by Suzee Connole
Without question, having a career can be stressful. It involves long hours, solving a multitude of problems, and making (sometimes unfavorable) decisions. But the tasks you face while on the clock, even when it’s stuff you don’t love, do not have to strip you of your happiness, says Susan Peppercorn.
“Happiness at work is achievable,” Susan says. “Yet here we are, in a culture where people believe working and happiness cannot coexist.” Susan is an alumni of the first Certificate in Positive Psychology program. Shortly after graduating, she established Positive Workplace Partners, a coaching and consulting practice that focuses on helping people thrive in their career.
Susan understands that each client’s needs are unique to their situation. Some people come to her wanting to find a new job that is a better fit. Some need assistance finding happiness in their current workplace. Others want to venture out and start their own business. Regardless of the path they are navigating, they all need to learn the same thing, Susan says: how to discover and implement their character strengths.
“I’ve found that people do not know how to identify their strengths, thus they cannot work them to their advantage,” she says. Susan combines lessons and resources from Realise2 to lay the framework for her clients.
Once character strengths are harnessed and applied to the workplace, there is one more part to Susan’s happiness formula. “Feedback is critical. It often takes someone else to verbalize our successes or positive contributions in order for us to appreciate them.”
Her years of work in consulting have also taught her that, when it comes to making a change, we tend to look at the negatives rather than applying the positives. “When we’re in the process of changing, our initial thought is ‘I am weak here’ or ‘I am failing at this.’ Instead we should be saying, ‘I am strong at this, so how can I use that to improve?”
It is in those scenarios that Susan advocates for people to seek an outside perspective—a colleague, supervisor, or family member who can provide feedback on where you excel. By recognizing how others see you, you can understand yourself better, and use that knowledge to make your work life—and every aspect of life—more fulfilling.
To learn more about Susan’s approach to coaching, check out her book Ditch Your Inner Critic at Work, available on Amazon.
Suzee Connole is the Marketing Assistant for Wholebeing Institute. Part of her role at WBI involves highlighting how alumni, faculty, and guest speakers are taking positive psychology principles and applying them in the communities where they live and work.
Susan Peppercorn, CiPP1, is an executive and career coach who enables mid- and senior-level professionals to find their next best career step—whether that’s a promotion, new job, career, or entrepreneurial option. A certified Positive Psychology Coach, Susan was a teaching assistant for CiPP2. A frequently quoted expert, she has been tapped for career advice by publications including the “New York Times”, “Wall Street Journal”, “Fast Company”, “U.S. News & World Report”, and “Harvard Business Review”. Accredited by the International Coaching Federation, Susan is a frequently requested speaker and an executive mentor for Healthcare Business Women’s Association. Her free workbook, “25 Tips for Making a Successful Career Transition”, is available at positiveworkplacepartners.com.