One of the most important elements of everyday happiness is having a feeling of PROGRESS. So what does a ‘sense of progress’ mean when it comes to happiness? To put it simply, I see it as the ability to feel movement, development, and growth. If you think about progress like water, not much progress is being made when the water is completely still. In actuality, it tends to stink and develop bacteria when it’s not flowing! When it flows, that’s when water thrives. As humans (remember, we’re 60 percent water), we want to feel like our lives are flowing in a positive direction.
Here are some examples where I see progress come to life:
I’ve recently started to study free-diving, have you heard of it? It’s when you dive as deep as you can (for as long as you can) while controlling your breath - no oxygen tanks here! When I first started, I thought, a dive 2.5 meters deep (about 8 feet) was a far enough goal for me.
With training every week and by learning new techniques, I was able to extend my dive all the way to the bottom 6 meters (about 19.5 feet).
With every meter gained, I felt inspired and motivated to go further. One month later I dove 9 meters deep into open water in Thailand and at the five-month mark I made it to 12 meters (approx. 39 feet).
My training gave me a clear sense of progress, but it all starts with small progressions along the way (each centimeter, so to speak). I believe that BIG, overall happiness starts from the little things we love to do everyday and the little bits of progress we make in them.
We use sense of progress in our everyday lives in ways that we don’t realize because we’re wired to want to see a positive progression in what we’re doing. Progress is also embedded in parts of our culture. Maybe it’s the advent calendar we give to kids around Christmas or the virtual badges we get from our fitness tracking devices.
Recognition and feedback common methods we create progress on our individual performance - whether it’s at work or in our personal lives.
“You’re singing better than last week.”
“Your soup is tasting more delicious every time you make it.”
“Your presentation skills are becoming stronger.”
The best part about feedback and recognition is that they don’t have to cost anything to give, but they mean a lot in creating happiness everyday - even at work! According to a 2018 report by TINYpulse, a strong relationship exists between recognition and the likelihood that an employee will remain at the job.
When’s the last time you gave someone positive recognition?
How can create more sense of progress at work?
Questions to consider:
• What are some creative ways you can celebrate small successes at work?
• What gets in the way of this at work? How can you overcome that?
• How can you make sure that sense of progress is part of the process and culture?
Here are some tips on getting started:
• Making checklists
• Sharing wins at the next team meeting
• Starting your day and ending your day by giving recognition
• Give feedback anytime you’re asked
• Setting a goal to learn and grow a new skill by a certain time
• Try “plussing”, that's building and improving on ideas without using judgmental language
Sense of progress is an element we use to create happier workplaces around the world. Learn more about how to create it with our ebook: