Samantha Clarke is a Happiness Consultant. Originally from the UK, she advises companies and individuals around the world on how to achieve greater satisfaction at work – including during change processes. At the me Convention 2019, she told us why happiness is not an issue for the boss, and why she loves being mobile.
Ms. Clarke, you believe that everyone has an "ultimate purpose" in life. Have you already found yours?
Definitely. My purpose is to help people with big changes. When they try something new, take their first steps, and progress is made. That makes me happy.
Research shows that change can lead to uncertainty. The automotive industry is currently undergoing a fundamental transformation. What does this mean for the "happiness trend" in our workforce?
There is always some concern when things change. In times like these it can be helpful to become comfortable with that kind of uncertainty. Take the invention of the internet, for example. It has had a huge impact on our world, which nevertheless continues to turn. We can apply this to mobility. And that's not all. Uncertain times can even inspire us to think more creatively and flexibly, to ask new questions and to start new trends.
How can companies contribute to their employees' happiness?
Companies often have a firm idea of what they want to achieve strategically and financially. Sometimes the point of view of the employees on the journey the companies are facing is less clear. What do they need to perform for the company and be happy at the same time? Managers can find out by asking and listening quietly. It is not true that high bonuses necessarily lead to happy employees. Research actually shows that employees are more satisfied in the long term if change takes place in a meaningful direction, and employees are able to play a part.
"Never stop playing" is one of your pieces of advice for being happy. What is the best way to do this while at work?
The key is to start small. It could for example be a way to structure your own job in a playful way. In other words, thinking of useful additions that are beneficial to the company and suit your own passions. What manager wouldn't be happy if these additions benefit the company?
Absolute happiness in your job – is that even possible?
No, I don't think so. For example: Nobody can meet all of their partner's needs in all aspects of their lives. Everyone will satisfy certain needs with friends, parents, siblings, or someone else entirely. It's the same with work: no job in the world will be one hundred percent perfect. But it is important to know what exactly you like about your current job. Someone might enjoy 80 percent of their work and not be sure about the other 20 percent. So my question would be what to do with that 20 percent? My principle is: love it, change it or leave it.
To what extent does mobility make us happy?
Very happy! To me, mobility means the freedom to get where I want to be. What you need to know is that I suffer from a disease that often causes pain in my joints. The immobility on some days affects me because I like to be outside. These are the moments when I particularly appreciate the car. It allows freedom of mobility even for people with physical limitations or disabilities. For me, mobility is a great happiness factor.
How can we as a company contribute to more happiness in the city?
If not Daimler, who can establish new mobility solutions that are sustainable and efficient at the same time? Mobility is fun! When I think of my own ride sharing encounters, I could write books ...
Have you ever experienced happiness on a shared journey?
Frequently! I love sharing a ride and getting to know different people. I always like to remember a journey with an up-and-coming sushi chef who understood my love of Japan like no one else, and told me the secret of the perfect sushi roll! After every journey, everyone returns to their own lives. What remains is that you have shared a small piece of life.
What is the connection between sustainability and happiness?
Our happiness depends on whether we treat our planet and the environment with respect. The earth and nature give us so many resources that, in return, we should pay attention to our footprint and return the favor.
Opting for a sustainable lifestyle often means making sacrifices – such as traveling less, not eating meat or only wearing Fair Trade clothing. Does this have a positive or negative effect on happiness?
Happiness is independent of any restrictions. Mindset and language are what it comes down to. It's not about "I can't or shouldn't". But rather "I prefer not to do it; I don't need it". Only those who change something out of conviction are also happy about itThis applies equally to individuals and to employees in a company that is undergoing changes.
As a Happiness Consultant, Samantha Clarke is a sought-after expert and keynote speaker on the subject of employee wellbeing and sustainable workplace happiness. She works all over the world for companies who want their employees to be happier at work as well help individuals get to the heart of what it means to work and live with real meaning, purpose and intention. The founder of the Love It or Leave It Movement has created the first online training that provides practical solutions to individuals who want to create their own growth & happiness and help others to do so as well. She is also the host of the Conversations with Samantha & podcast, and is a lecturer for The School of Life and facilitates masterclasses at the Guardian. Her first book: Love It Or Leave It: How to Be Happy at Work; is being published in March 2020.