What is the Happiness-Success Connection?

When Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith asks audiences around the world to complete the following sentence, one word is overwhelmingly provided: “When my kids grow up, I want them to be _______.” Your response? It was probably “happy.”   No other answer – successful, wealthy, healthy, well-adjusted, etc – comes remotely close. 

Why is that?  What does it tell us about what we value? The good news is that it affirms our good judgment.  We get it viscerally that life is brief and precious and that little else matters if we are not happy.  Yet, relatively few of us make a serious commitment to consciously increase our happiness even though it’s the core state of being we wish for our loved ones.

What does this have to do with productivity you might be asking?  Or with time management for lawyers? Let me answer with another question:  All things being equal, are you a better lawyer, a better colleague, a better boss, when you’re happier in your life or when you’re less happy in your life?

Even in the midst of the fiercest litigation, your energy, focus, demeanor, judgment and confidence are enhanced when you’re operating from a place of increased overall happiness in your life. As psychologist Philip Zimbardo notes in his book The Time Paradox, “Most people do give themselves time to be happy in their two weeks of vacation a year.  But that that is not enough. 

You need to integrate happiness into your . . . life.” Now, if consciously cultivating increased happiness seems either superfluous on the one hand, or desirable but impossible on the other, consider the some of the simple actions you could take this week:

  • Browse the humor section in a bookstore
  • Pick up a simple present (like a book) for a loved one
  • Take an after-dinner walk
  • Tell someone you love that you appreciate them
  • Pull out (or download) some music you used to enjoy in your younger days
  • Write a quick note card to someone you appreciate
  • Get tickets for a play, a concert, or ball game
  • Rekindle a hobby you’ve let slip

If you already do some of these things, great.   The trick is to elevate them (or whatever activities bring you happiness) so that they’re a more regular part of your life, and not relegate them to the “when I have time” category of life.

So commit to doing ONE thing this week to bring a little bit of extra happiness into your life that you otherwise wouldn’t have.   You’ll be a better lawyer, colleague, boss, and family member for it.

About the Author

Bill Jawitz, Law Firm Coach and Consultant

Bill Jawitz has been coaching lawyers to become more profitable and enjoy a higher quality of life since 2002.

He can be reached at or at 203.806.1300.

I maintain a deep library of hundreds of best-of-breed checklists, templates, guides, and white papers on every aspect of managing a legal practice and law firm, from lawyer marketing plans, to hiring process checklists, to alternative fee engagement letters.

If you need a quick resource, call me. I’ll send you what I have on the topic free of charge with no strings.

Call for a free consultation (203) 806-1300

Want to learn more?

Have a question? Looking for a Just-In-Time Resource?

Contact Bill Now