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Episode 7: How goal-setting cracks the code of employee happiness

Work and hap­pi­ness are intrin­si­cal­ly linked. Mak­ing hap­pi­ness the cen­tral goal of one’s life, and busi­ness, can change everything.

In this episode, Jason and Jor­dan dis­cuss how per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al growth is essen­tial for long-term ful­fill­ment. They also explore how most learn­ing and devel­op­ment pro­grams offered by employ­ers fail to address the indi­vid­ual needs of employ­ees and don’t sat­is­fy this greater need for fulfillment.

Hav­ing a clear under­stand­ing of what one is aim­ing for is cru­cial to achiev­ing long-term suc­cess and hap­pi­ness. Jason and Jor­dan explore mean­ing­ful ways to help peo­ple grow, both per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly, and how com­pa­nies can pro­vide men­tor­ship, train­ing pro­grams, and career advance­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties to sup­port their employees.

Lead­ers must be will­ing to lead by exam­ple. By set­ting clear expec­ta­tions and mod­el­ing desired behav­iors, employ­ers can fos­ter a cul­ture of growth and development.

Key ideas and highlights

  • Aspir­ing towards some­thing pro­vides mean­ing and purpose.
  • Devel­op­ing your peo­ple goes beyond the job descrip­tion and workplace.
  • Lead­ers need to be will­ing to go first and set goals for them­selves and for their people.
We have to help our employ­ees fig­ure out who they are, what they believe in, and set a true north in life that they can pur­sue. And if that pur­suit takes them away from us, so be it, because our goal as employ­ers should be human flour­ish­ing. — Jor­dan

Word of the day

Sym­bio­sis — 15:31 ✅


  • 0:00 Intro
  • 6:30 Why coast­ing in life doesn’t lead to satisfaction
  • 11:30 What most learn­ing & devel­op­ment pro­grams get wrong
  • 15:50 Dis­cov­er­ing what your goals and where you’re aiming
  • 17:30 How to help your peo­ple grow
  • 20:53 How can com­pa­nies help sup­port their peo­ple in their goals
  • 23:10 Why lead­ers need to lead by example
  • 24:30 Are crazy auda­cious goals worth it?
  • 28:30 Mak­ing hap­pi­ness the cen­tral goal will change everything

Lis­ten on Spo­ti­fy | Apple Pod­casts | YouTube


Jor­dan (00:05):

How many hours and years of our lives do we spend on work? For near­ly all of us, we spend 30 plus years and one third of our days in our voca­tion. More time per­haps, than we spend at rest or at play. But this isn’t a prob­lem. Why? Because work is good. Work needs to be inte­grat­ed deeply into our lives and must be in line with our most impor­tant goals and val­ues. And if it is, we have a far more com­plete and ful­fill­ing life expe­ri­ence. Wel­come to How Peo­ple Work, pod­cast, where we explore the inter­sec­tion of how humans think and act and how they apply them­selves to their work. When you under­stand both of these things, you’ll be equipped to be insight­ful, com­pas­sion­ate, and com­pelling leaders.


Wel­come back to How Peo­ple Work. Again, this is Jor­dan Peace. I’m here with Jason Mur­ray. Say hel­lo, Jason.




You should have said hel­lo, Jason. That would’ve been iron­ic. It’s sar­cas­tic, which would’ve been, you know, kin­da you. We were talk­ing about hap­pi­ness last week. And we got halfway-ish through that con­ver­sa­tion. Who knows? It could be a three parter. We’re plan­ning on doing a two-parter. We’re going to con­tin­ue this con­ver­sa­tion on hap­pi­ness. Last week we talked in par­tic­u­lar about this MIT study that was done on 1 mil­lion — 1 mil­lion US sol­diers. And just how impact­ful hap­pi­ness is com­pared to any oth­er sort of demo­graph­ic truth about a per­son in terms of their like­li­hood to be a high performer,-to receive some of these mer­it-based awards. And then we were get­ting into not only just defin­ing hap­pi­ness for our­selves, but more impor­tant­ly that val­ue hier­ar­chy and this idea of like, what are we after in life?


What is the goal in life? And at the very end of the episode, you were shar­ing some of your own per­son­al goals, which I real­ly knew some of these things, but obvi­ous­ly it’s always enjoy­able to hear a per­son­al per­spec­tive on the pod­cast. And you’re talk­ing about why a lake house, and it’s not because you used to be a finan­cial advi­sor and that a house is an appre­ci­at­ing asset and a lake is on the water, and they’re nev­er going to make a whole lot more water­front prop­er­ty, and there­fore the val­ue goes, it was­n’t a finan­cial thing for you. It’s much more about the mem­o­ries, much more about that, the mem­o­ries that you’ll make and what you expect to feel and expe­ri­ence in this place. And so that’s kind of where we were, just to bring every­body back to the discussion.

Jason (02:36):

Well, and I think it’d be great actu­al­ly, in the same way that we kick the last one off with that MIT study, kind of lay this one out a lit­tle bit with some oth­er research kind of around the whole idea of goals and how they relate to this notion of hap­pi­ness and how we find that, or how we facil­i­tate that maybe more sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly in our lives. And so there are a num­ber of stud­ies, but a cou­ple that, again, we’ll put in the show notes for the episode here, real­ly point to the fact that hap­pi­ness, or how we expe­ri­ence hap­pi­ness is real­ly a self-rein­forc­ing cycle. And so what I mean by that is when researchers have looked at this stuff, what they found is that the moments or the ways in which we real­ly expe­ri­ence hap­pi­ness or that sort of self — sense of well­be­ing is when we’re mak­ing progress on goals. And that progress on goals is what leads to that sense of feel­ing hap­pi­er and more sat­is­fied with life. And then those pos­i­tive emo­tions that we feel as a result of sens­ing that we’re mak­ing progress on those goals, facil­i­tate the intrin­sic moti­va­tion that actu­al­ly dri­ves fur­ther goal-direct­ed behav­iors that are nec­es­sary for that goal progress and attain­ment. So it’s kind of this real­ly vir­tu­ous self-per­pet­u­at­ing cycle that you see. And -

Jor­dan (04:04):

Yeah, it’s fun­ny, I don’t mean to inter­rupt you. I was think­ing today. I was hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion over lunch about col­lege and a guy that grew up in the same area of Rich­mond that I did. And we have kind of dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies, dif­fer­ent back­grounds, but grew up in the same area. And then anoth­er guy that grew up in the north­ern part of the state that’s a lit­tle bit wealth­i­er, a lit­tle clos­er to DC, more career-ori­ent­ed and edu­cat­ed and so forth. And we were talk­ing about why we went to col­lege and it made me reflect on child­hood. And then all the way up until the age of 22, I was just fol­low­ing a script. You just do what your par­ents say. You go to ele­men­tary school, you go to mid­dle school, you go to high school, you pick a col­lege because that’s what you’re sup­posed to do. And appar­ent­ly that’s going to set you up for life. Hav­ing this piece of paper that says that you attend­ed this school and paid way too much mon­ey and that’s going to pro­pel you into life. And for me, it was­n’t even until I was maybe 27, 28, that I was like, why am I doing any of this?


I just fol­lowed a script. There was no goal. There was no con­cept of I should have a pur­pose, I should have some­thing I’m aim­ing towards. It took a whole lot of years to do that. And we talked about this last week, but that’s because sur­vival is easy for me, which in some ways is a real priv­i­lege. In many ways. That’s a real priv­i­lege. I don’t want to have to fight or sur­vive every day. That seems ter­ri­fy­ing to me to think about that. But at the same time, that means that I have to actu­al­ly set goals. And that means that I have to be real­ly intrin­si­cal­ly focused on ​“who am I? What is my pur­pose? What gifts do I have? What abil­i­ties do I have? What can I con­tribute to the world?” And I got to think a whole lot about more than just I need to raise and cook and eat food and build shel­ter. And so I think I just want­ed to frame that up. Cause we talked about that a lit­tle bit last week, there’s a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence that’s real­ly easy to for­get about this. We’re sit­ting here in the year 2023. It was not that many years ago that most peo­ple woke up in the morn­ing and just thought about, how am I going to put three meals on the table? Right. Or two or one.


And it’s very dif­fer­ent. And so if we want to be hap­py, we have to know what we’re aim­ing towards.

Jason (06:43):

Well, even in those sur­vival sit­u­a­tions, I’d say, it does­n’t mean that you can’t be hap­py in those

moments, either. But I think it’s -

Jor­dan (06:56):

Actu­al­ly, in some ways, I think — I hes­i­tate to say this cause I’ve nev­er actu­al­ly been in that sce­nario — But in some ways, I don’t want to say eas­i­er… It’s sim­pler. It’s simpler.

Jason (07:06):

Well, it’s clarifying.

Jor­dan (07:07):

Your goal is to stay alive. And when I wake up in the morn­ing and I’m still liv­ing, I hit my goal.

Jason (07:11):

You have few­er dis­trac­tions maybe, right? You don’t have all these things — you have less options. And so as a result, it’s either I’m going to make mean­ing and pur­pose out of what I have avail­able to me or I’m just not. Where­as I think life is eas­i­er to a degree for us in such a way that, well, maybe I just can kind of coast and it’s fine. I’m not penal­ized for coast­ing necessarily.

Jor­dan (07:36):

No, not nec­es­sar­i­ly. Not nec­es­sar­i­ly. Yeah.

Jason (07:38):

Well, it does­n’t feel that way in the moment per­haps, but I am penal­ized by the anx­i­ety and all of these oth­er things that start to man­i­fest them­selves as a result of not hav­ing that direc­tion and kind of expe­ri­enc­ing that dis­so­nance. Because I think you could say to put it in the frame­work of these val­ue hier­ar­chies that we talked about last time, maybe I am just sur­viv­ing, but I got to pro­vide these meals. Yeah. Okay. Well why? Why does that mat­ter? Right. Well, because I want to be a good provider. Right. Well, why do I want to be a good provider? Well, maybe I want to do my best to be a good father. Well, why do I want to be a good father? Well, maybe it’s because being a good father is part of being a good per­son. Well, why do you want to be a good person?

Jor­dan (08:25):

Or maybe it has some­thing to do with my rela­tion­ship with my dad and he was or was­n’t an awe­some provider and I want to be him or not be like him.

Jason (08:33):

Right, and why does that mat­ter to you? Well, it’s like because I have some aspi­ra­tional desire. Maybe it is being a good per­son. Right? A lot of peo­ple say that, well, why does it mat­ter? Why do you care about being a good per­son? And it’s not a right or wrong ques­tion. It’s just a mat­ter of like, well, if that’s impor­tant to you, what’s behind that? And peo­ple have all sorts of rea­sons that they’re going to say, well, here’s why it mat­ters to me to be a good per­son. Maybe they have some oth­er high­er pur­pose, or maybe that is the thing. They’re just like, well, being a good per­son is at the top of that hierarchy.


That’s the thing. That’s fine. They can still ori­ent them­selves around that now and say, well, in all of these domains of my life, I can take it down to a lev­el of prac­ti­cal­i­ty because I say, well, what it means to be a good per­son, let me start defin­ing that in all of these domains. Okay, I’m a father, I’m a spouse, I’m an employ­ee, like a work­er. What does it mean to be a good per­son as an employ­ee of a com­pa­ny? All of these kinds of things, or cit­i­zen in soci­ety and so forth. And so now all of a sud­den you can take these maybe things that you do day to day that seem triv­ial or mean­ing­less, and you can actu­al­ly imbue them with pur­pose because now all of a sud­den those tasks are ori­ent­ed towards maybe one of those things are hope­ful­ly ori­ent­ed towards one of those things on that val­ue hier­ar­chy. And if it’s not, you should prob­a­bly ask your­self the ques­tion of, should I be doing this? Or why am I doing this? Or do I need to recon­sid­er my val­ues or my goals in rela­tion to the things that I do every day?

Jor­dan (10:14):

Yeah, absolute­ly. First of all, very impressed with the word imbue used so seam­less­ly and your solil­o­quy there. But also, yeah, I mean, just think­ing about that and think­ing about my own life and where that hier­ar­chy sits, what it looks like, and I described how long it took me to even build one. And you don’t build it once, right? You don’t build it once. Because when I was 25, for exam­ple, I did­n’t have chil­dren. They did­n’t exist on the hier­ar­chy of what it is that my pur­pose in life is. Right? As soon as that lit­tle girl was born, and oh gosh, I remem­ber that night like it was yes­ter­day because she had that cord wrapped around her neck twice. And I just freaked out. I don’t think I ever freaked out that much in my life. And the nurse is just like, whoop, just removes the cord. Every­thing’s fine. First time dad sit­u­a­tion. But my life total­ly changed, and I’m sure whoever’s lis­ten­ing who’s had a child has expe­ri­enced this emo­tion of just like, oh my gosh, my life is stark­ly changed from today for­ward, and I’ve had four oth­ers since then. But the emo­tion of that very first time was huge. And so you don’t go through this exer­cise once. You don’t decide what that hier­ar­chy is and what that ulti­mate aim and pur­pose in life is one time you have to assess that rou­tine­ly over the course of time. And we talked about last time a lit­tle bit about as employ­ers, we are both employ­ees and employ­ers, and how impor­tant it is to facil­i­tate a place where we actu­al­ly encour­age that type of thinking.

Jor­dan (12:02):

That’s per­son­al devel­op­ment, learn­ing and devel­op­ment plat­forms. And it’s great. Watch a video about risk and why you should­n’t leave your lap­top open and not just one pass­word. Don’t get me wrong, our peo­ple need to not do that. But if we’re think­ing about employ­ees as human beings and we’re try­ing to make an impact on them, not just while they are here in this very tem­per­ate job and this tem­per­ate com­pa­ny that will end at some point prob­a­bly — before their life does, right? They’re going to have a life well beyond that. And if we’re real­ly about peo­ple’s well­be­ing and we’re real­ly about pour­ing into their life and help­ing them be hap­py both at work and at home, and per­sist in that hap­pi­ness through­out their life­time, we got­ta help ​‘em do this stuff. We got to help them fig­ure out who they are, what they believe in, what’s impor­tant to them, and set those goals in life and set that true north in life that they can pur­sue. And if that pur­suit takes them away from us, so be it. Right? So be it because it’s about human flourishing.

Jason (13:08):

Yeah, that’s what I was going to say.

Jor­dan (13:09):

That’s why we got into busi­ness to begin with. That’s the whole point. Sure. We want to make mon­ey. We need to make mon­ey so we can pay every­body and so that we can get paid and yeah, sure. Absolute­ly. Of course, it’s about mak­ing mon­ey. That’s why a busi­ness exists to a large degree. But also if you care about human beings at all, right? You have to look at your employ­ees as peo­ple that you’re try­ing to imbue with this idea of pur­pose. And some peo­ple walk in the door with that. They just hap­pen to be super mature peo­ple, or they have a cer­tain com­mu­ni­ty or aspect of their life that kind of facil­i­tates this sort of thing. But I would say expe­ri­en­tial­ly most don’t have that. They kind of come in with a notion of, here’s what I’m good at, here’s what I can con­tribute, here’s who I love, here’s what I’m inter­est­ed in. Which is a great start. But they prob­a­bly don’t have a busi­ness plan, so to speak, for their life, of just like, here’s my mis­sion, vision, val­ues, so to speak. Here’s what I’m all about. And so I think it would be just real­ly impact­ful to pro­vide that for people.

Jason (14:24):

Yeah. Well, and I’m glad you brought up the idea again of this human flour­ish­ing. Cause I think as I was think­ing about this con­ver­sa­tion, it feels like a con­cept that uni­fies all of the dif­fer­ent lev­els of rela­tion­ship, if you will. So at the indi­vid­ual lev­el, I can say, Hey, I’m aim­ing for the flour­ish­ing of myself, of my fam­i­ly, of my friends, of et cetera. And at the busi­ness lev­el too, you can also say, well, I’m aim­ing for human flour­ish­ing. And so it’s actu­al­ly not about the mon­ey, the mon­ey as it means to an end. Because to the degree that a busi­ness is suc­cess­ful and pro­duces mon­ey for one that is ori­ent­ed towards human flour­ish­ing, it’s like­ly uti­liz­ing those dol­lars to build an envi­ron­ment that cre­ates flour­ish­ing for its peo­ple and prob­a­bly cre­ates some­thing or pro­vides some val­ue to the world that’s con­tribut­ing to human flour­ish­ing. And so all of these things end up con­verg­ing togeth­er around this con­cept, and I think it’s real­ly compelling.

Jor­dan (15:30):

Would you say there’s a sym­bio­sis between those factors?

Jason (15:32): I would.

Jor­dan (15:33):

That was like a layup. That was just amazing.

Jason (15:37)

It was­n’t intend­ed to just lay it up so beau­ti­ful­ly for you.

Jor­dan (15:41):

But No, I appre­ci­ate that, man. I appre­ci­ate it.

Jason (15:44):

Yeah. I think it’s inter­est­ing because again, com­ing back to some of this research that folks have done, it’s repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed, and this is research that’s been tak­ing place for decades. So this isn’t like, oh, peo­ple stum­bled across this in the last cou­ple of years. This has been around for some time, and for some rea­son it’s just not mak­ing its way into the cir­cles that we oper­ate in, maybe in a busi­ness con­text. But it showed that peo­ple, when they’re involved in the pur­suit of sub­jec­tive­ly impor­tant per­son­al goals, have high­er sub­jec­tive well­be­ing than indi­vid­u­als who lack a sense of goal direct­ness. So I mean, yeah, not to beat a dead horse here, but it just makes sense. It seems real­ly self-evi­dent that if you just wake up and go about your day and don’t have any idea of why you’re doing it, it’s just going to kind of feel blah. But if you actu­al­ly have some sense of, well, what I’m aim­ing for, it’s going to give you that mean­ing and pur­pose. So not only does it, I think it feels self-evi­dent, real­ly backed up by the sci­ence as well. And so I think that then gives us some rea­son to real­ly press peo­ple and encour­age peo­ple to say, Hey, you real­ly ought to sit down and think about these things. Think about the goals, put some pen to paper and write some things down. And then even for orga­ni­za­tions too, to think about, well, how do you design an employ­ee expe­ri­ence in such a way that you give peo­ple space or mar­gin to think about these things?

Jor­dan (17:21):

Yeah. Yeah, absolute­ly. And instead, I think we’re guilty of this too, of just giv­ing peo­ple time or giv­ing peo­ple space, flex­i­bil­i­ty, what­ev­er work when you want, work where you want, that’s great, but with­out any sort of encour­age­ment or direc­tion towards, Hey, here’s your well­ness day once a quar­ter, which is some­thing that we do of just lit­er­al­ly shut down the com­pa­ny, except for real­ly essen­tial cus­tomer ser­vice and some things that we can’t sac­ri­fice but shut down for a day, once a quar­ter for a well­ness day. But as I’m sit­ting here think­ing about it, we’re not giv­ing any sort of direc­tion. We’re not giv­ing any sort of advice around here’s how we might use that well­ness day. And we might call it a hap­pi­ness day or the pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness day, if you will.


We might want to think about in our own busi­ness, just through hav­ing this dis­cus­sion, how can we prompt peo­ple towards this end of real­ly iden­ti­fy­ing that true north and fig­ur­ing out where they’re going. And what’s inter­est­ing is the rea­son why I’m think­ing about that is because I know how sat­is­fy­ing it is to help peo­ple with their own goal set­ting and with their own goal ful­fill­ment. So there’s a com­mu­nal aspect of this that’s real­ly inter­est­ing because you can’t just go, Hey, every­body, set your goals. Fig­ure out your true north and go pur­sue it. Good luck. See you nev­er. There’s a com­mu­ni­ty aspect of this where we actu­al­ly both encour­age peo­ple towards what they’re going towards. We actu­al­ly help them towards that thing, whether that’s through an intro­duc­tion or through some sort of upskilling or some way that we help them towards that and they help us. And there’s such deep sat­is­fac­tion to be had from rela­tion­ships like that aren’t just this emp­ty, small talk, what­ev­er we drink togeth­er, we play togeth­er, we watch sports togeth­er, we like what­ev­er. That’s great. It’s good stuff. A lot of bud­dies. But the true friends that you actu­al­ly know what they want in life, and you are see­ing them ful­fill it and actu­al­ly help­ing them ful­fill it, it’s almost like just as sat­is­fy­ing, if not more sat­is­fy­ing, than the ful­fill­ment of the things that you wrote down as your own pur­suit of happiness.

Jason (19:47):

Yeah, and we’re built for that kind of com­mu­ni­ty, I think. Yeah. And it’s fun­ny, as you’re describ­ing that, I’m think­ing, man, if one of my direct reports came to me and said, Hey, I spent some time think­ing about my goals and what’s most impor­tant to me, and these are some of the things I came up with, I’d love to talk about. How could I do more things that help me achieve this here at Fringe? I’d say, absolute­ly. My gosh, oh my gosh, I’d be so excit­ed to have that.

Jor­dan (20:16):

You’d can­cel your day. You’d have that con­ver­sa­tion in front of the white­board. Yeah, you’d be thrilled.

Jason (20:24):

And so, I mean, think how pow­er­ful that it would be for peo­ple to come to their, and I think that’s part of the ques­tion I was ask­ing last time when we were talk­ing about what is the indi­vid­u­al’s respon­si­bil­i­ty. I’m not omni­scient. I’m not going to know that about peo­ple that I’m work­ing with.

Jor­dan (20:41):

Get out of here. You’re not?

Jason (20:44):

Sur­pris­ing­ly, right? And so we need, indi­vid­u­als need to take respon­si­bil­i­ty to take some of those steps themselves.

Jor­dan (20:54):

They have to. There’s no dig­ni­ty in the goal ful­fill­ment if they don’t do at least 80% of the work. Right? I’m not say­ing, we should ful­fill peo­ple’s goals for them to clar­i­fy, we should aid, we should lift, we should pro­vide opportunities.

Jason (21:07):

Pro­vide oppor­tu­ni­ties. And so I think that’s the role that com­pa­nies can play in that, and man­agers can play in that is like, Hey, if you have that knowl­edge, if your peo­ple bring you some of those kinds of things, cause they’ve done some work, there’s prob­a­bly a lot of ways that we can take that and say, Hey, you know what? There’s this project over here. Maybe you could jump in and work out on that one a lit­tle bit. Or, Hey, turns out this piece of your job, day to day, I had no idea that it was so mis­aligned with the things that are impor­tant to you. But turns out maybe this oth­er per­son over here actu­al­ly real­ly loves that stuff. We could prob­a­bly slide some things around and design the work expe­ri­ence in such a way that we’re aim­ing again for that human flour­ish­ing for everyone.

Jor­dan (21:54):

Yeah. I agree whole­heart­ed­ly. I think that when I think about the com­pa­ny side of this, and again, I was just think­ing about these kind of quar­ter­ly well­ness days and how do we facil­i­tate that and all that, but also I think this stuff is a lit­tle scary. I think we should acknowl­edge that. We talk about it as, and cause this is some­thing we do in our lives and oh, I mean, it’s been a lit­tle while since my wife and I have done this, but we even will take retreats, she and I togeth­er, and we’ll talk about our own, what are our com­mon goals? What are we after as a fam­i­ly and so forth. So when you do that repeat­ed­ly and you build that mus­cle, it’s not that intim­i­dat­ing. But just to acknowl­edge for a sec­ond, this could actu­al­ly be a lit­tle scary of an idea of just like, well, I don’t, what if I do this jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery and I don’t actu­al­ly like the per­son that I am? I don’t actu­al­ly the things that I real­ly want?


Or maybe it’s hard for me to dig beneath the sur­face, beneath the sur­face, peel back enough onion lay­ers to real­ly see any­thing worth­while. And that’s fair. So I think there’s a lev­el of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty required from lead­ers to go first and to actu­al­ly say, okay, I’ve done this work. I am on the whole a hap­py per­son. And I con­nect that hap­pi­ness to the fact that I have clear goals. Now some­times I’m run­ning towards them, some­times I’m crawl­ing towards them, some­times I’m falling back­wards and what­ev­er. We all go through our tribu­la­tions in life. But I think there’s a need for lead­ers to lead with that vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and to share at least some of those things that are at or near the top of that val­ues hier­ar­chy to go, this is what I’m about. This is what I’m pur­su­ing. Because that’s what lead­er­ship is. It’s not just the direc­tive of ​“you ought to” It’s” I’ve done it already.”

Jason (24:08):

Yeah, hey, fol­low me.

Jor­dan (24:09):

Here’s the impact on me. Fol­low me. So that’s just what I was sit­ting here think­ing about, just doing my own lit­tle self-reflec­tion of me as a leader. And I’m like, I think I share a lot about how I’m doing, how I’m feel­ing, what my life is like. I don’t know that I share enough about what I’m about and what I’m after in life. Why did I start the com­pa­ny to begin with?

Jason (24:33):

Right, y eah.Well, and hav­ing the going to be use­ful, hav­ing the courage to think about those things. I mean, I think that’s a great point that you bring up, that it can be scary because you’re think­ing about it as I think about it, and I think about the jour­ney that we’ve been on over the last 10 years where we’ve been through some very, very, very lean years. And so you feel almost stu­pid lay­ing out some of the goals when you think about ​‘em because you’re like, I’m nev­er going to achieve this. In fact, all signs point to me hav­ing failed mis­er­ably at many of these things. So who am I? Why? What’s the point? What is the point of even think­ing about goals, hav­ing some sort of future ori­en­ta­tion? But the minute that you just throw those things to the side…

Jor­dan (25:22):

What’s left?

Jason (25:26):

Noth­ing. You’re just kind of float­ing around out there with­out any direc­tion what­so­ev­er. And that’s what leads to all this dis­so­nance and anx­i­ety and stress. And so I think, again, it’s why it takes courage, but to your point, I think lead­ers ought to go first. That’s their respon­si­bil­i­ty to go first in those things and help set that example.

Jor­dan (25:48):

Yeah, I think it is. Shoot, there was some­thing I was going to say, and I total­ly blanked on what it was while you were, I was lis­ten­ing. I was active lis­ten­ing right there.

Jason (25:59):

I appre­ci­ate that.

Jor­dan (26:02):

I think this is a good stop­ping point for us actu­al­ly around this top­ic of hap­pi­ness. I think though, that as our pod­cast pro­gress­es, one of the things that we’ll prob­a­bly always talk about: work is good, and this con­cept of hap­pi­ness, because it’s so clear in the research, the sci­ence, and also just the obser­va­tion­al life that we live, that it is the one thing if you’re lead­ing peo­ple orga­ni­za­tion­al­ly, that to tar­get to focus on in the employ­ee expe­ri­ence. And if you can do what­ev­er you can do to facil­i­tate some of this goal set­ting, clar­i­ty of vision, clar­i­ty of self, who I am, how I func­tion, how I work, and which I think we actu­al­ly, orga­ni­za­tion­al­ly, we typ­i­cal­ly do bet­ter with that part. We typ­i­cal­ly do bet­ter with the who I am, but the who I am, not ori­ent­ed to any sort of goal or any sort of thing that I want to accom­plish, does­n’t even real­ly mat­ter. All I’m going to walk away with is maybe a false sense of pride of some per­son­al­i­ty trait and then a whole bunch of shame at all the stuff that I’m bad at.

Jason (27:10):


Jor­dan (27:11):

How use­ful is that with­out an ori­en­ta­tion towards a fin­ished line or where I’m going?

Jason (27:16):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I want to leave us with an idea if that’s okay before we wrap up. Well, I think this is a real­ly com­pelling idea that came out of some of this research that I was read­ing. Cause we’ve been kind of talk­ing about these ideas and the propo­si­tion, if you will, that was put for­ward is that well­be­ing can be this causal force inside of com­pa­nies. And so if you can imag­ine it in that way -

Jor­dan (27:44):

Are you set­ting up a part three right now?

Jason (27:46):

Well, I think this is going to be a thread of top­ics that we con­tin­ue to dis­cuss. I think that’s more there. There’s then this pos­i­tive feed­back loop that begins to take place because we talked about a cou­ple episodes ago, the rela­tion­ship between hap­pi­ness and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. And I mean, it’s extreme ben­e­fits between hap­pi­ness and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. And so all of a sud­den this notion of human flour­ish­ing, it just con­tin­ues to build upon itself. And I think why that’s impor­tant is because when it gets into this sphere of busi­ness, things become so prac­ti­cal that even as we’re hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion, it’s real­ly easy for me to take this stuff that we’re talk­ing about and say, well, at the end of the day, push comes to shove, there’s oth­er stuff that we got to take care of. That’s prob­a­bly more impor­tant than think­ing about get­ting to do the job, the notion of happiness.


And that’s not real­ly the job. And I think the propo­si­tion that’s being put forth, and I think seems to be sup­port­ed by the research is that in actu­al­i­ty, the ben­e­fits of peo­ple focused on their hap­pi­ness and well­be­ing from the indi­vid­ual lev­el through the com­mu­ni­ty kind of orga­ni­za­tion­al lev­el, all of that is so pow­er­ful that it’s not just like, Hey, let’s just well­be­ing, hap­pi­ness. If we get to talk­ing about it, it’s great. You maybe we’ll put togeth­er a cou­ple pro­grams just to tamp down the chat­ter that’s hap­pen­ing, to put fires out, and the employ­ee sur­vey and stuff like that. And it’s always just this after­thought. And I think real­ly to the degree we can bring it into this more cen­tral place and think of it as this causal force in com­pa­nies for good, the good of the com­pa­ny, but also for the good of the world, human flour­ish­ing. It could be a real­ly, real­ly pow­er­ful thing.

Jor­dan (29:40):

Yeah. I think we have to stop think­ing about work is task and per­son­al life is rela­tion­ship and emo­tion. Rela­tion­ship and emo­tion and task is every­where. Between us, we have eight chil­dren. There’s no short­age of tasks at home. It’s not as if you just go home and it’s just like, well, we’re just sor­ta. We just hug our way through the last three hours of the day with our fam­i­ly and go to bed. All the tasks hap­pen at work. We kind of get this tough skin on when it comes to work. And it’s all about achieve­ment and it’s all about get­ting stuff done. And then we pre­tend like home is some­thing total­ly dif­fer­ent. We’ve talked about this before. Life is life and work is part of it. And I think we need to stop shy­ing away from the emo­tion. And it does­n’t mean that we go all emo­tion. It’s just like, well, let’s just sit around and talk about how we feel all day and do noth­ing. That is not the pro­pos­al here. But if peo­ple are hap­py and they’re hap­py in their job and they feel sat­is­fied and they feel like their lead­ers are invest­ed in their hap­pi­ness and invest­ed in their sat­is­fac­tion, they’re actu­al­ly more pro­duc­tive. Right? Which is, and that’s not why you do it. That’s not why you help peo­ple be hap­py so that they serve the com­pa­ny bet­ter. That is an impor­tant fac­tor. Less impor­tant than the human flour­ish­ing itself. Right. But there’s no rea­son why you can’t have both. Yeah. They’re not at odds. Yeah. They’re not at odds at all. Yeah. They’re at odds at all. Any­way, thank you so much, every­body. Thank you, Jason, for your time, your vocab­u­lary, your research. I real­ly appre­ci­ate it. What was the word again?

Jason (31:18):



I love that. Thank you for lis­ten­ing to how peo­ple work. We’ll see you next week.


We got your word of the day.


Oh, my word of, I for­get it every time. What?


For next time.


What is my word? You already got one locked and loaded?


I do.


All right, go.


Word of the day will be scrupulous.


Scrupu­lous. I like it. It’s fun to say too. All right, we’ll, we’ll see you next time and we will scrupu­lous­ly enter­tain you for -


That does­n’t count.


Yeah, no, it was poor­ly used, but it does­n’t count. We’ll see you next time on how peo­ple work. Bye-Bye.

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