Happiness Hack #66 – Set New Goals

happiness_newgoals #66

Goals give us something to look forward to and get excited about.  They energize us and get our creative juices flowing.  Setting goals is not just about what we want to accomplish, it is about how they make us feel.  Knowing where we are going gives us confidence and helps us quickly take those first few steps in the morning.  Just thinking about the possibilities of what we might accomplish helps us believe in and be happy about the prospects of a positive future. Goals help us clarify our priorities and be more confident in our decisions.

Take few moments to set a few new goals. Reaching for them and even just thinking about them will make you happier and more successful.


book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Use Every Experience as a Learning Opportunity


We all love to learn from great people and great leaders, but we also need to embrace learnings from those that aren’t great.  We can leverage most every experience as a learning opportunity.  Sometimes it will be to leverage the greatness that we have experienced and others will be to ensure that we don’t duplicate an unpleasant experience.

As I evolved over my career, I experienced some great leaders that have motivated me to go beyond my comfort areas and drive success where I didn’t believe it existed.  They were clear in their communications and expectations. They were very supportive leaders who would accept a failure as a milestone towards success; always leveraging the good or ensuring that I learned from the experience and put it to good use in the future.  I am sure that you too have had managers like this and would like to emulate their style as part of your leadership qualities.

Then there was the opposite end of the spectrum.  Leaders who are overly aggressive and had a more confrontational style.  Leaders who belittle you in front of others and simply aren’t motivational.  This style of leadership focused on the negatives, no matter how many positives existed.  While these leaders may be some of the most intellectually intelligent people you have worked with in the past, studies continue to show that emotional intelligence and attitude is a stronger indicator of success than IQ.

While at the end of the day, my personal belief is that both leaders are trying their best to drive success in the organization.  The HOW (how they executed) in their styles is the difference.  Nonetheless, we will all experience both types of leaders over our careers.  The challenge is how we handle these experiences and leverage them to grow our styles positively.

Leveraging the positive and nurturing experience is probably easier.  We feel good and see the positives in the style.  We can take that good feeling and translate it into how we interact with others by providing clarity in communications, inspiring to look for the positive, nurturing and encouraging when challenges occur.

On the other hand, attempting to take the negative experiences and evolve them into how you develop your style is likely more difficult.  You are experiencing something that you know you don’t like, so trying to leverage them to create your style is difficult.

First of all, as you are “in” the situation, as hard as it may be, understand that you are still gaining valuable experience.  The experience is coming from two perspectives.  First, you are in a role where you are accumulating knowledge and experience in your daily task.  This is experience that you will be able to take with you and reference over your career.  No matter how difficult the leadership is, this is something that they can’t take away from you.

Second, from a leadership perspective, you are learning how “not” to do something.  While it may be difficult to translate into direct actions for you in a leadership role.  The key learning is that you know it is a difficult situation and not a position you’d want to push on others.  Are there aspects of this leader that are good, and if leveraged differently, could help you be a better leader?  Make sure you take a mental picture of all of these instances so that when you are in a similar situation, you will be act accordingly.

The bottom line is that we will all have positive and negative learning experiences over our career.  How we learn from both will be how we mold our leadership style.  How will you leverage your experiences?

Check the Boxes

Through everyone’s life and career, there will be opportunities to make changes.  Some of those opportunities will not be specifically in our plan (driven by forces outside of our control) and some will be part of the evolution of our life plans.  During decision making in either example, it’s best to have a well calculated evaluation process that is fact based to help you cut though all of the obstacles.

I call that process – Check the Boxes.

In a Check the Boxes process, as you begin considering the opportunities, identify the key items that are most important to you and that you want to ensure you either maintain or acquire with the upcoming change.  As you outline these factors give each a rating of 1 to 5.  By using this simple system, you will be able to eliminate options from your processes and focus only on those that provide a favorable rating in your system.

By way of example, let’s say that you have the opportunity to look for a new job.  This may be because you want to continue to expand your career or that your current company is making some changes and you happen to be caught up in a force reduction.  Either way, look at it as a positive opportunity to make some changes and align closer with your ideal role and goals.  I use this process often with the university students that I mentor and colleagues I work with.

Start the process by identifying all of the potential factors in looking for a new role, whether they are immediately important or not.  Factors like: company, type of industry, location, work environment, commute times, salary & benefits, travel requirements, opportunities to advance, stability of company.  While the list could go on and on, each of the factors are relevant in a position.

Once you have the broad field of factors identified, begin to narrow it down to the key items that are critical to you and give them a weight of importance.  For instance, if type of industry is one of the most critical factors, give it a high rating and as you begin to evaluate opportunities, only include ones that align with this value.  This is what I call Checking the Box.

At the end of this initial process, you should have 4 – 5 key factors that you will want to consider in your decision making process.  As you go through the process, chose to move forward with those options that have the most boxes checked.

Again, the Check the Box process is one that can be used in most decision making situations, at a personal level or professional level.  Buying a car or entering a new market.  Taking a new job or hiring a new employee.

One of the key parts to the process is being true to yourself and basing your decision on fact based logic.  Obviously emotions will always play into a decision, but by using this Check the Box process you can begin to minimize the impact of pure emotion on your decision.

As you have learned from my previous posts, I like to keep it simple.  I hope that this is another simple process for you to use in your personal or professional life.

Have a great day!


Keep It Simple

Over my career I have been through numerous training courses, facilitated strategic planning meetings, seminars and coaching sessions.  Many of them focused on different methods and processes to drive the success of my company or organization.  Most of them are based on complicated and convoluted processes which focus on hundreds of moving parts and different formulas.

While I am sure that the methods are based on sound underlying foundations and if utilized, could have a big impact on the performance of an organization.  Unfortunately, due to their complexity, many of the concepts are never utilized after the initial meetings.   By keeping it simple and easy to understand, the likelihood of a process being adopted is much higher.

One of the first sales training methodologies that I learned early in my career was the KISS method.  While there are many variations of the acronym, the one I learned was Keep It Simple, Stupid.  The foundation of the KISS principle is that most systems work best when they are kept simple rather than complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

The KISS philosophy isn’t only for sales situations and actually originated in the 1960’s by the US Navy and Lockheed Martin from an engineering perspective.  The philosophy is also applicable to management and leadership.  If you base your leadership style on simple underlying principles, it will be easier for your team to align and follow.

Three Pillars for Keeping It Simple:

  1. Clarity of Purpose – by establishing a clear purpose at all levels in an organization, people will understand how they fit and support the broader purpose. Most people like to know that they are part of something bigger – establishing a single broad purpose across the organization helps them feel like they are making a difference.
  2. Focused Execution – without a focus on execution in an organization, the team can meander and not achieve their goals and targets. Ensuring that everyone understands the need to focus on implementing the plan will ensure targets are hit and everyone reaches success.
  3. Measured Accountability – by putting measurements in place and driving accountability in an organization your team will fully understand what is expected of them and how well they are achieving their goals. Accountability doesn’t mean micromanaging or not giving people the autonomy to achieve success in their own way.  It simply ensures that measurements are put in place to track progress toward goals and allows for course changes if necessary along the way.

While I have put these pillars in the context of leading an organization, they can be used in many different situations.  For instance in my last post, I talked about a 10 year plan ( – you can follow the pillars above to work your plan.  Have clarity in the purpose of your plan and each element.  Focus your execution to achieve the milestones and end points of the plan. And finally, you need to hold yourself accountable to delivering against your plan.

Leadership, Hugs, and Success

To be successful as leaders we have to connect with other human beings.  People want to follow other humans they can relate to and aspire to be, not untouchable royalty they have nothing in common with and who care nothing about them. They want to follow people who have a vested stake in their success and who they feel comfortable being around. Hugging and touching helps leaders communicate that connection in an instant. Hugs help us feel closer, build trust, and improve communication with the other person. A touch on the shoulder, a warm handshake, or a quick hug communicates appreciation and recognition much more effectively than just words. Hugs have also been shown to improve memory, reduce stress, and provide a feeling of safety. This is not just an emotional reaction; it is also a physical one. Hugs release oxytocin which is like a relationship hormone. It is found in increased levels in people with positive relationships. Hugging also increases serotonin levels, which helps people feel happier and more relaxed. Hugs help improve the immune system and the production of white blood cells and help us release tension. A hug can serve as a warm welcome, or a thank you at the end of a tough project. Hugs also show people you understand when they are working through a tough time personally or at work. Hugs open us up when we are feeling constrained and up-tight. A hug gives us permission to start a dialogue about what is bothering us and opens up channels of communication. Hugs are another way of communicating the importance of people in our lives. Hugging sends the message that they are important to us and they matter.
There is a false assumption that hugging and touching are not allowed in the workplace. People are more scared of the legal ramifications than interested in connecting with people on their team. The rule is simple; don’t hug someone that doesn’t want to be hugged.  Offer the hugs, don’t force them.


Give hugs freely and people will be attracted to your warmth and will work to support you as a leader and help you succeed.


The World Needs More Hugs!


“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.”    Ann Hood


book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small

MyHappiness App

Try the MyHappiness App


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Leadership – Don’t Over Complicate It

As with many things in life, people tend to over think leadership and what it means to the success of their organization and themselves.  CEO’s, Boards, and other management often take so much time to think and re-think their vision, strategy and plan that they either never get to a point of execution  or by the time they do, the market has changed.  Additionally, by that time, their employees may have lost interest.  Leaders then become frustrated and start the infinite “do loop” process over again.

When it comes to leadership, don’t waste time overthinking it.  As Tony Jeary communicates in his book Strategic Acceleration, leaders need to look at Production Before Perfection (PBP) – a strategy that focuses on “starting instead of finishing, and then adjusting as you go”.  Think about it this way, it is a generally well accepted fact that companies measure and are measured by results.  However, you can’t produce results until you start doing something.  By sitting back and waiting for perfection, you are basically doing nothing.

Consider the Pareto Rule or the 80/20 rule – where 80% of the results come from 20% of the action.  Instead of acting, some people spend 80 percent of their time waiting for the last 20 percent of the data or information.  All of this time could be spent making progress instead of waiting for perfection.

Leadership doesn’t have to be complicated.  If you think it is, answer these 2 simple questions and you will be off to a good start and can re-evaluate and adjust as you progress and learn:

  1. What’s the WHY of your business?  People want to be part of something that has purpose and that they can understand.  By establishing the WHY of your business – setting a simple purpose for your organization, something that gives your team a reason to come to the office or do their job each day, you will see improved engagement and performance.  Purpose is something that filters down to everyone in the organization and they begin to see how they “fit” and help with the success of the company.
  2. WHO Are You?  Being a leader is much more dependent on WHO you are than WHAT you do.  People can generally see right through fabricated and scripted attempts at leadership.  Too often I see people who read a book (or a blog) and try to mimic what someone has stated as a critical leadership skill.  Leadership is about your values and beliefs and how you bring them into the culture of the organization.  Be authentic.  How are people treated?  Does management listen?  Do you allow people to follow their plans to achieve goals or do you micro-manage their every step?

Be humble and realize that individual contributors are just as critical (probably more critical) as the senior leadership in an organization.  Everyone contributes in their own way and if you set the right purpose for the organization and it is filtered down to every employee, the sum of the parts will be greater than any single individual.

Being a leader may be challenging at times, but don’t over complicate the role with by overthinking your plan.  Even if you know that you are only 80% there… get started and adjust along the way.

Constancy and Consistency – part of building an engaging culture

Over the past few posts, we have been writing about employee engagement and ensuring that people are truly connected in the organization – not simply via electronic means (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).  Additionally we talked about giving employees the autonomy to drive change in the organization by offering a clear vision and purpose across the group.  A third critical area required when building an engaged culture are both constancy and consistency – ensuring that processes is ongoing and is genuinely consistent.

In many instances, the only time that an employee has a true conversation around their performance or the direction of the company is during some type of annual performance/merit review.  Companies rely on these reviews as part of the annual salary treatment program and then put the conversations back on the shelf until the next review cycle.  While the corporate mantra is that they support ongoing development of their employees, the process isn’t consistently managed across the organization.

In order to build a truly engaged organization driven toward success, communication and interaction with the team needs to be an ongoing activity and not simply a prescribed corporate process that must be followed.  It must be a part of the daily activities across the organization and show that leadership is truly “invested” in each individual’s success as well as the profitability of the company.

I recently participated in this annual ritual.  As many members of my team were new, I invited their previous manager to sit in and review performance.  I began with an outline our expectations and how we would collectively contribute to the overall success of the organization.  To my surprise, a number of people took offense to my clarity on ways we could improve and took it as an insult to their performance – even though all of the information pertaining to performance was very good.  What I learned from this process, was that the previous manager never truly outlined expectations and goals for each individual and didn’t manage the process constantly through the year.  While I take this aspect very seriously, the previous manager took the process as an annual edict versus an ongoing engagement process.

While I am not a Seattle Seahawks fan, Pete Carroll seems to follow the philosophy of working with his team on a consistent basis to drive not only their best performance, but also the success of the team.  After his team’s recent win over the 49ers and earning a trip to the Super Bowl, coach Carroll stated the following about what he attributes success to – “It comes down to taking care of the people in your program and making them the best they can be – not giving up on them and never failing to be there for them.”

Here are a few key activities leaders can take to ensure they are constant and consistent in their development of the team:

  • Understand that each person brings a different value to the program – While official job descriptions make each position look “cookie cutter”, as leaders we need to understand that each person brings a unique value to the organization and we need to help each person develop separately to succeed. By understanding the uniqueness and establishing targets & goals that fit the individual, they will become more excited and engaged with their role in driving success.
  • Establish a cadence of updates and communication – Whether weekly or monthly, establish meetings with individuals on your team to discuss progress towards their personal success. Offer personal feedback on strengths and areas to continue to improve.
  • Make it less of a review – Don’t formalize the process and make people feel as if they are under a microscope and need prepare a formal review. Leverage it from a conversational perspective and allow them to drive the message.  This will help them communicate and allow you to understand their concerns and areas of focus.
  • Be there – Make sure that you follow through with your promises and that you are there to support each person individually. The less people feel like a number, the more engaged they become.

In order to drive continuous improvement across your organization, at both the personal and professional levels, you need to be constant and consistent.  By focusing on these 2 key factors, your team will be excited about their purpose and know that you truly care about them as well as the company.  This will improve engagement and performance.

Happiness Hack #28 Find Your Higher Purpose


We all need something bigger than ourselves to focus on. If we focus internally we tend to become critical and think negatively about ourselves. When we find something bigger than ourselves it adds purpose and meaning to our lives. Your Higher Purpose could be your religion, contributing to your family, or helping your team members reach a difficult goal. It might include a charity, a social movement, or sharing your music or other talents with the world.

Find something other than yourself to focus your thoughts and efforts on and you will be happier and more content.

You can learn more about how to find your Higher Purpose here.



buy from amazon white small









My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Can You Really Be Independent?

Guest Blog by Teresa Proctor.  Learn more at

“No one is big enough to be independent of others.” –Dr. William Mayo

In the western culture there is no bigger honor as to attribute a person’s success as self taught, self made, or his or her talent, but truthfully is there really such a thing? Can anyone really create success on their own without emotional, financial, or spiritual support? Every lone genius, original thinker, solo adventurer, and brave entrepreneur has indeed depended on someone at sometime.

As children, growing up and learning to be self sufficient gave us strength and confidence, characteristics we all need to be successful. By being self sufficient we are learning to dig deep for our courage and talent. We’re encouraged to be disciplined,  to be resilient and take responsibility.

But what happens when we become too self sufficient, too independent?  These days there are many of us who suffer from “By Myself Syndrome.” Who are too afraid to ask for help.

They are blocked from seeing opportunities to ask for help. They become blinded with “by myself syndrome”.  They can’t move out of their own way long enough to ask for help. True success requires letting yourself be inspired and aided by others.  True success requires perseverance.

The belief of individualism requires that a person not rely on society or anyone else for success.  Of course, this image doesn’t represent the whole picture.

To be original is a healthy goal, if you are living by your values and being authentic.  However in individualistic cultures, being original often means setting yourself apart and standing out from the crowd and this is when originality becomes confused with superiority.

Success is about being original and thinking for yourself and speaking your truth.  However, if you try to set yourself apart just for the sake of originality, what often happens is you feel alienated, insecure, and you having no real sense of self.

Therefore, true success is about being original, connecting with others, being collaborative, and finding your team. Even the most innovative and original thinkers need to have backing and support for their vision and ideas.  Originality with mere abstraction has little value.

There are many positive qualities regarding a so-called independent person, which include, being authentic, pioneering ideas, encouraging diversity, original thinking, unique endeavors, and showing respect for one and all.  One such individual who inspired the world with new thoughts and new ways was Albert Einstein, with his book, The World As I See It,  in which he praises the strengths of independence, in this passage:

Only the individual can think, and thereby create new values for society-nay, even set up new moral standards to which the life of the community conforms.  Without creative, independent thinking and judging personalities the upward development of society is as unthinkable as the development of the individual personality with the nourishing soil of the community.

However, when you take independence out of context, we cast a shadow that is fear, misunderstanding, and insecurity.  A dogged attitude of “it’s my way or the highway,” is a very common block for success, in all areas, work, life and relationships.  No one is totally independent and the belief in total independence makes for many difficulties.  Complete self reliance, which rules negates all offers of help, is a fallacy.  When we are bent on being independent, it cuts us off from the team.  Absolute independence is egotistical and unnecessary. Being locked into the “by myself syndrome,” only alienates you from the creativity, wisdom and intelligence of the group.

Einstein praises the virtues of independence, while balancing this with community and his experience of connectivity and oneness of life.  In truth, no one is independent, everyone is interdependent and whole.

Again, in The World As I See It, Einstein writes, “ A hundred times everyday, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received myself and am still receiving.”

Authentic Success Tips

  • Stop thinking as if you are a particle and see yourself as a wave.  Make a list of every person on your team.  These are the people you love and respect, whom you want to support, and who want to support you.  Take your time and think carefully.
  • Next, explore how you could be more of a team player in life and at work.  Whom could you connect with more, offer more support too. Whom could you ask for help from?  True success comes when a collaborative venture serves the whole.


Find more at



buy from amazon white small









My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

How to be Better than Perfect

Are you missing your opportunities for happiness without even realizing it? Are there a lot of areas of your life that just are not good enough? Are you postponing happiness until your project, your job, or your life is exactly where you want it to be?

In their book Happiness, Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener identify perfectionism as one of several thinking pitfalls that leave people feeling bad. They point out that perfectionism often leads to pointing out the details of what went wrong vs. the big picture of what went right. Our accomplishments and small successes get lost in the list of things that did not go right. Many people miss out on celebrating the small successes because they are waiting for everything to go perfectly. As long as they know the results could have been better, it is not yet a success or accomplishment. The challenge is, that time never comes, which means very little celebration, which severely limits your opportunity for positive feelings and increasing happiness. Marnie Winston-Macauley in her article, Perfection vs. Good Enough, explained that perfection is results-driven while good enough is effort driven. We can control how much effort we put forth, but we can’t always control the results. Often there are other factors that come into play. Since we are human, being perfect is impossible.

Perfectionism creates expectations that are always over the horizon–expectations we think we are moving toward, but always seem just out of reach. Good enough enables us to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings and celebrate the things that did go right. It gives us something to build on. Good enough provides us a positive feeling that we are making progress and lets us believe that we can accomplish even more. We can increase our happiness if we take the time to stop and think about our accomplishments and successes. If we try to be perfect, we may spend that time thinking about the details that did not go right, rather than the tiny successes we can build on.
Take time to celebrate your imperfect successes. Feel the positive emotions and happiness that come from your accomplishments. Try to be a little better after you have appreciated how far you have come. If we want to be successful and happy, then being a little better is better than being perfect.

“I don’t know a perfect person. I only know flawed people who are still worth loving.” ― John Green

buy from amazon white small









My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.


Last updated by at .