What is Your Wake in the Marketplace?


Observing any boat crossing a body of water, you will notice the impact that it makes upon the water by the wake it leaves behind. Imagine the chaos of hundreds if not thousands of people in the water at the same time, all creating a wake of their own. This I experienced in my Iron Man competitions, having to navigate through the turmoil that the water is in and which I had to swim through.

Leaving a Positive Experience

It is hard to concentrate and move forward as one is bounced back and forth by the water swirling around us. In a similar way, each of us in the marketplace is impacted by the wakes of those working around us. Each interaction has the capacity to rock us or to bring calm.

Each person we work with either leaves a pleasant experience as they leave the room, or they leave us stressed and upset. As the inspirational thinker and writer, William Arthur Ward, wrote: “Every person has the power to make others happy. Some do it simply by entering a room – others by leaving the room. Some individuals leave trails of gloom; others, trails of joy. Some leave trails of hate and bitterness; others, trails of love and harmony. Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism; others trails of faith and optimism. Some leave trails of criticism and resignation; others trails of gratitude and hope. What kind of trails do you leave?”

What are you leaving in your wake?

Are you one of those who are happy or are you always moaning and complaining? Shawn Achor, author of  The Happiness Advantage, has shown through research that happiness improves almost every business and educational outcome: increasing sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and increasing accuracy on tasks by 19%.

Studying a broad cross section of 275,000 people worldwide, positive psychologists Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King and Ed Diener found that happiness leads to success in nearly every area of life, including work performance, health, longevity, relationships, sociability, creativity and energy.  It thus makes sense to have happy people in the workplace and to encourage happiness in organizations.

Indeed, in my international experience, I have found that if I had a choice between a talented grumpy employee or a seemingly less talented happy employee, I would undoubtedly choose the latter. Happiness is contagious and makes working with that individual a lot easier. Happy people bring joy to the workplace and make even difficult circumstances or situations easier to handle.

Simply put – happy employees makes sense in all ways.

How do we become happy?

It may be argued that part of our happiness stems from our genes and circumstances, but I believe a large part of our happiness is based upon the decisions we make about how we deal with circumstances. In other words, we can control our happiness by choosing to look at whatever is happening in our lives in a particular way.

We can choose to be the happy employee. In Psalms 4:7 David says “you have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound”. If we have a relationship with God like David, it is clear that God can put joy in our hearts despite the circumstances.

In Nehemiah 8:10, Nehemiah speaking to the people says that “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I find my joy by just knowing God. This joy gives us the strength in whatever circumstance to be happy and to reflect this joy to those around us.

How do we become the happiest?

We do however need a proper understanding of happiness, as courtiers in the royal presence are most happy, but soldiers in the field are more useful. Usefulness in an organisation should always be more important than happiness, but the point I am making is that at least amongst the soldiers, be the happiest.

To attempt to be the happiest amongst the soldiers, we need joy, with happiness as its inevitable fruit. Joy is a security and serenity of mind, arising from a confidence in God, and His power, providence and promise.

AlanlouisPicAbout the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity as a child. Awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ultra Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials and successes of commerce for 3 decades.

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