In this special guest episode, I am joined by Anthony Poponi, who is a Chief Happiness Officer on a mission to reclaim joy in workplaces and communities by inspiring leaders to foster community, spark laughter, and create a culture of motivation and inspiration. As a keynote speaker and workshop leader, Anthony has years of experience working with groups to unlock untapped potential and foster authentic happiness.
We had a great discussion deep diving on both topics of happiness and productivity. Anthony shared some amazing tips on how he is able to stay productive, a quick way he inserts gratitude every single day, and the relationship between happiness and success. We also discussed how we have both been able to tap back into our own happiness after challenging periods in our lives.
As Anthony points out, “opportunities for happiness are all around us” and I believe that 100%. So join me in this episode to see how you can insert more happiness into your life.
You can find Anthony at: wwww.anthonypoponi.com
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
Why happiness drives success, not the other way around
The 12345 gratitude tip
How dropping labels helps overcome limiting beliefs
Why hiring a coach is a major shortcut
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
All right, hello, hello. Welcome to Happy Productive episode number 34. I’m Jennifer Dawn, a business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. The Happy Productive podcast is your go to resource for learning how to bring awareness into your productivity and goals and time management practices, so you can set yourself up each and every day for as much love, happiness, laughter joy as you can possibly handle.
Now, I’m super excited today because we are going to be talking with Mr. Anthony Poponi. Now, when I found out about Anthony and I went to his website, and I saw that he works with groups and individuals who want to have happier, more fulfilling lives, and he does this with a lot of laughter. Of course, I was instantly intrigued. Anthony is also a keynote speaker, a workshop host, and so I’m super happy to have him joining us on the podcast today. Welcome, Anthony.
Hi, thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate you having me on.
Yeah, when I went to your website, it was so cute because I believe you’re in Canada, right?
Well, no, I’m in the US. But I made an About page for Canadian visitors “Aboot”, just to have a little fun with it.
That’s what it was. I was like for Canadian visitors to visit my Aboot page. And I thought that was so cute. I have a lot of Canadian clients, and so I got I got a kick out of that. That was awesome.
Thanks, its based from Bob and Doug McKenzie. So if you remember those characters from Saturday Night Live yours. It’s definitely a fictional About page for Canadian users.
That’s so awesome. I love it. Well, look so we’re productivity podcast. So of course, the first thing that I have to do is ask you to share, like one of your favorite productivity tips, like something that has helped you change the way that you work in today’s you know, busy crazy world.
Yeah, I think in an ideal world, we would all have time to carve out two hours for here with no distractions, and then how are you here to do something really big we need to work on and, you know, that’s pretty hard, sometimes in some days. And it’s sometimes it even feels like it’s hard to get going.
So the little tip that I use for myself is just, I set timers for a lot of things. And one of those is sometimes there’s a bigger task that I know is going to take hours of my time that I know I don’t have hours, it’s kind of like oh, put it off, put it off. Well, I just start and so sometimes I just set a 15 minute timer on my phone and just say just do it for 15 minutes. Turn off your Do Not Disturb the world is not going to burn down in 15 minutes if you don’t pick up your phone, or check your email. And typically what I find there is, you know, A) I start on a project that feels good and productivity begets more productivity.
And also, after the timer goes off in 15 minutes, I’ve usually hit flow state at that point, I’m usually engaged in what I’m doing, and I don’t want to stop. So I just kind of keep cranking, I may turn my Do Not Disturb off so that people can get a hold of me again. But at least I’ve gotten something going and you know, that whole the productivity begets productivity is kind of my focus there.
Oh, I love this tip, Anthony, it’s so good. We were just on a coaching call Friday and one of my clients, they were not getting to a cash flow exercise that they really needed to work on, because we’ve been working on profitability in their company. And that’s what it really came down to was they just kept waiting to try to find, you know, a 3 or 4 hour block of time where they could sit down and work on it. But of course, it wasn’t happening. When you’re a busy entrepreneur, you generally don’t have a block of 3 or 4 hours ever, that you can sit and work on something, even though ideally that would be lovely.
And that’s really what got them over. It was just like set the clock and just work on it. Some get some forward momentum. And I got the email this morning. It’s Monday today and I got the email. She’s like, we did it, we did it. You know, we sat down, we just worked on it a little bit. So I love that you’re sharing that because it’s so valid. You know, it’s so easy for us to say, to look for that ideal block of time, which never happens, and then we don’t end up moving forward at all.
If you’re an entrepreneur, 3 or 4 hour block window, you’re probably doing something wrong anyway.
You have that much time right?
That may invite a little more chaos into your life then.
Yeah, I agree. We have a motto in my company, we always bite off more than we can chew. And it’s definitely, not that we’re trying to not do things well, but we’re always pushing that envelope and you know, even my team goes Jennifer we need time on your schedule, but they have a hard time finding it just because so that’s a good point Anthony. If you have 3 or 4 hour blocks of time on your schedule, you probably need to push yourself a little bit harder. Yeah.
So tell me a little bit about the work that you do with groups and individuals. I know you’re a keynote speaker. I just love to hear a little bit more about the work that you do when you work with people.
Yeah, it’s really relevant that your podcast is called Happy Productive. And, you know, I think if we talk to a CEO about making their workplace happier, I don’t know that most CEOs really resonate with that, right, they’re probably focused on a different metric. And so there’s a flipping of the strip there, and the science and positive psychology has done a really good job of showing that not only. I think we all understand that there’s a relationship between happiness and success. And I think a lot of us would probably put the ordering as successful people are happier people, or when I’m successful, I will be happy.
And it’s true, it’s been proven, the casualties proven the other way around that happier people are more successful people. So having that conversation with individuals or groups, workplaces, it’s all about just like, let’s make your people happy and happy is complex. And we can unpack that if you’d like. But recognizing that the happier your people are, the more successful they’re going to be. So we start there with focusing on bringing really vibrantly focused happy, fully vetted people to get themselves you know, that can bring that to the workplace.
That’s so fantastic. You’re talking my language, this is one of the things like in our Goal Achievers membership, we talk about where it’s about committing to happiness now, not when you achieve your goals, not that goals aren’t important they certainly are, and they are for our evolution and our growth. And so we always want to have goals, but you’ve got to commit to that happy now.
So you’re so you’re so talking my language, and when you commit to happy now, it does come before the success. It really does. And for years, I put them in the wrong order, I kept thinking, well, when I get here, then I’ll be happy when I’ll get here that I’ll be happy. And it’s just this search for happiness that you never really seem to find.
So I’m curious, like, in your work, I’m gonna ask you for a tip like for people who are struggling to commit to and to find their happiness, like right now in this moment to be content with where they’re at today, not meaning that you don’t go and try to you know, do more in life. But for people who really struggle to commit to happiness in the now what would you share with them? A good happiness tip.
Well, I think you used a really good word in there. And sometimes a reframe on happiness is really important. And, and I think that the word that you used was content. And the human brain is programmed to want to chase the highs and to want to avoid those lows, right. But that is normal. That’s the human experience. Because of our brain and our neuro chemistry. Our brain’s neuro chemistry makes us feel bad when we’re doing things perceived bad for our survival, our brain’s neurochemical responses trigger chemical responses that make us feel good when we do things that are perceived to be good for our survival.
And we have to recognize that neither of those are meant to last long term, it’s those are messages from our brain to get us to take action. So in between those moments of the highs and lows, there’s this, it’s not empty, it’s content. And that content should be framed as happiness. So I would say that’s part of that is A – really big reframe on like, if you’re chasing those moments of joy and elation all the time, or you’re waiting for the big things to really make you happy. That’s probably you’re on a treadmill that you’re not going to get off of.
And so I say that we should celebrate for sure, like we should set goals, we should go after goals, we should try to achieve goals. The context for goals is really important, and not getting lost on the shiny objects that we think will provide us happiness that the science just shows won’t provide it for us. But to really spend time being more present with the small wins that are there and really celebrating those, you know, the opportunities for happiness are all around us.
And so if our big, you know, we’re only going to be happy when we can celebrate achieving this major life goal. And that could take you two years that could take you a year to take you six months, when all around you are all these opportunities to do some celebrating the little things that life is giving you. And you know, when we get back to kind of the simple stuff, it’s really there and it’s really attainable and easy. It’s low hanging fruit.
I love that. It reminds me of like a gratitude practice, like a daily gratitude practice to kind of refocus yourself on those little things that you do already have in your life. They’re such a miracle. I love what you said. Because really, we have to shift our focus . What we focus on expands. What we focus on will lead us to the next action. And if we’re focusing on you know, everything that’s broken, everything is bad, everything was wrong, every reason why I can’t be happy, like that’s what you’re gonna grow. That’s what you’re gonna expand. So I love that shifting of the focus to the little daily thing so that you can really start to, you know, feel the gratitude and for me when I’m feeling grateful, like happy is just sort of natural. It just happens.
And it’s easy. Our brains are not programmed to necessarily focus on those little things in our brain messaging system, and the messages from our brain sometimes come from what I would call an AOL account, where it’s coming from a really old AOL operating. Our brains have this old programming that you know, they haven’t changed a lot, 200,000 years, and yet, the world’s changed dramatically, right. So sometimes those messages come through from an AOL account, and you’re just like, I don’t think you understand what’s going on here and the current day, so that’s part of it.
And I agree with you like what, you know, what you choose to put your focus on is, is your choice. And there’s plenty of negativity in the world to see if you choose to want to see that all the time. And that is sort of the default for our brain is that the negative things that could be happening around us are the things that truly could be the things that could kill us or affect our ability to survive.
That its right now, right? Most of us don’t have our lives threatened on a daily basis. Most of us have food, water, shelter, you know, those sort of things. So we’re working from getting away from our physical means of survival more towards you know, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Self Actualization, like we’re trying to put the best version of us out there in the world because we don’t have to worry about starving tomorrow, if we don’t grow the food, you know, for most of us.
And I have a little gratitude extra exercise I’d love to share with you if you think it would be of value.
Yeah, absolutely. I’m always loving gratitude exercises.
It’s, it’s a quick one. And I think it fits in with what you were saying of like, these little, just paying attention to the little things going on around you. So I set my alarm every day on my phone, to 12:34pm, you know, lunch hour, and I call this activity to 12345. So at 12:34 every day, my phone triggers a little alarm. And I just stopped and I think of five things I’m grateful for. And that usually gets me to focus on food around that time, because I’m eating a lot at the noon hour.
And then the thought here is just find the positive things big or small. And the more you see those things, the more you see those things. And I know that’s repetitive. But that’s also supported by the science of positive psychology that says that, you know, we have this ability to broaden and build the positive things in our lives as we experience more of them. So we kind of start this really positive snowball effect by starting to have that more recognition for things to be grateful for.
Oh, Anthony, that is awesome. I’d love these like quick little tips like that. In our one of our member and Goal Achievers membership, we have a Power Challenge coming up. And our Power Challenge is all about diving into your power and doing things to really like expand it. And one of the elements of our power challenge is daily gratitude practice. And so that’s a perfect exercise to use for your daily gratitude. I love 12:34 1234 it’s easy to remember. And when we’re kind of in the middle of our busy day, resetting and focusing on gratitude. Oh, that’s a great tip. Thank you so much for sharing that.
Yeah. So let me ask you so you know, it’s not to say that, you know, being happy is easy when you don’t have anything like really bad going on in your life right now. But if you do have something going on that is really challenging or really struggling. And it’s and it’s stealing your joy. I would love to hear from you, like, was there a time in your life where you felt you struggled to like find your own happiness, or maybe you had a limiting belief or something that was holding you back. And I’d love to hear you know what that was and how you overcame it and how you manage to tap back into your own happiness?
Oh, yeah, those limiting beliefs are huge, right? Hey, I would say that three things came into my life at the same time. But they came into my life at the same time, because I dropped some labels. The label that I’d always really kind of put on myself or that other people would put on myself or kind of the box that I felt like I could work into my career was non-profit related, and it was environmental. And slowly over time, I made some shifts away from that. And I moved from a specific role to more specific roles in non-profits that use my strengths better. I moved away from one type of non-profit environment into moving to into Boys and Girls Club, which was one of the best things I’ve ever done with my life. It’s an incredible mission.
And you know, and then I left non-profits and what happened around that same time as I experienced 3 things. And they changed everything for me in the sense that I started experiencing wealth, right, I got away from making the non-profit salaries out there, which are we asked so much people like teachers and other folks to do so much. And we don’t pay anything and so we don’t get the best people in those careers, non-profits I would want in there as well. I had wealth. I had a wealth manager step into my life that kind of created this really fun path forward for me to say you have a surplus of money. Let’s do something fun with it. And let’s do something that’s liberating for you and something that changes your relationship with money.
And then the third thing that I had it in was a professional coach. And that person challenged my self-limiting beliefs in ways that I could not do it for myself, or I wouldn’t do it as easily as quickly. And I think coaching is like a shortcut in so many ways to just living the life that you really want to live.
Oh, that’s so fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing. There was a time in my life where basically everything was just going to crap. I mean, everything was falling apart. And what I did in that time was I hired a coach. She was an amazing life coach, we had calls where literally, she would just listen to me like sob I’m sure as the coach, she was like, Oh, this client, oh, my God, what’s wrong with her. But she helped me so much process some of that much of that emotion and process grief, I was changing my corporate career, I was going through a divorce. I mean, I was just going through all these things.
And I think you’re right on the money, when you say hiring a coach can be a shortcut, because I could have literally spent years of my life just trying to move through that. And with a coach’s help, I was able to really fast track it and just move through all that stuff so much faster, and kind of get to where I want it to be. So thank you so much for sharing that. Those are all great tips.
Okay, so one more thing I want to ask you is, you know, life is fantastic. And there’s all kinds of things that happen to us in life. And so is there a particular lesson in life that you heard, you’ve learned, could have been hard could have been easy, but a particular lesson that you’ve learned that’s really shaped your life that you’d like to share today?
Yeah, I think we should challenge how we want to be of service. I would say that, hey, it’s just a broad stroke on this is, science of positive psychology says that we find meaning in our lives by helping others find meaning in their own lives. So that means that you have to, you have to get you first, you have to put the whole lowest version of you out there in the world, the best version of you, you have to understand what that is, and you have to spend some time on that.
And then I think that service doesn’t have to be suffering. And so I don’t mean service as in like, you know, just volunteering for going for an organization, or, or the work that you do, but you know, that you should be able to find joy in the work you do. And finding joy in the work you do means you’re going to want to do more of the work you do. Not necessarily working more hours, but you want to do it at the highest and best level. So how can you figure out what that looks like?
You know, and the example I would give you is I’ve done a lot of volunteering of my time. I believe in volunteer service. And I know it’s really important in our community makeup and volunteer service has been declining over the last few decades now. And I was asked initially like, I’m a goofball, right, and I like to be the center of attention. And I don’t like policies, I don’t like planning, I am spontaneous. And I appreciate that about myself. And I was served on a community Foundation’s Governance Committee where we looked at policies and plans and bylaws and all those sort of things that I absolutely load.
And that was the wrong sort of service for me. I did my term, I filled that out, I didn’t want to come back, I’ve completed my term. And then I was given the opportunity to be the MC for that same organization. And, and that’s me being of service, right, giving my time preparing things getting ready to be on stage,
I love MC’ing I love auctioneering do that with great comfort. It’s something that not all people can do. And not all people should do, even if you have volunteer, they can MC for you, be cautious. And, and so I was able to be of service to that same organization, but in a role that was really fulfilling for me and, and tapped into my special gifts. And so I think that just really spending that time to just say, Yes, I want to help. But is this the right way for me to help? And you can apply that to your community, to your volunteer service, or to the work that you do?
Oh, that’s such a valid point. And I’m so happy that you brought up service. It’s funny, because for many years, in my businesses, I have you know, you hear coaches, and you hear people teaching about, you know, be of service be of service. And it’s not that I didn’t want to help people. And in my business, of course, I was helping people. But in my earlier companies, my focus was really more around the money side of it. It really was I mean, it was like I’ve got to like close this, the software deals so that I can pay my bills and make payroll and all of that.
Later now in life. I’ve shifted that focus to serving my clients, like I literally have something on my desk and it says How can I make my clients dreams come true? And it’s not that we still don’t, you know, look at the numbers we do. But it’s not what drives us. It’s service that drives us. And I think that any way that you serve and you show up is totally valid.
But like in my business, we easily doubled our revenues when I as the business owner shifted my focus to serving and serving better and helping my clients dreams come true. Our products got better, our services got better, my coaching got better, all of those things just from shifting into a place of service. So I love that you brought that up.
Your offer got better, and the more powerful offer it can tie back in with money and even if it doesn’t, it’s still a powerful offer. And its purpose is being fulfilled, right?
Yeah, absolutely. Look, Anthony, thank you so much for being here today. I would love for you to share where people can find you if they want to check you out a little bit further.
Wonderful. Anthony, thank you so much for being here with us today. I really really appreciate it. I guess I don’t really have to tell you to like go out and have a Happy Productive day. I think you’re on that.
I don’t want to live any other way.
Absolutely. I love that great last words. I don’t want to live any other way. Fantastic. All right guys. Thank you so much. For anybody who wants more information you know where to find Anthony and you can find us at bestplannerever.com or you can go and visit JenniferDawncoaching.com. Alright, that’s it for today. You guys get out there and have a Happy Productive day!