Boca Raton, FL (PRWEB) April 19, 2006
Want a more positive workplace where you and your co-workers feel happy and motivated? Want to make customers happier so that their loyalty – and your profits – grow? Want to work more efficiently and effectively and improve your health? Authentic Happiness Coach and customer care expert JoAnna Brandi shared tips for transforming these wants into “haves” recently at the Customer Care Institute Annual Forum in Atlanta, Georgia. Her overall message: Happiness creates resilient employees who, in turn, create resilient, thriving companies.
“As an Authentic Happiness Coach, and my goal is to raise the tonnage of happiness on the planet – especially in the workplace,” said JoAnna Brandi, as she opened her presentation on the benefits of “workplace happiness” at the annual Customer Care Institute Forum in Atlanta, Georgia.
What’s happiness got to do with customer care and loyalty? Brandi, an expert on customer care, customer loyalty and happiness, said the level of happiness one feels is largely in one’s control – and there’s plenty of evidence that keeping it up can has far reaching business benefits. She should know; she’s a graduate of the Authentic Happiness program developed by Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology.
“Research proves that positive feelings reduce stress, build up the immune system and even enable people to think more holistically – to be open to new ideas and solve problems more quickly, efficiently and intelligently,” said Brandi. “Happy employees have a broader range of options to draw from; they are more creative and helpful. They are better equipped emotionally to create happy, loyal, referral generating customers.
“Ultimately, happy employees are more resilient. They help create resilient companies – ones that can withstand the challenges of an ever changing, increasingly competitive marketplace.”
Brandi explained that to get started at “adding happiness to your customer care tool kit,” it helps to practice eight happiness factors that are in everyone’s control. She said, “No matter what personality you were born with, no matter what your circumstances are, you can boost your feelings of happiness by taking charge of these eight factors.”
Happiness factors within one’s control include:
1) Optimism. “Despite what people say, optimism can be learned,” said Brandi. It’s about perspective, how a person chooses to interpret and explain what he experiences during the day. She said, “We are continuously making choices about how we explain the world to ourselves. If something challenging occurs and you think, ‘Just my luck. Bad things always happen to me,’ you are reducing your happiness. You can increase your happiness simply by choosing to think, ‘Hmmm. There must be something good about this situation – what could it be?’” She added that the power of optimism is not to be minimized – evidence shows that optimists live nine to ten years longer than people who are not optimistic.
2) Gratitude. Consciously, willingly and deliberately take moments throughout the day to feel gratitude, and to express it to others. Said Brandi, “I’ve advised businesses to start an ‘Employee Gratitude Journal in which everyone is encouraged to write down something for which they’re grateful every day. They’re always amazed at how powerful this inexpensive, quick and easy exercise is in creating a positive work environment and helping to transform the culture.”
3) Forgiveness. Brandi said that letting go of ill will toward others and oneself, surrendering resentments and regrets, and making peace with the past clears the way for happiness to be felt more often and more deeply.
4) Improve your self-talk. It’s important to transform your self-talk from negative and punishing to positive and energizing. Brandi said, “When you make a mistake and find yourself thinking, ‘You idiot,’ you know it’s time to take a deep breath, and ask yourself a question like, ‘How can I use my smarts to make this better?’ Positive self-talk diffuses stressful situations, and when the brain relaxes it is more creative and better at problem solving.”
5) “Flow.” Is there any activity, interest or hobby you enjoy so much that you lose all track of time when you’re engaged in it? Brandi explained that that state of being where you forget about everything else is called “flow.” Being in a state of flow actually increases one’s happiness.
6) Savor. “Savoring is about being in the moment,” said Brandi. “The great thing about savoring is that you can do it before an activity – by happily anticipating what’s to come, you can do it while you’re enjoying the activity, and you can savor your memories afterward. Savoring is a powerful tool!”
7) Reframe. This is another tool for shifting one’s perspective. Brandi suggested looking at a situation as if it were an actual photograph, and thinking about the dozens of way you could reframe it. She explained, “You can crop it, enlarge it, make it smaller. Whatever you do, you’re creating a different view and perspective of the same picture, which can help you to transform negative feelings and responses to a situation into positive, happier ones.”
8) Build on Strengths. Research shows that enduring happiness comes from spending time in one’s strengths – having the opportunity to do the things one does well even better. Brandi suggested, “Identify your strengths, then deliberately and creatively build on them. Evidence shows that over time, this skill works better at creating lasting happiness than antidepressants.”
“When you choose to be happy you’re choosing to create and work with a powerful business tool,” Brandi concluded. “Happiness restores humanity to the workplace so that everyone thrives in every way. The emotional well being of employees and customers is directly linked to a company’s profitability and resilience.”
In addition to offering keynotes, workshops and presentations on Authentic Happiness, customer care and customer loyalty, Brandi is the author of "54 Ways to Stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging and Sometimes Negative World," and is the publisher of the Customer Care Coach®. For more information, visit http://www.customercarecoach.com.
For a Sample of one of JoAnna's Customer Care Coach ® lessons: "Everything You've Always Needed to Know About Stress - But Didn't Know to Ask,” go to