Look to Happiness First to Create Success, Says Holland America's Jenner

Holland America Line's Eva Jenner talked "happiness" to agents attending the "Inspire" conference onboard Norwegian Bliss this week. (Susan J. Young)

Desire to be a big success, both in life and your travel industry career? Then don't wait to become successful first and expect that happiness will follow. That's wrong. 

In contrast, "happiness is going to fuel success," emphasized Eva Jenner, vice president of sales, Holland America Line, citing Harvard University research. 

Those studies showed that employees who had a higher level of happiness in life had 37 percent better sales figures, 23 percent less stress and were 31 percent more productive.

“So we all want to get to that point,” Jenner said in a presentation Sunday to 1,000 attendees of the annual CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. conference onboard Norwegian Bliss. 

Happiness Fuels Success 

It's simply a mistake to think that in order to be happy you have to be successful first, Jenner began.

She asked the agents to imagine a Monday morning, lying in bed and thinking, "I can't wait to start working." Then she proceeded to explain how people could get to that point. 

“It’s actually a work ethic that you have,” she stressed. “You have to put a little work into it in order to get it.”

She then proceeded to share case studies. In one, a baseball team found that higher batting averages were predicated on how happy the players were.

It's All About Habits  

So how do travel agents get to that point? It's about making happiness into a habit, and following key steps for 21 days.

"Take the principles, get into a habit, and it will change your life," Jenner told the agent audience. 

First, she suggests writing down three positive things that happened to you during the day and doing that for 21 days. Studies have shown that this is going to change your perspective.

Then take two minutes a day and write in a bit of detail about one of those positive experiences every day. If you had a fender bender accident, for example, don't focus on the problem of taking the car in to be fixed, but instead focus on the good result that no one was hurt, and that a fender bender is just a minor issue that can easily be fixed. 

Third, be sure to exercise each day. Why? "It trains your brain to know that your behavior matters," she says. "So when you exercise it allows you to help focus a little more."

Next, try meditating for two minutes a day. De-clutter everything in your head, stop multi-tasking and focus on breathing.

Finally, and most importantly, undertake random acts of kindness. "Studies have shown that this is the greatest predictor of happiness," Jenner stressed. 

Be sure to integrate your happy spirit into your everyday work life, we're told. Jenner, if she's not in the office and on vacation in Alaska, for example, creates an e-mail that lets people know she’s out of the office spending time with her family on a fabulous vacation to Alaska to view the glaciers and see the wildlife.

“That creates a social connection between me and the people that are emailing me,” she says. “They get to know me a little better and that creates this relationship where we can then bounce off of each other as far as our happiness goes.”

Pretty soon, clients are then chatting about their own bucket-list desires and that can lead to higher cruise sales. 

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