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Can Leaders Really Be All That Happy? Powerful Leadership Story

Happy is a Leadership Choice

Very few jobs in a company are as lonely and as stressful at times as those with the title of “leader.” Can you be happy and lead? I believe the answer is always YES!

Several years ago I wrote a fairly popular post titled “How To Be More Happy – 5 Things Leaders Can Start Doing Now.” In it I highlight my five keys to being a happy leader:

1. Stay away from negative people.

2. Act happy, even if you aren’t.

3. Serve others.

4. Organize yourself

5. Eat that frog! (if you haven’t heard of this saying you will want to read the post).

I want to highlight number two on that list today – “Act happy, even if you aren’t.” Abraham Lincoln once said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” and Aristotle said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

If you act happy, you will eventually be happy – fake it until you make it, right? And while you are faking it, your happiness will begin to rub off on others as well which is a double bonus!

The following story I heard the other day illustrates the power of this concept.

There once was an owner of a landscape company that had been in the family for several generations. The staff were happy and people loved visiting the store or having the staff work in their gardens or make deliveries.

For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations were extremely positive happy people.

Many assumed they were so happy and positive because they were running a successful business. While the business was in many ways successful, they also had their share of hard times, but what never changed was the positive happy attitude of the owner.

The owner always wore on his shirt a big badge that said, “Business is Great!”

Whenever someone saw the badge they would almost inevitably ask “what’s so great?” Sometimes people would comment on how miserable their own business was, or that they were personally miserable and stressed.

The huge badge often sparked conversations where the owner would talk about the positive aspects of his business. For example:

  • the pleasure of talking to old friends and so many different and diverse people every day
  • the big rewards that would come from nurturing and developing his staff as they took on new experiences and challenges
  • the fun everyone had in their relaxed work environment
  • the fascination in the work he did
  • the great feelings that came when he and his staff finished a job and gave it their best
  • the things he was learning everyday, even when he wasn’t looking to do so
  • and the thought that everyone in business is blessed – because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive meaningful job, in a civilized well-fed country, where there are no real worries.

The list went on. Many of those who came miserable, left much happier after a couple of minutes with him because of his outlook.

Did this business owner have the same stresses that other leaders have? Absolutely! But his power to always look for the blessings and ability to make up his mind to be happy not only benefited him, but those who interacted with him as well.

Each of us are about as happy as we make our minds up to be. Let’s make the choice to be happy and bless those we lead.

Check out Open The Meeting’s Latest Video “Happiness Quotes.” These are perfect for sharing before a meeting, presentation or training. It is a great way to inspire those attending before the event even starts. It can be downloaded digitally at here. 

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