Karen Salmansohn, host of the daily radio program “Be Happy, Dammit” has invited me to guest-produce a segment of her program.

We’ll be focusing on HAPPINESS and WORK.

By the end of the program, you’ll know:
* Several new techniques for becoming happier at work
* What the research says about happiness at work
* The ONE main suggestion from each panelist for becoming happier at work

Margaret Greenberg, President of the Greenberg Group – an organizational effectiveness consulting and coaching practice
David J. Pollay, Syndicated columnist with the North Star Writers Group, and is president of TheMomentumProject.com, an international training and consulting organization
Doug Turner, Vice President of HR for the Washington, DC division of Balfour Beatty Construction company

Senia Maymin, Workshops and coaching for positive management and Editor-in-Chief of PositivePsychologyNews.com

All the guests are writers at PositivePsychologyNews.com.

Monday (8-27-07), 8-9am
Sirius radio channel 114 (also called “Lime 114“)
To get a three-day free internet subscription, go here and click on “FREE ONLINE TRIAL” in the upper left area.

*** “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?”
Only 20% of people can answer YES to this question. (Gallup data)

*** People feel that they enjoy leisure much more than work,
but it turns out surprisingly that people achieve the state of “flow” – when they
lose track of time and get “into the zone” – people achieve this more at work than in leisure.

Here are the segments I’ve asked the panel to prepare for each of the four 11-minute segments:

1) How has your business outlook changed since learning about Positive Psychology?
2) What are your favorite findings in Positive Psychology that can be applied to business?
3) What are some findings that you WISH would be applied to businesses? That you wish businesses and individuals at work would take on?
4) What is the ONE THING you would recommend to someone listening to implement at work starting today?

Feel free to email ahead of the show with questions: senia [at] senia [dot] com

In coaching, I often think about how to ask a person questions so that I can understand more of his world. Sometimes it feels as if there are not enough details, or I don’t quite see a situation from her point of view.

In this case, it’s natural to want to ask, “Is there anything more you can tell me?”

But that question is often a dead-end because to a degree it presupposes that, um, no, there’s not anything more that the person can tell me. “Well is there any other way that you could structure your day so that you have healthier food around you?” Um, no, not really, I’m already doing everything I can think of.

Try this question:
“What is some other way that you could structure your day so that you have healthier food around you?”

What did I do differently here?
1) I made it an open-ended question. “What is some way …?” as opposed to “Is there …?”
2) I asked about some way as opposed to any way.

I know this sounds silly – it’s just ONE WORD. On the other hand, you unburden the word by making it open: SOME vs. ANY. You put a new pre-supposition in there. The assumption is that there is some way. Or perhaps together we could think of some way.

“What are some new ways that we could approach this company and this department if you want a job here?”

“Well, I’ve already talked to my contacts there, and I’ve approached the person who has the same responsibilities as me.”

“What might be some other ways?”

“Well, I could contact someone else.”

“Great, who might be some other people that you could contact? What might their roles be? What might they be involved with at the company?”

The openness of “some” and of open-ended “what” questions can move you closer to something true that leads to action. Enjoy!

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz says two things are the most important in life:

1) Knowing generally what you want to do (do you want to be a pilot or a doctor? a businessperson or an actor?), and

2) Knowing that ALMOST GOOD ENOUGH is usually GOOD ENOUGH.

If you generally know what you want and you move forward with things that are along your trajectory and moving you in the right direction, Barry Schwartz would argue that these two ideas will move you most effectively towards your goals.

As Paul Rozin says, “Happiness is all about expectations management.” And by knowing what you want, and that you are constantly moving forward in incremental steps, you do get closer!

At its best, “delegate” becomes “put people in charge!”

Managers often get very excited to “delegate,” and to get rid of boring responsisbilities. “Oh, when I hire this associate person, I can delegate all my planning to him or delegate all my morning market analysis to her.” Yes, sometimes the job that you have set aside for that person will free you fo exactly the things that you may least want to do.

On the other hand, sometimes you’ll need to delegate away exciting responsibilities to open yourself up to do more. It’s not always the boring chores that you delegate away, sometimes its just those that other people can do best for you.

A positive way to looking at “delegating” is “putting people in charge” – what can you put people in charge of most effectively? What can you be sure that someone will be proud to run as a process?

And people are different! What one person will love running another would be horrified to be anywhere near. So, have fun with the balance of it all!

This Expectations post is my second-favorite Seth Godin post so far this year. This still remains my favorite this year so far.

It’s a pretty short post, so here it is in its entirety:


Word of mouth comes directly from expectations.

Low expectations are a terrific shortcut, because when you exceed them, people are so amazed that they can’t help but talk about it.

But low expectations are dangerous, because if you fly too low, you’re invisible. Worse, when people expect little of you, they often don’t bother listening at all.

So most of the time, you’re challenged with this: high expectations that must be beat.

Broadway shows. Apple products. Expensive consulting services. Promise big and deliver bigger seems to be the only reliable strategy.

Yes! This is in a sense what Seth’s book is about – The Dip. Be the best – challenge all expectations and be the best at what you’re doing, and get rewarded at that level for it.

I agree. I believe. I know.

In tenth grade, my English teacher told us the best way to prepare for an English essay-writing exam. He said, “Think of a question that covers many of the books we read this term, such as “What is the role of death in our readings?” and think of a concrete, wonderful answer.”

Then he tricked us. Or he gave us a lowball. Depending how you think of it.

We walk into the exam, and there were three questions – each worth 33%. The last question was, “Write the question you wrote to prepare for the exam (unless it was about the role of death), and write the answer you wrote to prepare.” !!!!!!!!! Exactly!

Sure, I’d prepared, and done as he had suggested, but I could have put more time into that pre-exam!

That’s what today’s game is about. Penelope Trunk writes about media training that she took in preparation for the radio and TV interviews for her book. She excerpts a section of the training manual from Clarity Media Group:

“Don’t try to prepare for every possible question that could arise. Determine the 6-8 topics that are likely to come up during your interview and then:
a. Hone a key message for each topic.
b. Identify anecdotes you can tell that illustrate each message.
c. Prepare specific examples or compelling data to prove your point.
d. Think of clever analogies if appropriate.
Think of these interviews as the equivalent of a good movie trailer, in which your quest is to independently drive to the very best scenes, anecdotes and newsworthy revelations in the book.”

You know when Joan Rivers or Carson Daly have come up to celebrities on the red carpet with the big microphone to ask one pointed question? That’s you – the celebrity! And that’s you – Carson Daly! You’re both the interviewer and the interviewee – you’re on both sides of the mike.


* When preparing for a job interview

Goal of the Game:
* To prepare well for a job interview – just like for that English final.

How Long to Play:
* 20 minutes. Play by yourself to prepare, and later potentially run your answers by a friend.

1) Prepare 6-8 questions that the interviewer might ask you (“Tell me about yourself,” “What is your greatest professional accomplishment?” …)
2) Prepare stories for each answer.
3) Prepare specific examples or SARI (situation-action-result-interesting thing) answers.
4) Run these by trusted advisors and friends.


I was speaking with a friend today, and she said a great combination of words, “networking really is aimless, isn’t it?” And I thought that was so correct, so right on.

By the time you have a goal with networking, it’s no longer networking. It’s sales or starting a transaction or even developing a business relationship. But at that point, it is NO LONGER networking for the sake of networking.

This is fasconating to me because I often have very fun discussions with people without knowing at all how we might one day work together, or have our lives intersect again. No, networking doesn’t have to be all that – the next job, the next project. Networking can be just two people who have a great time speaking with each other … Aimlessly!

perspectiveThis game is directly from the The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte.*

“I’ve given this proposal to my boss a half-hour late. He was expecting it. I knew when the deadline was. I just wasn’t finished. And now he’ll be freaked out – he’ll yell at me – he might even fire me. I might have no money to live on. I’ll have to go ask friends for handouts. I’ll have to give up renting my apartment.” This type of downhill spiral thinking is a prime example of a situation in which this exercise can be used.

* When a situation appears overwhelming.
* When you get into a 3am discussion with yourself ruminating and catastrophizing about things that can go wrong.
* When you may be blowing up a very nasty concrete situation into a prolonged many-year huge-consequences event.

Goal of the Game:
To “take the edge off” (as Karen Reivich says in trainging teachers in resilience techniques). To nip anxiety before it grows into self-created stress. To be able to function in a situation even when it seems overwhelming.

How Long to Play: 20 minutes.

Players: Alone, with one person, or with many.

Materials Needed: Paper and pen. Or a new Word document.


Worst Thoughts – Best Thoughts – Most Likely – Preparing for Most Likely.

1) Write down your worst thoughts.
* Write down the triggering situation (e.g. I handed in the proposal a half-hour late), and all the resulting possible worst-case situations.

2) Estimate the probabilities of your worst case scenario.(optional: Karen and Andrew are very big on this step, but I don’t think this step is as important, so I call it optional).
* Getting fired 1%
* Having no money at all .001%
* Etc.

3) Write down your best-case scenarios.
* In the above example, “I handed in the resport late, but the boss’s boss was there, and he saw it at the time it came in, and he thought it was wonderful and offered me a promotion, now I make 26x more than I ever did, and I live in a $5 million home, and I go to the race track on the weekends.”

4) Write down the most likely implications.
Forget the worst, forget the best. Now, write down what are really the most likely implications. Will the boss get angry? Yes, likely. Will he fire you? No, not likely.

5) How can you handle these most likely implications?
Write down some steps so that you can handle the most likley implications. If you expect your boss to be angry, maybe send him an apology by email in advance. If you expect that the proposal may not get out on time to FedEx, offer to drive it to the last-closing FedEx in your state. Think of rational, actual steps you can take.


After you take the above steps, what often happens is that you … feel better.
What the above game does more than anything else is it can take the edge off a situation. It can make a situation more manageable. And in that time, you can take action, and more your life forward in other ways! Enjoy.

Image: Perspective.

The full version of the “Putting It in Perspective” exercise can be found on pages 168-185 of The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles.

I wrote about how the way you tell the story of your life – to yourself and to others – may affect how productive and successful you are in the future. One way to see which stories you’re telling and why you’re telling them this way is to ask yourself about some of your favorite stories that you heard as a child.

When: When you want to learn more about why you do certain things.

How Long to Play: 15-30 minutes.

Players: Alone, with one person, or with many.

Materials Needed: Paper and pen.

Goal of the Game: To be able to explain a current situation in terms of your thoughts from when you were a child. Why do this? Because sometimes seeing things this simply makes a current situation dissipate in power, which is what you may want.

1) Sit down with your friends or by yourself.
2) Everyone write for 10 minutes: “What’s your favorite story from childhood and why?”
3) Everyone write for 5 minutes: “What current situation in your life might you be playing out like your favorite childhood story?”
4) If playing with friends, everyone share your favorite childhood story, why it was your favorite, and how it may affect your current expectations about any parts of your life.

(Since today is Question Friday, feel free to answer in the comments section! I’ll answer in there too – looking forward to hearing your answers!!!)