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bliss-tip-3by Allison Aboud Holzer

One quick peruse through Facebook Groups shows the abundance of opportunities we have to express our commitment to causes, groups or organizations. My personal favorite is the “Chocolate=Love!” group of which I am a loyal member and committed chocolate eater! Belonging is a natural part of human nature that starts in the playground and continues through adulthood, driving team sports, the Greek system, Superbowl frenzy, political campaigns and walk-a-thons, to name a few. But what about being a loyal and committed member of the most important group of all… Team YOU?

When my husband Paul applied to business school, he had some lofty ambitions. He wanted to attend one of the best schools for social enterprise and receive a scholarship. He knew he needed support to achieve his goals, so he asked his father and me for help. We called ourselves “Team Paul.” Our team held regular meetings to strategize for him and to offer feedback. We each brought different perspectives, strengths and talents to the table. We worked hard to help Paul move steadily in the direction of his goals, while also having loads of fun! And guess what? Against fierce odds, Paul gained admittance to one of the best schools for social enterprise with a scholarship.

So, how do you start up a Team YOU?

  1. Decide on the theme of your team. Do you want to focus on a short-term goal, like admittance to graduate school? Or, rather, a long-term goal like achieving better physical health or fulfillment in your work?
  2. Select your team members. Having the theme of your group clearly stated will probably point you in the right direction. Choose supportive friends who will bring unique strengths and knowledge to your team.
  3. Ask them to join. Explicitly ask them to join. Invite them to dinner or a conference call and explain upfront what you need from them – like how often you would like to meet and how they can best support you.
  4. Act as team leader. You’ve courageously asked for support and gathered your troops. Now, you’re the one who sets the stage for success. Set guidelines for how often you meet, what you discuss, and what you need to move forward.

I know what you might be thinking. Trust me, Team YOU is *not* narcissistic! The most generous thing you can do in your life is prioritize your own fulfillment and personal growth. Your happiness, your growth, your success ultimately benefits the people and the world around you!


by Dr. Timothy Sharp, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute

If you’re one of “the lucky few” then you’re very well positioned to dr-timothy-sharp1live a great life because by “the lucky few” I’m referring to those of you who find happiness comes easily.  No matter what’s going on around you, you still remain optimistic and positive.  And as well as enjoying happiness, you’ll also live longer, maintain better relationships and even be more successful at work.

Most of you, however, won’t fall into this very small group but the good news is that’s OK; because you can still create more happiness if you do the right sorts of things.  Regardless of whether or not you’re a natural optimist you can still learn to the proven principles of positive psychology and as a result, enjoy happiness more often.

Now this posting doesn’t present a simple strategy but rather, an over-arching approach I’ve used with wonderful effect in my work over the years (see  And it’s based on the simple but vitally important notion that to achieve anything in life we have to plan for it.

Most people understand that to be fitter and healthier we need to develop relevant plans – for exercise and diet.  Well, the same is true for happiness but unfortunately, most people spend more time planning their annual holidays than they do planning their lives; I have nothing against annual holidays but I can guarantee that if you take even just a fraction of the time you spend thinking about holidays and dedicate that time to contemplating life goals then you’ll enjoy incredible benefits.

Now before I go further I should explain that “plan” is not just a word but that it’s also an acronym.  Let me quickly explain The Happiness Institute’s PLAN model:

P represents a Positive image of the future

L is for Leveraging off what you already have

A is for the Action plan you need to develop and

N is a reminder to focus on your most immediate Next steps

In summary, then, this simple but (and I can vouch for this personally) very powerful model can help you determine your destination for life and set your course for the future.  If you imagine what a great life would look like, consider what you already have (in the way of strengths, attributes, characteristics and resources) that will help you get there, determine exactly what you need to do, and take it one step at a time then I’m confident you’ll go on to live a happier and more successful life.  And when you do, feel free to tell me your story; I love hearing about the positive outcomes of others!

Dr. Timothy Sharp is Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute.  He’s one of Australia’s leaders in the exciting new field of positive psychology, a sought after public/corporate speaker and he has Professorial appointments within the UTS School of Business and RMIT’s School of Health Sciences.  Dr. Sharp provides consulting and coaching services to individuals and organisations as well as Positive Psychology Training programs to relevant professionals.


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POH is an organization committed to the pursuit of happiness through education. This blog offers a forum to discuss happiness, positive psychology, fulfillment, and other related topics. While POH has created this forum for community learning and discussion, please note that blog entries reflect the opinions of the individual bloggers and not the POH organization. I invite you to peruse the site and respond with your feedback and insights!