Everyone has potential, just allow them to show you!

j0414117[1]To illustrate this, I cannot think of a better example than one of my employees when I was in the aquaculture business. She used to work for the accounting department of a different division, and her performance was not great. At that time, I needed someone to help us out with administrative tasks and with the processing of information. I was offered to hire her, although all the negative feedback I had heard was not encouraging. Fortunately for her, the manager under which she was working, was not exactly an example of trustworthiness or integrity, and I decided to meet her and see for myself who she really was. I remember meeting her on a ferry to one of the islands off the coast of Vancouver Island. She was sitting in her car and did not expect much good from me, as I am known as quite straight forward and decisive. Anyway, we had our meeting, which went rather well, and I decided to have her meet further with the rest of my team to discuss the operational needs a bit more in details. As there still was some hesitation about her real abilities, I decided to give her a chance, under the condition that we would review her performance after 3 months and then decide. If the performance was satisfactory, she would stay; if not she would go. And what a transformation! From an unmotivated and dull person, she turned into a dynamic and resourceful collaborator. She did an amazing work, had a great productivity and came with many great ideas on how to process and present the information we gathered. Later, the person to whom she was reporting (who reported to me) surprised us with a change of attitude for the worst, and unfortunately, I could not have her to tell me what the reasons of that change were. After several attempts to get her getting back to her former self, it appeared that this would not work, and I fired her, which left a hole in a rather sensitive position. I went to the other lady, and asked her if she felt she could take over from her supervisor. She was a little hesitant about a fairly big step forward, but as I guaranteed her that I would fill in temporarily for the areas that she did not master, yet, she agreed to take the plunge. It was a position with much more responsibility and that needed decisiveness and authority, as she basically had the mandate to stop the plant if production was not in order. And once again, what a beautiful transformation it was! She not only adapted to a higher position, but delivered a quality of work that I rarely had seen elsewhere, and I had been in quite a few many places! She became the best QA Manager in the seafood business that I have met in British Columbia, and she has survived 2 mergers where I am sure she was in competition with people who had a much more solid academic background. She now is in charge of Food Safety for the largest salmon farming company in BC (and in the world) All that was needed, was for her to have the chance to be able what she really was made of, and that would have never showed up on her resume. It was selection on the job, in the real world!

Copyright 2009 The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.

How to Be Happy

Here is the simple truth about happiness: there is no universal or absolute method on how to be happy. However, there are a few truths about the process of becoming happier.

Happiness is being in balance with yourself and your environment

balanceIn order to be happy, you need to know yourself. This sounds obvious. Yet because of lack of self-awareness, many people look for answers in all the wrong places. They can spend their whole lives being unhappy. Then, there is the direct life environment. Who are your friends, your relatives, your colleagues, your neighbors? Do you really want them in your world? Are they bringing you what you are looking for? Are you in the right place or do you need to consider a change? Is the necessary change about your environment or about you?

You must incrementally meet your needs and your values through action and objectives

People have their very own and very specific cocktails of values, needs, desires, goals and dreams. It depends on their personality, their upbringing, their education, and their social circles. This is why what makes one person happy does not necessarily bring any satisfaction to someone else. The first step to increase your level of happiness is to identify the ingredients of your own cocktail. The following steps are about setting targets on how to meet increasingly these values and needs in the future. j0438395[1]Trying to satisfy needs that you do not really have will not work on the long-term. Just look at a child at Christmas: the new toys are exciting the first day, a bit less the next day and soon they become boring. The toys meet a short-term desire, in most cases inspired by outsiders, especially marketers, but they did not answer the child’s true deep wish. There are many similar examples of quick fixes meeting the wrong needs. They might bring short-term satisfaction, because a nice surprise is always nice, but the feeling will not last because it is not the right answer. Having objectives, wishes, desires, dreams, is of utmost importance to be happy. It gives a feeling of purpose to your life, and therefore to you! Objectives are powerful drivers to grow and gain wisdom. If you doubt this, just try to imagine having to spend the rest of your life with no goal at all. How does that idea would make you feel?

This is not a passive process; you must have a plan, practice and train regularly

To do the above, nothing beats making a plan. It has to be a plan shaped around your values, in which you will determine your needs and set up a number of steps as well as set timelines to achieve them.  happyHappiness will not fall upon you per accident. If you want to be happy, you need to want to be happy. Nothing nice will happen to you unless you initiate the process and keep its momentum going.
Happiness will not stay with you, unless you nurture it. You have to work on being happy on an ongoing basis. If you stop your efforts, you will see your level of fulfillment drop over time. Being happy is an active process. Just like sport, your performance will decrease if you become complacent. It takes discipline and persistence. This is where so many people fail at happiness.

Happiness is not about being in a state of permanent bliss. It has its ups and downs. Being happy does not mean that you never experience negative feelings such as disappointment or frustration. This happens, and it happens to everyone. The difference with truly happy people is that they know how to find the resources to overcome such negative feelings. They have the ability to refocus on what will make them feel good. They take the proper action to correct that temporary setback.

There is little need to try to bring any explanation that involves money, religion, spiritualism, love, friendship, meditation, science or any of the so many terms that usually are used when talking about happiness. That is simply because they are all valid, but they are not all valid for all of us. Everyone must choose what works for him/her!

Copyright 2009 – The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.

Just Be Yourself!

Being oneself a prerequisite for those who want to grow and be happy in life, personally as well as professionally. Although it would sound like an easy thing to achieve, too many people seem to have difficulties getting there. Many internal and external reasons can explain that, but it is always possible to change for the best.

Why is being oneself so important?

Quite obviously, if you are not yourself, then who are you? The question alone makes clear that it will difficult to know who you are. If you think you are some of your role model, realize that he/she probably was him/herself, and that is why they got in that position of role model. Moreover, if you are playing being someone else, you will miss the opportunity to genuinely improve yourself and achieve higher fulfillment in life.

How can you be yourself?

This can take more or less time to find out, but it is possible and not that complicated. It depends on you. All you need is to have people you trust giving you candid feedback. You have to understand that even the most popular people are not perfect. They have their insecurities as well. An easy way of discovering yourself it to find what you like most and what you like less in less. Capitalize on your assets and limit your liabilities! Accept your limitations and enjoy your talents! After all, no one is talented in everything. All you need to be happier is to do what you do best and like doing it. To find out who you are and to be yourself, you are just going to need to determine how much will, dare, capability and knowledge you have.

Deal with other people’s judgment!

Unfortunately, everyone has an opinion about other people. Most of the time, the judgment is based on very partial information. Most disputes are the result of a lack of communication, of not knowing each other well

It is impossible to please everyone. Whatever you may do and whoever you maybe, there always will be someone out there to criticize you. That is human nature. The only feedback that counts is the one from people who really know you well, and that you trust enough to give you their opinion. Asking these trusted people for feedback is not a test. It is not about passing or failing, but it is about self-knowledge and possibilities of improvement. True friends will not turn you down. They will be candid, and they will do their best to avoid hurting your feelings. Be assured that they will tell you how to improve your life.

Also realize that it is better to get some bad feedback on whom you really are than on whom you trying to be, because in that case, the information is useful for you. If you find difficult to accept yourself, you need to consider two things. First, you are not the only person who feels that way. A surprising large of majority of people tends to underestimate themselves. Secondly, most people have much more potential than they think. All they need is to take more chances. You need to show the world what you can!

Finally, always make sure that you are the one deciding for yourself. Peer pressure as well as your social environment, not even to mention marketing campaigns and the media, have a very powerful impact on how many people think they should be. It is not to them to decide about that. Dare to challenge them! Also, realize that people who are themselves always attract compatible people, thus making their lives more interesting and more fulfilling.

Are You Living Your Dreams?

Dreaming your lifeFrom early childhood, we all have had our ideas and dreams about how life would be later. You know, “when I grow up, I want to…”

Yet, later in life, many people seem to have forgotten about these dreams or, worse, they have given up on them. This is sad, because there are not many things that can energize and motivate someone as the pursuit of something very dear: to be the person he/she always wanted to be.

The role of parents is quite important in the future development of individuals. Having supportive and open-minded parents who encourage their children to pursue what they really want to do, is indeed good and important. Their giving support shows the children that what they aim at is worth it. Consciously going after something meaningful is one of the most motivating things there is.

This way of parenting allows children to be aware of their personality and of their possibilities at a young age. It makes it easier for the children to decide how their lives life would be like. Knowing what one wants always helps the person to keep the course. It is a source of much satisfaction to have the privilege of living one’s childhood’s dreams. However, dreaming is not just for children. Dreaming is a work in progress. It is nice to pursue one’s childhood’s dreams, but sometimes, circumstances change or the dreams do not appear to be as realistic or sensible, as they seemed first. It is easy then to forget about them. That is not really a problem as long as you keep the ability to keep envisioning who you want to be. With age comes more experience, more self-awareness and this is why it is never too late to think and dream of what and who to be later. This process has nothing to do with a mid-life crisis. That is something else. It is not about dreaming about the future; it is the mourning of the past.

Those who have been lucky to live most of their youth’s dreams will tell you how they feed. They are happy and fulfilled people who want to make it possible for others to experience the same.

Who you want to be is the mix of what you love to do, what you do best, what your values are, where and with whom you want to make this happen. The worst thing a person can do to her/himself is to not try at all, and to regret it for the rest of his/her life.

The question that you must ask yourself is: “Are you living your dreams?” If not, what happened then? More importantly, what are you going to do about it? Can you think of better objectives today, thanks to a better knowledge of yourself? What is keeping you from trying, and how can you overcome such hurdles? It is only by trying repeatedly that one succeeds.

Copyright 2009 – The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd

The Life Plan will help you increase personal fulfillment

Your level of happiness or fulfillment is generally a direct consequence of how much you live your life and live in an environment that matches your values.

The Happy Future Group developed a Life Plan program to help you identify how balanced your life and your values are, and from there we help you build your own specific action list.

The process is simple. To identify your values, you will confront your own findings with some of your friends’ assessment of what truly drives you. Involving trusted friends to participate makes this process more fun and more rewarding. It also avoids this search to feel like a questioning, and at the same time, it will give you a much more objective feedback. After all, every person is who they really are, but also whom they show and who others think they are. By reducing the discrepancy between these three apparently different persons, your level of happiness will naturally increase.

By assessing how much fulfillment the different parts of your life match your core values, you will get your own “fulfillment index”. From that index and its analysis, it will become rather easy and obvious what actions you will need to take to increase your level of fulfillment.

The philosophy of the action list is all about incremental improvement. Consider your current life as being the ground zero. Each action when completed will help you live more to your values, and therefore you will achieve progress one step at a time. The timelines are the ones you feel comfortable with. All you need is to fully commit to the process. Should you “soften” a bit, we will help you remember what you promised yourself to achieve.

All you need to complete this process to success is to have the willingness to make it work, to be yourself and to spend the necessary time and energy.

To be happy, you do not need to go up the mountain to find yourself. It is all here and now, inside and around you!

Copyright 2009 The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.