Happiness In the Workplace - Why Growth and Learning is Important to Millennials

Writer Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” What we do everyday matters and every day, and we spend approximately one-third of our time at work. With today’s technological advancements, we're seeing the pace in which our lives move increase exponentially. We have access to more information, we have many more choices, and so, we're required to make many more decisions. As a result, we feel disconnected, overwhelmed and stressed. To help us adapt and change in an ever-changing world, we must learn how to learn. 


We spend so much of our time at work that it's in this space that we have the opportunity to enhance our skills and our knowledge. Today, millennials are leading the change in the corporate landscape and seeking out opportunities in organizations that support them in their learning and growth. Millennials have a greater awareness of the influence that their experience and how they feel at work has on their how they experience they life overall. 


According to a Gallup study, millennial engagement in the workplace is at 29%*. Understanding why can help employers find ways in to create a culture that aligns expectations, learning, and action.  People want to work “better” not harder, do meaningful work, cultivate strong social connections, have more flexibility and living a healthy lifestyle. They want to be happy. Happiness researcher, Shawn Achor, defines happiness as, “the joy one feels moving towards their potential.”  When engaged, moving towards our potential, using our skills to make a positive impact; we are happier. 


To support the process of engagement that focuses on the happiness of the individual and health and growth of the organization, businesses must cultivate a learning culture.  Learning is an active process giving employees the autonomy to acquire knowledge, grow and enhance skills in their own unique ways. A learning culture is at the core of a successful organization and here are ten reasons why:


  1. It promotes awareness and understanding. With changing times, a learning culture can increase awareness. Knowing what needs to change, why, and how to best to communicate it; facilitates sustainable personal and professional growth in the future. Awareness helps us understand what is truly important and moves the individual and the organization in the right direction. It also promotes understanding of perspectives we may not have considered before. 
  2. People want to feel like they matter. Millennials want to know that their organization cares about their contribution now, and in the future and this is a welcomed change in the business landscape. If we spend much of our time at work, we want that time to be spent in a meaningful way and to have a positive social impact. Investing in a person’s growth builds loyalty, commitment to the goals of the organization. 
  3. Aligns purpose with action. Learning cultivates curiosity clarifies core values and supports taking action towards our potential. When there is emotional investment, people are more effective, engaged and their life satisfaction increases. An organization is also more likely to retain talented employees when those employees’ personal and professional values are in alignment with business values. 
  4. Enhances skills. Strengthening professional skills and learning new ones, increases confidence in the ability to do the job more effectively. Employees are also better equip to identify gaps in current knowledge. A learning culture encourages skill development both within the organization and beyond the scope of the job. Organizations that invest in the holistic growth of their employees demonstrate how much they value them. In this changing landscape, millennials want to use their strengths to work smarter, not harder and move towards their potential. 
  5. Increases comfort with uncertainty. In the space of learning, the process is just as valuable as the end result. Uncertainty may be uncomfortable but it allows us to be open, curious and flexible. Keeping ourselves open, changes the way we experience the world and increases our clarity and resilience.
  6. Creates space to innovate. Creativity needs space. Giving people the latitude to think creatively and to innovate lends itself to effectively problem solve. Innovation happens through fostering an inspirational, collaborative environment that is built on learning and exploration rather than results. In this environment, people can work outside the structure, enabling them to brainstorm and approach challenges in new ways. Learning pushes against rigid beliefs, helping the organization become agile and better prepared to absorb future change.
  7. Helps us factor in failure. Failure does not have to be a bad word. The faster we fail, the quicker we can learn from our mistakes, and identify what does and does not work. Then, with greater understanding, we can spend our time and energy moving towards our goals. Learning from failure creates a positive feedback loop that helps us action change. We are not wasting time when we are failing, learning and growing. 
  8. Builds resilience to challenges. A learning culture is also a resilient one. Resilience helps us adjust to and rebound from challenges and unforeseen events, even thrive in them. Change will inevitably occur, the true measure is how an organization reacts to change. Building resilience refocuses the organization on their priorities, what is within their control, and allows them to let go of processes and habits that do not work. The ability to cope with challenging situations can also decrease the overall stress level in the workplace. 
  9. Supports the cultivation of healthy habits. When organizations create space to learn, the process supports the cultivation of healthy workplace habits that align with business goals and positive actions. 45% of what we do on a daily basis is habitual. This can limit opportunities to learn because habits are automatic behaviours. If organizations promote learning, they also create the environment to remain open and receptive. They are better able to choose habitual behaviours that they do want rather than those they do not. Learning is also a habit that must be developed.  Spending time developing good habits both personally and in the workplace shapes organizational culture.
  10. Cultivates happiness and wellbeing. Happy employees change the way business is done. They are healthier and take less sick days, they are more productive, they find more meaning and purpose in their work, they have better team cohesion, and have stronger relationships. Cultivating happiness is good business. Continual learning and engagement in the workplace is directly connected to the wellbeing and happiness of the individual and thus, the flourishing of the organization. 

Fostering a culture of learning is at the core of a healthy organization. Millennials want more and they are leading the change in the way organizations engage in, and promote a positive and fulfilling workplace. 


* Gallup Study - Millennial Engagement


This article was written for my friends at Kashida. You can read the original post here

Mastering Your Morning Routine - An Interview with Amy Longard

I'm a big believer that what we do everyday matters and what we do at the beginning of each day helps us make healthy, good decisions all throughout our day. The beginning of the day sets the tone! I sat down with my friend Amy Longard, a plant-based Nutritionist and Chef to chat about morning routines and to share some insights, practical strategies and tips on how I start my day.  Read on for the full interview!


Amy: I know the concept has been around for ages. Lately, morning routines or morning practices have been front and center among health and wellness experts. Can you explain why it's important to have a morning routine?
Manal: We have a specific amount of energy and willpower when we wake up in the morning.  We have to consciously decide where and how we're going to use that energy and willpower. Essentially, we have the power to decide how we want to feel going into our day and we can carve that through a consistent morning practice.

Do we want to leave the house frantically, unorganized and stressed out? Or, do we want to create space that makes us calm and at ease so that we can go about our day with a clearer, more creative mind?

Cultivating an intentional routine each morning nourishes, motivates and energizes us to start our day with an optimistic mindset. It sets the tone for the day and reminds us of what’s important.

Amy: This makes perfect sense to me.  But to give the readers some perspective, can you tell us what a typical morning would be like for you?
Manal:  Sure, but before I begin, just remember this a "practice" so it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s better to be flexible. Maybe one day I feel like writing before reading my book, maybe the next day I need to meditate first. It really depends. But, start with a general plan that includes the things you want to incorporate into your morning, and be clear about WHY they are important to you, and go from there.   Here's how I started my day today:

Wake Up
Make my bed
Drink water (I try to fill my water bottle on my breaks)
Ten minutes of journaling
Thirty minutes of reading my book while sipping my morning coffee
Ten minutes of meditation - I use the Headspace app and I love it! 
One hour of exercise or some sort of movement
Gratitude journal and top three priorities for the day
Start my work! 

Amy: Your morning sounds fantastic, but I'm sure some people are reading this and feeling like it would be quite difficult for them incorporate a practice like yours. Do you have any tips for people looking to dip their toes into a morning practice?
Manal: Start small. If you can’t do everything or if you get overwhelmed, just start with one thing in the morning. Maybe that’s only doing a 10-minute meditation and do that every day until you’re able to incorporate something else. To make any behaviour a habit, we must do it consistently. 

Amy: I often talk to my clients about the importance of being well rested and setting a regular bedtime. I know you’re a big advocate of this too.
Manal: Yes, definitely. Sleep is very important! It helps with stress and anxiety.  I recommend shutting down all your technology at least an hour before bedtime. Maybe journal or read before going to bed. Also, make the small decisions in the evening to make your morning routine easier. Like setting up the coffee maker, or laying out your clothes for the next day. Eliminating small decisions leaves more energy and willpower for bigger decisions.


Amy: I love it! Any final words on the importance of these types of routines? 
Manal: Research tells us that 40 to 45% of what we do every day is habitual. Essentially we’ve performed a habit so many times that it’s become automatic. They’re the building blocks of our lives; so, if you want to change your life, take a closer look at what you DO want, and then cultivate the good and healthy habits that will create that life.

Once we’ve decided what we want our morning to look like and why we can do these things consistently every day. This consistency makes it a habit. When something is automatic, it frees up space for other things. This increases our efficiency. We no longer need to think about it, we just do it. No reminders, and less need for willpower (which is limited) and motivation (which comes and goes).


You can read the original blog post here

If you’d like to learn more about Amy and her company Amy Longard Nutrition, check out her website, her Facebook page, or her Instagram account.


I'd Love To Hear From You! 

What does your morning routine look like? What are some habits that you must do to start your day off right?

3 Simple Habits For A Happier Life

In coaching sessions, when I ask my clients how they want to feel, most respond with 'I want to feel happy'. That's what it comes down to really. We want to feel happy everyday and we want to know that we've lived a good life. But, if you focus your awareness on how you're feeling right now, can you say that you're generally happy? What does being happy really look like for YOU?

On the journey to discovering more about happiness, I started reading the growing research into what makes us happy and how we can cultivate it intentionally. What I love about intentionality is that it implies we have a choice and ultimately, we do! Let me repeat that... we have a choice! 

The more I learned, the more enthusiasm I felt. It was so simple really. We could do little things each day that could transform how we experience our life and the role we play in our community. And the best part; happiness has a ripple effect (three degrees of separation to be exact). I wanted to share what I'd learned and eventually, gave a talk about cultivating happiness habits. 

Happy tip: When you feel enthusiastic about something, be curious about why that is and let the enthusiasm be your compass. Mine partnered me up with two wonderful and talented people and we created #HappinessHabits613. Yours can be the beginning of true passion and meaning in your life. 

The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?
— Timothy Ferriss

Now, I'm on the journey to create the SPACE for others to find their own happiness. 

In the video below, I talk about discovering happiness and the story behind why my business is called Beautiful Happy Reasons


I once read the quote "there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy" and it just made sense. That's where Beautiful Happy Reasons comes from. My reasons are what I'm grateful for everyday. With so many distractions, we sometimes have to remind ourselves that happiness is in our control and we can cultivate it right NOW


take action

Here's three simple ways to get you started:

1. Start A Gratitude Journal

Take a few minutes to write down 3 things you're grateful for every day (you'll end up writing more than 3). Gratitude is such an important practice. It increases use of positive language and teaches us to see the abundance in our lives. It only takes as little as a minute a day but I use it as a chance to look back at my day and reflect on all the positive experiences and interactions I've had.

2. Give Back

Traditionally, giving back can mean giving your time or money to a cause and even though that's still really important, giving back can include every day kindnesses. You can tell a colleague you appreciate their hard work, buy a coffee for a stranger or even just say hello, no act of kindness is too small. It takes nothing but means everything because you're acknowledging the presence of the other person and really, we all just want to be seen and appreciated. 

3. Spend Time With Your TRIBE

When we feel stressed or overwhelmed, we have the tendency to isolate ourselves. That can make us feel more alone. What we actually need to do is go hang out with people that fill the space with positive energy when we're around them. 


My #HappinessHabits613 co-founders and I outlined 9 habits that you can start doing every day to cultivate a happy life. Download it here


I'd love to hear from you!

What does happiness look like for you? How are you cultivating happiness on a daily basis?