O n 1st September 2005, I launched Happy Creative. It was, and continues to be, a very special day in my life.
It’s fair to say that starting and running a business has been life-changing. I am often asked what I’ve learnt and what I’d share, so here goes ….
One of my greatest learnings is to work with people who share your values. That includes your team, your clients and your suppliers and partners. Happiness is at the core of what we do, I believe the happiness of the team will radiate to deliver happy customers. It’s a simple truth.
We value happiness, honesty, openness, doing the right thing and resilience. If these are shared values with all the people we deal with then it makes a strong platform from which to do great business.
Our happiness should not be mistaken for being fluffy or soft. We run a successful business with strong values at our core; we are also brave enough to stand by our beliefs. It takes a lot of guts to let a client or a member of the team go because they don’t match your values.
I have enormous gratitude for The Academy for Chief Executives (now Vistage) for my continued development as a leader. The business world is constantly changing and I don’t believe it’s an option to stand still or become stale. I am firmly in the camp of always developing yourself. During my time with The Academy / Vistage I’ve learnt so much about myself, including strengths that I didn’t know I had.
Every month for over 9 years, I have been privileged to hear from first-class speakers on business and leadership, in a safe and confidential environment where I can raise issues, and be positively challenged and supported by my peers, who are experienced business leaders themselves. It’s special time out each month to concentrate on me and the business and I love it.
As Chief Happy, I am responsible for the team and I wear many different hats in doing so - as a mentor, a cheerleader, a counsellor, a friend and a boss. We are fortunate enough to have a good retention rate and seeing the team grow, develop, succeed and laugh together is what makes my role so rewarding. When a Happy receives lots of praise and thanks from a client it truly is a wonderful feeling.
Running any business will present challenges at some point. It can be a loss of business, a downturn in the market, a trouble-maker, cashflow or too much work. These are just some of the challenges we have faced in our 13 years.
To keep on moving forward, these are challenges which we have to overcome. And we do this together as a team, by sticking to our beliefs and adopting the right mindset.
It’s about maximising your momentum in challenging times to keep on rolling. I feel in business we don’t always take the credit for the enormous amount of physical, mental and emotional strength it takes just to keep moving forward after facing a great challenge or adversity. Even reinstating the previous status quo can feel really momentous. I’ve learnt to recognise the strength it takes to keep moving forward.
Finding my own source of inspiration and motivation helps me to keep focused. It’s not for everyone but I am inspired by quotes that make me think. Just something short and simple can adjust my mindset and set me on the right path mentally. I particularly like this one in business as my gut instinct has proved to be a reliable source over the years. And I trust it.
“Our bodies have five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. But not to be overlooked are the senses of our souls: intuition, peace, foresight, trust, empathy. The differences between people lie in their use of these senses; most people don't know anything about the inner senses while a few people rely on them just as they rely on their physical senses, and in fact probably even more.” ― C. JoyBell C
Time spent together is valuable. It’s what bonds us. The Happies get together for ‘Happy Hi 5s’ every Friday. When I tell people about this, I have received comments about it being cheesy, but on the contrary they are incredibly impactful and motivational.
At these weekly sessions together we stand and celebrate our week together; it’s incredible what comes out, from thanking a colleague for their support on a project, or for an amazing piece of work, or a humorous story / act that entertained us all. How great it is to be recognised. How valuable to know how much you are appreciated by your peers. These mini celebrations are very much part of our culture and help us create a strong bond that makes us who we are.
These are just some of my key learnings over the past 13 years… the teenage years are often defined as life-changing filled with new experiences - bring them on.
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