Episode 075 : The Importance of Having a Culture of Happiness with Rochelle Gapere

Episode 075 : The Importance of Having a Culture of Happiness with Rochelle Gapere

Rochelle Gapere, is an Attorney, Happiness Coach and Entrepreneur, known for bringing her charismatic personality and share joy for living to every experience and individual that she encounters. She has mastered the art of living life fully and passionately. The release of her first book, One Happy Thought at a Time: 30 Days to a Happier You cements her lifelong practice of adding more happiness to this world by empowering others with the tools and techniques that help them lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Rochelle believes in living a life that is engaging at every level and utilizes practical techniques to teach audiences her unique approach to living a happy life.

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
  • What are some of the maybe three top things that you would share? Would a business owner and entrepreneur, whether in an online space or in a space where they actually have an environment where customers come in and interface with their employees as to how it is that they can use some of these disappointments to propel or pivot their business to the next level?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • How do we get our business owners to the point where they’re a little bit more understanding to the fact that it’s not just about the profits because the profits have to come from within first in terms of developing the people and if you profit with developing the people’s minds and the goals that themselves want to achieve on an emotional, financial, physical level, then it will manifest into financial for the business in the long term.
  • Could you share maybeone online resource tool, website or app that you couldn’t absolutely live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two books that I’ve had the biggest impact on you?
  • Could you share with us one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity, you draw on this quote or saying to kind of rejuvenate or to just get back on track?

Highlights

  • Rochelle stated that she would say she has always been a very happy person, as a child she wasvery free spirited, very optimistic and that followed her throughout her life to this point. She practiced law and she’s still practicing law, actually next Wednesday will make it 14 years since she graduated from law school. So, time definitely has flown and so her entire life she has always wanted to be an attorney. She went to school in Jamaica, she went to St. Andrew Prep. School and then she went to Campion College and she left Campion College and went to Nashville for Undergrad, Tennessee State University and then she came to Miami to law school in 2002. She went to the University of Miami School of Law. She remembers being a child and people asking what do you want to be when you grow up? And for her, she always knew she wanted to be an Attorney and even her yearbook, it’s written in there, “Oh Rochelle is going to win cases by dancing for the judge or something crazy.” So, it’s interesting that even as a 16-year-old student, she was very clear. And so, she always had laser focus on her goals and she knew that was it, nothing could pretty much hit her off course and it wasn’t anything that her family told her she had to do, it truly was something that was a deep desire in her heart. When she got to law school in her first semester though. Just to interject a little bit, she graduated a semester early and when she graduated from college, she worked at her aunt’s law firm, she was a partner at the law firm. So, it was just like the perfect pairing. She went there bright eyed, bushy tailed and so there was something about that energy in that big law firm setting that was very off putting to her. She would wear very colorful clothes and she was extremely up beat and very happy going to work in the day but the whole environment was just kind of melancholy, just sad. Of course, it was a big firm, they were doing really well, they had excellent cases, but the energy on a whole just was not really light, not what she would have thought this whole law firm experience would have been. And so, from there it shaped her mind that one, she didn’t want to practice in big law, at least she went into law school knowing that and one specific really, really resonated with her and it stayed with her pretty much for the rest of her life actually. One afternoon, like a Thursday or Friday, it was a second-year associate and she was scheduled to go to Italy on a vacation with some friends and she was very, very excited, really looking forward to the vacation. And so, when she (Rochelle) was leaving work on a Thursday evening, because she didn’t go in on Fridays, she told her to have an amazing trip, hope she has fun and it was her first vacation she was going to take as an associate in a big firm in two years and that’s typical. So, on Monday she gets back to work and she’s at her desk and Rochelle is like, “What are you doing here? I thought you’re supposed to be going to Italy on this long-awaited vacation.” And she pretty much said on Thursday when she was about to work, one of the senior partners came in her office and said to her, “Oh, you need to work on this motion that needs to be submitted.”And she told him, “Yeah, but I have a prescheduled vacation I needed.”And he said, “Well, you could either choose to have your job or to go on this vacation.”And so that was something that stuck with her for a while and she wants a life, she wants work life balance, she knows she wants to have meaningful work, but for her happiness would mean having time to be able to go and be with her friends and family on a vacation. We have 365 days in a year, so for her it only made sense that if she’s going to be working hard, she also would need some balance. She went into law school with that at the forefront of her mind. First semester of law school she realized, “Oh, maybe I don’t want to be an attorney, I like the knowledge of law. I’m not necessarily sure if I like the practice of law.”And at that time, she was 21 years old and had no other idea of anything she could possibly do. She wasn’t going to drop it to law school, she’s a Jamaican, you start what you finish and not only start what you finish, you have to do it excellently. So, she was just like, “All right, well it’s 3 years, I’m just going to do it or whatever.” So, her whole law career, up until this point has been very balanced where she practices, but she has always had a side hustle. So, she has curated and created a life, work life balance where she does law and she enjoys law and the practice of law. She loves the knowledge of it, but it isn’t the thing that wakes her up in the morning where she’s just bursting with excitement to go and practice law or research legal matters or whatever. So, the happiness journey, it really is organic because it’s who she is truly. She is asking the question why? There has to be a bigger purpose, a bigger purpose, a bigger purpose.
  • And it was in 2016 and she really was getting a little bit, it wasn’t anxious, but she was agitated a little bit, when you get to that space where this is just not enough, and she just needed more. And so, life is so incredible how sometimes the things, the doors that close are the doors that sometimes propel us to our purpose, which is what happened to her is that she was in a long-term relationship and she thought she was going to marry the person she was with and the relationship ended. And it was through that relationship ending and friends and family asking her how she was doing, and she told them, “Well, I am sad and I’m disappointed that the relationship ended because of course I’d been with the person for five years. Like up until that point, she had envisioned and pretty much created a future where he was an integral part of it and he would be an integral part of the actual work aspect of it. So, when that pretty much blew up in her face, it was one of those things where obviously she has had to press forward. And she got to a point where she was just like, “What now?”As she has come in contact with friends, they would ask her and she would tell them, “Well, one area of my life being bad doesn’t mean my entire life is bad. I still have a career. I still have family and friends who love me, I still have my health most importantly.” And as she tells people that, they kept saying to her, “Wow, you have a very refreshing perspective. You probably should write a book.” So, she had an Aha moment and she was like, “Okay, maybe I should write a book about this.”And she loves books, she’s obsessed with learning, she still has a library card, she goes and pick up books every week, she reads voraciously, and she has always known she wanted to write a book, but she just didn’t know about what. So, the Aha, the bell went off and so that’s how she ended up writing the book. But in writing the book she realized she still wanted to dig deeper, why was it that she had this perspective that people kept telling her was refreshing, why wasn’t it just something that comes second nature to people on a whole? Aren’t we all on this earth wanting to be happy? Most of the things that we’re doing, it’s because we think it’s going to add to our joy, whether it’s buying a new car or going on a vacation or dating that person or whatever it is, buying the purse, that is what it is, that constant want or seeking happiness and fulfillment. So, she started studying the science of happiness to get deeper and in studying that science of happiness and just researching, she came across the School of Positive Psychology and she was a psychology major in Undergrad, but at that time, 1998 to 2001, the psychology was more based on, “Okay, what is wrong with you? How are we going to fix it?” But now, this school of psychology, which was birthed within the last 10 years, it’s more of a “No, what’s right with you? Let’s figure out ways to even enhance it.” So, when she’s doing the research, she was just like, “Oh my God, I love it.” She could not stop learning. So, she went along, she got a Positive Psychology Certification through University of Pennsylvania and so from that point on, she has just been studying the science of happiness and she became a Happiness Coach.

Now, she coaches people, businesses how to add more happiness in their workspace, individuals how to add more happiness in their day to day lives. She has written a book, she’s one of the co-founders of a woman empowerment summit they are called Women Winning Now’ where she speaks about happiness and teaches audiences how to add happiness into their day to day life. But it truly is a closed door that got her here and so now she jokingly tells people when they tell her, “Oh my God, I’m going through the breakup,” or “I got fired” or the rejection or whatever. She says, “You are in the absolute best place you could be because now you get to create a life that you want, so you take the disappointments or you take the wisdom that you’ve gained and you now have this blank, clean slate and you could create from that space, which is what I did.” So, she is a walking billboard of how a plan that you have for yourself, the plan A sometimes may not be the best plan and that you just have to be open to pivoting and just being open to learning some more. She is just using the rejection or the disappointment to propel you in a grateful, more amazing existence, which is truly her story.

Yanique stated, this is just truly amazing and it dovetails nicely into the whole podcast theme of navigating the customer experience because I find a lot of businesses, they have people who work with them, they have leaders in organizations, but at the same time they’re not using the negatives or the disappointments as positives and pivoting them to a realm where they can really shine.

  • Rochelle shared that she thinks of course it depends on the company culture, so, whoever is at the top, the energy trickles down. So, she thinks what has happened, and traditionally so is that people view work as just survival. So, for like somewhere between 55% to 80% of people, it’s normal to see work as something to be endured, and not something to enjoy. So it’s interesting because we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so you’d think that you would want to create a company culture where work life balance would be something that you’d make a priority and not only that, we’re dealing with human beings, so you have to think the people who work for you, they also are going through their own human experiences before they ever show up in the building. So, for one, of course it’s the company culture that you’re creating, and everybody definitely has different leadership styles, but there are companies now that realize the happier employees are, is the higher the work productivity. Google is one of those companies that’s very, very forward thinking. They have implemented mindfulness programmes because the more mindful you are, then you show up at work and you’re able to focus on the matter at hand as opposed to coming to work and then you just have a whole million, trillion other things that you’re focusing as opposed to what you’re supposed to be doing in this space. So, for one, of course a company culture, for two, she thinks it all just keeps going back to the environment and the whole company culture. Have you ever shown up in a review, your performance evaluation and your supervisor or your boss has ever asked you, “Are you happy?”

Yanique answered, I don’t think so. And I don’t think in any of the organizations that I have worked with, they actually have that question in an appraisal.

Rochelle agreed. She is going to say what she defines happiness at work to be. So, it’s a feeling of overall sense of enjoyment at work. Being able to gracefully handle setbacks, connecting amicably with colleagues, coworkers, clients and customers and knowing that your work matters to yourself, your organization and beyond. So, with that definition in mind, why wouldn’t you want to know if the people who are working for you are happy and if they’re fulfilled. And so sometimes people just want to know that you that they matter and that you care. And so, it’s not that you’re saying are you happy and then they are coming and telling you all their life story, it’s just, “Are you happy? I see you; I’m affirming you. What could we do in this environment to make it better?” And a lot of companies, they’re just telling their employees what to do, they are not creating a safe space where people feel vulnerable to tell employers what could be better. It’s a, “This is the way and you should just operate in our systems.”At the end, everybody has a vision for what it is the business that they’re building. But listen, the people who are working for you they are the best parameters of telling you what is working because they are literally on the floor, they’re on the ground, which is why that show Undercover Boss works so well because lot of times when you’re sitting in an executive office or whatever, you are not necessarily connecting with the person who is really and truly handling your day to day operations. So, what you may think looks good on a manual doesn’t necessarily translate to real productivity or an actual experience. So, you would literally have to get down and dirty and on the floor sometimes with your employees and find out what they’re thinking. And so, one simple thing to implement to help this is that you could just have an anonymous suggestions box. So, you could just say, oh well, you may not know that, “Okay, you would give us a 35-minute lunch break but then the closest restaurant is 17 minutes.” So, you start building in those kinds of things and you are like, “Okay, this is why that’s happening,” or all of a sudden, a couple of people have been showing up to work late, why are they showing up late? Oh, maybe because now what they are doing like construction on the highway that’s really like, so now they have to build an extra time. These are just little questions because this is day to day, it’s human dynamics. But if you’re not asking the questions, how do you know? And so, it’s communication and it’s not just top down communication, it’s also bottom up communication because you need to know what people are feeling. She’d say the communication aspect of it. And another thing is just implementing team building exercises. So, one thing that she does enjoy about her legal space that she works in, they make it a point to celebrate everything. And so, this month, she just got an email this morning they’re doing Asian Pacific celebration. They celebrate black history month, Hispanic heritage month, there are always some little celebrations, whether it’s ice cream day, it doesn’t take anything out of a business to bring in three tubs of ice cream. Maybe everybody won’t participate but guess what? When your employees are now seeing each other, not only as my coworker and they have an exchange, how is your mom doing or whatever, you feel more comfortable asking them. One, “Okay, do you have a template on this legal case that I need?” It breaks down the whole just competitive nature of any space and it makes it more familiar. So, that’s also an aspect, but lots of times people are thinking, well, the one hour that we take to do this every month, they could be doing more, they could be answering phones. Actually, maybe not. Sometimes that one hour that they use increases the productivity more because now one, they feel more affirmed in the space, they feel like they matter, you did something nice to acknowledge them, it makes them want to be loyal, want to work harder for you. So little things like happiness workshops, building emotional resilience, you asked me, okay, “How is it that you translate the rejection or the failure into productivity?” People don’t know what they don’t know, they don’t know. Rochelle stated that she’s a psychology major and she never even knew the school and positive psychology existed until she went seeking that thing two years ago. So, think about all the employees within your environment that literally just don’t know. And so, a lot of us stop formative learning at around the age of 21 to 24 years old, let’s say you graduated from Undergrad at 22 years old, 24 let’s say you, as an attorney, you have this additional three. So, let’s just say most of the formative learning, 25 that’s it, you stop learning if you’re not forced to learn. So, all you’re doing day to day is the exact thing that you have known before you showed up at this job.Why wouldn’t you want to help people expand their minds, bring in different speakers?

Just the little things to challenge people, to open their mind, one hour of how to increase productivity chat today. One hour of building emotional resilience, one-hour of becoming a better communicator, but even employers, a lot of them don’t even know that these things exist. So, they would not even see the importance because she’s very, very clear when she presents, when she talks about happiness, she’s always very clear that the things that she talks about are rooted in science, it’s not just “wooo….woooo….woooo.” That’s so fleeting. There’s no subjectivity but no, there is tons and tons and thousands of research studies about happiness in the workplace. Employers need to be made aware that these services are available and really the importance of equipping themselves with the knowledge in order to help their employees become more productive. Because guess what? That’s the point to work. People are at work for productivity, to make money, to get returns on investment, if you’re not doing that, then you’re are just having a hobby. You want to have an impact of course. So, there are certain deliverables that you know you need. So, if in being there are standard things that you could be doing to get the results that you need for your business. Why aren’t you doing it?

Yanique stated, lots of powerful nuggets there. Keep happiness workshops, talk about the emotional resilience, having a culture where people feel comfortable and they feel at home at work. Very important to ensuring that you have a strong service culture. And a lot of what you touched on focused on the fact that at the end of the day when a customer has a bad experience it is really a symptom of something that’s happening internally, which means that the staff is not happy, the energy flows from the top down, so probably the leaders themselves have no sense of direction in terms of their own happiness and if you don’t know where you’re going, then there’s no way you’re going to be able to lead other people.

  • Rochelle shared that there are days when she doesn’t feel motivated. She’s human, so that’s one of the things that she is very vulnerable and very clear about. She wakes up and she choose to act. So, sometimes you have to get past the emotion of things, but then there are days when she literally says, “No Ro, you need to just relax because you can’t pour from an empty tank.”And as she said earlier, work life balance. She is a better Rochelle when she gets adequate amounts of sleep. She is a better Rochelle when she is working out. So, motivation comes for her, comes from the fact that she’s actually doing work that she loves, work that she knows she was put on this earth to do, even when she’s tired, she could talk about happiness. She can teach people or motivate people about ways to infuse their life with more joy. She loves to inspire people to become the best versions of themselves. So, she truly believes that she’s operating in purpose, but it doesn’t mean that every day is just wake up and bounce off the wall with energy days. It just means that she makes the choice because one thing that she’s keenly aware of is that our time is finite. And so, she doesn’t know if she’ll have tomorrow or if she’ll have next week or the week after that. So, one thing that really keeps her going is that she lives everyday as if it’s her last day because it very well could be her last day. And so, with that at the forefront of her mind, it helps her to one, not get bogged down in the small things that really are not edifying or not helping her become better. And then it also helps her get through and process negative emotion sooner. Cause she’s like, “Well, if I only have a finite amount of time, do I really want to spend my energy on this negative thing or this negative person or I’m I going to use my energy to be more solution focused or solution based.” So, it really is a mindset matter for her. So, she renews her mind like in the Bible it says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” She literally tries to renew her mind every morning. One, she doesn’t really dwell in the past because she can’t change the past. And so that is what a lot of us do as humans, they’re just scientific concept rumination where you will just get stuck and bogged down in this thinking and rumination coupled with regret causes us to just be crippled. And we’ll just keep thinking, “Oh, I should have done this better.” “I should have done that better.”“If I could just change this.”But really you can’t change it, all you have the power to do is changed your present. With that in mind, she’s like, “Okay, I’m going to use the lessons of yesterday and the past to propel me into a greater future and a greater presence.” For her, everything starts in your mind, if you conquer your mind and your thoughts, then it’s just sets you back. It sets you back. So, for her, she’s huge on affirmations, she wakes up in the morning, she affirms herself, even when her energy’s low, “Ro – You woke up this morning. That’s a blessing. You can do it.”And by the time she kind of gets herself hyped up with her affirmations, she feels better and then she also uses different inspirational tools. She reads success magazine, there’s an Instagram page that she loves before 5:00 am by Joe Duncan, he always has really good energy. So sometimes the inspiration may not come from her internally, but she knows the sources that she needs to go to get inspired. She’s keenly aware that she’s a human being and that everyday she’s not about to be on firing at 100% cause she’s not that. She gives herself space for that, there are days that she just decided today she’s just going to wake up and if all she did today was survive then that’s enough and she celebrates that too. Every day doesn’t have to be a winning day, some days she literally woke up, she made it through the today, here she is and she’s alive and some days it’s just sits in the bed and read a good book and have passive thoughts because you need silence in order to activate your creativity. If you’re always doing something, then you don’t just have the time to just let your mind be clear enough to be able to have creative thoughts.

Yanique agreed. As a leader in an organization, you also have to have some of these conversations with your team members whether it’s in group or one on one to kind of get them to that place because the reality is we’re all socialized differently and it’s clear your parents did a really great job in getting your mind to that point where you are able to just turn yourself around and you know exactly what to do to get to that point. But that’s because you’ve been cultured that way, so it’s very easy for you to connect that way. But in an organization where you have so many different personalities, let’s say you’re leading a team with 50 people. I was at church yesterday and Father said in church, statistics for Jamaica is one in every 40% of Jamaica he said, or one in every five people that you meet are suffering from some psychological disorder. It’s resounding, it would mean then that if you have an organization, it’s quite possible that 5% to 10% of the people that work with you are having psychological issues. But do you know, and then mental health is not something that we’re just feeling very comfortable to talk about.

  • Rochelle then stated that this is where she mentioned earlier about the company culture and it’s the feedback. So, this is a thing, when you said you stand in your truth, you liberate others to stand in their truth.She’s speaking generally, but let’s say for a business specifically, your employees are going to react to the environment that you have cultivated for them. Which is why she said if you are saying in performance evaluations are you happy or you are also sending out email databases, let’s say, you have your company email and small implementation, every month you may have a newsletter. All of a sudden someone reads that and they’re like, “Okay, they care about this.”you’re not going to hear someone saying, “Hey, do you have mental health issues?” But no, you have now made it okay to talk about these things because you have presented it in the newsletter or you put up a flyer in the lunch room that says that, so now people are assumed that and they’re like, oh, they have this in the work room or you may have books in the office library that some are on whatever, like happiness or bipolar disorder or feelings of depression. People want to start seeing that in the environment. They’re like, okay, we could talk about this thing and the mere of fact that they put this in here, it means that somebody is one, made aware, two, that we could maybe talk about it and three, that now it’s in their conscious mind, but that’s the problem is that nobody is really talking about it so, it’s just like if you’re in a group full of your friends and you said, “Oh, you know, I went to therapy this week.”All of a sudden we were like, “You went to therapy? I didn’t know you go to the therapy girl.” You will make it okay to go to therapy because you have liberated them, “If Yanique can go to therapy and Yanique looks like she has it all together, then I can go to therapy too.”And she says to people, if your tooth is hurting you, you go to the dentist. So, if you’re not feeling mentally good and in a good place or you’re having thoughts of suicide, seek the help, but you will only seek help that you know is available to you and she thinks that is one of the main things in Jamaica is that we are a society where we don’t really talk about mental disease or mental illnesses, it’s still very taboo, so, as a result, nobody feels safe to say and speak up because they will feel judged and stigmatized. Whereas now in America, it is very, very, very prevalent for you to talk about it and she’ll even use the example, she took 7 weeks off of work, I went on a sabbatical and how that manifested. In 2016 when she went through her breakup, she decided, “Okay, what now?” 2017 she went to her boss and she (Rochelle) has always been a really good employee, high performer, very well-adjusted happy person. And she went to her and said, “I need to have a really honest conversation with you. I’m in a space where I don’t know what’s next. I feel confused. I feel totally like just underwhelmed. I just don’t care about work, you know, it’s just like I don’t want to be here.”And so, she said to her, “Oh, um, maybe you should move to our DC office or our Irvine Office?”And she was just like, “Oh, I don’t think that would help because I’m just going to take the same Rochelle to all these spaces. I truly need a 5 week.”And she went and asked for unpaid leave. She didn’t want to have to think about work. She just wanted to check out of her regular environment, go away somewhere and just be able to be one with her thoughts and just think about what she wanted to do next. And so, Rochelle uses that example all the time because she had a supervisor who was empathetic and understood what she meant by saying, “I needed a moment.” So, imagine if she went to her and she’s just like, “Oh, we don’t care, get back to work.” But she felt safe and her workplace created an environment where she felt comfortable enough to go to her to say that. And she ended up getting 7 weeks paid vacation and in those 7 weeks she traveled all over Europe. She was based in Oxford with a friend who was a Dean at Oxford University. She was based there and then she traveled around, that’s where she wrote her book and she came back to work feeling one, rejuvenated, refocused, renewed and so, everybody won’t necessarily have the opportunity to do what she did but what we hope people have the opportunity to do is feel safe to say that to their boss. That’s why she’s a firm believer of allowing employees to have a mental health day, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all you have to be sick with chicken pox or the flu. No, you literally took the day off because you just needed to be off to whether you go to the therapist or whether you went to the beach just for a moment to read, re-gather yourself. And so, that’s what she’s saying, the conversations just need to be had so people feel safe to be able to talk about it but it’s just little clues that you could start incorporating, the flyer in the break room, the asking are you happy in this performance evaluation, putting the books library at the office, sending out in the newsletter. Maybe just including a positive quote every month, asking employees to submit a positive quote, to be included in the newsletter so they feel like, “Okay, they want to make an effort at this.” So then people want to speak up.

Yanique agreed. So, we have to have more leaders who are open to being vulnerable and being empathetic and caring enough that you feel safe and you can share information with them. You were speaking a while ago, you reminded me of one of the people that I look up to so, so much. She helped me so much during a time in my life when I needed to get through some family issues. Brene’ Brown and I did a course with her. I can picture the two of you on stage, I think you should. I think you should try and partner with her to do something because I can see the two of you are clearly aligned, I get the same feeling, I get the same message, I get the same connectivity when I hear you speak and when I hear Brene’ speak.

Rochelle asked if Yanique had watch Brene’ Brown’s documentary The Call to Courage? People need to feel safe to just be themselves. And so, this is another thing she’ll say is it starts honestly with you. When she goes to work, she doesn’t care about the energy that is in the office, she shows up as her happiest, best Rochelle self. She tells everybody good morning, she gives people compliments, people want positive feedback. She tells her coworkers, “I appreciate you.” She brings maybe a $5 Starbucks gift card every once in a while. It’s just little things because happiness truly starts within yourself. If you are not happy internally, you will not be able to go to work and just miraculously be this happy employee. No, you have to be happy within yourself and then what you show up as it is what’s coming out of you. So, she always, good morning, she talked to the Security Guards at work, every person wants to be seen and feel that they matter. And so, when your boss looks on you and says to you, “How was your weekend?” You feel good because it’s not, “Where’s the report? What did you do?” No, it literally is, how was your weekend? It took one second and it’s your boss so you’re not going to sit there and say, “Oh wow. I went to the club and then I got drunk.” No, you probably stop and say, “It was great. How was yours?” That’s it. It just like a co-worker last week unfortunately her sister had a stroke and ended up passing. Should come back and it was so sad. And so, she came back to work, we had flowers on her desk, like succulents. So, she’d have to water it and nurturing, that literally didn’t cost anything other than $10. But you could tell the gratitude on her face when she saw that we did that and signed a card for her. It’s the same, it’s little things, it’s just being kind. Every person wants to be in an environment that’s one, positive, two, where you just feel like you could go there and not feel judged or overworked or overstressed and people actually will work harder for you if you treat them well and it doesn’t take a lot to treat people well. She’ll use this as an example. Last week she had a rash on her arm randomly, had to go to the doctor on Wednesday and there was a case that she worked on that was time sensitive and she needed to bring it to work. But her boss said to her, “Oh, I know you’re having this rash as long as you’re okay, don’t worry about the time sensitivity of this file.” She ended up going to work Thursday at 2:00 pm to drop it to off.

Rochelle made that extra effort because her boss treats her with respect, and she cares about her. When she saw her in the office on Tuesday, she actually saw my arm and she’s like, “What’s wrong with your arm?” So, it didn’t take anything out of her (Rochelle) now on Thursday to go out of her way to go there with this rash still on her hand to drop off this time sensitive file. Before she left the office, she came by and she said to her, “I appreciate you for coming to do this because I know you didn’t have to.” And that makes a difference. She will show up for her again and again and again and again because not only does she just look on her as a worker, she looks at her as an actual human being because we can all get a rash, we could all be sick, we could all have a sister who had a stroke.

Yanique agreed. And that’s what you want. You want bosses are people who you work with who can connect with you on a human level, who care. And they don’t just take for granted that because you’re being paid, you have to do it. You don’t have to, and you have a choice. And the fact that you made the effort and then she actually recognized the fact that you made the effort, you definitely appreciate the fact that she values you.

Rochelle stated, exactly and that’s what she keeps saying. People just want to feel valued and they’ll do more if you are just a kind person. It’s small things, when you’re in the office, stop pushing the closed door on the elevator, hold the door for somebody to come, just basic things. If you see somebody walked in with the box or the bags I the vows, the little 10 seconds that you will use to open the door for them. It’s just the little things, it’s not a big thing, but it all starts within you. So, each individual as you show up as your best self in the office, people will also want to show up as their best self.

  • When asked about a tool that she couldn’t live without in her business, Rochelle stated Google. Google is every single thing. There is nothing you cannot find out on Google. Simple things as how do I put this new column on a Microsoft Excel Sheet, let’s use that as an example. Google, there’s a video to show you how to do it. There’s an article and a video, whatever your learning style is, it’s there for you. But you know what it is, we live in our society now where people don’t really want to seek a lot of knowledge, they want you to tell them so it’s like our curiosity is just going down, but we have more access to information than we ever had in history. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be seeking answers, just like, okay, if your boss says, “Oh I need you to do this one thing.”you don’t know how to do it, you don’t have to be waiting, you need to be very self-motivated, be self-actualize, be able to find things for yourself. People don’t have to spoon feed you knowledge, go and look for it as simple as Google because guess what, Google will give you the research article, but it will also give you the easily digestible information too, and we all have smartphones. So, gone are the days where like, “Oh, I can only go on the laptop.” No, it’s right there at your fingertips. So, for her, she would say Google is one of the things by far every single thing that you need to figure out, it’s there. Even her as a lawyer, she looks up stuff all the time just to get your pulse of what it is, like okay contracts on Blah Blah Blah. Oh, what happened in this circuit court? Easy. But obviously they are the legal databases that have the knowledge, but in Google she gets a wide variety of information, articles, news articles, interviews from people that talk to issues that matter to them. What she will also say that we have to start doing as individuals on a whole, stop seeking information from the same exact sources. So, for instances, open your mind, so if you are someone who watches CNN all the time, why not watch BBC? Or if you always read Huffington Post, why not just go to Fox News to see what they’re talking about? So, what happens is that we become so insular sometimes and we just stick to what we know that you’re not learning about anybody else or what other people are thinking. How are people doing your exact business in India? Have you thought about that? You could become more efficient. You don’t know, let’s just say there’s really no new, new, new idea, so there’s somebody doing exactly what you’re doing somewhere else in the world. But have you ever even taken the time to see what they’re doing, what’s the digital agency doing in Russia right now, what’s the digital agency doing in Pakistan, they have a digital agency there. Have you ever thought to research what they are doing? Maybe you’ll have a couple of Aha moments.

Yanique agreed. Even from a customer service perspective, customers don’t benchmark their customer experience and much same businesses anymore. So, you have local companies in Jamaica who are being compared to Amazon even though they’re not in the same space. But that’s because people are having different types of experiences and they’re expecting that, if that company can do it then why can’t you?

Rochelle agreed and stated that the thing she will say, people are not open to criticism. This is the issue because people take criticism as a reflection of who they are, they get defensive. You could have a $20 bill and you could crush it, you could step on it, whatever, it’s still a $20 bill, it doesn’t change its value because you crushed it up or threw it against the wall or whatever. So, what a lot of employers could do, especially when you’re in a customer service-based industry, you need to be asking your clients and your customers on a regular basis, what could we do better? She’d be open to what they sell. She’s not saying you’re going to ask them every day or every week whatever, but you literally can just be like, you know what, April I’m going to have a What Could We Do Better Campaign twice a year. And then whoever you send it out or you ask them and nowadays you have Instagram, it’s so easy. And you could easily say, “All right, well when I come in to Tastee or Sugar and Spice during 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm rush hour time, I would hope that you’d have minimum 4 cashiers because I need to get in and out.” But that’s just simple. So, all you do is know that during that time you are going to do that, it’s not hard, it’s not rocket science but you don’t know because you’re not asking because now you’re taking the criticism as an affront to you as an individual and becoming sensitive to the feedback, not realizing that feedback is literally what makes us better. And she has had to work on that because it’s easy to be in your head thinking that,“Oh, I have it all figured out.” But guess what? You also only have your point of view and your view of the world. So, you could teach me certain things, you could say, “Rochelle, how have you ever thought about doing it that way?” And all of a sudden, her mind has now expanded, and she could do it that way.

And so, with customers, because you’re dealing with people on a day to day basis, it is imperative, and it is so important that you ask what could I do better? Where could I improve? And you know what too, you’ll start seeing trends, you’ll see like 10, 12 people say the same exact thing and then you’re like, oh whoa or you may even get really good ideas. It’s interesting that recently she announced that she’s going to launch an online course called Happily Single and she has put it out there just randomly, haven’t given much of the course details or anything. She has had so many people one, send her direct messages about little things that they think she should include. She did her filming in two different sittings, so she took their feedback and she implemented some of that and then one random girl said, “Oh, do I smell another book coming?” And she’s just like ding, ding, ding, because she thinks she’s going to write a book about this. But she would never have received that feedback if she wasn’t a person who always, when she communicates with the people, her audience, she always ask them, “What do you think I could do better?”or “What do you want to learn more about?”and she doesn’t take it as an affront because guess what? She’s not every single woman living in the world, nor is she every person seeking happiness in the world. So, she needs to know what people need to hear from her, to become successful.

Yanique agreed. So, feedback is very, very important and it’s not even just from a customer experience perspective, it’s just generally speaking. It’s funny you mentioned that because I find a lot of businesses and even people generally when they do get criticism, they do get defensive and they get defensive in the weirdest ways. I remember a couple of years ago I went to a fast food chain and I found a cockroach in my box. And the first thing the cashier asked me when she opened the box was if the cockroach was dead or alive. I’m not sure how that question was even relevant because whether or not the cockroach was dead or alive, the point is that the cockroach was in the box. So, the questions that we ask, I’m assuming the question was probably going down the avenue of well maybe if a cockroach was alive, possibly he crawled in there at a different venue not at the venue that they had presented me with the box. But regardless, we do get defensive as people and I put myself into it as well. Sometimes you think, as you said, it’s a personal attack against us as a person and if you really just try to take the emotion out of it and look objectively at what a person is saying and just look at the fact that maybe there is some merit in what they’re saying and maybe that’s something that you could change or do better.

Rochelle agreed and stated because how do you become better if you aren’t learning? And a part of learning, it’s just like when you’re a child, if you got a math problem wrong, then you knew it was an area you probably needed to study more. You didn’t study the things that you got right all the time, you tried to also correct the things that you got wrong and it made you better, so the next time we took the math test, you got the question right.

  • When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Rochelle stated that The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, she will not talk stop talking about this book. The Four Agreements, it is tiny and it maybe short read, but it is the gift that keeps on giving because it’s literally 4 topics and her favourite is Don’t Take Things Personally, that’s agreement number 2 and it goes right into what we just spoke about, about getting the feedback and not making that be a reflection of who you are. It’s not a reflection of who you are, it’s just information and so, The Four Agreements, it’s one of the books she tells all her clients to read it, she tells every friend to read it. She kind of can’t stopped talking about this book. She has a mini version on her nightstand and then the original version on her nightstand also but it’s such a good book. So, she would suggest that each person read that book. It’s an older book now, it is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. So that’s one of those books that she really loves and her book One Happy Thought at a Time: 30 Days to a Happier You. But she loves about Outliers is that it’s just the truth, it’s not rocket science, what you practice and what you do over and over again, you become better at and you’re just not going to cheat the system. You’re just not going to cheat the system, every single successful person who is operating in a spirit of excellence they’ll tell you, they practice, and they practice more. So, let’s even talk about Beyoncé, she recently released her Coachella performance on Netflix. She said she practiced for 8 months for a 2 day; 2 hours isn’t that wow. But people would just look on Beyoncé and be like, “Well, it’s Beyoncé.” No, she is Beyoncé obviously because she has natural talent, but she is also Beyoncé because she’s putting in those 10,000 hours. So, Rochelle says to people, you have to do the work, you’re not going to cheat the system, you have to do the work. Usain Bolt, he trained hard. Michael Jordan, he trained hard. Lebron James, he trained hard. You know what, at the end of the day things may not go your way and you get back up again, and you keep training hard and you keep working hard. And so, she would say you just have to put in the work, want to accomplish your goals, to accomplish your dreams. We all start at different starting points in life, so it’s not saying that, oh, the person who started with the private school education and the access to tutors and all that, may not have more assets up front to mobilize but it just means that you may have to work a bit harder, but nothing is really out of your reach but you have to just try it. So many of us, we just get bogged down in trying to see the entire story and how we’re going to make it work rather than just taking the first step. And so, she always says, small wins are still wins and those small wins build the momentum for the big wins. So, she tells clients, so you have a business idea just buy the domain name, you’d be surprised what that $9.99 investment on GoDaddy does for your self-esteem and for your confidence. But if you sit down, you’re like, “All right, I have to writing the 20-page business plan, get the funding, build the website that Dah, Dah, Dah.” By the time we think about all the things that you have to do, you just are kind of demotivated, you kill your spirit, but if you just start operating, just putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll be surprised and that’s why she likes to talk about little tools to help you, which is why she said you’ll be surprised what that flyer in the lunchroom does.

Are you happy? How could we make the workplace better? Here’s the anonymous box, putting your feedback. We just want to hear from you. We value our employees, literally just having even a wall with some positive posts in there, positive quotes on the wall. You may have it in the bathroom stall. So, you walk in and you’re like every day you may not feel like being here, but you show up every day, that quote, all of a sudden you see, you’re like, okay, I got you. That’s true. Every day I don’t feel like being there, but I’m showing up, and you reading that, it just triggered something in your brain so it’s not big, big things, it’s just little things that ultimately that we just all have to start doing individually and then of course as a group that will help increase the customer experience and just ultimately enhance all our environments because a happier employee goes home as a happier parent, as a happier spouse.

  • Rochelle stated that Women Winning Now, it is on June 9th in New York, they are so excited. It’s a month away. And they’re in the throes of planning and the thing about Women Winning Now, for those who don’t know, it’s a woman’s empowerment summit and she love it because she became so much better after each one. So, they’ve had Miami, Toronto, London so far. And they have all sold out and what is beautiful about it is that women come in that room and you can tell the trepidation, and everybody comes in with different stories. Some women they want motivation to start a business, some people just want to know that they’re just not even alone and so, by the end of the day, the transformation that literally takes place in that small amount of time, it’s incredible and she always tell people, the best investment you could make is an investment in yourself. So, as much as she imparts knowledge into those ladies, every time she leaves any Women Winning Now, she’s a better Rochelle for having experienced the people, having heard their stories and having their knowledge imparted on her. So, she’s really, really excited about it. Her business partners Rachel and Nicole, all of them, their missions in life is to truly impact others and just make them see that they too are capable of creating the life that they imagine and that they dream of and not only are they able to do that, but to see that it just is a work in progress because we don’t have it all figured out and she thinks that’s one of the things that most of the women realize is that, “Oh, they’re also trying to figure it out too.” Because as long as you’re living, you’re always growing, and so you’ll always be figuring something out. So, if it’s not okay now I’m a single woman, but then I’m going to transition hopefully one day into being a wife and a mom, I’ll have to figure that out. So, it’s beautiful being around other people, hearing their stories, she’d go back to the vulnerability aspect of things when you see other people as confused as you or trying to be great, you don’t feel as alone anymore and you’re like, “Whoa, she was me 2 years ago. I was, Rochelle went through the breakup, was trying to seek my purpose and here I am. Now, I’m clearer. It doesn’t mean I know everything, but I’m a little bit clearer and so now, I share my wisdom.” So even if she could prevent another woman from getting as stuck as she was in that season, that’s a huge benefit to her.
  • Rochelleshared listeners can find her at –

Instagram – @rochelle.gapere

Twitter – @RochelleGapere

Facebook – @RochelleGapereHappinessCoach

Website – www.rochellegapere.com

  • Rochelle shared that her quote is Romans 8:28, “I am a Believer.” That verse has literally sustained her, and she may even get a little teary eyed saying it, “All things really do work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”So, the good things of course, when they are good, it works for her good and she is able to really just appreciate that. But when it’s bad, that’s the hard part and just knowing and repeating that that yes, it may be bad right now, it may be bad in this moment but in the grand scheme of things Rochelle knows that God is using it for the betterment of her in fulfillment of her purpose and so, no matter what season she has ever been in her life, that bible verse it has sustained her. It really keeps her grounded and it just makes you know that no matter how disappointing today may be that tomorrow can always be better and that if she has the right perspective, she knows that it will all be blending together, the good, the bad, the not so good, as this incredible cake and she gets to choose the ingredients that she wants to put in that cake in terms of the memories she attached to the good things or the bad things and she knows it works together for her good and it just really keeps her going. So, even the bad things really, truly aren’t that bad.

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