My Way: Jenn Lim on Delivering Happiness As a Leader

Jenn Lim is the CEO of Delivering Happiness, a company she co-founded with Tony Hsieh, the late CEO of Zappos, to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable business approach. In her new book, Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact, Lim further explores the idea of happiness in the workplace and ways companies can put people first, especially in a world of remote work.

The best leaders support their teams’ happiness by…

encouraging team members to show up as their true, authentic selves, and embracing the creative tensions that may arise by doing so. I’d rather be in a room where people are fully showing up than only experience their “work self.” Innovation, growth and adaptability occur at a faster rate when we allow the uniqueness of our people (and their purpose) to enter the room.

I define a great organizational culture as one that…

lives and breathes its purpose and values. It allows for all voices to be heard while having clarity in direction and communication. It’s being able to respond to both questions of what’s in it for me and what’s in it for all simultaneously. 

One thing I try to do every day is…

get outside! Maybe that’s why the greenhouse model I speak of in my book appeals to me so much. I’m inspired by what we can learn from nature, and it reminds me how mere and mighty we are as human beings. 

I feel most alive when…

I see the growth of clients who’ve applied our frameworks and strategies over the years, and are rocking it… as individuals, teams and organizations. Winning awards for their culture, their people, and seeing that Ripple of Impact (the new ROI) change their communities, society and the planet as a result. That fires me up! 

My favorite inspiring quote is…

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” —Rumi

To avoid distractions, I…

put intentional time in my calendar to focus

I handle negativity by…

pausing and reflecting on where it’s coming from. Is it external? Is it internal? Is it something within my control or outside of it? If within, I ask what thought or action can balance it out with a positive thing. 

One thing that is difficult for me but I enjoy is…

climbing the next (proverbial and physical) mountain. The hardest ones to date are Mount Kilimanjaro and writing this book. And I can’t wait to see what mountain is next.   

My best advice for handling change is…

to ground ourselves in our purpose and values. No matter what happens in the world that we can’t control, your purpose and values are the foundation to understand how best to adapt. 

In 10 years I hope to…

still be climbing mountains.

I define success as…

being true to my real self—embracing highs and lows, strengths and shadow sides. Waking up and going to sleep knowing I spent my day living my purpose to connect people in meaningful ways, and my values of authenticity, freedom and relationships.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 Issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photos courtesy of Jenn Lim.

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