Thinking about how to kick start 2017?

Consider this: if you make happiness a priority, you increase your chances of professional success – and not the other way around. Research in the field of positive psychology shows that people who figure out how to be happier at work are more likely to be productive, competent and engaged in whatever they do. They are also more likely to contribute to the success of others and make a difference in their communities. The old sage advice is true. Be happy and success will follow. Sounds easy, but it’s not simple.

We live in a privileged part of the world where a good number of working people are asking themselves these questions:

Does success have to come at the expense of personal happiness?

How can I be happy and make a living?

What will it take to thrive in my career and not just survive?

I work with a lot of professional skeptics (aka lawyers) and getting them on board with this idea that happiness is critical to success is no easy task. Speaking to a group of lawyers recently on Career Well Being, I referred to an empirical study, What Makes Lawyers Happy: A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success, to back me up. Professors Lawrence Krieger and Kennon Sheldon have proven that lawyers are a lot like everyone else when it comes to well-being and life satisfaction. Happiness has little to do with external measures of success like money, prestige, or position. The factors that matter most are internal and personal. They include things like being self-directed, having good relationships, and finding meaningful work.

So what can you do about your own happiness? 

It turns out that half the battle is in your mind. If you tend to focus on what’s gone wrong and imagining the worst, you may be setting the stage for exactly that. Try shifting your attention to the small things that contribute to your personal and professional well-being – those moments when you feel grateful and proud of yourself for something you contributed or accomplished.  Now imagine you could recreate more of those experiences. In the positive psychology lexicon, this is known as “priming the pump for more positive experiences”.

No job is perfect, but the better you understand what’s happening when things are going well, the better your chances of thriving and being happy at work.

Try this: at the end of each day come up with three things that went well at work. This may be a tough exercise if you’re used to scanning for flaws and critiquing yourself. It will take practice. Persist for two weeks and notice what happens.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with happiness, health and possibility!

For more information about how to retain Lianne for coaching or a speaking engagement, contact

Coaching Offer

This season… give a gift of happiness Sign up by January 1st for a 30 day Coaching Package for $500 + HST. Includes:

  • 2 coaching sessions
  • Identify key priorities for your career well being
  • Follow up call to support your success

Recommended Reading

The subject of “happiness at work” has become something of a cottage industry. A quick google search delivers over 135,000 results! For some off the shelf reading, here are three personal favourites.

Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work,a very readable and sometimes funny book on how happiness and positivity drive success at work.

Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life, a foundational book in positive psychology.

A must read for lawyers: Lawrence Krieger and Kennon Sheldon,What Makes Lawyers Happy? A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success, (2015), George Washington Law Review, Vol. 83:554.

Lianne Krakauer is a career and leadership coach with over 20 years of experience in professional services, law, education and the public sector. She works with professionals and business leaders seeking to re-invent their careers and bring about positive sustainable change. Lianne’s multi-disciplinary background in law and counseling psychology has provided a solid foundation for coaching and facilitation. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Western, a law degree and a Master of Education, both from the University of Toronto, and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University. Lianne is a member of the International Coach Federation, and the Canadian Positive Psychology Association. She is a Professional Certified Coach with over 1400 hours of individual coaching and has regular speaking engagements on topics related to career and professional development. In her free time she can be found on her yoga mat in a favourite warrior pose.