If you’re happy/satisfied/fulfilled, you’ll do your best work. So, if you want to improve your performance, work out how to increase your happiness.
This article pulls together a series of posts that provide simple ways to do that:
My favourite is inspired by JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books: they have lots of powerful images of ways to develop a powerful Patronus to thwart your own Dementors: Magical Ways to Maximise Happiness.
Children are the experts at happiness (before they are conditioned to worry and fear failure). As the famous philosopher said, “A person’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play”: Childish Ways to Maximise Happiness.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato believed that humans were born with perfect knowledge, but somehow forgot it all at birth. So acquiring knowledge later in life is actually recollecting things we already knew.
I remember thinking this was absurd when I first read it (at school where I appeared to be learning all sorts of things that seemed to be totally new). But, as time goes by, I increasingly think that he has a point.
I am currently working with an Indian media company. In the newsroom I saw a notebook with these words on the outside:
The creative adult is the child who survived.
This got me thinking. The amazing thing about the people who work in that newsroom is how incredibly hard they work. They are a business channel covering the ruckus of the Bombay Stock Exchange in a roller coaster of live output with flashing tickers, graphics and logos. Every moment there is a breaking “flash” as another company releases its results, or a stock price “tanks” or “spikes”. But despite working very long hours and under great pressure, they seem happy – childishly happy – not that they are in any way childish themselves (they are utterly seasoned professionals). They are childishly happy in the way that a child is happy when totally engrossed in his or her play: demonstrating utter concentration and dedication, and a sense of fun and enjoyment. It’s wonderful to see. Continue reading “Childish ways to maximise happiness”
If you like sports and you’re interested in performance and leadership, here are my favourite 5 books.
Matthew Syed shows that no one is born brilliant. We all have the capacity to be the best if we work at it. It will make you think differently about failure: If you have a growth mindset, failure is not something that saps energy and vitality, but provides “an opportunity to learn, develop and adapt.”
Ed Smith’s book is the perfect companion of Bounce. However hard we work, shit happens and we have no control over it. But bad luck can turn to good luck if we adapt to it. “Successful people, by being open to opportunity and exposing themselves to chance, take new directions that prove more fruitful than anyone could have predicted.” For a vidid demonstration of the effect Luck can have on your life, read his beautiful final chapter.
Timothy Gallwey’s revolutionary programme to conquer self-doubt and lack of confidence in sport. It taught me to increase my enjoyment in playing tennis, with the inescapable result that I now play it better: an essential lesson in improving performance.
How do the All Blacks manage to stay so focussed throughout a gruelling rugby match that they are able to win by the narrowest of margins in the final seconds of a game? The answers are all here. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Karen O’Brien for giving me this one.)
If you agree with me that cricket is the perfect metaphor for human life, and you want to know how to be a successful leader in either game, then read this book by the best captain England ever had. How do you motivate mavericks like Ian Botham or Geoffrey Boycott? (Probably only for the real cricket enthusiast!)
When your goal is to achieve confident leadership, so the saying goes, there’s no magic wand. You cannot suddenly become a great leader and remain one forever. It’s a journey not a destination. And even if you do have a magic wand, it’s still a challenge. There are no super spells that Harry Potter and his friends can cast to solve their confidence issues. (The books would be pretty dull and short if they did!) But JK Rowling provides them with useful ways to confont their deepest fears. And they provide us muggles with powerful images: magical ways we can use to maximise our performance.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Remus Lupin introduces his defence against the dark arts class to the Boggart. Here is the scene in the excellent film produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Change Management is my specialism. I manage complex projects involving new technology, new ways of working or programme launches. I delivered the most ambitious training and piloting plan in BBC News history ensuring over 2,000 staff arrived in its newly redeveloped headquarters on time, on budget and with improved output.
I supply Leadership Training to help you get the best from yourself and your teams so they can thrive in a rapidly changing world.
And I provide Executive Coaching to increase your confidence, adapt your thinking and behaviour to the challenges you face, and improve your effectiveness.
Why work with Sam Whipple?
“Sam is the most reassuring person I have ever worked with.” Louisa Compton, Editor, Victoria Derbyshire Programme.
“Sam made sure the project was so smooth … without him I can confidently say it would not have been possible.” Liz Corbin, BBC Singapore Bureau Chief.
“Thanks to Sam’s utterly meticulous planning … the training and piloting plan was faultless.” Jenny Baxter, BBC Controller of Production 2009-13.
Every project causes stress. It’s part of the challenge. But it’s easy to become obsessed about the small details, the milestones, the timeline and forget about the people. If your team is too stressed, they won’t perform at their best, and your project will be at risk.
Need a simple solution? Try this one, in a message I sent to the Victoria Derbyshire programme launch team on Happiness Day 2015, two weeks before launch, with tension rising …….
20 March 2015
SUBJECT: Happy Happiness Day
I’ve seen a lot of tired faces over the last week, and heard a lot of people saying “I’m really worried about ….”, “….. has been keeping me awake at night”, “I am so stressed about ….”
These last two weeks before launch will be tough and they will be scary because there are a lot of things still to do, and some things will go wrong. And that is exactly what we want because we will be pushing the boundaries because we want to know where the boundaries are. And this is how every programme that was ever launched has been – the last few weeks are incredibly full-on. Continue reading “Simple ways to minimise stress”