The Science of Happiness at Work



Ever experienced a “Flow state” in your career? I have in the past, where it felt like everything was just “working” and it was great.
Other times, working in different departments for other bosses, I definitely had heart palpitations and was relying on energy drinks or alcohol to survive, which was definitely NOT good. When I think of what happiness looks like, we KNOW when we’re there or not. Some might not think about it much, but I do! What is happiness, and what do I have to put in place so I can experience it more often?

If you don’t find happiness in your work, you’ll always be thinking about throwing in the towel. Entrepreneurship is the long game- you can’t set it and forget it without checking in. Even if you get to the point where it’s on autopilot with ads and you don’t need to be on social as much, you still need to check in with your business. (I’ve made that mistake before!) You have a machine running that you really need to be in tune with.

I’m always thinking about marketing; I can’t shut it off. Call it a positive or a negative, but it’s what entrepreneurship really is for me. It’s a deep burning in my belly that always has me fired up. Thankfully my husband Bill is the same way, and our typical evenings involve kicking our feet back around the wood burning stove in our garage, watching marketing videos! (We know this isn’t normal, but it’s a bonding time for us.)

We’ve been running businesses together for 16 years, and it can be a blessing and struggle at the same time since we’re both “always on.” We’re trying hard to shut it off around our daughter, so we’re not always talking about work in front of her. I grew up with entrepreneurial parents in a massive house (it was an 8 bed 9 bath mansion), where the family carpet store was the topic of conversation. My parents had crazy work ethics and traveled hard. My idea of “work balance” was work really really hard, then go on vacation for a few weeks where you let your hair down.

Getting a typical 9-5 job showed me that balance could look different. You’re done at the end of the day and weekends are off. Sales never felt balanced though, because I had to follow up with people at night or on the weekends. Now, since I LOVE what I’m doing, the extra hours or learning new ways to get in front of the right people is coming from a place of love. (There are times I wonder if I should have a different hobby so I’m not always focused on this, though!)

I’m trying to read more books, especially ones outside of marketing! One of my favorites has been Do the Work. (I’m obsessed with @theholisticpsychologist on Instagram.) The other one has been What Happened to You, cowritten by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Oprah. Psychology is my other love. It has a LOT to do with sales, but my pursuits have been understanding ego and trauma, and how to do the work around these things. We ALL need to do this work because we grow up with traumas we might not be conscious of. If we don’t recognize them, they play out in our every day adult lives.

Zappos - the biggest online shoe company in the world - says there are 4 components of being happy at work. Their founder wrote a book called Delivering Happiness, which is all about a path to profits, passion and purpose.

He talks about these 4 components:



People need to be part of a bigger vision to feel like they have purpose and their values are aligned. If you’re working with something you feel isn’t going where you want to go, you won’t be happy.


A sense of perceived control.

Control over your own destiny, feeling you have all the pieces it’s going to take to get to the next level. For me, when I have a course, mentor or guru I can follow that’s helping me overcome challenges, I feel ENERGIZED. If I’m lacking that, I can feel overwhelmed and heavy. (Loss of control is at the helm of that.) It’s vital to always see what you’re learning and what you're doing next.


Perceived progress.

No one wants to feel stuck. Feeling like you’re making progress involves not relying on emotion, and really checking in on where you’ve been. Look at numbers, things that are non-emotional. They say “Men lie, women lie, but stats DON’T lie.”



We’re social creatures that thrive on connections and depend on them emotionally and physically. This is why we decided to create our free Facebook Group: Business Bootcamp. It connects coaches together so they can ask questions and lean on each other. We also have our members only group, Authentic AF with Ashley so they also feel connected. Connected people report greater happiness than those isolated. (I remember going to coach retreats and I felt SO great leaving them!)

Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” demonstrates how human motivation evolves rapidly once basic psychological needs are met. It leads people to be more connected through expression, social status, freedom, sense of belonging and other intangibles. You have to get your basic needs met first (food, shelter, etc), and as you build those needs, you can feel more connected and have that freedom to go after passion and vision. For a new business owner, you can’t reach a higher point in your business until those basic needs are taken care of. The basics have to be met before self-actualization happens.

Key Takeaways From This Episode:

  • A new business owner can’t reach a higher point in their business until their basic needs are met.
  • If you don’t find happiness in your work, you’ll always be thinking about throwing in the towel.

Don’t forget….. If you loved this episode, screenshot it and share it to your IG stories and tag me @theashleyshaw.  I would love to connect with you!

About the author 

Ashley Shaw

Employee account created by MemberMouse

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