Humanity & the Workplace| An Interview with Jenn Lim

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jenn interview

I got a chance to catch up with DH Cofounder & CEO Jenn Lim to discuss the new book Beyond Happiness, which explores the connection between humanity and the workplace. 


1. If organizations encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work, how do you see that impacting overall mental health? 


In 2012, Google launched Project Aristotle to answer the question: "What makes a team effective at Google?" They found the highest-performing teams were those who felt psychologically safe to talk about what's going well, what's not, what they are challenged by, and what they celebrate. 


As employers, companies, and leaders, we have a tremendous opportunity to create a safe space for people to bring their whole selves to work. It's not just celebrating the strengths but also the lows and blind spots that might exist in the workplace. This creates a sense of psychological safety in which employees can be free to express themselves. 


2. Is it possible to have a healthy work-life balance?  


The discussion about work-life balance alludes to a separation, but we've talked about work-life integration for decades. The barriers of what it means to be at home and at work came crashing down at the beginning of COVID.  In this physical shift, people realized a new reality that is catalyzing the future of work to now. We need to be able to reconcile and be at peace that work and life are one and the same. 


3. How do we switch gears to merge our two selves in a positive, effective way?


Our big mantra (at DH) is establishing and grounding ourselves in purpose and values. In Beyond Happiness, I talk about starting with ME to establish your own purpose and values. That's one of the most meaningful ways to begin this path of merging these two selves because if we're not living our purpose and value at work or at home, then, in essence, we're not really living up to our full, most meaningful whole selves. 


4. How can we bring humanity back into the workplace, lunchroom, breakroom?


Here is a story that speaks to this: A woman (we'll call her Rachel) came into a meeting, and she was clearly not acting like herself, disengaged and acting out in ways that made other question what was going on with her. The meeting ends, and Rachel leaves and another woman (we'll call her Susan) pulls her aside and says just three words, "are you okay?" Rachel broke down because, no, she wasn't okay. She had just learned of a death in her family, but she didn't feel like she could express that at work; she felt she had to bottle it inside. In those three words, Susan noticed, observed, and did not assume Rachel was just having a bad day but that there was something more. It was a human thing for Susan to sit Rachel down and simply ask those three words. 


Being more human takes courage and vulnerability of yourself. Having more human conversations based on the belief that everyone is going through something, so we should "be kind, for every[one] is fighting a hard battle."


5. What did the reset button on humanity mean to you? 


With this global reset on humanity, we saw the divisiveness of what people choose to do. My big belief is that when these kinds of chaotic things happen, a person's true character comes out. "Life is like a grindstone; whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends on what you're made of." We got to see the true character of people because everyone was in panic mode. 


In the worst of times, we see the worst and best of people and companies. We have a sense of what their true purpose is, and true values are. Is it to just make money, so they fired a bunch of people on Zoom, or is it to help people in their company and outside of it. The reset has been really clarifying for me where we are in the world. Therefore, identifying those gaps and challenges also gives us a greater opportunity to identify what we can do about it in positive ways.


6. Why do you think it is so difficult for people, especially in a leadership position to tend to their own greenhouses while growing others?


There's a tendency as a leader to make sure others are taken care of. It's part of the role and responsibilities; whether you are leading a team of 10 people or an organization of ten thousand, that's part of the role. We sometimes don't reflect enough or are self-aware enough because we get so caught up in the day-to-day and being "successful" that we forget why we're doing it in the first place. That's why we keep talking about the purpose and values. If we're not living by them, then what are we living by? 


There is an exercise in the book that helps you make decisions that will make nurturing your Greenhouse a priority. It is about working on your eulogy instead of your resume, what will be your legacy, and are you living it now. 


No matter what challenges we face, we can find authentic happiness within and spread it to the people on our team and then to our communities at large for a significant positive impact on the world.


Get Beyond Happiness for your team, yourself, or for the leaders of your company & bring humanity to your workplace & beyond. 

Core Values Refresh

*Check back next week for another round of questions with Jenn

About the Author

Amanda Marksmeier

Amanda is the Growth Content Driver at DH. She has been writing and creating engaging content for nearly five years. She loves to use words to inspire and connect with people. Amanda thrives on helping and serving others through the power of the written word. She is always on the search for new and inventive ways to reach and educate others.


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