Apparently we’re a grumpy bunch

I have witnessed the rawness of emotion, pure joy and the simplicity of happiness in the years that I have been building RedBalloon. On my road of discovery I learned that Australia and also New Zealand are not ranked well in the global score card in the Happy Planet Index.

I do question why we as Australians are not a tad happier. It might be simply because one of our core needs is not being nurtured – that is our need to be appreciated.

The job that many employees do every day is not witnessed by their supervisor and as such they may well go home feeling undervalued. So whilst we have been busy in RedBalloon designing great recognition programs for organisations, I began to think about all the people that are not ‘touched’ through our programs.

This century we are so connected – and yet many people still feel unbelievably alone. It is the deepness of connection to other people on the planet that makes us feel ‘alive’. We are at our best when we have shared a joke, a hug or a meaningful conversation. We thrive when we are noticed, and when we notice others.

As the founder of a gifting business, I have seen the profound difference gifts and simple recognition can make – it is one of our languages of love. I am in a fortunate position of meeting many people and being able to genuinely inspire people to follow their dreams.

I don’t claim to have everything sorted out when it comes to happiness (and I’m sure I have given a gift that has missed the mark too). Accepting that imperfection is part of the journey, and that there is nothing bad or wrong with that, is okay too. But it does not mean that we give up either.

What I have learned is happiness is infectious and one of the simplest ways to make someone’s day is by acknowledging them authentically by saying “thank you”.

It is easy to ‘pass it on’. If you chose to authentically, ‘thank’ five people a day for what they have done for you – and you did that for 100 days, 500 people are going to feel better for it.

Those 500 people might in turn ‘thank’ someone else.

I’d like to capture more of these stories – simply and effectively we are making this country a happier one.

To share your story about what happened when you started saying five-thanks-a-day go to

The rules to a great thank you are simple:

  1. Do it straight away.
  2. Say why you are saying thank you – authentically.
  3. Look the person in the eye / or write a handwritten note – but be personal.
  4. Do it over and over again – and watch how fantastic you feel too.

Let me know what happened.

Naomi Simson is considered to be one of Australia’s Best Bosses. An employee engagement advocate, she practises what she preaches in her own fast growth business. RedBalloon was named as one of only 13 BRW Best Employers in Australia in 2012 for four years in a row with an engagement scorecard of over 90% in each of those years – the average in Australian businesses is 54%.

One of Australia’s outstanding entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker, a blogger and a published author, most recently publishing Five Thanks a Day. She has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.




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