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October 11, 2021

Discovering Deeper Purpose & Happiness At Work with Jenn Lim

Anyone can choose to be an authentic leader, in work and in life.

Jenn Lim

Jenn Lim is the CEO of Delivering Happiness (DH), a company she and Tony Hsieh (the late CEO of Zappos.com) cofounded to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business. Delivering Happiness started as a book (New York Times and WSJ Bestseller which sold one million copies worldwide) and evolved into a business consultancy and global movement that has impacted and inspired companies and organizations around the world. Jenn’s mission is both simple and profound: to teach businesses how to create workplaces—led with happiness and humanity—that generate more profit, sustain all people at every level of the organization, and share how we can make an impact by being true to our authentic selves.


In 2017, Jenn was selected to be on the Global Happiness Council of Work and Wellbeing and in 2020, Delivering Happiness [DH] was placed on the Inc. 5000 list, becoming one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. Jenn helped create the world’s first series of Culture Books at Zappos.com and has been featured in [Fox Business, Inc., Forbes, Fortune, Entrepreneur, The World Happiness Report, The Guardian, Fast Company, Thrive Global, and more]. You can find Jenn speaking at events [such as Facebook, McDonalds, Starbucks, Pixar, World Government Summit, SHRM] around the globe [and in Zoomland], on podcasts like The Dave Ramsey Show and Don Miller’s Building a Storybrand, working with organizations to create positive change in the world, or starting spontaneous dance parties with her friends and family. Jenn lives in the Oakland Hills, CA.

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How do you live in a state beyond happiness?

Do you sometimes find that happiness is elusive? Where you’re asking yourself why you do what you do. Is it because you want to? Or because you have to? And what is the difference?

Today, I’m here with my good friend Jenn Lim. She’s the founder and CEO of Delivering Happiness, a company she and the late Tony Hsieh founded to champion science-based happiness and passion at work. She’s also the author of the brand-new book, Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact.

Living an authentic life means instilling your values and your purpose both in and out of work. Listen in as we discover how to live a more meaningful life—beyond happiness—through what we do every single day.

Show Notes

The Mission of Delivery Happiness

  • Delivering Happiness spawned from the book, Delivering Happiness, written by the late Tony Hsieh.
  • Tony and Jenn launched the company, Delivering Happiness, in late 2010.
  • They didn’t know how the book was going to do but quickly discovered that there was a search for happiness in the world, both in work and outside of it.
  • The mission has been evolving ever since.
  • They really wanted to focus on workplace happiness.
  • A lot of examples in the book focused on Zappos and Tony’s own journey of understanding what he did, what he learned along the way, and the principles of scientific happiness.
  • Learning that there is a science to happiness made them realize this was bigger than just Zappos.
  • Their focus has been distilling all the lessons learned at Zappos and adding on the levers of scientific happiness—the things proven to increase happiness and get you focused on what’s right with you, not just what’s wrong with you.
  • They also worked to create different frameworks and methods that companies, organizations, hospitals, and even governments have been able to adapt to increase meaningful, sustainable happiness within their employees so that customers, patients, and citizens can be happier.
  • Which then creates more sustainability and profitability.
  • But the most important thing in the entire equation, from happier employees to happier customers to more profit, is creating more meaningful lives by instilling purpose and values.
  • Exploring what that means inside and outside of work has been their mission for 11 years and continues moving forward.
  • It’s been one of Jenn’s inspirations to see how this model has worked in so many different places.
  • Regardless of geography, culture, industry, or size of the company, there is a universality to what scientific happiness can mean.
  • Businesses can run in not just more profitable ways, but in purposeful ways by prioritizing people.
  • It’s possible to create equity and equilibrium.

What Does Beyond Happiness Mean?

  • Happiness is based in scientific concepts.
  • Number one is being true to yourself and having self-awareness.
  • Know what’s going well, what’s not going well, what are your strengths, and what are your blind spots.
  • Be courageous and brave enough to acknowledge that it’s all a part of who you are.
  • That’s the base level—being true and authentic and self-aware.
  • The second comes from a sense of pleasure.
  • Pleasure brings a more immediate form of happiness.
  • This can be buying a new car, getting a raise, hanging out with friends on the weekend, going golfing, etc.
  • Those are all meaningful in some ways, but they’re fleeting.
  • You buy the thing, you get the thing, and then the high comes up really quick only to drop into a low.
  • It’s not sustainable.
  • The third form is what Aristotle talked about, eudemonistic happiness, which is really driving back to the purpose.
  • Aristotle said that happiness is the reason for our existence.
  • But more importantly, happiness is dependent on ourselves.
  • Extrapolating from that and making it more current is making what you are doing right now bigger than yourself, provide a sense of meaning, and connect it to the greater world and the unknowns around it.
  • It could be your family, that’s a big one. But it could be a lot of different things too.
  • When you are self-aware and true to yourself, driving into your strengths, acknowledging your weaknesses, ask yourself what else can you bring within yourself to the world.
  • That starts to build your purpose statement and connects you to what’s bigger than just yourself.

The Importance of a Greenhouse

  • Tony Hsieh used to talk about greenhouses.
  • He felt that leaders want to build other people’s greenhouses and nurture them.
  • That you don’t have to be the tallest tree or plant or whatever you’re growing.
  • Leader’s want others to grow.
  • As Jenn processed his passing, she realized there was a connection there.
  • Yes, leaders—true leaders—are here to grow others in their own greenhouses.
  • But the reality is many leaders tend to forget about themselves.
  • It’s like the putting your oxygen mask on first. It feels counterintuitive. And it can be difficult to execute and do on a day-to-day basis.
  • Tony was one of the best greenhouse builders in the world. But in reflection, he sometimes forgot about his own.
  • We can learn from that.
  • While leaders love seeing things build and progress, and strive to create change in the world, it’s important to not forget yourself.
  • This is part of that honest talk with yourself, about being true to yourself.
  • It’s not just what you can celebrate but it’s also facing your shadow sides and inner demons. The resistance within yourself.
  • Jenn really wanted to open that conversation up and let people know it’s okay.

Finding Purpose and Carrying It Forward

  • Back in 2010, many people thought purpose at work was a novel idea. It was cool for Zappos but could never happen anywhere else.
  • It became a battle cry for Jenn, to prove that you can actually have that for yourself. She’s really proud of the progress she sees towards that goal.
  • Prioritization, people, and purpose are becoming household words because they’re also becoming board room words.
  • It isn’t just the small companies you love and want to support.
  • It’s CEOs from companies like Black Rock, Starbucks, Airbnb, and more.
  • That’s the next phase, or turning point, in all of this.
  • This isn’t something that can just be put on a wall or in a press release or in a social media post.
  • There’s a great awakening happening.
  • 4 million people quit their jobs in April without having a second choice, without having anything lined up.
  • There’s a lot of different reasons for that but Jenn believes it’s a product of the last year and a half. People finally had time to ask these questions.
  • The next step is making those words applicable, practical, and executable in your daily life.
  • This is for leadership and CEOs to take on as your onus.
  • If you actually believe in your purpose and values, you need to bring that out in your day-to-day life.
  • You have to create an environment where people feel psychologically safe to live those values.
  • When people see the CEO or leadership walking the walk, it makes them feel safe to do that too.
  • It isn’t just about focusing on a workplace type of scientific happiness because it ripples down to individual lives and creates a bigger impact.
  • As individuals begin being truer to themselves and living with purpose and values, they impact society in a different way.

Choose To Be An Authentic Leader

  • A lot of people use the word ‘leader’, but Jenn uses ‘authentic leader’.
  • Anyone can choose to be an authentic leader.
  • That’s who her message and the book are for.
  • You don’t have to be the CEO or manager, you can be anyone.
  • She uses stories in the book about individuals who clean cineplex bathrooms in Mexico to hospital custodians in New York City.
  • They found purpose and live it, breathe it every day.
  • It’s like that story that may be more folklore than truth. When JFK asked a janitor what he did and he replied: I’m putting a man on the moon.
  • That story may not be real, but there are countless real stories just like that in the book.
  • More and more people are discovering their purpose.
  • It’s simply finding meaning in your life and providing it to others in a way that enriches their lives too.
  • It connects people.
  • Anyone can choose to be an authentic leader, in work and in life.
  • Be sure to check out the unedited, extended episode on YouTube, here.

Share With Us

  • Take a screenshot of this episode, share it, and tag us on social media (@byJennLim & @JimKwik).
  • I'll be gifting copies of Jenn's new book, Beyond Happiness, to several lucky listeners.
  • Be sure to grab a copy of Beyond Happiness and visit www.JennLim.com for free, practical exercises to help you understand your values, create a purpose statement, and see where you're at in life.

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Discovering Deeper Purpose & Happiness At Work with Jenn Lim

Discovering Deeper Purpose & Happiness At Work with Jenn Lim

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