The Three Strategies In Achieving Happiness At Work

  Under the category of “You can’t make this stuff up….”

After a week on being at a new job, a manager says to his team. “I want you to be working so hard and focused during the week, that by  Friday I want you all to be physically and mentally spent.” The employees around the conference table were shocked. And the power of that poorly thought-out statement took root.

Do you think that motivated the employees? Absolutely not. Instead, the staff now dreads going to work. They are exhausted by Wednesday. Innovation has declined. The spark of inspiration is gone. A once motivated team of working ahead has been decimated into a shell of itself. On a hamster wheel where every day they leave work feeling like they accomplished very little. Every member of the team comments how long the week is.  The new manager? They are oblivious- holed up in their office where they can’t see the expressions on the faces of their team.  Mandates are given but no examples of what they want, just “do it”.

The only plus if you want to call it to this work environment is the team rallies together to support each other but there are better ways to encouraging employees to being there for each other.

This is not the way to lead. Arrogance and lack of communication (both seen here) are a toxic cocktail to any organization. In order to get the most out of your career or help build a healthy motivated team there are three simple strategies that must be used:

* Create your mantra- what do you stand for?

* Define what you want to achieve based on your mantra

* Give examples of how to achieve this goal and offer up to discussion

It is human nature to have a set of rules to follow. Without rules as a guide you have a disorganized, unfocused path. You need that central point to always refer to. There is a difference between being mentally fatigued and working hard. Employees do not reach their pinnacle of productivity by constantly chasing ill-defined missions. They need to be part of the plan. They need to understand what is expected of them.  Not everyone in the room may not agree on a single plan of execution, but a discussion together where everyone listens to each other, a plan will be put in place because of the collaboration of ideas discussed in that meeting.

A good company is often looked at staff retention. Tenure is more than how long a person’s been at a job. It’s about their satisfaction within the organization. Sure loyalty is part of it but let’s face it, happiness is key. Even when you achieve what I call “World Domination” you still want to be happy with what you are doing. You want to be challenged and valued. When happiness, challenge and value are not present- that’s when good talent leave.

The three strategies above focus on completing the package of success. If not, high turn-over is inevitable.


Pillars of Sticking to Your Goals

On your journey to achieving what I call “World Domination”, there are pillars in each of the seven layers that both fortifies and reinforces the previous layers and help propel you to the next.

In the third layer of the pyramid, “Defining your opportunity strategy and sticking with it, Untitled

there are three pillars to help guide you to help you stick to your goals.


These pillars really ground you, bringing you back to your essence- your foundation. Each question, each opportunity and each decision need to be vetted and you have to ask yourself- will the actions satisfy your overall goal?

The biggest piece to this layer of the pyramid is making sure every member of the team is fully invested and support the overall goal. You can’t have “bobble head” employees (thank you Google’s Eric Schmidt for that phrase). Having “yes men” on your team does not mean support. People pleasers have no conviction- why would you want that? You want a team filled with individuals who have their own thoughts and have the courage to fail. You want to have a group of individuals that come up with actionable ideas and solutions to support your end game. Does everyone have to agree on how its done? No, but the process in which you decide on what you will do has to be a combined effort. Ideas spark innovation. Collaboration between a team whose strengths compliment each other is important.

Success is the byproduct of a team. I leave you with my favorite quote from Steve Case. Long-term success is not achieved overnight.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂

Opportunity Pyramid: The 7 Pillars of Success

In today’s fast paced media driven world, the successful individuals that headline the world news are often put on pedestals where they are revered so much, you think they were super human. They’re not. They’re just regular people. The difference is they have recognized the seven pillars of success you need in order to succeed. We all have these tools- the difference is many of us just fail to see them. We are so caught up in the moment, the “drama” or the self loathing “woe is me” that we neglect to see the path to happiness and success.

There are seven steps that one needs to take in order to reach your full potential. They all depend on the other and are all equally important and each pillar supports the other:

Knowing yourself

you need to know yourself in order to tackle any opportunity that comes along. You must know your strengths and leverage them and work on your weaknesses. All successful people have a high sense of self awarenesss.

Building Your Knowledge

In order to be the best you can be you have to have the knowledge to support your plan and strategies. Book knowledge is good but so is hands on knowledge. Learn from others, read trade magazines, anything to keep you current. Even taking a selective college course. The choices are endless for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge.

Defining Your Opportunity Strategy and Sticking with It
Ask yourself based on your knowledge and what you are good at– what do you want to do? Can you build a company based on your talents? You need to look at yourself as a brand. What makes you special is your intrinsic value to your business, aspiring business or the organization your work for. Once you define that you are halfway to achieving what you want to do. Based on that definition, every decision you make needs to go back to that very definition. Every strategy employed has the sole purpose so you can achieve your goals.

Stoking Your Inner Passion

Passion gets you through the highs and lows on your journey to achieving success. You need to be your biggest cheerleader. You owe it to yourself to be positive and remember how far you have come. The road may be filled with potholes and detours but in the end, your passion will be the fuel to get you through the journey. A key piece to this pillar is surrounding yourself with positive people that believe in the same mission you believe in. Cut out the negative, dramatic people- they are energy and time killers.

Staying the Course

I believe this is the most time consuming piece out of all the pillars. Why? Because this is where you are challenged time and time again. People may doubt you, you may even start doubting yourself. Success is rarely made overnight. If you want it bad enough you will make the sacrifice and take the time to get it done.


While you are staying the course it is critical to make sure you are executing at the highest level of performance and you are focusing on every detail. Sloppiness is not a nurturing piece in the success equation.

World Domination

This is the apex of the pyramid. It’s been a long, hard road but you have achieved what you set out to do. But that does not mean the journey is over. You need to stay relevant. If you rest on your laurels, your competition will catch up. You want to constantly innovate, reinvent and test yourself. That will keep your passion going and pushing the bar even higher.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂

Why We All Need To Take On Challenges


Everything in life is a learning experience- both the good and bad. The difference between those who are successful and unsuccessful is the ability to internalize what you did and how you did it. What worked and what didn’t work. Challenges can be defining moments in your life. You either rise to the occasion or bow to them in failure. Leaders are driven to succeed.

You need to have the courage to take the challenge head on. No fear. When faced with a challenge, leaders like Alan Mulally of Ford spread out a mental blueprint if you will breaking down what the challenges are and the paths of actions they will take. Before the decision is made, the details in the execution of each piece of the plan are carefully followed. The possible outcomes are anticipated and then the calculated risk is taken.


Good leaders do not get overwhelmed. They take it one step at a time. If you get overwhelmed, you can do what I do- make lists. I find it easier to make a list not only to prioritize what I need to do, but also to see if I should change a detail in my plan.

You have the ability like Alan Mulally to rise to the occasion and overcome whatever obstacle you are facing. You need to believe in yourself and have the courage to fail. Like your mom once told you, “You’ll never know unless you try.” You owe it to yourself to do just that. Remember no “coulda, woulda, shoulda”. You don’t want your life to be a series of short-cuts. Carve your paths to the highest peaks in life.

That’s why I created the “Opportunity Pyramid” to show you the upward progression of achieving success.

World Domination doesn’t come short-cuts. If that was the case, the image I would have chosen would be a hole. Life is about climbing to the next level.


So the next time you are faced with a challenge, grab your picks and shovels and get ready to build your road to success!

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking.

Defining Your Goal

It doesn’t matter if you are the owner of a corner deli or a multi-billion dollar business– every leader should have a defined goal, an end game. When I asked this question to Stifel Financial’s Ron Kruszewski, he did not hesitate when describing his endgame to me: “I always say I want to be able to double the firm tomorrow if I have to. And that’s how I approach my business. I have the people and the plan to be able to increase the firm very quickly in terms of our capability; I just don’t know when it’s going to take place. If you set the right culture and thought process, growing a company with people who are nimble and thrive on change is self-selecting.”

I recently had a great conversation with a friend who is an entrepreneur of an up and coming company and is looking for ways to take her business to the next step. He is the advice I gave her.

First and foremost, how would you define your end game? If you can’t say it in a simple sentence you have a problem. You need to have a distinct destination point when it comes to achieving success so you can plot a course in order to obtain it. There are three simple steps to do just that:

Define who you are

What products or services do you offer? What makes you special? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition? What do you ultimately want to be?


What do you stand for? Do all of your employees believe in your plan? You need to have everyone on board. Teamwork and passion will help you get through the highs and lows of your journey.

Every single decision goes back to your definition and mantra. If the decision doesn’t enhance what you are trying to achieve then it’s an “opportunity” worth passing up.

By adhering to these three principals you should be able to chart a course for you to achieve your endgame. Just remember the journey can be full of detours, slowdowns and potholes. That’s where your team and passion come in to help you keep your eye on how you will achieve World Domination.

Looking for more inspiration, leadership strategies and lessons? Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders

How to be Happy


John Lennon sums it up pretty nicely here. In the end when you look back at your life you want to make a positive mark. As Nicky Pappadakis, a successful shipping titan once told me, “Working with a happy heart shows.” Life is too short not to be happy with what you are doing. I can say 110% that I am happy. Can you?

You need to have the courage to stand up and say to yourself “I deserve more”, “I want to pursue my dream”. You don’t have to leave your present job right here and now but you can lay down the foundation to achieving your dreams.

It took Jory DesJardins Jory-Des-Jardins

of BlogHer three attempts to leave her safe job. Surround yourself with positive people, make a “to do happy checklist” and mark it off one by one. My check list is the “Opportunity Pyramid” 🙂

It might take sometime to achieve your goals but it’s an awesome journey of discovery 🙂

Don’t misunderstand happiness and success with money. Money helps but it doesn’t make you happy.

Kick Off to World Domination!!!

Monday officially kicks off the launch of “Opportunity Knocking” and I’m very excited. The responses I have received from my BlogHer interview, the four-star review from Success magazine and my pieces were fabulous. For those interested, here is a list of my appearances this coming week so far:


Monday, March 17th, CNBC Squawk Box 6:50amET

Monday, March 17th, “Car Concerns” 9:30amET (nationally syndicated or click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: WCBS 880am- “Women in Business” at 9:51amET (if not in Tri-State area, click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Thursday: WOR 710am- “Money Matters” at 2:22pmET  (if not in Tri-State area, click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.