The missing key (or, Keyes, in this case)

While I was busy walking around shaking my snow globe and looking for a pattern/path which made real sense to me, I was an avid student of the relatively new field of positive psychology. And I spent real thinking time connecting dots. I read the works of Haidt, Seligman and others who were instrumental in the establishment and growth of the field of positive psychology, connecting their work to business and personal growth.

I picked up little pieces of this big puzzle from watching videos and TED talks, and spending time with others (coaches, physicians, business owners, you name it) who genuinely understand the concept of flow and the amazing things which happen when a person, team or organization is operating in such a great place. Yes, when they’re flourishing on purpose!

And, yes, the topics of neuroplasticity and positive perspective/outlook are very fun, and I’m happy to engage in a lively discussion about those topics over a cup of coffee or a “walk ‘n talk” around town. But, I knew these things alone weren’t going to change the way business does business, or help reengage our lost superstars.

Not that I hadn’t found great value in the tools I’d found over the years which help apply the core tenets of positive psychology, I had long been searching for a more substantial “proven” model – something the business world could embrace and measure against.

And, I was, admittedly, somewhat a lost superstar myself until a fateful evening in Spring 2012. Thanks to my alma mater, Emory University, hosting a great alumni program (aptly named, “Faculty within Your Reach”), something very special happened.

By the way, I’d invited a friend and colleague, Wendy Watkins, to join me for the event. Being the good sport that she is, she happily came along for the ride, especially given the topic.

As we listened that evening to Dr. Corey Keyes speak, we were both thrilled we attended, albeit for somewhat different reasons. By the time he finished, my brain was running a mile a minute – maybe faster. And for good reason.

He had data! (And, lots of it.) Real, measurable data which clearly demonstrated impact/improvement related to flourishing. It was an amazing turning point for me. (And, yes, as you might imagine, it had an immeasurable impact on my snow globe finally settling in a recognizable pattern!)

Not long after his talk, I shared with Dr. Keyes what an impact he had on my world. It took a “30 minutes turned into 2 hours” coffee visit for us to become fast friends.

It’s worth noting, we’re apparently entertaining to others around us when we get together – the fun sparks start flying right away. Sometimes people to just sit and watch our “controlled circus” conversations, even if they are holding empty coffee mugs. We certainly have fun any time we’re together!

We’re currently working on a pilot project which I believe has the potential of substantial (yes, measureable) impact on individuals, teams and organizations. I look forward to sharing more on that soon.

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