How to Create Your Own Happiness at Work

Not many people think of happiness in conjunction with their work—studies have found that only about 13 percent are happy at work. If you’re not among that minority, you need to learn what works for you and how to create your own happiness.

Happiness requires effort, but it’s well worth it: aside from its own value, happiness can improve your performance, your effectiveness and your productivity. So how do you create your own happiness? Here are some techniques that you can try:

Create your own reality. In every given moment, we have a choice: to be happy with what we do and where we are, or to be unhappy. Even when we can’t control our circumstances, we have that choice. In a sense, it means that we create our own reality. When you’re feeling unhappy, remind yourself that you have the power to choose happiness instead.

Don’t compare yourself to others. People who have self-doubt, who lack confidence, who aren’t happy with themselves, are constantly looking over their shoulder and comparing themselves with everyone around them. When you catch yourself asking how you measure up to someone else, stop and tell yourself to look within to find out who you are. Regardless of what other people are doing, refuse to measure your success and self-worth by any standard but that of your own expectations and journey.

Let go of what you can’t control. Happy people know the difference between what they can control and what they cannot. The focus on what they can control and let go of the rest. Take ownership of your happiness within your own boundaries.

Choose your battles wisely. When your emotions are running strong, back up a bit and try to understand what’s triggering them. Work to control your response to your emotions, because then you will be able to choose your battles wisely and stand your ground when you feel it’s something worth fighting for.

Be your authentic self. Happy people are true to themselves; they know how to express their  opinions quietly and effectively, and they know how to say no graciously when someone wants them to do something that might dim their light or compromise their integrity. When you are feeling confused, take some time to review your values and your convictions—they will always help you stay grounded and authentic.

Give so you can receive. Happy people don’t think only of themselves but also of how they can support and help others. Giving makes us happy and we end up receiving more than we have given. Helping someone is literally helping yourself. In a Harvard study, those who helped others were 10 times more likely to be focused at work and 40 percent more likely to get a promotion. The same study showed that people who consistently provided social support were the most likely to be happy during times of high stress. As long as you don’t overcommit yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your own happiness.

Lead from within: People truly are as happy as they make up their mind to be. Happy people don’t have the best of everything; they make the best of everything.


N A T I O N A L  B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Tyler Wickham

    31. Jul, 2018

    Hey Lolly! I really appreciated this post. It was interesting to learn that such a small amount of people are happy with their current jobs. Happiness is something that I always try to make a priority when thinking about advancements in my career. I enjoyed the advice about not comparing yourself to others. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Brandon Bernard

    31. Jul, 2018

    Hi Lolly,

    I think this post is truly something special. We know happy people work harder and create better products so doing what you can to create your own happiness at work is critical to being the best version of you possible. Creating an environment that you can be happy, that your work has meaning, and that you are passionate about is important to being part of that 13% of people who are happy at work. I work at a large company that works hard to create a happy environment but I have found that my managers matter greatly when it comes to the success of those measures. I have found in my career, the advice on giving more than you are receiving is the most poignant. Thank you!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Hannah Hoole

    02. Aug, 2018

    Hi Lolly, love this article and how relatable it is. It is so easy to get caught up on the small things at work. Mindset is key, letting go of things that you can’t control will definitely lead to more happiness in the workplace. Happiness is contagious so hopefully if more people follow your advice it will spread and increase that statistic.

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  4. Rodd Wagner

    11. Dec, 2018

    I agree with your points and the overall strategy. Those “studies (that) have found only about 13 percent are happy at work” overstate the problem. I’ve never seen that low proportion replicated in the numerous studies I’ve supervised. Still, any substantial proportion unhappy at work is a lot of largely unnecessary misery.

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  5. Kaddy

    25. Dec, 2018

    Hi Lolly,

    I’ve read on many platforms how controlling your emotions in difficult scenarios and choosing your battles wisely can set you apart from other in business.
    I’ve also found this sound advice in frustrating circumstances outside of work.

    By saying good to the bad things that happen helps with your ability to control demanding situations.

    Your blogs and books have quickly become a source of inspiration, thank you.

    Reply to this comment

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