Delivering Happiness: Creating Happier Company Cultures With Jenn Lim

TTD 47 | Delivering Happiness


How do you define happiness? Does it really matter? And with the paradigm shift brought about by the pandemic, how does happiness factor in our performance in the workplace and in life?

Jenn Lim is the CEO of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (the late CEO of co-founded to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business. Delivering Happiness started as a book and evolved into a business consultancy and global movement that has impacted and inspired over 400 companies in more than 110 countries. Jenn’s mission is both simple and profound: to teach businesses how to cultivate cultures that generate profit, sustain all people at every level of the organization, and support the health of the planet.

In 2020, Delivering Happiness was on Inc. 5000’s list of fastest growing companies. Jenn has dedicated her career to helping organizations from name-brand industry leaders to innovative governments build workplace cultures that benefit both their employees and their bottom line, with less employee turnover, greater engagement, and higher profits.

In her book, Beyond Happiness, she clearly and concretely shows the way the model works in a hyper-connected fast-paced world, beginning with each individual defining their sense of values and purpose (the ME), and rippling through the organization ecosystem (the WE and the COMMUNITY) in waves of impact.

Drawing on a deep understanding of the science of happiness, Jenn shows how bringing your whole self to work allows you to do your best work every day – no matter what role you play at your company or what crisis might come at you next. She explains how true happiness comes from living your true purpose, and offers case studies to show how companies can help individuals align their purpose with the company mission. This innovation in organizational design and company culture is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s the future of work, and it’s here now. In this life-changing guide, you’ll be empowered to find greater purpose in your own life and career, and to spread that power to others in your business and beyond.

Check out the full interview here –

Listen to the podcast here


Delivering Happiness: Creating Happier Company Cultures With Jenn Lim

In this episode, I have an incredible powerhouse woman that is going to make you leave feeling happy. Who doesn’t want that? Before we go any further, make sure you like, comment, share and subscribe to this show. Let me tell you a little bit about this woman. She is the CEO of a company called Delivering Happiness. It specializes in purpose, people, profit and purpose.

Her mission that she’s taking throughout corporations around the world is to embed the fact when we know what we stand for, we will be better at work and the company will be more profitable. She is leading the charge for the fact that the old paradigm of profits, first and foremost, especially in the corporate world, is hopefully gone for good. Before we continue any further, put on your seatbelt because Jenn Lim is about to take us for a happiness ride. Welcome, Jenn.

Thank you so much. It’s good to be here.

Let’s start right out of the shoot. Tell us what your definition of happiness is.

As we know, happiness is so subjective. Everyone has their own form. That’s why when I talk about happiness, I always go back to the science of it. There’s been data or research on what is long-term sustainable happiness, not rainbows and unicorn happiness. There are different forms. People say there’s pleasure or passion form.

Ultimately, the most sustainable form of happiness, as we’ve found, is by being authentic to your true core of self and living a purposeful life, having a purpose and being a part of something that’s bigger than you. What I go back to is what does the data point to? Also, historically thinking about what Aristotle and Socrates were talking about eons ago. It started from that in the sense of authentic self and living a purposeful life.

Ultimately, the most sustainable form of happiness is by being authentic to your true core of self and living a purposeful life.

I’m sure you’re familiar with Harvard’s study on men that aren’t happy. It’s the first longitudinal study of men from like 70 to 90 because people haven’t lived that long. They found that the number one variable that not only is consistent but must appear for people that are happy is, what? Do you know what it is?

It had to do with relationships.

It’s about relationships. What’s interesting is that when they did the study, they could predict who was going to be happy back when the men were 50. This is the Trust Doctor show. It’s all about relationships. The umbrella for every healthy relationship is trust. Without trust, you can’t have a happy relationship with yourself. You mentioned earlier the science of happiness. Can you talk to someone simple like me about the ABC science behind happiness? What do you see when you look at those brain scans?

What I appreciated that you brought up about that study is it’s not just the relationships with others, especially in this time and age. It’s the relationship with yourself.

To your point, people say, “I’m searching for happiness.” Happiness is an inside job. If we are not happy within, we can’t be happy without. Thank you.

When I say science, it’s basically because there have been decades of research that has been done from a social setting to a brain scan and physiologically setting. There are different forms of how we can say science. When we say science, we can point to neuroscience. The most interesting to me is that when for example, they did a study of a monk, and because of his own state of being in weathered meditation or his sense of happiness or peace, it can see through the scans of the parts of his brain that get lit in ways that do not have a sense of peace of happiness or go in the states of meditation that do that don’t get lit up.

There are other forms of sites or data that show that happiness is contagious. If you’re looking at me and I’m smiling, there are things firing in your neurons and your brain that’s wanting to make you want to smile too. The opposite goes if someone’s being sad or angry. There are all these little data points. I love it in the sociological setting because when you bring a sense of these elements of happiness, and there are a few that the science points to, it’s a sense of control or autonomy and progress. They’re also growing and developing in life.

It is a sense of connection. It’s what you’re saying about the Harvard study. Ultimately, it’s a sense of purpose. What we found is that those four levers can increase people’s happiness as shown in the scientific studies of what can be done, not just in life but in our workplaces, which is obviously something I’m passionate about.

When COVID hit, that created a paradigm shift at home, inside people, in their hearts, minds and in the workplace. How has your work seized on this paradigm shift to make changes for companies realizing that the happiness of their people matters? Corporate care about the bottom line. When you can show them the bottom line increasing parallel to happiness increasing, there are listening. How do you implement that? What’s the model that you bring in?

There are a lot of layers to that question, which is valid. How I like to put in the world got 2020. We predict it in different ways. Futurists knew that there was going to be a recession, pandemic, climate change and social unrest. We didn’t know it was going to happen all in one year. For us, I see it as a reset on humanity on what is it that when we wake up in the morning to the time we go to sleep, everyone started asking those questions, “Am I spending this time wisely?”

“What am I doing in my life?” There are many wonderful things that came out where people took the time to reevaluate how they live or work and what to be prioritized.

Like my brother likes to say, “Let’s not let a good pandemic go to waste. What did this do for us?” People that went to different sides of, “I want to go back to where I was, or the good old days,” there are those that understood that, “Things will never go back to where I was. Therefore, what am I going to do differently in my life?” Specifically, in the workplace, which is what I’m passionate about is, we saw that. We saw The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and it’s still happening in its different forms. These all being symptoms of what was already under the hood. With 2020, it lifted the hood and all things were laid to bear in a more honest and transparent way.

The things that we talk about very openly, like burnout and mental health, are kinds of things we couldn’t talk about many years ago. Four-letter words like love and care, we couldn’t say those things in the workplace, but now we can. Leaders went through it as well. Whether CEO or a frontliner, we all went through this seismic shift of where we were before and now. Those leaders t recognize that the future of work that we were talking about is in the present.

We’re living in the future of remote work with hybrid, automation, etc. The notion that we as leaders at every level of leadership can understand that the human side of it is so much more important, humanizing work, essentially. If you do want to grow, adapt and become more profitable in this day and age, that human factor has to be part of the reframe. They’re not expenses anymore. They’re assets. If we invest reinvest in them, they’ll reinvest in us as leaders of any organization.

TTD 47 | Delivering Happiness
Delivering Happiness: If you want to grow, adapt, and become more profitable in this day and age, the human factor has to be part of your reframe.


There are a couple of things that you touched on. One is a working mom since forever has been begging for remote work. I have four children. I can remember when they were younger, gets sick. I would have coached women back then, “Don’t tell them that you’re staying home because your kid I sick. Say you got a flat tire.” This was before a cell phone where you could take a picture because it wasn’t cool. You were supposed to be a worker and the rest of your life was compartmentalized. The great thing about remote work and zoom is that kids are running behind people. People have on calls with their cats and dogs walking, and that was up and down the food chain.

It forced the human side of the person into work because, let’s face it, we bring our whole cells to work. We’ve been talking about mental health for a while. We have now in the corporate world, CSG or Corporate Social Responsibility. That’s the company’s way for many to check the box. When you talk to people that work there, I’m not so sure that checking the box translates into what I’m going to call empathic leadership. Talk about that for a moment if you can.

The question about empathetic leadership, and you started this particular question around moms and everything that happened in 2020, is a big brunt of the responsibilities that were assumed to be on them because they were doing it before. They did studies showing how the men gravitate towards the normal duties and household chores, but the woman had to take on more because they had a homeschool. They are on top of all their normal everyday work that they had to do. Those added pressures were a big wake-up call to everyone as to, “Now that work in life is more integrated than ever, we can step from our office space in one room and then go to our life space with our kids in the next room over.”

That became a huge spotlight as to the reality of what we are facing in society and the workplace. That ties into empathetic leadership because those leaders that recognized how different a shift in our lives has endured and the need to change the fundamental ways of how we’re doing work was a light bulb that if you are still continuing to realize you had to shift your life too as a leader, then the big thing about being empathetic is asking the right questions and actively listening to what’s happening. Whether it’s working moms or what’s going on with challenges that fathers, everyone has their own subjective things that went wrong or are very challenged by.

As leaders, we can be more empathetic of remembering what we had to go through in our daily lives, and not assuming we know how to fix things to be more inclusive and to have these workplaces where people want to show up and are not quiet quitting. The biggest thing is remember to be empathetic to yourself of what you went through, and therefore ask the right questions with active listening as to how to address your particular workplace environment and teams.

Let me just play devil’s advocate for a moment with that. In terms of what you’re describing with both parents at home working, the research also shows that the man got the office if there was an office or they got the kitchen table. The woman got the closet. I know for a fact women worked out of their closets.

I’m laughing because there’s a comic that has a woman and her son or daughter opening up the closet and said, “Mom’s in the conference or boardroom.” It totally was on point with that comic.

This is not about a man or woman thing at all. The woman took on more of the homeschooling percentage-wise, gross oversimplification than the man. Chances are, if we go through, as we are still in transition, many people in leadership roles nowadays are still men. Many of the people in the executive leadership role where we need the most empathic leadership do not have wives or partners that are working full-time. They did not experience the full brunt of somebody in a different situation. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be an empathic leader if you are already an empathic leader.

Here’s my pushback to you in terms of if happiness matters. First, the argument was you can’t work from home because of productivity, then we found that productivity went through the roof. It was another one. Now it’s the culture. I feel every time you hear culture, think control because you can’t create a culture remote or hybrid. You can’t create a new model with the old model type of thing. In some industries, the push is to drive people back into the office, where it’s now almost a full-time job to commute to and from work.

You get to work, you’re exhausted. Chances are if you’re on public transportation, you’re working while you’re going to work and while you’re coming back from work or you’re on a conference call if you’re driving. I don’t see the happiness variable coming into play there. I’m feeling we’re back to the profit. Now the world seems to be so in flux and I’m not an economist by any stretch of the imagination, but I know not to open up my stock portfolio.

If you want to be happy, yes.

That’s my concern. How will you address that in your work? I don’t envy you.

It is a very valid question because the biggest things that we lost impacts our happiness, again going back to the science, is a sense of control. We lost a sense of control, autonomy and being able to make decisions within our control. We lost a sense of flexibility or we gained it, depending on how you look at it. When the whole loses those things and then you get back to a place where it’s either remote, hybrid or in the office, the biggest factor of happiness there is giving the sense of control back, having flexibility as a working mom or dad to be able to choose what’s best for him, her or they.

That’s one of the biggest factors to remember here because it’s not a one size fits all answer. I’ve seen studies where having that choice of hybrid and being able to say when I’m coming in the office and not increases happiness. They have that routine or sense of control that we all lost. A big thing to remember here as well is that we need to zoom out as leaders. These things of having better pay and flexibility are very important. What we’ve been seeing is the best places to work with the most productive, engaged employees toward profitability are those that have a higher purpose.

I know this purpose word has been tossed around a lot these days more and more but it truly is when someone shows up to work and doesn’t look at, “It’s another paycheck or day at the job.” This can happen at all levels, not just at the manager level. It could happen at a frontliner level too. We’ve seen it in the work that we’ve done. We need to remember, we, as human beings are now thinking about, “Why The Great Resignation?” There was a great awakening.

As we were saying earlier, “Am I spending my life the way I want to in the most meaningful way?” As leaders on top of whether you’re making choices of remote, hybrid, etc., it’s to remember that people are most connected and engaged and, therefore, happy when you have a sense of purpose for themselves tied to that of the organization or mission of the company beyond making more money. Those are things that we need to remember as we go into this next phase.

TTD 47 | Delivering Happiness
Delivering Happiness: People are most connected and engaged and therefore happy when they have a sense of purpose for themselves tied to that of the organization and of the mission of the company beyond making more money.


There are a couple of things. One is the purpose. Simon Sinek with, “What’s your why?” He is such a part of the vernacular, but I’m not sure if companies live it. They’ll have mission, purpose and core values. The example that I always love to talk about is when President John Kennedy wanted to send a man to the moon, and he went down into the Space Center and there was a janitor. He had such charisma. He said to the janitor sweeping the floor something about, “What’s your job? What are you doing here?” The man said, “I’m the janitor. I am part of the team that’s putting a man on the moon.” To me, that encapsulates everything about the value of the purpose.

That higher purpose.

The man was a janitor. He was sweeping the floor. Every time I tell this story, it gives me goosebumps. It’s incredible.

I have to say this because I love that story. At the same time, it hasn’t been verified that it’s true. I’ve recounted that story as well because we see that in practice every day now. I love the point of what you said, “How many companies live according to not just their purpose statement or their mission, but their values?” That’s also something that JFK was a huge part of why he was successful in leading the country, is that he brought it back to our personal values and that sense of higher purpose.

To be greater than ourselves.

That’s not what you could do for your country. He was able to inspire with that versus now, if that was said, I don’t know how people would take that in.

What about for companies?

This is why I’m passionate about this work because when we ask ourselves, “How can we create societal change for the better?” I believe workplaces are a huge channel through which we can do that now. I’ve been in companies that basically because they live by their values, are incentivized, rewarded and recognized by them, therefore, they’re being lived, not just worthless words on the wall. They feel they’re living their own values, living a better life, and living a better life for themselves and the people they love.

The workplace is a huge channel in which we can create societal change for the better.

It’s like this almost back-door children’s horse way of essentially living better lives because the values are real, instilled and lived by in companies. I see it as one company at a time. In an organization, one team at a team. When they live more meaningfully with alignment, purpose and values, that in effect, is how we’re creating positive change in society and how we interact with ourselves and each other.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to this movement to getting companies to buy into you what you call the ROI, the Ripple On Impact, which I love?

I call the double ROI. There’s the Return On Investment, the traditional One. We’ve seen over the last years for those places, those companies that double down on their people, they consistently outperform the S&P 500, even in bad economic times and something that we are enduring. There’s that we know. That’s in the data. The other side of it is the Ripple Of Impact. That’s the double ROI. It happens when we can instill these things so that every single person is showing up as authentic to themselves, living according to their purpose and values, all the things that we’re talking about in scientific happiness and able to align that with the organization.

If every person is showing up that way, that, in effect, is authentically living out the higher purpose of the company. People are living out their internal purpose within themselves, rippling that impact to the team, and therefore that of the company and their customers, partners and vendors in an authentic way and everyone that they touch in their ecosystem. The beauty of what we have right now is that more leaders are seeing that profits can coexist, if not be bolstered, by having purposeful, authentic leaders within the company.

That level of coexistence, I don’t think we’ve seen that much before, but those leaders that are progressive enough to see that they are correlated directly between profits and the ability to grow through their people are the ones that are ready and well-positioned to endure. We still have a lot of hard hardships that are coming.

Here’s a  tough question for you. We all know there are so many people that don’t have a clue as to who they are and their authentic self. What do you do?

I’m not in the business of twisting people’s arms to be happy. That’s not going to not be done.

“I will not make you happy.”

Am I able to twist someone’s arm to be authentic to themselves?

I’m talking about they want to be. They just don’t know how.

What I’m big about is the how piece because we can talk about this philosophically until kingdom come in all these different ways. The how comes back to, and we try to break it down practically as we can. If they want to, then there comes a sense of, “Are you curious enough to try and implement these things in your life to find that sense of authenticity?”

Curiosity is where all growth lies.

If we have that sense of curiosity, then we’re willing to explore and test things out that maybe others might be because they want to be, back in the good old days or maybe a little too fearful of what change could happen. When we embrace, there will be change around us, and the most that we can do is adapt and control what we can within us with that sense of curiosity, then we can start testing things of, “What adds to my well-being? What might be my purpose statement? Not making it a huge, daunting thing, but what might I want to do to impact not the world?” Sometimes that’s too big, “How do I want to impact my world, the people that I touch and love?”

If people are willing to do the work, and this is the most important work, is not the work you get paid for. It’s the work within yourself. Are we willing to look into our past? I call it be an archeologist in our past, our highs and our lows because happiness is not just defined by our highs. It is defined by our lows, what we went through and how we got out of it. Those are sometimes even bigger achievements than what we classify as success in typical society.

The most important work is not the work you get paid for. It’s the work within yourself.

When we do that archeology within our reflections, we understand ourselves better. What are our values? For me is authenticity, having a sense of freedom and meaningful relationships. I figured out over the years of what is the most important things to me and how I want to live my life that way. With that sense of curiosity, being able to make, you know, draw lines in the sand of like, “Maybe this might be my purpose. I’ll test this out. Maybe it might not be, but at least I’m exploring. I know what I want to do more and I’ll obviously know what I don’t want to do anymore.”

This is a term that’s overused too, but sincerely, you’re creating a safe space for somebody. You use the word curiosity, which is like gold. Allow yourself to be curious because there’s no judgment there. You’re not attached to any outcome. Growth happens when you get out of your comfort zone. You said a couple of times, “People want to go back to the good old days.” They weren’t so good. There are very few absolutes in life, but there’s never going back. If you keep looking behind you, you are going to keep hitting your head against the next wall. The opportunity comes into curiosity If you can get comfortable being uncomfortable.

You brought up safety and this term is being used in a bigger way in the sense of psychological safety. We are providing this space and psychological safety to not be judged, reprimanded or fired because you’re expressing yourself. There’s an important study I want to mention that’s called Aristotle Study that Google did. It was 30,000 something employees over years time. They wanted to find out, Number 1) What makes the most effective teams in Google?

TTD 47 | Delivering Happiness
Delivering Happiness: Let’s provide the space and psychological safety to not be judged. To not be reprimanded and to not be fired because we’re expressing ourselves.


You would’ve thought, “It was their manager or maybe their software,” but it wasn’t those things at all. They realized that it was psychological safety for those teams and that they were the most productive and effective. If you think about that, we can do that to make effective teams, but we also want to do that in a way we can have more effective people individually with a sense of greater self and authenticity toward that. I want to mention psychological safety and how important that is.

I did mean the psychological safety, but I didn’t clarify that. Thank you for that. If you think about it, especially for a place like Google, but any company, if you’re not innovating, you’re going to be dead by the time this show is over. The only way you can innovate is if you fail. The only way you will allow the safety of failure is for people to be feeling they’re not going to get fired when they fail. You fail fast or forward. There’s a whole model around that. You have to feel that you are in a safe place to fail.

What you said earlier about the authentic self, leadership and employees that are happy where they work, I feel you we’re going to hear a lot more about this because this is what I’m seeing in my coaching and consulting. People have to feel trust. They have to trust that the team, manager and company trust them. They have to be trustworthy. You never heard about the concept of trust before. Before, it used to be command and control. That’s what it was. Now it’s trust and inspire. How does that concept play into the model and what you are creating with going into companies where you’re inspiring the leaders to help foster an environment that creates, nurtures and sustains happiness, which is the individual’s responsibility, but it can only happen within a certain environment.

That was a great segue because this is a psychologically safe place to do this. The biggest thing, and you said it in a way with the word nurture, I talk about this in my book and I call it, “The model we’ve used in the past is expanded on now because of all the things that happened in the last couple years.” My book is called Beyond Happiness For A Reason because it’s not just about happiness anymore. My belief system is that it’s beyond that because it’s about those highs and lows.

It’s about living, not necessarily, but by the time you wake up and go to sleep, you’re happy. That’s not possible. There’s no way you can be happy every second of the day, but you can be fulfilled. You can know with confidence that you’ve lived according to your values and what your higher purpose might be. Along those lines, being able to nurture in the way you’re talking about is the key to something everyone wants. Beyond happiness, what is it that people want in life? It is the ability to grow and have that nurturing sense of the greenhouse model and being able to say, “If I am trying to nurture others,” and it is something we forget as leaders in all levels of life, “How do I nurture my own greenhouse too?”

There’s just no way you can be happy every second of the day, but you can be fulfilled. You can know with confidence that you’ve lived according to your values and to what your higher purpose might be.

There might be one person reading this show that hasn’t heard about the Greenhouse Model. Please tell us what that is.

The Greenhouse Model is an analogy that we’ve had for leadership for a long time, and this is something that I used to talk to my cofounder with. As leaders, we want to create the environment conditions of a greenhouse so that we don’t have to be the tallest tree or the biggest plant, but we are creating the conditions for others to grow. I believed in that for a long time, but I did not realize there was a gap. There was a missing link there. The build to that was, “We want to take care and grow of others, but the biggest gap was who’s taking care of ourselves?” Nurturing others? Yes, but how can we nurture our greenhouse at the same time?

It’s like the oxygen mass analogy, going back to the flame thing that we forgot over the years. Maybe it’s because we didn’t fly for years now. We forgot that as counterintuitive as it is to put on that oxygen mask first. That’s the whole point of the Greenhouse Model. Make sure you’re doing the work and being curious of how to nurture your own because it’s not to formulate. It’s being able to test, “What are the things that will fill me up when I’m depleted. Just because someone’s saying meditation is great, taking a walk or whatever. It’s like, “What is great and most aligned with who you are and how you can nurture your greenhouse?” That’s where that comes from.

You’re talking about self-care. I have to tell you this funny story. Here’s an absolute coaching faux pop. It was a long time ago. I get much better. The woman was struggling with taking care of herself and everybody. A little bit of martyr syndrome. I like to work out. I’m a little bit of an athlete. I’m like, “Why don’t you go for a walk, take a run or whatever?” She’s looking at me like this is going over like a lead balloon. I said like, “What’s going on”? She goes, “I hate exercise, but I love to nick.” To your point, I wasn’t aligned with what she saw as self-care. What you’re saying is right there.

That’s next level up of self-awareness and understanding like, “Is this aligned with who I am?” Going back to your comment about trust. That has slowly been a bigger factor to the bigger equation. There are newer things on top of trust or together with trust that are important in this day and age of how we design our companies and organizations. This is all part of the Greenhouse Model that I talk about in the book. In addition, there’s a sense of accountability, not in the big brother or sister kind of way. One of the conditions we need to have within these greenhouses within our organization is, “I got your back and you know, I got yours.”

That’s the level of trust that I’m talking about so that everyone has this very clear role and understands why they’re there and can say, “We can trust each other that we’re going to do this.” Beyond that now is not just trust and accountability. It’s also belonging. This has been big with diversity and inclusion. Maybe this is a word of this time, but that sense of belonging where everyone can feel heard and understood is big in this sense of greenhouses that we’re trying to nurture and grow now.

The last greenhouse condition I’ll talk about is alignment. How can you find that alignment within yourself in the authentic core and then align the values and purpose with that of everyone in your team? Imagine how much more effective your teams are when people understand each other’s values and purpose. That ripples its impact to the organization as a whole.

TTD 47 | Delivering Happiness
Delivering Happiness: Imagine how effective your teams are when people understand each other’s values, understand each other’s purpose. And that ripples its impact to the organization as a whole.


Here’s another question that’s not fair. Everything you just described suggests that there are no office politics. Humans are what they are. Do you seek it out and crush it? What do you do with that? Quite frankly, the higher up the company you go, sometimes it seems more brutal.

I’ve been in all these different environments where it is difficult, especially for those who don’t have a say. I’ve learned over the years that it’s, unfortunately, a default assumption that politics will exist if and when we accept that, politics will always be there. What are the conditions that will accept it too? To what level?

That’s why I’m such a big believer in values because even if that’s that political relationship or dynamic that’s happening, if they’re living by those values, you can call that out in a safe space. Psychological safety, speaking. If you’re truly living by your values and purpose, then you can call that out, “This is a violation of this value and these are the reasons why.” If it’s an environment that lives by the values, that’s one route of the outcome.

TTD 47 | Delivering Happiness
Delivering Happiness: Even if there’s a political relationship or dynamic that’s happening, if you are living by your values, you can call that out in a safe space.


If it isn’t, then it is a huge indicator, “Maybe I’m not on the right team.” Look at Google and companies that are the best places to work. I guarantee, if you talk to anyone of those companies and people within, there’s going to be unhappy people. There’s no doubt. There’s no way around it. The biggest question then for ourselves as individuals is like, “How do I know myself better? Therefore ask the right questions to be within the right team in my company, even if I’m not aligned with what others might be thinking outside of it?”

It is scary with inflation and recession. Most people don’t want to quit. That’s why this quiet quitting came about. If we can align ourselves within those smaller communities, smaller teams that have a sense of common values, that’s the most practical and best way t make our lives happier, more content and more at peace.

There’s an expression, “When there are people, there is politics. It is almost human nature.” Aristotle would agree with that if we go back to the Greeks. They created democracy and it’s all about debate and all that kind of stuff. The toxic part is that if you want to create a happy environment and any good culture, this has been my experience, zero tolerance for gossip. There’s gossip. Those shoes are horrible. Although it can be a slippery slope, it is very different than, “Did you hear about.” It is Makaveli, Malfeasance or whatever. That may be on different boundaries. Would you agree with that?

I think so. I read The Value Of Gossip. The reason why it’s powerful is because it is stated in a gossip form. It’s that much more impactful in terms of what that message is in the storytelling way. Unfortunately. It’s kind of like media like, “Why do people want to hear bad news?”

I did read that article and they were trying to find it a positive side to gossip.

That was interesting to me that it was brought up in that way. It was in HBR. For me, it still goes back to storytelling and if we create those more consistent environments that live by their values, we can call out whether, “Is this piece of information helpful, not just to me, but for all?” That’s a big question. Two questions that we can answer, “What’s in this for me? What’s in this for all?” Especially these big decisions that we’re all making, that, to me, have a better chance of creating a purposeful culture of belonging.

A lot is not good news about the younger generations, they are mandating this happiness factor at work. It’s great that you are giving it a structure to it. They’re not wrong. They also saw their parents work for a company and in 20 years, you get a pension, and at 19, they got fired. It felt deliberate. I give them credit for that. In terms of the quiet quitting, though. I’m someone that works too much. I’m old school work ethic. Not good and not bad. There was a time when we didn’t have the internet and cell phone.

There was a time that the boss called you on the weekend, it was like, “Oh my god.” There were hours and structure. That was for the hard-driving, ambitious person. The work-life boundary has blurred with technology. There is something to be said for, “I don’t have to be on call 24/7.” I wanted to put that out there. I am someone you over-deliver and go-to person. You work hard, but to have to be on call 24/7, unless you’re a neurosurgeon and you’re on call, I do think it’s doing a reset back that to be happy, maybe the expectations have to be shifted a little bit. How does this conversation work in your work?

It’s not just the younger generations. We’re seeing it across this board. As an example, with quiet quitting, TikTok was born. What was interesting is that those that engaged with it were cross-generational. It was also Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

The younger people gave voice too, and they’re like, “We feel the same way.” I’ll give them credit. I think they led the charge by verbalizing it.

Externalizing it. People saying, “That’s me too.” What I saw in that that was interesting is that the expectation of happiness has increased across all generations of leaders. The expectation of also well-being has increased across all generations and leaders. This data point that I’m about to show is interesting to me, even CEOs are saying well-being is more important than their own career track or their own traditional career path. There’s a gap between what CEOs think in terms of how they’re prioritizing well-being in their workplace versus the perception of what employees are feeling. It’s not being prioritized, yet the CEOs think it’s being prioritized.

The expectations have shifted. Why I’m big about this level of authenticity and self-awareness is like as leaders, because this has shifted and is never going back to where in the past and whether it’s an environment that says, “No emails or calls on weekends,” that’s always going to be the prerogative of that leader. The question then becomes, “Do we want to be a part of it?”

There are cultures like Apple, for example. They’re pretty hard-driving and one of the most successful companies in the world. Do I choose to be in that culture because I know I’m going to get a weekend call? I have to love it or else I’m not going to be here. That’s a choice with this great awakening resignation that we all need to make.

To bring it full circle, if you make a choice that’s aligned with your value and that will not negate your happiness because it all goes back to the choice and the flexibility.

You’ve made that choice because of an intentional place within you versus someone imposing it on you. That sense of authenticity to your core of values is a big essence of happiness within our control over your life.

It’s one of the reasons I became an entrepreneur. I’m like, “I’m not going to work hard to make somebody else rich.” It made absolutely made no sense to me.

That was me too. I became an entrepreneur after I got laid off after the first dot-com bust. I’m like, “I worked my ass off and I just got laid off. What is not feeling good here?”

I had four children and I’m like, “The best boss in the world isn’t going to let me raise my children the way I want to raise my children.” I know I’ll get my job done, but I might not get it done on his or her terms. We need to find a different path. What’s the relationship between resilience and happiness? You said, “Happiness is not just to find when we are happy.” I might be dating myself, but remember the singer Jim Croce?

It sounds familiar.

He had a song that said, “Nobody’s ever had the rainbow, baby, until they’ve had the rain.” That came to mind when you were talking about happiness. Let’s go back to resilience.

It’s a huge part of it. It’s alluding to what I’m saying in Beyond Happiness. People feel like they need to keep on chasing those highs and think that’s equivalent to their happiness. For example, when we look at the things that we endured in the past, like our lowest lows. This is part of the exercises that we do in our work. It is called Happiness Heartbeats.

If you were to think about one of your lowest lows, for me, it was all within one year. I got laid off, 9/11 happened, and then we found out my dad had stage three colon cancer. He eventually passed not too long thereafter. That’s definitely one of my biggest lows in life. If I’m able to map what was high after that, I can see what got me through those times when I felt like I had no idea how to pull myself out of that hole.

That’s where resilience comes in. It’s like being able to look back, reflect and identify. That’s where I built that piece of resilience. Therefore, I know even though I’m in a hole again, I’m capable of doing it again. It’s part of that gamut and that song by Jim Croce of being able to know it’s not cliché. You got to know your lows and if you want to know your truest highs, then you got to know your lowest lows. That’s a big part of learning your own resilience in your own way, not what’s being forced on you.

If you wanna know your truest ties, then you have to know your lowest lows.

You have this company that’s one of the fastest growing companies and the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest strong companies. You started this work back with the founder of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. His life wasn’t so happy, although it seemed as if he was living a happy dream. As someone that I imagined was friends with him besides just a business associate, how do you reconcile that for yourself?

Tony passed in November 2020 and it was unexpected. I had five weeks until the book was due. It was a crazy time. I had to process it. I had to finish the book and understand not just in the context of his passing, but also in the context of what I was trying to say in this book. Part of that processing was a realization. This is a big thing about the greenhouse metaphor because Tony and I talked about that in the past.

The greatest build for me there was that piece that was missing of perhaps we’re not nurturing our own greenhouse enough because we’re busy, passionate and purposeful in building other greenhouses and nurturing others. It’s been years now that I’ve come to a better sense of peace that there was no irony. There was no conflict in that he wasn’t living true to his purpose. He wanted to deliver happiness. He did in many ways. I think there were some things I might have through that have had a bit of an oversight in nurturing of his own true greenhouse.

Thank you for sharing that because I can feel the emotion and just being a human, so much of what our passion for what we share with the world many times reflects what we’re lacking for ourselves. Sometimes it’s easier to give to others, which is why your whole concept of the greenhouse is relevant and poignant in this situation. Many people do struggle with that. It’s important that we have self-care as long as it’s attached to something greater than ourselves. You tie all that stuff beautifully together. Two more questions. What’s the last book you reread and why?

It’s Will Schwalbe. He was our editor for the Delivering Happiness book. It’s called End of Your Life Book Club. He’s a lover of books. He talks about all these different books, but he does it in his way, where he shares the experience of his last moments with his mom that was going through chemotherapy and passed away from cancer. I interviewed him because he likes to think about life and death and he does it through books. It’s a beautiful journey of how every time he would visit her during her appointments for chemotherapy, etc., they would talk about another book.

It’s like this celebration of the value of books and their relationship. There was a quote there from her that says, “I still want to live while I’m dying,” something to that effect of how important these moments can be. That’s the last book that I reread and it impacted me because I lost my dad and reading that now versus then, which was many years ago, it’s cool to see how we are still the same person inside, but how much maybe our reflections and reframing of life have grown and adapted over the years.

It sounds like it’s nurturing your soul and that is what’s interesting about books. You read a book at every different stage of your life. There’s a common denominator, but you’re a different person from life experiences. Thank you for sharing that. What’s the one song you could not live without?

It is hard for me because it’s circumstantial.

At this moment in time. This is where we are.

There’s one by The Beatles. I don’t remember the name but it’s, “There are places that I remember.”

I thought you were going to say that when you said The Beatles. You just blew my mind. I was singing it to myself, but I can’t sing for anything. In My Life (I Love You More).

That one transcended every phase of my life through. It has been a constant thread, but it’s always cool to see how different I am now versus when I first heard it, when I was breaking up with one or stuff like that. That’s the one that’s popping into my head the most.

Are you happy?

I am happy in the sense I’m living as much of a fulfilling life that I can ever imagine. I’ve learned a lot about embracing those lows, especially in the last years, and understanding the gamut of how low I can be and how much more elevated and high I can be.

Tell the readers where they can find out more about you, how they can get Delivering Happiness and how you would like them to reach out to you in any way.

I have a website I launched with the book Beyond Happiness, and it’s We still have the company Those are the ways. If you want to reach out, give me a shout, ask any questions and tell me what makes you happy. I’m all for that.

Thank you so much. Happiness is what it’s all about.

Can I ask if you’re happy?

I am. It’s a little bit like a sign wave. There are moments where, for me, if you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll be happy. There’ll always be people that have more and less, but happiness is being content with what you have, which doesn’t mean that you can’t strive for more. There’s so much that we need, but there are very few things that we want. For me, it’s all rooted in relationships. You could have $1 gazillion and if you’re alone in the mansion on the hill, what good is it? Thank you for asking. That concludes this episode. As promised, Jenn Lim took you for a ride. Make sure you go and get her book so that you will not miss another day of happiness. Thank you so much. Until next time, be well.


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About Jenn Lim

Jenn Lim is the founder and bestselling author of Beyond Happiness and CEO of Delivering Happiness (DH), a company she and Tony Hsieh (the late CEO of cofounded to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business. Delivering Happiness started as a book (New York Times and WSJ Bestseller,  which sold one million copies worldwide) and evolved into a business consultancy and global movement that has impacted and inspired hundreds of companies and organizations worldwide.

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