Shawn Achor

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  • Author of bestsellers, Big Potential and The Happiness Advantage
  • New York Times bestselling author of Before Happiness
  • Conducted research with UBS, Nationwide Insurance & Google
  • Research featured on PBS, HBO, Live with Kelly & Michael & Oprah Winfrey Network
  • TED talk has 16 million + views & named one of “The most popular talks of all time”
  • Client list includes Microsoft, American Express, BlueCross BlueShield, KPMG, UBS, Northwestern Mutual, AT&T, RE/MAX, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech, HP, Frito-Lay
  • Graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University & earned Masters from Harvard Divinity School
  • Head Teaching Fellow at Harvard in 2006 for “Positive Psychology” course & won numerous awards

Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being
Until now, we've been taught that to be successful, we must better ourselves and rise above others. The pursuit of fulfilling our potential has been individual and isolated.  Research now clearly shows that this self-focused approach to achievement puts a cap on our happiness and success. It is only by pursuing potential in an interconnected way that we are able to achieve the heights of our potential in business and education. Only by making others better as we grow, can we see what we are truly capable of.  Based on Shawn’s research, new findings using Big Data revealing the ripple effect of our actions, and his work in 50 countries, he outlines a five stage strategy for achieving interconnected success and how to apply them to your work and home life for greater energy, productivity, and success.

The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance
Most companies and schools follow this formula: if you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy. This formula is scientifically backward. A decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work first actually fuels greater success second. In fact, 75% of our job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by your optimism, social support network and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way. By researching top performers at Harvard, the world’s largest banks, and Fortune 500 companies, Shawn discovered patterns which create a happiness advantage for positive outliers—the highest performers at the company. Based on his new book, The Happiness Advantage (September 2010 from Random House), Shawn explains what positive psychology is, how much we can change, and practical applications for reaping the Happiness Advantage in the midst of change and challenge.

Positive Genius: The Key to Raising Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
What is more important than IQ and emotional intelligence combined? Based on the research in Before Happiness, Shawn Achor takes us to the beginning of human potential to explain why some people are able to make great changes while others remain the same. Before you can make a change at work or home, your brain first constructs a picture of reality; this mental picture already determines your likelihood of success and your ability to harness your brain’s IQ, emotional and social intelligence. In this exciting talk, Shawn takes the audience to the cutting edge of positive psychology and neuroscience to clearly demonstrate how one can become a “positive genius”: one who can continually architect successful, positive realities based upon true facts then transfer those realities to others. Using his signature humor, new case studies and interactive experiments that engage the audience, Shawn makes this research come alive. Shawn illuminates new research he did in collaboration with Yale published in the top psychology journal this year showing step by step how a leader can change their mindset about stress to increase productivity by 30% and lower health problems and fatigue by 23%. Audiences leave with five clear, practical takeaways, which can immediately start to transform their life, raising both happiness and success rates. In this program, participants will learn how to navigate multiple realities at work, cancel internal and external noise, add vantage points to planning, use success accelerants to speed goal completion and use meaning markers to spread positive genius throughout a team, family and an entire organization.

Positive Leadership: Restoring a Culture of Confidence
Confidence, trust and job satisfaction are at historic lows. When the economic collapse began, the world’s largest banks called in Shawn Achor to research how to restore confidence and forward progress. While many managers succumb to helplessness, with their teams and clients quickly following suit, Shawn researched those who maintained high levels of success and leadership during the challenge. He found that our brains create confidence based on the belief that our behavior matters to the outcome we desire. To develop this trust, we must create "wins" for our brain necessary to overcome learned helplessness and must train our brains for rational optimism. Based on the science of positive psychology and case studies of working with companies in the midst of an economic collapse, Shawn provides practical applications for raising the belief that individual behavior matters and helping leaders to keep teams motivated and engaged.

The Ripple Effect: How to Make Positive Change Easier
Common sense is not common action. This is because information does not necessarily cause transformation because we require a certain level of "activation energy" to start a change. Shawn's research in the field of positive psychology has revealed how changes in our own brain due to mindset and behavior can have a ripple effect to a team and an entire organization. This positive ripple effect can create a more productive, positive work culture making positive change easier. Audiences will learn about the latest scientific research on mirror neurons and mental priming to explain how positivity and negativity spread, case studies on how to become a lightning rod for change, and findings on how a positive ripple effect profoundly affects an organization's ability to transition and change.

“Our expectations for Shawn’s talk at our recent H.R. Conference was quite high, given what I had seen of his “TED” talk and having read much of The Happiness Advantage – and all those expectations were exceeded! While I knew the content would be powerful and anticipated the delivery would be engaging, I underestimated the positive impact it would have on the audience beyond the conference. The attendees have been quite energized and have begun taking actions to be happier and more grateful in their own lives. Further, while the learning will be applicable at our workplace, I think the attendees felt the impact was transferable to all aspects of their lives (and their families).”
The Wendy’s Company

"We have used Shawn globally to deliver workshops for our Managing Director and Executive Director audiences (both individuals and intact teams); as an estimate he has presented to close to 1000 people at this level at UBS. We are pretty selective about whom we would put in front of this level of audience but Shawn never disappoints. The feedback from the seminars he has run for us is amongst the best across any of the training courses we deliver (from memory over 95 per cent of this audience would recommend the training to peers). Shawn has partnered exceptionally well with UBS to tailor his materials and research to our needs. He is always open to feedback and ideas."
UBS

“Shawn Achor is a talented and engaging speaker. He has the ability to reach his audience through a unique combination of humor and real life experiences intertwined with results from his extensive research on happiness that brings credibility and validity to his message, which should resonate with any individual or company that values continuous improvement and strives for peak performance. I highly recommend Shawn Achor as both a speaker and an author. I am happier as a result of Shawn's positive influence on my life and family.”
Corning Credit Union

"Shawn's presentation on happiness was absolutely amazing! Funny, engaging, smart, optimistic, and practical, Shawn inspired us to shift the way that we look at the world, and to make simple yet powerful changes in our own lives. His uplifting message had a positive impact on those who attended – the feedback we've received has been extraordinary, and people are still talking about his presentation!"
Goodwin Procter LLP

“Shawn Achor brings the science, research, and factual data behind why happiness happens and teaches how to reproduce happiness. Shawn will bring a new perspective on happiness by presenting a new lens that eliminates traditional “normal” worldly view on why we are happy, in exchange for a scientific, fact based, process any person can use to create real happiness in their own life.”
Jimmy John’s

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