The Secret to Having the Happiest Employees & the Best Relationship in the World

I know that’s a pretty big promise to live up to. I’m about to give you the one secret that can make everyone you deal with happier.

Crazy, right?


But let me ask you this. What is the one thing that you’ll never hear anyone say?

“I really love to feel unappreciated!”

Okay, maybe you’d hear it if someone was being totally sarcastic. However, nobody is ever thrilled to feel like someone is taking them for granted.

This is true in the workplace, as well as in your personal relationships. To keep someone around, they need to feel valued. If they don’t feel valued, you can bet that they’ll be looking around for someone else to value them – whether it be on or

As a manager or business owner, it is important to realize that by recognizing employees for doing a good job, it actually helps motivate them to continue performing well. Although some business have an entire employee morale program complete with a large budget, many things can be done for less than $100. Check out “1001 Ways to Reward Employees” by Bob Nelson, PH.D. for a bunch of great ideas and low-cost activities you can implement at your company.

I’ve given it a lot of thought though and I really think I know the best tip ever invented.

Are you ready for my awesome secret of making everyone happier?

Here it is in one little word: Praise.

Praise your employees.
Praise your spouse or significant other.
Praise your friends.
You can even praise your freaking dog.

It’s that simple. If someone is doing a good job – TELL THEM!

If you appreciate someone for doing something awesome, or even just consistently being a super friend or supportive spouse – TELL THEM!

If you value an employee and you want them to continue working for you, TELL THEM that you value them. Otherwise, when they hand in their resignation… it will be too late.

So my Pocketful readers,* let’s spread the love. Here’s your homework for the day: the next time someone does something great – whether it be the super friendly waitress that takes your order or the fact that your husband finally remembered to put the dishes in the dishwasher – tell them what a great job they did!

*By the way, my sweet and sassy Pocketful readers, I owe you a bit of praise. I appreciate and value every single person who has taken a minute out of their day to read my ramblings.

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A Stress Proof Life… Is that Really Possible?

So I had a chance to read “Stress Proof Your Life” (still free for your kindle as of today) as mentioned in a post earlier this week. To be fair, I didn’t actually read the entire book but I paged through it while inhaling my lunch…so I probably get points off for that.

I liked the writer’s tone and the fact that she didn’t try to pretend that there are some people out there with a totally stress-free existence:

“Stress will find you. You can’t avoid it. Stress is a fact of life. We can make some of it go away, we can ignore some of it, but eventually we will have to deal with it.”

So, apparently stress is some sort of ninja private eye that nobody can hide from. Ok. I’m down with that. I know that I feel stress and pretty much everyone I talks to feels it too. So, what can we do about it?

Well, as promised, the book offers 52 tips which range from everything like “never procrastinate again” to “ditching the debt.” Each chapter goes into what she means by the silly titles, how to fix the issue and then a little Q&A section about how to use the lesson in everyday life.

Here are my three favorites:*

Find an hour a day to play
Think about what you’d do today if you had a whole hour to yourself.  Now make time for it. People who spend at least a bit of their time doing the stuff they want to tend to feel that they’re in control, and that’s majorly de-stressing.

What’s Your Plan B
The life you’re living is Plan A. Plan B is what happens if it all goes pear-shaped. Know how you’d get from A to B and you remove a huge chunk of the stress that is caused by worry about the future. Work, relationships, health – whatever is causing you stress, make a Plan B. Your Plan B should be realistic, but it should be awesome. It shouldn’t be a case of “oh well, I could always move back in with my parents.’ It should be training to become a chef, starting your own business, backpacking around Mexico. It should make your heart sing.  Plan realistically but dream big.

Have a Holiday at Your Desk
Imbue the old nine-to-five with certain glamour and you’ll be amazed at how much tension seeps out of your life. What five changes would make your work environment more pleasant? Here are the authors: getting rid of piles of papers that need to be filed; investing in a china cup and no more sharing of the office’s grubby chipped ones; cheering up her desk with a bunch of pink tulips; cleaning her keyboard; turning down the ringtone volume on her phone. Everyday find some way to make your surroundings more pleasant.

Since these three tips resonated with me the most in my one handed reading/eating extravaganza, I’m going to try and focus on them for the next week or so. I mean what’s the worst that can happen – I’ll end up more stressed?

*FYI – For most of the tips section, I fully copied sentences straight from the book, so all credit goes to the writer.

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Stress: A Naughty Word or Just a Fact of Life?

It usually starts the night before I go back to work after a week of blissful vacation.

My shoulders start tightening, raising from their normal position to somewhere near my ears. I wonder how many emails will be waiting for me in my inbox and how many of them are marked “urgent.” I start worrying that something blew up while I was gone and I’ll be blamed for it first thing in the morning before I even drink my coffee.

Ugh, work stress.

I mean, I feel work stress every day but I can’t really say I deal with it all that well. I’m one of those ‘ignore the stress and it will go away’ kind of people where I don’t realize I’m STRESSED (in all caps) until my neck and shoulders are tensed to the point of a constant painful ache.

Or when I get really upset and burst into tears for no apparent reason other than the country song on the radio was really sweet.

Or when I unleash an angrier than normal tirade of innovative curses at the driver who cut me off while yapping on their cellphone (or at those stupid women on that Big Rich Texas show).

Yeah, I don’t handle it well at all and it just seems like a big steaming pile of stress is waiting around the corner that first day back from vacation. But it’s pretty inevitable right? Everyone has stress of some sort – whether it’s the traffic on 695 every day that makes you want to take a paintball gun to the next person who forgets what to do with that crazy thing called a blinker or the fact that you have 137 emails waiting for you to deal with them as soon as humanly possible.

Anyways, coming back to the office after my super relaxing vacation was putting me in a bit of a tizzy* on Sunday night. So it seemed like perfect timing when I saw that one of this week’s free kindle books on Amazon was “Stress proof your life (52 Brilliant Ideas)” by Elisabeth Wilson.

Wow, 52 brilliant ideas? That’s a LOT of ideas! That sounds awesome! And not just ideas, BRILLIANT ideas!

Maybe it will actually be something better than that “breathe deeply in the face of stress” crap that you usually hear. So, if you have a kindle and you’re interested in a free book that might give you some ways to cut your own stress, download the book today. With these free books, they are only free for a limited time before they revert back to their original price ($12.17 for this one).

I just downloaded my copy and if there are any good tips in it, I’ll be sure to post them. If it sucks, I’ll just be sure to breathe deeply while hitting delete.

Oh and if you have a tip for reducing stress, let me know by leaving a comment on my blog or facebook page. I can use all the help I can get!

*Yeah, that’s right… I said tizzy because that’s how I roll.

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