201: How to be Happier at Work with Jennifer Moss

By September 6, 2017Podcasts

 

Plasticity Labs co-founder Jennifer Moss shares how to build psychological fitness to deal with workplace challenges.

You’ll Learn:

  1. Research insights into what impacts happiness at work
  2. The critical ingredient called the “granddaddy” of happiness
  3. Two minute exercises that slash stress and enhance effectiveness

About Jennifer

Honored as the 2016 Canadian Business Innovator of the Year, Jennifer Moss and her groundbreaking work on the power of happiness are transforming hundreds of schools and companies. Moss is the Cofounder of Plasticity Labs, a tech company that provides organizations with the tools to tap into employee sentiment and increase workplace happiness.

Moss is the author of Unlocking Happiness at Work and also the Cofounder of The HERO Generation, a non-profit that is implementing Moss’ gratitude-based HERO model in schools with the aim of decreasing teacher and student stress and increasing well-being and performance.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Jennifer Moss Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Jen, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Jennifer Moss
Thank you. I’m really excited to have this conversation today.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I was so intrigued in reading up about you a little bit. You have a tale of a miracle, and I love miracles. So could you tell us the story behind your husband having multiple serious diseases at once and having a recovery?

Jennifer Moss
Yeah. It has been a catalyst, and some people say that these moments defined us, and for us it certainly did. It was 2009 and my husband, as you mentioned, became very ill with West Nile, Swine Flu, and then post viral illness, Guillain-Barre syndrome, all at once. And essentially his immune system shut down and he became acutely paralyzed and rushed to the hospital.

The thing with this whole story which makes it interesting is that, not that it isn’t interesting already, but that he was a professional athlete and has actually been in World Championships in two professional sports. He had just come off of winning the gold medal for the World Cup in lacrosse – obviously a very healthy, high-performing athlete, and then to be all of a sudden in the hospital paralyzed, was terrifying for us. We had a child already, two and a half years old, and we were pregnant. We were only around eight weeks away from having our second, so you can imagine the fear.

And so the doctors said that they would try this test and gave him essentially an immune reboot with the medicine and the therapy that they provided him, and it worked. He was okay and he would live, but they said he might not walk again. So then there’s this next stage of figuring out how you’re going to handle news like that, and so that was pretty challenging. Jim, because I think he had high levels of psychological fitness after years of learning how to deal with wins and losses and rebounding very quickly, and the mentality of an athlete is to be able to handle stress and come back to win, and look for ways to win. They have really high hope, they create pathways to success, and his brain just immediately said, “Well, I’m alive. I get to be a father to my children, and a husband. I’m only going to look at this as an opportunity to be better at whatever I’m going to do with life, whether I can walk again or not.”

He reached out to everyone he could and asked them to give him some tips on how to deal with this emotionally. And everyone kept saying, “Gratitude. Just be grateful. Just focus on gratitude and practice it.” And six weeks later he walked out of the hospital and he was assisted by his two and a half year old boy’s hand, and he was later back at the hospital only a few weeks later to deliver our second child with me. So, we took that learning and it translated, flash forward seven years now it’s been, and it’s created a life of really focusing on being positive and teaching people about post-traumatic growth and stress and how we can overcome massive, massive challenges in our life but still be very successful.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh Jen, that is so powerful. Thanks for sharing it. And usually that’s just the icebreaker question, so we’re in for a lot here.

Jennifer Moss
That’s great.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh man. That’s so great to hear that family is happy and healthy and well, and things are going smoothly, and that you’ve picked up some learnings here, which sound like they apply very much to what your company and your book is all about. Could you give us the real quick briefing on Plasticity Labs there?

Jennifer Moss
We say we’re accidental entrepreneurs, and really it was because of this catalyst moment in our lives where we decided, “Okay, let’s figure out how to help people to develop the skills to be able to deal with trauma.” We learned that majority of us – three quarters of us – are going to go through a traumatic event similar to what Jim went through – something pretty big – not just “We left the keys in the car” moments, but true issues of challenge in our lives.

And so we wanted to help people build the psychological skills to handle those, almost like training for a marathon. We created this concept, this platform, based on your own plasticity to practice every day these daily habits and reinforce these habits so that we can build the psychological fitness to handle life’s stress. So Plasticity was born out of that and that’s really what it is – a platform to be able to build those skills. And we provide you measurement and data around your own development – kind of like a Fitbit for your emotional intelligence. And then we encourage you to start thinking offline too, about how you are reacting to people in the present and teaching about mindfulness and meditation and gratitude and how to be more empathetic. And it’s translating inside the workplace and in people’s lives as well.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s so intriguing. So you say it’s like a Fitbit. Can you lay out a little bit, how does this data collection work exactly?

Jennifer Moss
Well, what we do is within the platform – it’s anywhere that you can access Internet essentially, so it’s a SaaS-based platform and it’s based in the Cloud as well. But what you do is you’re sharing with yourself – you answer questions about your own happiness and your own mood and how it’s impacting your stress, how it’s impacting your health, and you communicate that inside the technology, whether on your mobile phone or on your laptop every day if you’re in the workplace.

And it starts to reflect back to you what are the things that are creating those stresses, what are the things that are encouraging you to be happier. And it kind of guides your training and learning and development to go further in the direction and the strategies that make you feel better, happier and reducing stress, and move you away from the things that are impeding your chances of being more resilient or more empathetic or more optimistic, and creating the outcome of happiness. Happiness has sort of got this bad brand in that people don’t know how to understand it. I look at it more like fog that is not to attain or hold on to. It’s more about working on your emotional intelligence so that when happiness is in front of you, you can actually recognize it.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. So, very intriguing. And so then, is that the big idea behind your book Unlocking Happiness at Work, or how would you articulate that?

Jennifer Moss
So Unlocking Happiness at Work was actually a byproduct of me responding to an article in Harvard Business Review that really frustrated me. People were saying, “I’m against happiness.” How could you be against happiness and frustrated that employers were caring about happiness? Workplace is just supposed to be 9 to 5, five days a week, and then you live for the weekends. We spend 90,000 hours or our lifetime at work, so when the majority of your time is spent at something that could make unhappy all the time, shouldn’t your employers care about trying to find ways to improve that?

And so I wrote this sort of scathing rebuttal on Harvard Business Review about why that’s a ridiculous notion, and that employers that are trying to improve your happiness at work aren’t asking you to start hugging it out around Excel spreadsheets or constantly in a state of delight and inauthentic happiness. They’re actually just trying to help you handle stress or handle negativity or reduce the amount of gossip that makes you feel stressed to go into the lunch room. It reduces your ability to create relationships and friendships, which add 10 years to your life span.

So, these are all the things that we try to get people to think about when it comes to happiness and get leaders to feel like it’s not disingenuous for them to care. And out of that article, my publisher reached out and said, “I think you should write a bit of a longer form book on this topic”, because leaders really need to understand that it’s okay to talk about happiness, but also map it to profitability and understand that conscious capitalists or compassionate capitalists actually increase their profitability, their engagement. All of those outcomes that they’re looking for, that the CEO and the CFO care about, if they look at the human aspect first, if they care about these upstream impacts first, because it will create a downstream effect, a positive effect, on all those other components that leaders care about.

Pete Mockaitis
It makes sense and I totally buy that, when it comes to just discretionary voluntary effort, how much employees are willing to put themselves out there, just of their own volition, where it’s not required or when it comes to attrition and turnover, all the cost associated with learning what you need to know again to do the job and being able to have good ideas and share those good ideas freely, and have those get put into action.

I can see that there are so many pathways or mechanisms by which happiness turns into bigger results for the company. So I’m already sold. So, I’d like to jump right in then. So, you’ve collected a lot of data; I’d like to hear what are some of your most compelling insights that you have gathered from your research for the book and for the company and all the data you’re collecting from individual employees?

Jennifer Moss
Well, we have been very lucky in that we brought PhDs and researchers in social and positive psychology organizational behavior into the discussion really early on into developing the platform, because we wanted to make it evidence-based and research-based. So everything that we do, we have research opt-ins, and that helps us to really analyze it in aggregate, obviously anonymously, figure out what happiness and emotional intelligence, psychological fitness training, does to your performance.

And so, now we’ve been able to determine that for example the fall is the most unhappiest time for people. And we would think winter, right? For us in Canada for sure. But fall is a time of really serious change, and so we dug deeper into that and found that it’s actually this “Back to school” time and this really deeply ingrained feeling about what that means for change and that stress around change for ourselves as a young person. But then as a parent it also means a complete reboot after being at home, not making lunches over the summer and all those things that you get an eight week break from. It just shifts, and so fall is a really difficult time for people and now in the workplace we can create mechanisms to figure out how to boost moods during that timeframe.

We also learned that for every inch of snow that we get on the ground, it can decrease a person’s happiness by 0.5 points. So, there are these really interesting things that we’ve learned that seem sort of banal, but if you start to think about flexible hours for example and know that in the depths of winter in certain parts of the world, if you can have some breaks around timelines of when people should be working or if it means that they’re going to decrease their happiness by a certain percentage based on the snowfall, we can start to actually look at big data like weather and create predictions around that. And that’s data exchange and other really cool technologies that allow us to analyze how happiness is impacted by those things.

We also know that high hope and hero traits, hope efficacy, resilience, optimism; we also look at gratitude, mindfulness and empathy – the higher the individuals are in those traits, they have a 30% likelihood of improving their performance and engagement at work. So, you can start to ask questions around hopefulness or efficacy or gratitude in your hiring profile, and understand where a person that might require more resilience – say for example when we work with call centers we understand you need to be able to bounce back after a call faster – you could hire people based on resilience versus just on skills.

So, these are very dumbed-down, fast description of some of the data we’ve been able to gather, but all of this small and big data plays into hiring practices; it builds your policies, it helps you to understand at an individual level what every person needs versus creating blanket programs or policies that only support 10% of your employee population, versus the 90% that are really looking to be engaged and want to feel cared for.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, there’s so much good stuff there. So, first sync up on units. You mentioned each inch of snow drops happiness by 0.5. Now, what is the scale, the units or the means by which that’s measured?

Jennifer Moss
So, there’s a 100-point scale that we measure and people answer on their happiness score on this 100-point scale, sometime 3 to 4 times a day, depending on how they want to communicate or share how they’re feeling. And again, it’s all anonymized; it’s just reflected back to them. But they can see through their journal that, “I was happy at this point in time, but then I was also frustrated at this point in time.” And all that qualitative data is gathered, but that quantitative data create an aggregate score and then we map it to open data where we can see weather in certain geographic regions and if weather is described as correlated to happiness scores. We can see that between all of those pieces of data and we bundle them together; we can actually understand how there’s a cause and correlations to both.

Pete Mockaitis
So, I’d like to talk about this Hero Model a bit, in terms of, could you share with us maybe your favorite tip, in terms of it being actionable and making a really big bang for your buck impact when you do it to give a boost to the hope, to the efficacy, to the resilience, to the optimism?

Jennifer Moss
Absolutely. One of the first places that I say to go for someone new to the concept of building their own psychological fitness is, go to gratitude first. And gratitude is referred to as sort of the granddaddy or the grandmama of happiness; it actually sits sort of above it. And there was some really great research that Dr. Robert Emmons performed about a decade ago now in Berkeley; it might’ve been a bit longer. And he spent some time studying gratitude and its impact on people, and he had people in these various groups write down what they were grateful for and then he had another group write down neutral things, statements like “I cleaned my closet this week”, and then he had some folks write what they were most pessimistic about, things that bothered them that week – he called them the “hassles group”.

And he divided these three groups up and spent 10 weeks, and once a week they just had to answer these weekly questions and provide responses based on what group they were in. And what he saw at the end of this 10-week study was that people that were in the gratitude group versus the hassles group or even the neutral group, worked out an hour and a half more per week, they increased their amount of health, their immune systems had improved, they were more engaged and they had self-reported less loneliness, they felt like they could contribute more to society. There was a huge sort of breakthrough around just these simple gratitude interventions on a weekly basis that could improve your health and your life by leaps and bounds.

We’ve since taken that further, not just ourselves at Plasticity Labs, but within so much of the research community. We started to invest in learning about gratitude, and you can see now that three words of gratitude every day before you go to sleep can improve your sleep exponentially. It actually improves a whole bunch of different… Sales increase if you’re a person in sales, it actually improves profitability, it improves engagement, it reduces procrastination. So if you’re a procrastinator, if you write three grateful things down before you go to bed, you can actually reduce your procrastination, which is huge in the workplace.

And also, if you’re a person in a family who’s interested in incorporating some of these things in your day-to-day life, we practice “What made you smile today?” And working with kids, what’s so interesting is that their neural hard-wiring is going so fast right now, it’s rapidly wiring and rewiring. And if you can get young people to start to filter the way that they look at their environment by looking at what they have versus what they don’t have to accomplish their goals or to feel good or to succeed in life, it can change them and change their neural wiring so that they are grateful versus people that practice gratitude.

And that is very different; it’s like changing your brain’s fluency, like learning a language. For example, when you start to practice learning French, you begin by translating it from whatever common language you know, your English to French for example. But at a certain point your brain starts to just communicate in French and understand in French. It’s the same process for practicing gratitude – you practice it over time, it actually becomes something that you subconsciously act out versus having to cognitively translate an action and then behave with gratitude. It’s really interesting, and so if you can start with young people very early on and get them to explain what made them smile today at school or in their day and share that every night at dinner time or at least five days a week, they will become grateful adults.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s excellent. So then let’s zero in on the action steps. So it’s specifically writing down or verbalizing three things we’re grateful for that day or the last 24 hours. Is that how it’s framed?

Jennifer Moss
Yes, three things every morning before you start your day at work, or three things before you go to bed at night.

Pete Mockaitis
But it’s the before you go to bed at night that gives you the sleep boost?

Jennifer Moss
It tends to support your sleeping, however it’s still going to start to develop your own neural hard-wiring anyway, so it doesn’t matter either way. Sometimes it’s good just to have a mindful moment before you start your day, and that can be through gratitude or just two minutes of breathing, but before bed if you can practice gratitude you tend to sleep better because you’re thinking more positively, you’re priming your brain to have positive ideas or thoughts or dreams while you’re asleep.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, that’s excellent. Well, can we hear what’s this two minutes of breathing action we should be taking here?

Jennifer Moss
So, you can do two minutes of mindful breathing. Obviously meditation is really a great tool, and I talk about it, as well as being something to perfect. But we do talk quite frequently… I think in the workplace, there’s this fear around, “How do I take 20 minutes away and how do I find that private space with the world of open offices?” It’s not really easy, and I think it’s a difficult request to get people to understand that they can adopt it, even though it’s easier than people think. But what my job is is just to get people to start the concept and they can evolve to developing better meditation practices or time spent on their own being mindful.

But if you even just take two minutes of breathing in and out – in through your nose, out through your mouth – two minutes every day to start your day, or even do it in a time of stress or post maybe a difficult conversation with someone or before you go into a meeting where you’re going to be with someone that you know is challenging. If you can take that two minutes, it will help you reset and be more empathetic.

Another exercise before going into a meeting or getting on a call with someone that is stressful, if you can do empathy exercise, which is getting you to imagine where that person is coming to you from. And for leaders it’s really important because when people come into your office they’re usually there for a reason, especially if you’re a manager or if you’re a CEO where someone’s taking a while to make sure that they get your time. They’re there for reason and it’s either that they’re very excited about something and they’re emotionally driven by a topic or an idea that they want to share, so they’re coming to you with a set of beliefs and they’re trying to influence you; or they’re coming to you angry or upset or stressed or dealing with something that they want to get off their chest.

So, for a leader to be able to imagine, “Where is this person coming to me from?”, and meeting them where they’re at, is hugely effective for leaders. If they can be empathetic, then they can gauge what the expectation of that person is, and that helps them to better relate, to better solve their problems and get closer to a solution, or even just help them to be able to figure out how they can move forward with an idea. Sometimes CEOs can’t necessarily commit to something so they have to find effective ways of influencing decisions, and that sometimes means helping a person understand why they have to get a “No”.

Pete Mockaitis
I just want to make sure we’re clear on this two-minute breathing piece. So, in through the nose, out through the month. I’m assuming belly or diaphragmatic approach, as opposed to chest breathing or shoulder breathing. Is that accurate?

Jennifer Moss
Yes. And I’m not a mindfulness expert; for me it’s more just about what I’ve learned through the training that I’ve received from mindfulness experts that worked for us. And you’re right in that you really should be pushing the belly out, you should be pushing out your breathing like you’re actually breathing through your diaphragm versus thinking that you have to pull in. Four breaths in through your nose slowly as deep as you can go, even deeper than you would think, and try to push yourself to breathe in as deeply as you can for four breaths in, and then four breaths out slowly, as slow as you can, like you said through the diaphragm.

And if you can do that for two minutes with your eyes closed, if you have your hands laid out in front of you open up on your desk, and take a few minutes. You can even listen to some soft calming music while you do it, if you want to put your headphones on. But just put your headphones on so you can alert other people that you’re not to be disturbed – that also helps, especially in startups or open offices where people like to interrupt you; headphones are this clear signal that you’re busy. And if you can’t find an office to do that, you can do that at your desk, and it can really change the way your brain opens up for positivity and reflection creativity.

Before we go on to another tactic, I would say that walking meetings too, or walking discussions or even meditation while walking… I do a lot of meetings while I’m on foot, and I ask someone to come along with me and that’s another great way to practice your breathing and creativity, is to get another person to go for a walk with you while you have ideation. It’s also great to get on a phone call with someone that it’s not necessary for you to be writing down notes, but you can have really good ideation that way, is get up and actually walk. Sitting is the new smoking, and the amount of sitting we do is actually like smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So, it’s really dangerous for us to be sitting so much, so this concept of mindful breathing is really important, but even equally as important I would say is just moving more.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. That’s a nice lineup there, thank you. And so then, when it comes to the two minutes of the breathing, we can have some tunes going – do you recommend… It sounds like your mind is occupied with the counting “1, 2, 3, 4” – that sounds like plenty for my brain.

Jennifer Moss
Me too.

Pete Mockaitis
So, eyes open, closed? Any other little pointers?

Jennifer Moss
Well, I would say yes. If you have the ability to feel comfortable enough in closing your eyes, I think that’s important. And I think what is most important is creating an environment, especially the leader where we destigmatize this concept of taking breaks or having time to close your eyes or be mindful or meditate. That’s one of the things we can suggest to leaders and employers – is make it so that it’s super comfortable, even create what we’re seeing in a lot of workplaces, is creating mindful spaces.

So, a beanbag or a place where people go and you know that that’s a space where we’re getting a refresh. It’s awesome when I see that in workplaces – a little spot for people to know that they’re in protected space. And so, I would encourage, even if you’re in a workplace where you can set up a desk or a special space for people to feel protected – that is so helpful for you to get into that headspace that actually it’s going to be productive and effective for you to do that mindful breathing.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Well now, I want to hear, you mentioned emotional intelligence a couple of times here – I’d love to get your view: What do you see in workplaces to be among the most common gaps or missteps when it comes to folks being and applying emotional intelligence?

Jennifer Moss
One of the biggest issues I find is that there’s an aspirational desire to be a workplace that is focused on wellness and yet this very myopic concept of wellness. And so what we do is we create these places that might have support for you to go to a gym and you might have yoga or whatever you’re going to have to support wellness. And yet what most employers don’t understand is that physical wellness is difficult to be achieved without emotional wellness, and that means just having high inspiration and hope and optimism. People won’t tend to work out in the same way unless they have higher levels of emotional intelligence.

So, creating a wellness program where psychological fitness is a part of it is a gap I see. I also see that there is this issue of trust, and employees have a hard time trusting that their employers really do care for them; and that’s unfortunate. We’ve seen that across the board where employers do want to make changes, whether it’s for the right reasons or the wrong reasons; they do want to improve the happiness and health of their employees and of course the performance of their employees.

So, when they try to make these big leaps they have to overcome the trust issues first. And that’s deeply rooted and embedded in a lot of organizations around the world right now. It feels like there’s this employer-employee sort of silo, and that it’s not about working together or collaborating or being connected to a shared goal. And so that has to be broken down first, before you can start really working on building higher levels of emotional intelligence.

And for new companies, this is where they have the perfect opportunity. Startups or small businesses or organizations that are in their infancy – that is where if you can create this cultural root, where emotional intelligence practice and well-being and mindfulness and conscious capitalism is at the core of who you are as a value system, you create this culture that starts to move out concentrically as you scale and grow, and that’s what’s at the root of who you are, even at 200 people.

When you start with a culture – and we’re seeing this a lot right now with the discussions going on in Silicon Valley, where you have a culture that starts out in a negative way or no one really cared about culture or thought about culture right at the beginning, and emotional intelligence isn’t a really big part of the factoring of what’s going to make you successful – that scales too, and it balloons into a very unhealthy culture that is also scaled across departments and a giant organization, and that’s when really terrible, dramatic events occur. So, culture should be considered right at the beginning; emotional intelligence as part of that.

Pete Mockaitis
And I’m wondering about individuals here, in terms of their emotional intelligence and interfacing with their colleagues and such. What are some things you see that folks could sure benefit by doing more of?

Jennifer Moss
Well, Shawn Achor, who is a great researcher, he also wrote the foreword for the book Unlocking Happiness, and he’s written Happiness Advantage – he’s great. And he writes about how we have closet optimists right now, because there’s so much negativity and we breed that inside of organizations. And so, he and I’ve talked about how we can kind of let closet optimists out of the closet and help them to feel like they can be more positive. And what happens inside the workplace is one person or a bunch of people start to gossip or create negative gossip, and that spreads.

And so, what we need to be able to do is foster positive gossip, and that could mean talking about another employee “behind their back” in a positive way, or making sure that we highlight when people are doing really good things. We do this fun game called “The Smile Bomb” every so often – I suggest actually doing it once a week or once a month – where you take sticky notes to your favorite person’s chair that might be the unsung hero, the one that’s always setting everyone up for success but never takes the credit, and covering their desk with sticky notes about what makes them awesome. And it’s so simple and it’s very affordable, but it’s a way for people to feel cared about and recognized. And so recognition I think is super important for us to consider when it comes to our coworkers. And try to move away from negative gossip once it starts to become something that ruminates inside the workplace because it can be pretty toxic.

And then I would also say that if you can make sure that there is open dialog and discussion around mental health as a leader, as an employee, and make it so that that stigma is reduced, you actually have a more likelihood of people to have strong psychological fitness because the best, most creative organizations are the ones where you can have a really difficult conversation with your coworker, but it can be healthy and constructive and you can bounce back even if it is uncomfortable. But you can have conflict resolution versus conflict avoidance, and that’s a big difficult beast for organizations to deal with, is this whole concept of dealing with conflict and change. But if you create an environment where resiliency is really strong, then you can overcome everything as a team.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s exciting. Well, tell me, Jen – is there anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Jennifer Moss
I would say just in general that I’d like to get across to the listeners that it might seem like fluffy science, and “fluffy science” seems like an oxymoron in itself, but it might seem like it’s one of those things that we talk about and it’s all good common sense, but it’s unfortunate how few people actually practice these very simple things.

And that it’s about being open to trying them and doing these simple yet that might seem silly experiments or interventions, and watch how it does change your workplace and watch how it does evolve the discussion into some place that’s more positive. And just try it. I say even just try it with a 30 days of gratitude intervention, and every day post a sticky note on the wall, every single one of your employees stick a note on the wall about what makes this place great and why you come into work every day, and watch how the culture changes. And just try it and then tell me how it turned out.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh great, thank you. Now can you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Jennifer Moss
Well I have two. One is, “Don’t drag the U-haul behind the hearse.” It’s not about things in life; it’s about experiences. And then I also love, “You can have anything, but not everything.” So it’s all about choices and priorities.

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. And how about a favorite book?

Jennifer Moss
The Book Thief is my favorite, favorite fiction book. I love that book, it’s fantastic. And also my favorite non-fiction is Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And how about a favorite tool?

Jennifer Moss
Well, I have to say that I do use – this is not a shameless plug – but I do use Plasticity often, and I go through this as a process to develop my own psychological well-being. But I also really like my hair straightener.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, thank you.

Jennifer Moss
Yeah. Got to have a hair straightener if you’re a lady.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite habit, a personal practice of yours that helps you be effective?

Jennifer Moss
Well, one of the things that I love to do every day, and we talked about gratitude, but I do like to ask my kids what made them smile today. And we talked a little bit about that, but it’s so cool to hear what little kids say about what makes them happy, and I would recommend even if you don’t have kids to go and ask a kid what made them smile that day and it will definitely put you in a good mood.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, thank you. And is there a particular nugget or a piece that you share that really seems to resonate with folks and gets them taking notes, retweeting, etcetera?

Jennifer Moss
Yeah. I would say that – I say this again with gratitude – but, “Gratitude is the gateway drug to happiness”, and that’s Shawn Achor, Michelle Achor’s note. And I find that a lot of people resonate with this concept of something so simple. We don’t need to make life more complicated, that we can go back to humanity and the simple things, and understanding that it’s just about reflection and being positive and focusing on the good things and just use common sense, because right now unfortunately common sense isn’t that common and we need to get back to that.

Pete Mockaitis
And Jen, if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Jennifer Moss
Well, I’m on Twitter – @JenLeighMoss, but you can also go to PlasticityLabs.com and check out some of our white papers. We do a lot of research around flexibility in the workplace and what matters to parents and non-parents. And there’s tons of really awesome research there that I would recommend people go and check out and read and learn and figure out if they can bring happiness into their workplace.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for those seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Jennifer Moss
Yeah. I would love for people to start practicing gratitude. Like I said, I suggest people start focusing on their own personal development – either they start their own gratitude journal or they start their sticky note wall. And it’s easy – you just need to bring in Sharpies and sticky notes and find a space, and practice that. I would also say if you have a cool question of the day that gets people to refocus on the positive and prime them for the positive, that’s a really great way to start dialogue, and it could just be for the next month, “What made work great today or what made today great?”, and put it on chalkboard right on the wall and get people to start answering that question. And it should prime you to be in a happier place when you’re at work.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Well Jen, thank you so much for taking this time and sharing these perspectives. I wish you much happiness at work, and keep on doing what you’re doing!

Jennifer Moss
Thank you so much. It was so great to talk to you, Pete. It was a great conversation. Thank you!

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The Gold Nugget

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