The world has been engaging with social media for decades now. And it seems like, no matter the platform, somehow these apps tend to bring out the worst in people. Study after study finds that social media can have negative impacts on young people, on political discourse, and even on our own self-image: Our ability to be happy with ourselves.
A few years ago, Stephanie Harrison, launched a newsletter and social media channel that didn’t delve into politics, didn’t share mean-spirited memes, or spread misinformation. It was a channel based on an incredibly simple question. Can you make an impact on social media, just by trying to make people happy? And it turns out, the answer is yes. In this episode, Elisa sits down with that pioneer of pleasantness to discuss her channel, which has since blossomed into a growing network of blogs, websites, a podcast and even a forthcoming book, and a concept that she calls, “The New Happy.” A science-backed philosophy for lasting happiness that comes from being of service to others.
Happiness and its central place in organizations have been a focal point of Management 3.0 from the beginning. The positive psychology approach of Stephanie Harrison is a concept we will also explore at our upcoming Forward Flagship Summit, live in Berlin, and via your computer screen from 30 November – 2 December. Our central theme is Happiness as the ‘Why’ in Agile Transformations and we’d love to welcome you there! More information.
What leads to a happy life? What are the various ways to be happy? Happiness means different things to each of us, yet after doing extensive research, Management 3.0 founder, Jurgen Appelo, discovered a common thread: Happiness is something we create, it is not something to achieve. It is a path you choose, not a destination to arrive at. So many of us spend our time in pursuit of happiness, yet instead of searching for it we need to find ways to live it, embrace it and implement it into our daily lives. We created the 12 Steps to Happiness – you can find more information and even download a free poster of the 12 steps at management30.com/practice
*Please note that the transcript has been automatically generated and proofread for mistakes. But remains in spoken English, and some syntax and grammar mistakes might remain.
Elisa Tuijnder: [00:00:00] The world has been engaging with social media for decades now. And it seems like no matter the platform, no matter the online community, somehow these apps tend to bring out the worst in people. Study after study finds that social media can have negative impacts on young people on political discourse. And even on our own self-image. A few years ago, one person tried to change that she launched a social media channel that didn’t delve into politics didn’t share mean spirit ed memes or spread misinformation. It was a channel based on an incredibly simple question. Can you make an impact on social media just by trying to make people happy, and it turns out?
The answer is yes. Today I sit down with that pioneer of pleasantness to discuss her channel, which has since [00:01:00] blossomed into a growing network of blogs, websites, a podcast, and even a forthcoming book and a concept that she calls the new happy.
Before we dive in, you are listening to the new season of the happiness at work podcast by Management 3.0 where we are getting serious about happiness.
I’m your host, Elisa Tuijnder, happiness enthusiast and Management. 3.0 team member. We may sound a little different, but we’re still sharing insights from industry experts, influencers, and thought leaders, about what it takes to be happy, motivated, and productive at work so that loving your job becomes the norm and not the exception.
We will be publishing every fortnight on Friday. So be sure to tune in and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.[00:02:00]
Our guest today is Stephanie Harrison, an author speaker, consultant, wellbeing expert, and founder of The New Happy a multichannel organization, working to share its vision of happiness with the world. Thank you so so much for joining me,
Stephanie Harrison: Stephanie. Thank you. I’m so excited to be here with you today. I’m really
Elisa Tuijnder: honored.
No, I’m so happy that you came to join us. So we’ll get into your work in just a moment, but here on the podcast, we always start with the same question. So that is what does happiness mean to you?
Stephanie Harrison: I feel like me answering your question inevitably gets into my entire
Elisa Tuijnder: life’s work. Ethos being. Yeah, exactly.
Stephanie Harrison: So I’m gonna, I’m gonna scoop myself a bit, but for me happiness is about being of service to other people and making a positive impact in the world. And I love that you [00:03:00] start your podcast with that question. I think it’s such a great
Elisa Tuijnder: one. It’s interesting how many people have different perceptions on it as well.
And we should actually, at some point make a graph to see what all the people have answered and what are the same kind of common denominators. I love that. Yeah. So your organization, the new happy is a quasi media empire, nowadays, a newsletter, a podcast, a website, and you have a forthcoming book as well, but it all started relatively small with a simple Instagram page.
So can you walk us through where you were or what you were doing when you had this idea? Let’s start this and either personally or professionally, when did you start this? What were you hoping to achieve as well?
Stephanie Harrison: It’s such a great question and actually fun fact, it didn’t start with the Instagram. Okay. It just started, it started with a newsletter that I launched back in 2018.
So it’s been a really long time. And it was just something I was doing on the side of my [00:04:00] job. I was working at LinkedIn at the time. Cool. And the reason that I started it is. I had recently graduated with my master’s degree in positive psychology. I had this full-time job at LinkedIn, and then suddenly I started going through these major challenges in my personal life.
When my partner got really sick and started requiring me to take care of him. And I was only I guess I was 28 at the time when this happened and our lives were completely turned upside down and there was this feeling that I had, that I needed to just make sure that I was cultivating a little bit of space for myself, amidst my job and amidst the caregiving responsibilities.
And that’s where the new happy came from was really wanting to share what I had learned in school, but not really knowing. How to do it or no, not having the capacity to do it in a full time way in terms of being able to switch jobs or make any other major changes. So [00:05:00] it began as a newsletter and I kept that up for a few years, I eventually did end up moving to work. Full-time on these kinds of content and information. I went to go work for thrive and led the development of their learning and development programs that we then sold into companies. And in the meantime, I just kept working on the newsletter in the background and building that out.
And then eventually it came to the point where I realized that this work had become very important to me and I wanted to devote myself more fully to it. And that’s what led me to go full time into working on it, which I did starting in June of 2020. And it was also of course, the very beginning. the very beginning of the pandemic.
I felt like there was this profound need that wasn’t necessarily being met about how to support yourself through difficult times. And from there, that’s when I really started the Instagram page that, which led to all these other things that, that you mentioned so kindly and [00:06:00] really my hope is to take a lot of the research and the information that we’ve learned and make it digestible and accessible as well as applicable for people. And that’s really one of the guiding lights that have, has driven a lot of the work that I’ve been doing.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, that’s amazing. And I love that it started out of need for yourself.
And then it went, it came into sharing that with the world. What you learned and did you have an idea when you made that first newsletter that it would end up in, in to this point where you have a full-time job and a full-time role with it?
Stephanie Harrison: I think it was always my dearest hope I have. What I did in my graduate degree was essentially come up with this new definition of happiness.
Always my little dream in the back of my mind was one day. It would be really amazing to work on this full time. I have no idea. How and why, or when, or any kind of concept of a practical plan. But it was one of more of those things of [00:07:00] throw yourself at the mercy of the universe and see what happens a little bit.
So it was just always more of my kind of secret dream. Something that I hoped would happen. But there was no, no plan whatsoever for where I am
Elisa Tuijnder: today. And so that’s only four
Stephanie Harrison: years. I know. Yeah. I know it’s wild. Been such a such a wild four years.
Elisa Tuijnder: Do you think that says something about our need for redefining happiness, that there’s so much people out there that want to hear that
Stephanie Harrison: message?
I hope so. I think my, my hope is that it’s tapping into kind of a core need that many people are feeling I think with and specifically when we think about work and the topic of your podcast, the. Shift in values that we’re seeing within society and the way that’s being reflected in some ways through the landscape of work.
I think it also speaks to that the importance of really revisiting some of the assumptions we’ve made and validating whether or not they still work for us.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, [00:08:00] absolutely. And we should do that all the time. That kind of the feedback loop with ourselves. Yeah, exactly. And the feedback loop in society.
So yeah that’s absolutely fantastic. So let’s get into kind of this idea of the new happy. So all of your work and including this forthcoming book centers around this idea of the new happy, as opposed to. The old happy . So what do you see as a difference between those two and where did this new definition come from?
You already said that you worked on it throughout your graduate degree. I
Stephanie Harrison: think really it, it stemmed first of all, from my personal experience of seeking to pursue happiness in the way that I had been taught to pursue it. And that included things like prioritizing achievements and meeting certain life milestones at very specific moments in time.
I think all of us know exactly what that pressure feels like. And I realized after going through those gates and those hoops, that actually it wasn’t working for me. And in fact, I was really unhappy [00:09:00] and that led me to wonder what was going on. Was it just something about me? And I was the odd one out and the person who didn’t really fit the mold or was there something more broad, perhaps more universal going on. And that’s what really led me to, to Penn to study these questions from a scientific lens and think, what is it that the research can teach us here? So really what the new happy is about shifting away from this self-focused pursuit of happiness to something that’s much more collective and community based.
And my argument is that there’s a profound amount of research that supports this, and it’s also something that our world desperately needs us to do. And my hope is that by helping people to recognize how this shift can benefit them, that it’ll also be something that catalyzes a change within our world as a whole.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. Do you think the way we were doing happiness the milestones and if you haven’t had a kid [00:10:00] and if you haven’t been married or you haven’t got the dream job by that point, do you generally think that was making us unhappy and wasn’t working across the board or do you think it does work for some people or.
Stephanie Harrison: I think it’s yeah, it’s a great, it’s a great question. I think that it certainly works for some people and it does not work for some people . Yeah. And I think part of it is the positioning of there’s one path that you should follow. And one thing that you should do, I think part of our societal journey over the last, couple decades has been about a greater recognition of the essentialness of diversity and recognizing the value of these different paths. And so I see this as this natural outcome of more of these broader trends, because telling someone that there’s only one way to be is fundamentally a very inhumane thing to do. And I think that the more that we can recognize that every [00:11:00] person has choices that are unique to them, that enliven them in their own complex individualized way, the greater happiness will be able to do so if those are things that you want, then that’s wonderful and that’s beautiful and should be something that you get to pursue with all of the freedom that you need in order to do that.
And in the same breath, if they’re not something that you want, then, I would hope that we’re moving towards a place where we don’t judge or berate or inhumanize people for not wanting those things.
Elisa Tuijnder: Oh, unfortunately, some this comes in peaks and trophs doesn’t it at the moment we have a lot
Stephanie Harrison: of work to do.
Yeah. We have a lot of improvements to cultivate.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, it is true. Isn’t it as well with the globalization and the internet and, people used to be confined to a number of individuals that were basically showing them what happy is supposed to look like. And now we have so many more inputs and, things are coming at us at a lightning speed.
So we digest that in different ways.
Stephanie Harrison: Yeah. And it also shows just the power [00:12:00] of opening up all to all these different role models. When you can see somebody who is living in a way that inspires and excites you. In a way that wasn’t visible to you before then it opens up that possibility in your own mind of being like maybe I can have that or do that too.
And that is such a beautiful, wonderful thing about the internet and about the sharing of stories that we’ve been able to see over the last couple of years and something I’m really personally grateful for too.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. Storytelling and representation is actually really important that way more than people often give credit to.
Oh, true. So here on the podcast, we obviously talk a lot about happiness and, but we’re predominantly talking about workplace happiness and you’ve delivered talks about the new, happy to organizations around the world, including Microsoft, Capital One, LinkedIn, where you worked for some time.
So what kind of things do you discuss with professional audiences and what aspects of your philosophy. Do you think resonate most with [00:13:00] the workplace? I actually probably think it, it should be on the same par, but happiness at work and happiness at home, but yeah,
Stephanie Harrison: no, it’s so true. And I’m so glad you’re doing this work because you’re helping to make that a possibility and a reality for people it’s so important.
I’ve been really happy at work and I’ve been really unhappy at work. And I think a lot of us I think if you have had the joy of being happy at work, it’s a really amazing thing. And it’s something that, as you said, every person should be able to have. I think so much of what we have missed in the conversation about workplace happiness or wellbeing is around the essentialness of the organizational system and the processes and the policies that support wellbeing. So much of this comes back to ultimately placing this. Additional responsibility on the employee when really the environment [00:14:00] is the most important thing.
And ultimately that’s because it’s the leader’s responsibility, it’s the job of the boss and the other bosses and managers and leaders to create that environment. And that’s ultimately, I think a lot, it’s a lot more complicated than focusing on individual solutions. So for me, the work that I’m really passionate and excited about is helping organizations to shape what that looks like and to consider how are we cultivating an environment that brings out the best in people and helps them to achieve not only their goals, but societal goals and positive outcomes for the world as well.
There’s a lot of different things that can be done there. The work that I find really exciting is how do we teach leaders? How to be more compassionate, how do we teach them what it looks like to show up when somebody is in pain? Because there is such profound pain that happens within organizations.
And it is something that there is very little tolerance [00:15:00] of let alone acceptance and embrace of. And I think that if we could provide. Support for these leaders, from people who from people who understand what it’s like to be a leader and to be in the position that they’re in, the more that we can help them to show up in those moments of with compassion and care, the more that will catalyze a shift, not only in the environment, but also for their employees.
And then more broadly, what does it look like to cultivate and create policies and support systems and programs? At a organization wide level actually do this. And for me, I started my career as a management consultant who specialized in HR. So this is a little bit of going back to my back to those organ, those my roots there and start actually combining a lot of these things together.
And so that is really the work that I’m really excited about in the future. And then with a lot of the work that I’ve been doing over the last year. Less so right now I would say more in [00:16:00] 2021, helping. How do you help employees cope with the profound stress that they were under? And that’s again, giving them more of these in the moment solutions to help themselves and to provide leader support with how they can support their employees too.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. We have this slogan at management 3.0 or. Something, we say a lot is the culture eats everything for breakfast. Yeah. Which is then the workplace culture. And that is so true. It starts with that culture, with that psychological safety, the buzzword nowadays
Stephanie Harrison: yeah. It’s so true.
Elisa Tuijnder: And it’s incredibly important.
And what I’ve been seeing recently a little bit, as well as yeah. People supporting through a pandemic and now. Especially in the UK, we see a lot of people being really affected by the cost of living crisis. And I’m sure that’s the same in the US and mainland Europe as well. And seeing companies trying to bring strategies in to help people with that.
And those are short term solutions again, but yeah, again, supporting [00:17:00] people through another time of turmoil,
Stephanie Harrison: Exactly right. Like it’s just there’s as you’re saying so eloquently this opportunity for people to show up is really, it’s really salient right now. There’s so much pain that’s going on out there.
There’s so much suffering, so many struggles and so many difficulties. And I think that we need to develop a vocabulary and a capacity for learning how to address and support that in a workplace context, rather than essentially saying you’re on your own good luck, which
Elisa Tuijnder: unfortunately I think is the norm.
Yeah. Do you think that in a professional kind of setting where we have to deal with added stressors and pressures and competitiveness and deadlines, et cetera, etcetera, is it harder there to adopt that happiness that comes from helping others, especially. I think, the United States is very well known for having this kind of really cutthroat [00:18:00] business kind of mentality.
Yeah. In different places that’s slightly different, but yeah, I’m intrigued to think. What do you think that is? It’s harder in that setting than in anywhere
Stephanie Harrison: else. That’s such a great question. I think that you’re right. There is an element of that. And also. I think that’s a hangover from the way that things used to be.
And in order to actually tap into the next level of performance, it has to disappear because. Intense competition and cutthroat, trying to outperform somebody or trying to do your very best work on extreme deadlines or with somebody who’s acting in any sort of way that detracts from your wellbeing.
It’s never going to bring out the best in your people in the long term. It’s just impossible. And all you’re doing is essentially setting yourself up for long term difficulties. In terms of your company’s success, your talent brand as an organization, your ability to retain employees, your [00:19:00] ability to be competitive and successful your ability to innovate in the marketplace.
There’s just so much that it’s not worth it. And. even if we weren’t talking about the humane case of doing the right thing as a business, there is a performance oriented case as well, that supports the humanity level of it. Absolutely. And so I think that. As we’re moving into increasingly more and more workplaces that are offering offering services and products that are built upon the creativity and innovation and curiosity of their employees.
The more that this workplace environment needs to also shift in accordance with that and the. The benefits of being able to create that are profound in terms of the stress levels and in terms of your overall wellbeing. So I personally don’t see those things as holding one another in a negative way. I think that they can be positively supportive, but it probably does require [00:20:00] broader shifts and directions that from, the top levels.
Elisa Tuijnder: Do you think this is a generational issue as well? Whereby you know, upcoming generations, millennials, Gen Zs have a little bit more of that mentality already while older generations maybe go I worked really hard without having fun things in the office or wellbeing mentors, or, coaching for something.
So you can do it like that as well. Yeah.
Stephanie Harrison: I think I, I personally think that a lot. I think we make way too much generational elements. I think that. The I think that there is a element of that, but I also believe that every person wants and has the same needs and they all want these things and they all are seeking the fulfillment of their core, psychological needs.
And perhaps people who are on the younger end of the spectrum, are more used to engaging in [00:21:00] environments that support it. And therefore the contrast is much starker and it feels like, why would I do this when I know what it’s like to experience something else? Yeah. So I think that is potentially a factor for absolutely.
I also think that if we can overcome that. Yeah, exactly. It’s if we can take a look at what it is that we. All really want and need and how our environments are either supporting or hindering that. Then I think that there’s a lot of win-wins and a lot of positive solutions that are possible.
Elisa Tuijnder: What leads to a happy life? What are the various ways to be happy? Happiness means different things to each of us yet after doing extensive research Management 3.0 founder, Jurgen Appelo, discovered the common thread. Happiness is something we create. [00:22:00] It is not something to achieve. It is a path you choose not a destination to arrive at so many of us spend our times in pursuit of happiness. Get instead of searching. We need to find ways to live it, embrace it and implement it into our daily lives. We created the 12 steps to happiness at management 3.0, you can find more information and even download a free poster of the 12 steps at Management30.com/practice
We’ve been saying it’s been a rough few years and it’s going to probably be a rough few years yet. Yeah. So I can imagine some might be skeptical that a new definition or a new approach and to happiness might make a difference for them. So do you address that in the new, happy in your forthcoming book or put it another [00:23:00] way?
What can readers or followers hope to take away from your work at this challenging moment in. The time of 2022 and
Stephanie Harrison: continues and into the future. Yes, I think it’s a really great question. And for sure there are questions that people have about, oh how will this work for me? How will this help me in difficult times?
I can say that. I think that the best way to test something is to try it for yourself and see how it goes. And so one of the things that I often advocate for and counsel people to do is to go and take five minutes and just do something kind for somebody else. And then take a pulse check on your mood.
How do you feel can almost guarantee that you’re gonna feel better no matter what it was that you did, no matter what you are going to feel like you’re more connected, you’re more centered. You’re more grounded. And these little moments of caring for one another [00:24:00] in the vast number of ways that we can do that for one another offer profound connection and joy and meaning to our lives.
They’re what we’re really looking for when we’re going out there trying to achieve it through. Reaching XYZ milestone, or trying to please somebody else or reach a specific thing that we think will be the thing that makes us happy. Really it’s found in these tiny little moments that are available to us right now, even when it feels hard, even in the midst of the difficult times.
And that is what I always am recommending for people is to see if it works for you. And if it doesn’t, that’s completely fine. Not everything will work for everyone. And the shift that we can make gives us. It opens us up to this other way of seeing the world. And it’s fundamentally offers you the chance to live a life of far greater joy and satisfaction for yourself, which I personally think that’s what we all want right now.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. I think [00:25:00] that’s what we’ve always wanted to
Stephanie Harrison: admit. Yeah. Yeah, totally. Speaking of the universal needs, right? Like we all, I don’t really think that we all need. All the things that we think we do, we’ve just gotten a little bit distracted and a little bit confused. And we’ve had a lot of socialization and messages and media that have told us things.
And the more that we can tune into that sort of true self and what it is that needs. I think the more joy that we really open ourselves up
Elisa Tuijnder: to. Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve spoken a little bit about this, but I kinda wanna dive a little bit deeper into this. So why now? So we’ve seen a we’ve had a lot of talks with executives and industry leaders from across the world.
And they’re all saying, the pandemic made us, made people tune in more with what they wanted and they saw what was actually important. Some people called it the Yolo economy. So like actually. It’s real now you only [00:26:00] live once. It’s coming at me. Yeah. Do you think that’s one of the reasons or has this kind of been going on for a lot longer?
Is there a trend that we
Stephanie Harrison: could tell? That’s a great question. I think that it’s, how, when you, when there’s a trend, it’s like, there’s all these little pockets of it happening and then you can’t really tell it’s a trend until the tipping point. I wonder sometimes. If that’s where we’re at right now, I wish that it hadn’t taken such profound suffering and loss and grief in order to catalyze that.
And the toll that this has taken on people is so profound that sometimes those moments are what, shake up our ideas about the world. I think that from a workplace perspective, there’s obviously all the factors about where the economy was and the the job possibilities and all of that kind of stuff that I think also [00:27:00] contribute.
It just feels like it was one of those perfect storms that, that kind of, I’m not sure what you think. I would love to hear what you’re hearing from
Elisa Tuijnder: people. Yeah. I do think it, it was I think a lot of businesses are now not doing it out of, altruism, but out of a necessity.
Yeah. Because. Things are, and I’m really hoping that they’re going to continue to learn from what happened and that we’re not reverting back. Because what we are hearing people say constantly is that 80% of our workers wanna do hybrid work, but our boss thinks, it’s not okay, but he’ll, they’ll see at some point that everybody’s gonna leave because there are people or not everybody obviously, they’re gonna have to tune in and into those needs of people, way more. And there’s power in masses in that sense. So if we all talk about this more and if we all see this as more important, even from, from when I started working up until now, I think mental health was like a taboo till [00:28:00] now at this. People really are providing services, coaching, but also literally therapy like, Hey, do you wanna have a therapist? We know It’s hard. Our own national health services are overloaded. Let us offer it to you. But I also think it’s what I’ve heard as well. Is that kind of bosses and leaders for the first time felt those kind of same problems, the higher level CEOs or whatever. The C-suite kind of also felt issues through the pandemic, they were isolated. They had a hard time, things were going wrong. So they were like, oh, okay. If I’m having a hard time, they must be having a hard time and then tuning into that as well.
Stephanie Harrison: Yeah, it’s really, it’s fascinating because I think and this sort of goes back, I think, to the whole idea of what do we do with pain in the workplace, because one of the, none of us, none of us wanna go through something hard and we would all [00:29:00] eliminate it if we could, but because we can’t do that, which is a very difficult pill to swallow.
Like for me, the question has always been what does this offer? What are the opportunities that are, hidden within this moment. And it’s really hard to do that when things are so difficult, but the potential for empathy when you’ve gone through, as you’re describing, when you’ve gone through something really hard and how that opens you up to other people and what they might be going through, and to be able to expand your compassion.
I think that is an opportunity for us to expand what it looks like to care for one another. And those CEOs and those leaders who are awakening to that in a new way, or who are applying it and bringing it forward, they are ultimately going to be contributing to the greater success of their organizations because.
[00:30:00] Fundamentally, none of us wanna be controlled by somebody else. None of us wanna have our freedom curtailed or our ability to choose what’s right for us threatened and held back. And that was really the culture of the modern workplace for so many people. And this shift towards how do you support employee autonomy and giving them the space and the capacity to do that is one.
I would say is from my perspective, from what I know of the research and what I’m seeing in organizations, that’s the winning strategy. Yeah.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. It really resonate when you said you have to live it to empathize with it, or like to open yourself up for it. And that’s so unfortunate that’s in th psyche and then I’m a history undergrad, and you can see that throughout history.
With wars and people then have all these years and okay, no, we’re never doing that again. And then the generation passes and they’re like, I don’t know, was it that bad? You gonna do it again and again, and you kind see that now. And unfortunately again [00:31:00] and it’s as if we should really try and find the way to remember those things and just tap into that human humanism or human side of things.
Stephanie Harrison: Yeah. It’s so such a good point. Like where is. Where is the repository of the very hard one wisdom. Where does that live and how do we tap into it and recognize that we might not have to live the same mistakes that our ancestors have lived, or that even we lived a few years ago. How could we avoid that?
And I feel like that is the core of one of our biggest problems right now.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. We tend to forget very easily.
Stephanie Harrison: oh, I know. It’s really one of those terrible flaws on the human brain.
Elisa Tuijnder: Isn’t it. Absolutely. Hey, so here on the podcast, we always wanna end, or like towards the end, get to tangible practices. So things our listeners can start implementing tomorrow [00:32:00] or get at with their teams or even in their personal lives.
So what advice would you have for leaders, employers, or employees that want to bring some of that new happiness
Stephanie Harrison: their work place? I love the question. I would say from a leader perspective, one of the things that I found really powerful is asking the question of simply asking how somebody is doing.
And then letting it sit out there. I think this is really hard for a lot of people, because one, a lot of us are fixers have been socialized to be fixers. We don’t like uncomfortable things and we are often really rushed. And there’s this there’s this really famous study about somebody who is rushing and how.
It, I won’t get into the whole detail. It’s a great story, but like basically they’re, they rush past somebody who’s in need and they don’t even really see them. They don’t even really pay attention to them. And the people who are rushing [00:33:00] are on their way to give a lecture about the good Samaritan parable about stopping and helping people who are struggling.
So this sense of rushing really overrides a lot of these empathetic and compassionate instincts that all of us have. So the more that we slow down and create space to really ask how somebody is doing and then giving the opportunity for them to actually tune in and figure that out to share in a way that isn’t a pat answer of.
Oh, I’m good. How are you? You know that so many of us just throw off because we’re trying to move on to the next thing. So for leaders, for people, for colleagues, for people at work, one thing you can do to help reduce the suffering in your organization is simply to slow down and be present with people and see how they really are and not rushing through whatever that looks or sounds like.
And then of course, that’s something that we can also apply in our personal lives as well with the people that we love or our friends or our neighbors. The other thing I would say is to [00:34:00] consider what it is. That you can do to make somebody’s life a little bit easier in a few minutes or less. And it’s those proactive offerings that really can bring a lot of joy, both for the giver and the receiver.
So whether it’s sending a message to somebody on your team who did a really good job and is that unsung hero who always comes through and doesn’t really get the credit or sending a email to somebody at a company who you were working with, who helped you with figuring out a problem and just sending a quick, thank you note, anything that you can do to surprise and welcome and care for people is going to be a win-win for you and for the world around you.
And again, it doesn’t have to be big. In fact, I actually advocate for smaller things more frequently. It’s much more manageable and it gives you more of the boosts of the happiness and the joy that you’re looking for. Yeah. And it’s free.
Elisa Tuijnder: it’s, especially for employees, we [00:35:00] have these very simple things called kudo cards and, they’re the easiest things.
They’re literally sending somebody like card and saying thank you. And yeah, they’re. So they’re so effective. That’s so lovely. Yeah. Hey, so where just follow up question on that. Where do you put asking for help. Is that part of that package or giving, or I’m asking people if they need help.
So coming with your
Stephanie Harrison: first bit there. Yeah, such a great question. So I think asking if somebody needs help, I think that the stage that I recommend for, especially when you’re a leader is what is it? Start with the listening, just because most of the time. Most people don’t want their problems to be solved by somebody else.
A lot of times their problems actually cannot be solved by somebody else. What can a boss do if an employee’s I’m really [00:36:00] struggling with my mental health because I’ve been locked down for all this time. And I have a vulnerable family member at home, and I’m really worried about their wellbeing.
There isn’t anything really that the manager can do in that moment to change the external situation. What they can do in that moment is extend and offer a sense of acceptance and compassion for that person. And we all know how much better it feels when somebody listens to us and affirms what we’re feeling and recognizes.
Hey, yeah, this is really hard and really difficult. So I think like always starting with listening and letting that person share as much as they want to, as much as they’re comfortable with and then identifying how you can help that person. I actually I have this strategy I like to recommend, which is being like a secret helper.
It’s one of my favorite things to do because it’s. It’s such a great way to support people. And it’s very much other focused, which is the core of our philosophy. And it’s [00:37:00] asking, what are the secret little things that I could do to help this person? And there’s so many when you start to think about it and you’ll know best for your environment and your context, but.
I think about a situation that I had at work a number of years ago and helping one of my team members, they were going through a really tough time personally. And I started looking for all these ways, like what can I do to take something off her play without her ever even needing to know it?
Or how can I protect her from, that really difficult crossfunctional partner who always is stirring things up that I know really stresses them out. I realize that these little ways, it’s almost like we have this umbrella that we can hold up over somebody to protect them from the rain. And there are people who are doing that for you, that you don’t even know about.
And it’s your job also to hold the umbrella for other people. And to me, that awareness and recognition is a really beautiful way to help people that isn’t grounded in trying to fix them, but really just trying to support them in that [00:38:00] moment. And then to your other. Also being on the receiving end and making sure that you have the people who are giving you, this is of course just as important.
Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, paying it forward. Yeah. so I’m really excited for your book now. wait. So thank you. Wanna let us know when is coming out, where we can get it and also just let our listeners know where they can sign up for your newsletter. The Instagram,
Stephanie Harrison: et cetera. What are the, oh, thank you so much. The book, it will be coming out in about a year or so.
If you wanna get updates, you can sign up for our newsletter, which is on our website. It’s at thenewhappy.com and there you can access our newsletter or our weekly podcast. And there’s links to Instagram and Twitter and all of the other fun platforms where you can find us at new happy co as well.
Elisa Tuijnder: Thank you so much, Stephanie. I’m honestly, thank you. I feel a lot happier than the start and long hot day in the
Stephanie Harrison: here and the feel happier too. [00:39:00] I’m so grateful for the chance to talk to you. You’ve really made my day. Thank
Elisa Tuijnder: you. No, thank you so much. Really appreciate you coming on the podcast.
Stephanie Harrison: thanks again.
Elisa Tuijnder: You’ve been listening to the happiness at work podcast by Management 3.0,where we are getting serious about happiness. Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And if you enjoy our shows, don’t be shy. Write us a review, share the happiness with your colleagues, family, and friends. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn under Management 3.0