge (action-based), whereas women enjoy competence more (reflective).
  • There is a simple methodology for attaining happiness at work based essentially on the questions: What do I want? How do I make the change?
    • Acknowledge ‘stuckness’ and be open to different possibilities, which is emotional, confrontational and scary. Keep going. Be positive. Reflect our core values. Enact straight away. Engage in deep learning.
    • Craft the perfect job. Seek challenge/competence (inside or outside work). Explore our assumptions. Negotiate. Set boundaries. Break free of the cycle of self-limiting beliefs to gain power and control.
    • Communicate at work. Face our fears. Look back at past goals to draw strength. Plan – where have we come from and how do we go forward? Feel more confident. Do what we do well, well! Feel good about ourselves. Make practical decisions about our own happiness.
  • Mindfully put into practice what we learn and consolidate it; many educational systems focus on improving weaknesses rather than focusing on strengths.
  • A lightbulb moment can make us impatient to bring about change but we must recognise the feelings, pause and think – society pushes us to constantly ‘do’ but in reality, less is more.
  • We should all have a sense of hope, take small steps to improve things all the time and constantly come back to what’s important, step off the hamster wheel and ‘tweak things’.
  • COVID has shown that change is possible, and quickly, so it is always worth pushing for it.

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