WHY IS HAPPINESS AT WORK IMPORTANT AND HOW CAN WE BUILD BETTER RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK AND IN LIFE?
Earlier in the year I attended a Guardian Masterclass that saw a day full of inspiring speakers take to the stage and share with us thoughts on how to live a healthier and happier life. It was a day full of thoughtful ideas and wisdom that left many of us in the room motivated to go forth and put some of the positive tips and advice into action both at work and in our daily lives. One of the speakers was Samantha Clarke who spoke on the subject of building better relationships in work and life. Her ethos for finding happiness at work through aligning with your values, communicating better with those around you and working out what motivates and challenges you rang some definite bells with me so when she agreed to an interview for this blog I was really excited to have her pass on some of her ideas and work wise wisdom.
Samantha runs her own company Samantha & where she works as a 'Happiness Consultant' guiding companies and individuals toward happier working lives. Today she shares a little about herself as well as some tips for happier work and healthier relationships ...
Hi Samantha. Please could you tell us a little about your own career to date as well as what your current role involves?
In my lifetime I've worked as a brand and strategy consultant, trend and innovation researcher, emerging markets connector, style and personal brand educator and lecturer on personal and work development. My journey has finally led me to a happy place and I want to help others be the founder of their own lives, dreams and work happiness. Samantha & was born as a result of my fascinations with travel, people, culture, relationships, the joys of flexible and remote working, crafting your own path and what it means to be ‘happy @ work’.
Through my quirky coaching, workshops and retreats I help to:
join the dots
be a catalyst for great ideas
support and inspire change
I can also be found delivering talks and workshops for The Guardian and Soho House as well as being a faculty lecturer at The School of Life. There I inspire changes in diverse areas like; authentic leadership, realising your potential, enhancing communication at work, building a portfolio career, presentation psychology, happiness, increasing emotional intelligence and confidence building.
What led you to this kind of work and why is what you do so important to you?
I’ve always found peace and felt in flow when I can see transformations take place. My natural default is to want to help people, to spread information and to springboard people into new areas or ideas.
I also know exactly what it’s like to be:
pulled in different directions in work
be held to external expectations of what my life and work should be, look and feel like
be plagued by self-doubt, analysis paralysis, lack of confidence, imposter syndrome
multi-passionate with multiple potentials and no real guidance on how to embrace it all
constantly trying to fit in before a time when it was cool to embrace difference and less rigid work lifestyles
to be disillusioned with what ‘work success’ means…. is it innovating a new product, finding that ‘one’ idea, getting millions of pounds of funding for a business and cashing out at 40, climbing the corporate ladder....
So for me it was important to meet companies and people where they are, with a level of understanding and help them sculpt the bridge that is needed to take them to where they want to go.
What is it that you love most about the work you do and what motivates you on a daily basis?
Helping navigate the tricky minefield that is either creating an environment that people want to work in and that company owners feel capable of delivering, to helping an individual identify what’s really right for them and making sure they feel authentic in their work.
Are there any key points that people reading this right now can consider to help them find more happiness in their own working environment?
To find more happiness in your working environment:
Identify what’s authentic - take time to distil what really matters, what you need. Educate yourself or your team on your core values to make sure you are consistently embodying and aligning yourself accordingly. When things feel out of sync pay attention to it, interrogate it and hold yourself accountable to the changes that you need to make to put things right.
Build the right support framework around you - once you have clarity on your goals, there is no shame in reaching out and connecting to get help to take you closer to where you want to be. Either by getting a consultant into your business or investing in your creative learning or growth, perhaps on a retreat or workshop. Also look to see how you can help others, it’s a two way street.
Don’t be scared to challenge the status quo - without innovation your work life will become stagnant and not a true representation of the evolving individual or your company. Embrace change head on and any challenges to seek new opportunities.
- Know your goals - map out the vision you have for your work/life. Is this path you are on taking you closer to, or away from these goals? How much progress are you making? Focus on noting down your wins and successes towards this goal as well as identifying where you might need to pivot, readdress, get creative and move through the friction and resistance that comes with change and action.
I suppose it might seem like an obvious question but in your opinion why is happiness at work so important for us?
We spend so much of our lives at work and it’s a shame that for many of us, it’s not a happy experience. So I feel it’s my duty to change this to help companies make sure their staff are nurtured, productive and happy and to help individuals navigate their own version of work happiness that's right for them and their lives even when it seems like an insurmountable task.
You are also an advocate of better relationship building within the work environment, and in everyday life too, can you offer any simple advice for dealing with conflict with others and how to build the foundations for a better relationship in that kind of situation?
It’s important to remember you are the constant in all your relationships. Do the work within yourself first to identify your blind spots, weaknesses and where you might be negatively affecting a relationship if you want the relationships around you to change.
We are all trying to connect with each other for attention, affection, help in some form or another. It’s important to be mindful and notice an individual’s call for help and respond to them in the right way. Conflict and disagreements arise when we choose to reject or ignore a call for connection. It makes people feel unwanted, hurt, offended and less likely to look to you for support in the future. It’s important to see the whole person, be consistently present in the moment and appreciate each other even when we are rushed for time, caught up on our phones or deadlines. It’s also important to build emotional currency in your work and personal relationships to provide you with insights on how to respond better to others. Consciously look for opportunities to connect, actively seek the adventure of building a relationship - when we get lazy with this we don’t build great foundations for strong relationships.
Educate yourself on your own emotional health and make-up to identify how to better regulate conflict with others. Behind every complaint, disagreement or conflict is a disappointed idealised dream, vision or hope. We need to be authentic with our needs and wants and communicate this with others so that we can compromise, meet each other halfway and be respectful of other people's needs and wants too.
Finally if readers are keen to learn more about the work that you do how can they get involved?
Whether you are a business owner, an entrepreneur or an individual seeking a career transition head over to my website www.samanthaand.co for information about all things ‘happiness @ work’ related. Plus you can find out details on my latest Founder In You creative workshop to be held on October 22-23rd for 12 lucky professional or entrepreneurial individuals.
Thank you so much to Samantha for sharing her wisdom when it comes to uncovering more happiness at work, better relationship building and ways to really improve work and life wellbeing more effectively. If you would like to catch Samantha in action make sure you check out her speaking page which is updated regularly with upcoming talks and events or check out what she's up to over on Twitter or Instagram.
Thanks for tuning in everyone, have a great end to your week and hope to see you here again very soon!