In last week’s staff development session we wrapped up our time in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, looking at the social effects of happiness and how the ripple effects influence not only our emotions but the emotions of those around us. What better way to put a spin on the social implications of happiness and negativity than to incorporate the “Happiest Place on Earth” into a day at the office Along with the staff development focus, we celebrated Disney Day at VoiceNation!
We hit the ground running in the lesson watching a video about the important of teamwork and how important our social support is in our daily lives.
Shawn states in his book that,
“Social relationships are the single greatest investment a person can make in the Happiness Advantage.”
In a study called “Very Happy People,” researchers sought out the characteristics of the happiest 10% of people. Of all the factors considered, including wealth, warmth of climate, and physical fitness, only one characteristic distinguished the happiest 10% for everybody else the strength of social relationships. We learned that when we encounter a challenge or a threat, that the way to stabilize and strengthen ourselves is to hold on tight to the people around us. This would be why having a strong personal social support system and great teammates at work is so important in handling those stressful times that we face in life and on the job.
Your social support system is comparable to an offensive line in football. The line is there for one primary reason – to protect the quarterback. While these are not the most glorified people on the football field, their job is one of the most important. Think about it, if the quarterback is not protected and not able to make a play or get the ball to the running backs or receivers, then it will no go well for the team trying to win the game. Our social support, or our personal offensive line, is the same way. They prevent us from getting knocked down and help us reach our goals through encouragement and support. And if we do get knocked down, they are there to help us up.
Think about it for a second, who are your offensive linemen in your personal life? At work?
Our social connections make us stronger and they motivate us. This is the same in our personal lives and in our work environments. This would be why Google, SouthWest, and many other thriving companies focus so much on providing an environment that is beneficial and supports social engagement between their employees. This is a huge plus for us here at VoiceNation as well. The opportunities we have to engage and get to know our co-workers in a variety of settings is so important for the growth of us as individuals and as a business.
In his book, Shawn explains that research exploring the role of social networks in shaping human behavior has proven that much of our behavior is literally contagious, that our habits, attitudes, and actions spread through a complicated web of connections to infect those around us. This means that our individual attitudes, enjoyment, happiness, and negativity have the ability to drastically affect the people around us. Similar to the concept of the “butterfly effect” a simple gesture like a smile, an act of kindness, or encouraging someone can ripple outward to have an effect on not just the person receiving but multitudes of people.
We were left with one statement that can have profound implications for us and circles of influence we are around:
I make a difference daily, but I choose what kind of a difference that is – for the positive or the negative.