Gallup announced today that, in May 2015, only 31.5% of employees reported feeling “engaged” in their jobs and careers- the lowest number in 2015. At 3Gaps we’ve re-titled our best-selling book with the new tagline “Are You Making a Difference?”
Shawn Achor, one of the top 20 most requested TED speakers ever, while at Harvard University, was part of a major research study exploring the relationship between success, engagement and individual happiness. One of the things his team’s research surfaced (since validated in almost 200 major studies) is the counterintuitive connection between success (including engagement) and happiness.
For decades the assumption, and the following behavior pattern, has been that “once I achieve success I will be happy.” This has been one of the drivers in our culture of “sacrifice now” and live (happily) in retirement. Gen Xers and Millennials are not satisfied to wait for a future, and increasingly doubtful, reward at the end. They want to be happy, to be engaged and to see success now.
What Shawn’s research shows is that happy people drive success. In other words, work to be happy and success will follow. You can create it now, you don’t have to wait for it later.
A fundamental part of happiness, and the engagement it drives, is being able to feel that we are making a difference. Whether in our own lives, in the life of our partnership, marriage or family, in the life of our organization or even the life of a beloved pet – there is clear evidence that we want to make a difference and find happiness in doing so.
At 3 Gaps we believe that as we identify and BEGIN to close The 3 Gaps – living our values, challenging our beliefs and pursuing our dreams, we start to see real, personal evidence we are making a difference. And, as we see that evidence and become happier TODAY we start to channel, what Shawn calls “positive psychology”, into the work at hand. We become more energized, more focused and more engaged. And, as we channel the positive energy of being in a “happy place” into the work we do – we generate greater success, for ourselves and for our team.
It is time to listen to the rising generation, to stop waiting to be happy and start – today – closing Gaps, making a difference and waking up each day, happy and engaged.