Staggering Stats

Our working life has to change.

Grads from top schools are funneled into high income 80 hour per week jobs and 15 to 30 years of soul crushing work has been accepted as the default path.

In the UK we are the least productive workforce in Europe 27 percent less productive than our German counterparts. Even behind Spain renowned for their siestas!

We’re spending around 28 per cent of our working day on eMails, 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings (and 73 percent of us do other work during those meetings!)

Our working days are longer than they should be. The working day having increased from seven and a half hours to nine and a half. Employees are effectively cancelling out their holidays by using phones and iPads to work from home.

Many companies seem still so ingrained to having bums on seats irrespective of productivity – and are still not taking into account our individual needs.

YouGov reported in 2015 that 37 percent of British workers think their jobs are meaningless and the Evening Standard says that a staggering 80 per cent of Londoners hate their jobs. With Bloomberg recently revealing that once you are over thirty-five your more likely to hate your job.

Read Happiness at Work for some light!

Fiona Austin is a consultant for creating a better life at work, whether you work for yourself or for someone else.  ContactWhen you live in paradise logo

Happiness at Work – pt 1

In this first of two articles I’m going to focus on those employed and those that employ them.   I’m asking the question  …

Can you be happy at work?

Yes – is the short answer.  How – is the key. And the obstacle – change!

Happiness is not a destination like going to Ibiza nor is it a blanky that you can wrap around yourself. It’s a reaction, it’s cumulative and it’s personal. Good news is that it is possible with just a little mindset change.  This is food for thought which is essentially like chocolate cake for the brain!  So it’s change we want so will gobble it up!

This is the killer of productive engagement in the workplace. This is something suffered on all levels. We like to experience small wins. Interestingly our biggest inspiration is ruled by our intrinsic motivations, goals, meaning .. not extrinsic such as financial. Think about it. If you earn £50k and are splashing around in a beach buggy for a living. You’re offered £80k to manage the parking lot – well it’s not going to bring you much happiness. Money after a certain point is not an incentive and should not equal misery. But old school keeps using old ways.

Meaning is where you realise how you’re job fits into the bigger picture. How you are important, not a faceless cog, but you’re valued.  The qualification on the understanding of that value that often is missed, it must be your feeling of value, that you feel like you’ve contributed. You’re not just packing tomatoes, you’re making pasta sauce or making kids smile. You’re part of the bigger picture. The ‘shut up and do as you’re told ‘was a bad adoption. Why did we not stick with the Bournville philosophy (the chocolate village). Here was a place where workers were treated well, commuting gone because they were given homes, schools, pensions, with their health and welfare looked after – genuinely. Now 200 years on it’s hothousing and high rents. Quality of life is low in big business. It now comes complete with a facade of ‘we’ve got a cool cafe so you don’t have to leave and we have beanbags – it’s rubbish. Identity stripped and you can’t even leave for lunch! Come back chocolate town!

Boredom coupled with meaning are two big areas that can be harnessed, cost little and return a lot.

For the employees who feel powerless, there’s a lot of things we can do. Happiness is a series of moments. It’s about resilience and perspective. We’ve got to reframe. Simply consider your coffee?  Dispense with it and go outside and have some water.  Have meetings on a bench in the park. You are adults it’s not like you need a hall pass. Shake it up.  Don’t bang out eMails to people who work next to you, talk to them. eMails are just lazy to do lists passed on. End them by replying in person or on the phone. Have an eMail time don’t do them immediately like they’re a whip master.  Schedule and do them all at once.  Turn things on their head. It’s interesting for your brain to identify the boring bits of your day and then rise to the challenge of how to make them more interesting. Make that a topic at lunch when you’re out of the building.

Start a grateful challenge. Pin it up in the photocopy room. When we’re grateful for stuff, we become more aware of the good, gets us off the negative track. But if it’s a public one, it spreads the good feeling. Or do one privately. Be thankful for the blue skies, the autumn leaves – get specific and enjoy the gratitude.

Doing these small things create chage by small percents in the right direction. They add up.


The top down needs to find out what bugs their employees and what good stuff do they want.  Be open to flexi time – it’s such a big one and groundless in heavy restriction. The cost of travel is another massive bug bare. Incentivise with travel bonus or have more flexi time to avail of off peak. It’s important for management to stop trying to control and look at productivity as opposed to behavior. Again it’s not school. Lots of grownups in the house!

Socials these can be tricky, when people don’t like work they want to get away so social’s can be forced.  It was found that employees who had a best friend where they work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged in their jobs. But old greys often discourage this, thinking friends will just chat all the time – short sighted – as more likely than not they will – about work when they’re off the clock!

Another way we can encourage happiness, is to invest in learning. Couple this with gratitude and you’ve a super charged sandwich. Executives are very often overlooked with genuine gratitude, yes nice bonuses but nothing beats gratitude. An investment in their leanrng coaching, training mentoring. Loyalty is increases, loss reduces productivity up. Happiness is in balance.

One important aspect that has to be brought into the workplace more is emotional intelligence. Without this in leadership you’re just in charge of a cold ship that will sink under you.  Meaningful relationships based in humility, compassion, empathy and kindness are increasingly part of successful brands. Couple this with ‘Conscious Capitalism’ workers who see their company involved in more conscious or sustainable investments, it will help to arrest conflicting feelings. Millennials want a better world and if their company is creating this, that’s a feel good and another increment to happiness.

Last Words on Happiness
In case you’re still not convinced. According to a study by author Shawn Achor “When the brain is positive, productivity rises by 31 per cent. Revenues can triple, likelihood of promotion rises 40 per cent and sales by 37 per cent!” But again. Grown ups in the house. We know when it’s authentic. Colored walls and green tea is not the answer in isolation.

Raj Sisoda, professor of global business observes that “people have been shut down and are operating at a minimal level, because they are not given conditions where positive energy, the commitment, creativity and passion can be liberated.

We need a big change. To stop thinking of employees, but of whole people. Work life balance isn’t a reality, but embracing the whole person is. If you wanted someone to stay with you for 20 years.  How could you ask for a seperation of the growth that would have happened to that individual. The work place has to get past ‘well it’s always worked’ so it can still work.

— — — —

When you live in paradise logoFiona Austin is a consultant to companies on how their employees can be happier so productivity increases.
* Just as trying to sort out your own problems is like trying to read from a mirror – outside perspective really helps. Outside looking in. Happiness shining back. Contact

Have it all Not happy

…the very rich. They are different from you and me.
F Scott Fitzgerald

Increasingly, as the 1%’s income gap widens ever greater, along with it is the closely followed 2, to 10%ers … we have a culture of people and families that have so much, materially – but are empty, unhappy, lost, dissatisfied – miserable even.  


So why when you have it all, does it not necessarily mean you’re deliriously happy too!   

Let’s chuck the obvious cliché out of the way so we can get on with this – ‘Money doesn’t buy Happiness’.. blah blah .. yes we know.  “But what if I’m rich and I simply want to be happy”.   It’s almost impossible to articulate this without judgment.

In the past this was predominately a male problem, but increasingly women. However it can be inherited to members of your family, so along with a few million in the bank comes a psyche full of disillusionment for the kids.

So what’s going on?

The expectations and pressures around you – the achieved, the successful, the rich – are that you need to have some sort of grin on your face 24/7.   The expectation is you need to be grateful, you can’t complain.  How can you! You’ve got it all.

Or it can be that you’ve spent your whole life working and now that you’ve got ‘there’, you are just not feeling it!  Again how can you complain, after all isn’t this what you worked for?

Trapped in a situation of having it all, like some Cracked Mirror drama, except this is nothing new.  The unhappy rich are all over history, the Bible, the Koran, and folk tales.  Stories about the feckless aristocracy, the sugar barons, the traders, the colonisers, bankers, and the tech trillionaires –  Having it all.  So why do we still keep trying to get more when we know in our history, hell in our DNA that it’s not the answer.with

On the outside, people would be quick to say ‘pity about them, who cares, they’ve got it all’.  How can the poor have compassion for the rich?  Unthinkable on both sides!  Yet we must.  When the captains are not happy the crew suffer.

It’s often so hard for the privileged to say they’re unhappy, to say these things out loud as there are so many struggling to get what the rich have.   But there is a dark side to privilege – it needs some light as we’re caught in the groove like lemmings, aiming for it all and getting everything – and here’s the rub – including something missing in the pit of our stomach.

Fiona Austin is an expert in Paradise Syndrome and runs tailored programmes which specifically deal with finding a life that feels right.    Contact


Start Up Time

There’s never been a better time to be a small business owner or to be starting a business.

🤔  Why?

The cost of getting started online? — Next to nothing.
It’s never been easier to get your message out there.  — Facebook Live, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Twitter.  It’s all right there for you.

too much facebook in our lives

Here’s the problem…
Everyone else has the same opportunity.
So everybody is doing it.
While it’s never been easier to get your message out there…
It’s never been harder to get anyone to ‘care’.  To break through the ‘noise’.
You’ve poured your heart into your business. All those sleepless nights. 18 hour days. 7-day weeks. You’ve tried it all.

  • Built your website.
  • Built your Facebook Page.
  • Built your YouTube Channel.
  • Written blog posts.
  • Optimized your content.
    And nobody seems to care.   Nothing’s working like it should. And none of these things will work…   Until you understand ONE thing.

story - when you live in paradise
Story matters.

Nothing matters as much in your online marketing.  All the cool tactics, tricks, and technology is great.  But it’s just noise without a story.
Because you can mess all these things up (your landing page, emails, Facebook Page, etc.). But if you get your story right, people will listen.
Don’t let any marketing ‘gurus’ fool you. There are no magic techniques.
No silver bullet that will make your business succeed.
The only ‘secret’ to great marketing is an ancient truth.
Great story.

Because story is how we connect with the world.

Your ideal customers too. They are living a story which they tell themselves.
Have you put yourself in their shoes? Know what really drives them?
As a business owner you must truly understand the story they are living.

  • What is their pain?
  • What truly keeps them up at night?
  • What are their desires?
  • What is the better future they want?

    Your role is to help them get there.

    By crafting a story that allows you to change their lives. Because people fundamentally buy for one reason.
    They are investing in a better future.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Lifestyle Business

7 Reasons to Live a Lifestyle Business


Sean Ogle takes up the story …..    A few years back, I wasn’t stoked about my position as a financial analyst, and I knew I wanted to run my own business. The problem was, I had no idea what I wanted that business to look like.

I could go one of two routes. I could take one of my crazy ideas and go the startup path, try and chase down funding, spend 80 hours a week to found a company, and take years off my life while trying to make it happen. Or I could build a lifestyle business, where I was the only employee and made just enough to support myself while having more freedom to do the things I really wanted to.

Relaxing as someone else is in control
I was outta there!

I took off to Thailand and decided to give the latter a shot. Three years later, I’m absolutely convinced that for the majority of the people with entrepreneurial aspirations, you’re better off starting a lifestyle business than pursuing a startup.

Here are 7 reasons why:

1 . You are not Instagram. For every startup that sells and makes millions, there are hundreds — if not thousands — that fail or, even worse, continue to just barely make it, sucking the life out of you in the process.
Building a startup is building a 9-to-5. While it’s fun to start up running on workaholic no more - nothing but adrenaline and Red Bull, the excitement wanes and the monotony sets in after a few months. Many startup companies turn into really bad 9-to-5 jobs for the founders. They get mired in day-to-day details and work harder than anyone else, but they don’t get the benefits they signed on for as an entrepreneur in the first place. For example, Jun Loayza who, after getting over a million in funding and successfully selling two companies, left his current startup to pursue a lifestyle business.

2. You won’t wait years to turn a profit. So someone gave you a bunch of money and told you to go build your business — cool, but that doesn’t mean you’re profitable. When you work for yourself, your overhead is limited. Salaries, office space, benefits? That’s all on you. I started my most recent business with less than $500 and it took me three sales to become profitable. Most startups are lucky to be profitable after three years!

too much to do - we can change that

3. You can work from a beach with a Mai Tai. You know that dream everyone had after reading the 4-Hour Workweek where they’re chillin’ on a beach with a cocktail, working from a laptop? That’s really possible. Sure, those haven’t been the most productive days of my life, but a lifestyle business lets you choose when and where you work — generally, all you need is an Internet connection. This year I’ve already worked from places like Vail, Playa del Carmen, Cuba, New York, China and Jordan among others — all without skipping a beat in my business.

4. You’ll have more flexibility than Gabby Douglas. You say you wanted to become an entrepreneur for increased flexibility and control in your life? Fat chance in a startup, especially when you’re playing with someone else’s money. As a lifestyle entrepreneur, you truly have the flexibility to set your own schedule. Take Laura Roeder, for instance — she moved from Southern California to spend a few months in London, where she got to attend this year’s Olympic games. A lifestyle business is one that promotes the lifestyle you want to live. For many, that’s more time with friends and family; for others, it’s travel and adventure. You get to decide.

stressed solutions5.  Stress is minimized. As an entrepreneur, stress will never go away — it comes with the territory. But you’d better believe that while starting up, it has the potential to be much worse. Thoughts like “How am I going to make payroll this month?” and “Revenues were 30 percent less than projections, what will the investors think?” or “My partners and I have drastically different opinions of where the business should go, what do I do?” are all common issues in a startup. A lifestyle entrepreneur has no one to answer to but themselves, thus reducing the stress that comes with common business problems. Stress of getting started can be minimized even further by running your business from abroad, where it’s cheaper to live.

6. Are all startups bad? Of course not. Are all lifestyle businesses beaches and daiquiris? Not a chance. However, if you’re looking to maximize your enjoyment while have the freedom and security that comes with knowing you have full control of your life, then a lifestyle business may be exactly what you need.

When you live in paradise logo

Thanks to sean Ogle via
Courtesy of YEC