It's the little things...

Money can’t buy happiness

For the third and final extract from my Humans Under Management Talk, I look at the important subject of how money can’t buy happiness and - barring a lifetime supply of KitKats - the best things in life are free!

As a company we try to do a few things to provide thoughtful reminders to clients and people we work with.

As well as striving to provide the best financial outcomes for our clients, we also focus on the little things. We send small and thoughtful gifts on special occasions, like birthdays and weddings. We also send gifts to our clients’ children on their birthdays. These are not necessarily expensive gifts, but we always try to make them personal.  

We had one client whose wife had been unwell for a little while and we sent her a little pamper hamper to let her know we were thinking of her. She was really touched by the gesture and sent a lovely email telling us how we’d brightened her day.

We find that these gestures, whilst not intending to be anything other than a sincere gift, have provided clients with a lot of positive feeling towards us.

But it’s not just about buying gifts. When I see an article that I think a client would be interested in, I’ll share it. If I haven’t heard from a client for a while I’ll check in to make sure all’s ok.

A tip I learnt from a life coach was to practise ‘listening to the unconscious mind’. If someone pops into my mind, I message them then and there. You’d be surprised how often something comes from those messages.

Also, if a client calls me to discuss something, I note the date/time and what we’ve spoken about on our CRM system – this is a useful tip for when we next do a face to face because I have notes and can refer back to that conversation and can cover off those points. This also helps to ensure the that the client feels listened to.

For me, it’s important to keep communicating with clients outside of the obligatory annual meetings/review. It’s also important to be authentically thoughtful, so don’t force these communications. 

Happiness can be a choice

Your internal framing of any and every situation sets the tone. Obviously being happy all the time is not always possible. The world has a wonderful habit of blindsiding you when you least expect it. What you can do though is try to change your perspective.

You’re stuck in traffic and you’re going to be late – you have more time to prepare for the meeting.

You’ve lost your job – you get a chance to reshape your career and think about how you want to spend your time.

These are simple examples and clearly, when it comes to client issues, there is a time to just be empathetic and not try to put a positive spin on things. However, when used in the right way, a positive attitude can make all the difference.

We do also need to consider the glass half full/empty paradox.  If the clients’ glass is half empty then it’s our job to try to help them find the positives in their situation. However, sometimes when the glass is half full, the client might need a dose of reality to make sure they fully understand their situation.

Do what makes you happy

Life is not always going to be easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. So the only thing to think about when you think of your life, your future, your time - is are you doing what makes you happy? Are you spending enough time on that to make everything else worth it?

Steve Jobs said it best in a speech he gave to Stanford University students, ‘your work will take up a huge part of your life and so you need to love what you do as that is the only way to do great work.

I know from my own experiences with clients/people that the goodwill generated from what we do is extremely fulfilling. It adds purpose and meaning to the work we do. I urge everyone to try and find purpose in what they do.

If you’re unhappy in a part of your life and you can see it, have the courage to address the issue. Find someone you can talk to. Time is a finite resource, don’t waste it. Look objectively at yourself and start from there. Once you are clear on where you want to get to, it’s easier to carve out the route to that destination.