Leading the World by Supporting Christian Coaching

Book Review: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul exhorts us to “be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT).  In many places throughout Scripture, we are told to be thankful, no matter what happens. Interestingly, God doesn’t explain Himself or tell us why this is so important.  

Today, advances in neuroscience over the past couple of decades – both in technology and practical research – now provide a more complete answer for why being thankful is so incredibly important.

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, considered one of the world’s leading experts on human potential, brings the science and research into everyday language, sharing compelling evidence that our brains are literally hard-wired to perform at their best when we are positive. The book is as entertaining a read as it is informative!  Gratitude, as it turns out, leads us to a greater sense of well-being, or happiness; and happiness is a significant predictor of success in any endeavor.

In our role as coaches, we seek to facilitate our clients’ movement toward greater self-awareness and the achievement of personal and professional goals.  Whether your clients are Christ-followers or not, rooting that movement in the rich soil of gratitude and positive thinking empowers them with an immediate and lasting advantage.

The book presents seven specific, actionable patterns of positive thinking that are proven predictors of “success” —

  1. The Happiness Advantage – the habit of retraining our brains to capitalize on positivity to improve our performance.
  2. The Fulcrum & the Lever – choosing to adjust our mindset (our fulcrum) on gratitude and positivity empowers us (the lever) to experience our reality differently, along with our ability to succeed in that reality.
  3. The Tetris Effect – teaching our brains to spot negative patterns and retrain them toward positive opportunities.
  4. Falling Up – learning to map new, creative paths in the midst of difficulty or failure.
  5. The Zorro Circle – regaining control over our emotions by focusing on small, manageable goals, then expanding the circle to encompass bigger goals.
  6. The 20-Second Rule – a method for making small energy adjustments to replace old, bad habits with new, positive ones.
  7. Social Investment – choosing to invest in a positive social network of family, friends, and peers, especially during difficult seasons.

Creating coaching questions and strategies around these seven practices can significantly empower our clients to laser focus on what is good right now, what’s possible in the future, who is cheering them on, and what positive, creative step(s) can be taken to move closer to that future.

I always love it when science catches up to a God-principle!  What modern positive psychology calls “new discoveries,” the follower of Christ has known for millennia.  But we’re not always great at applying them! The Happiness Advantage gives us practical ways to apply God’s truth about gratitude to empower our clients toward more meaningful, fulfilling lives.  If you’re looking for ways to deepen your coaching impact, this book just may be the answer. Check it out!

About the author: Cathy Lee, ACC, CCC is a Leadership Coach and Business Consultant.CathyLeeBootcamp

Cathy enjoyed a diverse career in executive leadership in both corporate and ministry positions over more than 30 years. Today, she coaches business and ministry leaders and missionaries across the globe to maximize their leadership influence.

She is a former CCNI Board Member and currently co-leads the Women in Coaching Community Group with Debbie Fawcett, and is a volunteer member of CCNI’s Prayer Team.

Cathy is an avid reader and continual learner, loves to travel, and plays with landscape photography.   In addition to living in Europe for several years, she’s traveled to more than 20 countries, including a wonderful trip to Antarctica. She and her husband John have been married 37 years.  To learn more, visit her website at cathyleecoaching.com.

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