23 July 2017

What’s the key to happiness? What a question! But its one people ask me every week. So here goes! 5 TIPS GUARANTEE HAPPINESS.

Last week has certainly been a happy one at UKFast with some of our apprentices graduating from their two-year course and we are officially the fifth greatest workplace in the UK – the top in Manchester and top mid-sized tech business – again!

Whilst there is, of course, no ‘one size fits all’ answer to being happy, I am learning that there are certain things that I do in my everyday life that ensure I am happy and healthy. By ingraining these into my daily routine, over time these things become part of my formula. I instinctively know when something slips because so does my mood and mindset.

It’s extraordinary to think five simple things have such an effect on our overall life.

DON'T JUST DREAM, BELIEVE AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!

DON’T JUST DREAM, BELIEVE AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!

5 TIPS GUARANTEE HAPPINESS

Collaborate

Collaboration is key to success. There is nothing more important than sharing experiences with people, or finding answers to challenges with friends and colleagues. There’s no point being wealthy or successful if you have no one to share it with. I feel incredibly lucky, with a wonderful wife, four daughters and a 400-strong extended family through UKFast. Whether I am spending time with my girls or enjoying one of our UKFast events (like UKFest,) it is essential to appreciate every moment. Its much easier when you surround yourself with fantastic people. Build yourself a team you are proud to be a part of and working together becomes effortless.

Strengthen

Work hard to be in the greatest physical shape you can be. I used to run 10k every single day at one point in my late 30’s! Now, as I get older and my life is even more incredibly busy, it would be easy to let this slip. As a result exercise is cemented into my schedule so that it is impossible to miss. I play squash with the England number one twice a week and I have three personal training sessions too. I also play squash with friends alongside all of that, slot in the odd run, maybe a bike ride and some kick boxing. Strengthening is incredibly important especially if you are a busy executive balancing kids, teams of people and all the usual pressures. However fit you are you can always develop.

I was told “you will never be as happy as you were at school,” but why is that? I think it’s because we are always running around and we are learning and developing. But we lose that as adults, sat day after day in front of laptops and phones! Keeping in great shape helps us feel young and is very important in your work life balance.

Grow

On the topic of development,
Tony Robbins has a saying that resonates with me: in nature, nothing stands still;  everything is either growing or dying. It’s a lovely way to let people know that you’ve got to keep developing. There were stages in my early life where I thought I knew probably a little more than I really did. Overtime you do get found out and people get bored of know-it-alls! In the process you get bored with yourself; you’ve got to dig deeper and look for new things to learn.

I am currently setting goals to learn guitar and improve my French. There are no reasons other than it is fun to be a beginner at stuff and learn the hard way.

Look for things in your life where you can improve.

Play

When we were starting our business my wife and I realised we were working way too hard and we realised we’d stopped having fun. We were doing brilliantly as a business, but just not connecting with humour. 14 years on we continue to grow from strength to strength. Once we’d identified it as a problem, we made a conscious  effort to do fun things together. The result, UKFast is a really fun place to work and we are much more fun to have around. I’d also argue we are the strongest couple in the world!

CHASE YOUR DREAMS, BUT DON'T LEAVE THE IMPORTANT ONES BEHIND

CHASE YOUR DREAMS, BUT DON’T LEAVE THE IMPORTANT ONES BEHIND

Inspire

The most satisfying thing you can do is inspiring others and helping them develop. Sharing what we learn is hugely rewarding. We are all teachers at heart. Developing others is vital. It may be simply teaching a little one how to swim, just as I have been this week. Watching them have breakthrough moments, helping them find courage and build confidence, is really what life is all about. We inspire others by helping them do things they think are not possible. We can do this every day in work, simply giving compliments and thanking people for a job well done. Feedback is inspiration in itself and teaching someone is a constant flow of feedback. By teaching others, there is no better way to build loyalty. It’s a way to develop a friendship for life and it gives us common experiences to share and celebrate.

Whatever you are trying to do in life, if you focus on these areas, you won’t go far wrong. Don’t expect to see results on day one. It’s a little like planting a seed, you can’t expect a tree to pop out of nowhere. If you stick to it though, you will wake up one morning just as I did and everything around you just works. Keep it up though, as the whole point of this theory is that it’s about continuous improvement. Improve in all these areas and life becomes incredibly satisfying.

Enjoy the journey!
Best LJ

PS. If you missed my VLOG I’d love your feedback.

5 TIPS GUARANTEE HAPPINESS

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