If You’re Happy And You Know It, Your Success Will Surely Show It: Ted Leonsis’ Secret To Being A Happier Entrepreneur

OK, so it’s not really a secret that being happy usually attracts other great things to our lives…like the opposite sex, for instance, or a promotion in our jobs. This is equally true for the correlation between being happy and being successful. Serial entrepreneur Ted Leonsis, however, says the former leads to the latter, and not the other way around.


Ted survived a plane crash in 1983. He then created a list of 101 things to do before he died, including owning a sports team. Tick. But the most important take-away for Ted from this near death experience was the idea of finding happiness first and success, as he’s found, comes after.


In a recent Inc. Live talk, Ted discusses ways entrepreneurs can be happier and more successful in their lives. Here are some of the highlights.



Happiness is the key to success

We’re programed to believe success will lead to happiness. But when Ted sold his first company, he didn’t feel happy. So, he had an epiphany: when companies activate happiness within their employees, these are the companies that tend to be the most successful.


Social entrepreneurship

Among many of his credentials, Ted is what he calls a “filmanthropist”; his film production company, Snag Films, digitally distributes films with a purpose and tackles a tough subject matter. He says that all of his ventures are set in the concept of the double bottom line, saying: “We will do well by doing good”


He says the most productive employees will be the ones most charitable and active in volunteerism. So, the goal to both productivity and happiness is to support social ventures.



Ted’s 5 Steps to Being a Happier Entrepreneur


  1. Be an active participant in multiple communities of interest- It’s vital to personally being active in your community in order to stay social and stay happy.
  2. Have high levels of personal expression- We need our voices heard and we need to allow our employees to have the same voice in order to activate happiness.
  3. Have high levels of personal empathy- Tune up your ability to empathize with your customers and employees.
  4. Be grateful and give back- the act of giving back moves you up in happiness.
  5. Articulate and believe that there is a higher calling for you and your business- Ted says check out the teachings of the Dali Lama for more on this topic.


I am also a true believer in finding happiness before success. I’m going to get a little new age and say happiness produces a positive, magnetic energy that attracts the right people and the right results. So, take Ted’s advice and start focusing on your happiness, your employees happiness and watch your company’s success grow.


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