Let Tony Hsieh’s Story Inspire You to Find Happiness at Work
In today’s fast-paced, digital world full of lifehacks, shortcuts and other trappings of technology, a lot of people are finding it hard to find happiness at work. Although you can say that there are so many ways to earn a living nowadays, the fulfilment a lot of people seek seems to be very elusive.
Finding happiness at work is something that eluded Tony Hsieh for years. In his book titled “Delivering Happiness”, Hsieh shows that profits aren’t enough for a person to feel satisfied, and that the process of finding that satisfaction is full of risks and problems. Nonetheless, I think Hsieh’s story can be used to inspire you in your own quest in getting where you want to go.
Tony Hsieh did very well in school because he was smart, hardworking and enterprising. At a young age he already started and left several home-grown businesses from selling picture buttons to testing video games and programming. He could have done better in college but instead focused on making money, where he first experienced crowdsourcing and was noticed by top employers.
Despite the potential of earning top dollar, Hsieh and his colleagues felt lost and empty. The search of happiness at work was not over. The work they were doing got repetitive and boring. He and his friends then went on to found LinkEXchange which dealt with banner ads for websites. At some point, what they did was so profitable that Yahoo offered $20 million to buy the firm off them.
A lot of other exciting offers came about and Hsieh finally sold LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million. Staying on with the company would still be profitable to him in the long run since the new owner wanted him to stay on. But Hsieh walked away because he felt that he could do more elsewhere, and that this company wasn’t where he could find happiness at work. Thus, Zappos was born.
I think that the risk Hsieh took when he started Zappos (an online shoe store) would have been enough to cow any man, but Hsieh wasn’t looking for profit anymore; he was looking for passion. He had already proved to himself that he could make money easily if he wanted to, but finding something he loved enough to stay with for the long-term was proving more elusive. Finding happiness at work was now a matter of keeping Zappos afloat and successful.
Nonetheless, Zappos has raked in more than $70 million in sales (2003), after an arduous journey that tested Hsieh’s mettle, smarts and capabilities. In July 2009, the company was acquired by Amazon in an all-stock deal of $1.2 billion.
I think the most important lesson you can learn from this story is that at some point, making money can be a game and that winning isn’t entirely the amount you have at the end. Hsieh walked away from millions and a comfortable life to devote himself to an online shoe store that anybody thought wouldn’t have gotten afloat.
In the end, Hsieh wants you to know that profits and money is just one feature of the life you should want as a professional and a human being. He wants his story to inspire you to take risks and find happiness at work, and the profits will follow in the end.
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