Jeff Olson CEO and Founder of Nerium International
Part of the series “The Happiness-Success Connection”
by KathyCaprino Forbes Magazin
“Happiness” is all the rage today – we see it explored constantly in magazines, books, the media, TV, and we want it desperately. Yet in the U.S. particularly, we seem to struggle in our efforts to be happy.
I’m passionate about understanding the happiness-success connection, and what we can do – individually, organizationally, and globally – to increase our experience of happiness, reward, and fulfillment.
Towards that end, I was excited to connect with Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO of Nerium International, author of the USA Today bestselling book, The Slight Edge, and owner of Live Happy magazine. Jeff has built several multimillion-dollar sales and marketing organizations, hosted seminars in every major city in the United States, and produced more than 900 television programs centered on personal development. Over the past 20 years, Jeff has helped thousands of individuals achieve higher levels of financial freedom and personal excellence.
I was hoping Jeff could share how he fosters happiness and a sense of purpose and mission among his employees, partners and colleagues, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Below, Jeff shares how he’s built Nerium’s culture as one that honors the importance of happiness with practical, effective and measurable steps:
“I love creating businesses with a culture that allows people to live their lives to the fullest, develop as leaders, establish lasting relationships and have fun. My passion for happiness has become a business principle that is woven into our daily culture at Nerium International.”
The Impact of Happiness
Happier people are healthier, more productive and more innovative. They develop more resilient personalities and handle adversity better than their negative counterparts.
In the late 1990s, a Philadelphia psychologist named Martin Seligman asked the question: What if happiness is more than simply the absence of sadness?
For years, psychology had been treating patients by helping them move out of sadness. But that’s where the therapy stopped. When Seligman started asking questions about the nature of happiness and the relation of happiness to success, research on positive psychology exploded.
Many people live with the assumption that if they become successful, then they’ll be happy. But here’s the secret: Happiness is the precursor to success in all areas of life and is easily accessible to everyone. We create happiness by doing a few simple things—every day.
By integrating and reinforcing a these basic practices to foster a culture of happiness, you’ll see transformative results.
- Develop Core Values and a Mission—and Live Them
Invest the time to develop realistic core values that promote happiness and incorporate them into every facet of your business.
At Nerium International, we developed our company’s culture by examining what influenced our own life experiences. We learned that lifting others up often results in our own lives becoming richer. Our primary mission became clear: Make people better.
We help our entire organization live this mission by doing three things:
- Spend a little time each day focusing on our mission and integrating the concept into all aspects of our company culture.
- Establish consistent ways to communicate our core values so they can be cultivated—via our newsletter, monthly meetings and other communications.
- Blend our philosophies into our business plans designed to attract like-minded individuals.
- Be Real
Studies show that making meaningful social connections fosters happiness. Even cursory social interactions each day can improve employees’ positive outlooks.
One of our core values encompasses a mantra that helps us attract genuine people who can be themselves and have fun: Getting real, being real and creating real change. These mantras are on banners throughout our organization, woven into presentations, marketing strategies and events. Here’s how we stay real:
- We create a family-like atmosphere that fuels camaraderie, sharing, authenticity and growth. This attracts other positive people and repels the negative.
- We focus on purpose and meaning, not purpose and product. People want to feel a part of something special, and this drives purpose and meaning in everything they do. That’s the real value behind our business.
- We organize breakfast for everyone on Friday mornings, meet for off-site luncheons and give out recognition awards once a month, ensuring that everyone in our organization feels seen and appreciated for who they really are.
- We provide top-quality tools and training and a flexible schedule and workplace, all designed to meet the real-life needs of everyday people.
- Pursue Constant Development of Self
We foster an environment of self-development at Nerium by providing a library of personal development resources free to our employees as a way to empower them. This includes online resources as well as giving away books about being a better person, developing positive attitudes, improving parenting and financial skills, and living a healthier life. Additionally, we provide support for continuing education and tuition reimbursement.
We also have an internal program called, “Read Ten Pages of a Good Book a Day.” If you read ten pages of an inspirational book every day, over 365 days, you’ll easily read 12 amazing books each year.
- Pay It Forward—Give Back
I believe that the best leaders are givers, not takers. We should help each other and provide selfless service by spreading positive messages throughout the world.
We implemented “The Nerium Ripple Program,” which challenges our employees and brand partners to individually take responsibility and collectively change the world. The Nerium Ripple’s core cause is to create positive change, or positive ripples, in everyday life. We afford people with opportunities to pay it forward and create a better world in the process.
We partner with non-profit organizations, such as the SUCCESS Foundation, established to encourage today’s teens to become tomorrow’s achievers. We’ve also partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which fosters positive and enduring one-on-one mentor relationships with children facing adversity. This organization embodies our belief in the “paying it forward” philosophy in a real and practical way, and our team members can get involved on some level. Nerium was awarded the “Community Impact Award” in 2012 for our commitment to further the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission. In fact, we’ve set a goal to raise $1,000,000 this year, which will change the lives of more than 1,000 children and the mentors with whom they are matched.
- Embrace and Drive Change
It’s important to stay one step ahead and continually seek new ways to grow, evolve and improve. If we get to help others learn something along the way too, even better.
One way I attempt to drive positive change- both in my company and in the world- is through supporting a happiness movement that inspires people to engage in living purpose-driven, healthy, meaningful lives through initiatives such as: Live Happy magazine, International Day of Happiness and The Positive Education Summit in London, which attracted some of the most notable thought leaders, educators and scientists on the subject of happiness. I decided to become involved in these projects to spread happiness and to encourage other people to live happier lives.
Those are a few of the simple ways I have led a culture of happiness. When you take the time to develop and find unique ways to incorporate happiness through core values in your business, you’ll give your employees the edge they need to succeed. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”
Christian Georg Schwarz