What if the formula for success is backwards. We’re told that if we work hard, we’ll be successful. And of course, if we’re successful then we’ll be happy.

Think about that..... it’s all about the next thing. The next step will make us happy. Keep striving for it, just a little more hard work..... But it doesn’t really work this way.

I recently worked with a CEO that is growing exponentially, but struggling with priorities. His thoughts how to stay on top of things and get that next milestone is to work harder.  That formula is not sustainable and full of inefficiency and lost opportunity cost!   Also, in today's work culture it creates stress and anxiety and lessens collaboration and innovation.

If we’re always focused on what’s next and think we have to dig deeper, work harder, work longer hours,  then we are never in the present and we are more open to mistakes, panic attacks, bursts of anger, burn-out, and this leads to nasty vices ....... and we never truly get a chance to be happy, re-charge and re-energize.  Check out the link www.farnamstreet  (is not too big of a panic attack but enough that he loses his dream job).

This relates to both project work and personal life work.

Projects are short term and temporary, so often we get started (fun times), then soon we get into execution and have to push extra to get it closed.  The later parts are where we seem to hit a lot of negativity and say things such as "push through and then we'll get a rest" or "work harder then we'll be onto the next one".

How often do we get in the rut of working and never stopping to really celebrate the current little things.  We live in a society that constantly raises the bar.

The present, of course, is where we live, interact, learn, grow, feel and enjoy life. 

We need to enjoy the present, we need to enjoy the project planning and execution and also the closing - don't have all the fun only in the early stages (where things are new, fresh and exciting) - enjoy all project stages!!! The objective of everyone of course is to manage our levels of stress and anxiety and bond as a team and have fun throughout the entire life cycle.  Celebrate and be happy today!!!

Pride and happiness are not the result of success but rather they are the fuel. “When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.”

Project Management systems are some of the most influential tools that we can use in both work and personal life to help us be happy.  Understanding Projects enables one to enjoy work at all stages (start, middle, end). This is critical since we spend the majority of our life at work.  Becoming happier means enjoying every day, with less stress and anxiety and higher probabilities of success. Sample formulas for success include:
  • Follow a structured approach for projects you work on (vary the structure with the level of uniqueness & complexity)
  • Remember, the best muscle you have is your brain, work smarter, collaborate, innovate, delegate, prioritize..... avoid the traditional response "time to buckle down and work harder"
  • Focus on PPTV:
  1. People - they will always be the biggest influencers, understand organizational design
  2. Process -  keep level of formality aligned with complexity and have workflows and plans
  3. Technology - embrace and learn, then forget what you learned and be open to learn new
  4. Value - clarify and ensure your work is delivering Value and be clear on how value is consistently defined by all stakeholders
  • Celebrate milestones (find reasons to celebrate, take a chapter from the cultures of Central and South America - when they have a STAT holiday, they shut down the whole city!!!)

Soft Tips for becoming happier (that we can use in both personal and work life) include:
  • Meditate (relaxed minds open doors to collaboration, innovation and openness)
  • Recognize yourself and others
  • Do something nice for someone
  • Change-up your work environment often, regularly get outside
  • Have more team "experiences" and less focus on stuff

Much of this is also talked about by Shawn Achor, check out his TedTalk at  www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor   An excerpt from his ted talk includes:

"90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world. And if we change it, if we change our formula for happiness and success, what we can do is change the way that we are then we can affect reality. What we found is that only 25 percent of job successes are predicted by I.Q.  75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat."