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Meet Pamela Gail Johnson of Secret Society of Happy People and Happier @ Work in Lewisville

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pamela Gail Johnson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Pamela Gail. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m easily amused so you could say, I’m happy most of the time. Not a Polyanna – I’m like most people, I get a little annoyed dealing with chronically cranky people or when my car is making a funny noise – but I get through most days with a smile.

Then, sometime in 1997, I had an awakening. Some people not only didn’t care whether or not I was happy — they actually seemed annoyed by it. <gasp!>And most of the time, they didn’t want to hear anything about it.

I started to notice lots of other happy people, like me, tended to keep a lot of our happiness to ourselves, or a secret. So, one day, I started to wonder where all of the happy people were.

Then, my imagination kicked in and I saw them standing around in a room chit-chatting about all things happy. Then, I saw their banner: The Secret Society of Happy People. Did I forget to mention they were wearing Mardi Gras masks? That was so the identities of the not-so-secretly happy people would remain a secret in case a Parade-Rainer crashed the party ~ because all happy gatherings are a party.

Originally, I thought this would be a great idea for an essay. But, with the encouragement of a few happy friends and some blind optimism, I started the Secret Society of Happy People in August of 1998.

That November, Ann Landers publicly acknowledged the “keep your happy news to yourself” cultural norm by advising her readers to ditch writing and sending annual holiday letters chronicling your family’s fates and fortunes.

My motto was, “If you’re happy and you know it, shouldn’t you write at least one letter a year if it made you smile.” So naturally, I had to do something!

I wrote Ms. Landers a letter that was ignored by her that year, but embraced by the press… and voila, the Secret Society of Happy People became known internationally. And making me even happier, the following year, in part because of the reader response she got, Ann agreed with me that it was OK to share your happy news.

We’re not really a secret. I’m still in awe when I think about our happy shout-outs. We’re even in Wikipedia and have been on TV and in People Magazine.

Our name refers to most folks’ reluctance to speak out when they have something happy to share. Otherwise, they fear, grumpier people might rain on their parade by making fun of them or questioning their need to express happiness.

The Society believes it’s always OK to share your happiness. We even identified 31 Types of Happiness and were the first group to create three happy holiday celebrations, so we could get more people noticing and talking about happiness.

I also wrote Don’t Even Think of Raining on My Parade chronicling the adventures of the Society’s first year.

We’ve been celebrating happiness for 20 years by naming August 8, Happiness Happens Day, August as Happiness Happens Month and the third week of January as Hunt for Happiness Week. We’ve even identified the 31 Types of Happiness to give you more reasons to smile.

This year I’ve launch Happier @ Work to help an organization create happier workplaces.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As you can imagine over the course of 20 years there have been challenges. There has been happiness challenged years like 2001 when 9-11 happened or 2007 – 2009 during the Great Recession. We’ve also had to deal with the growing pains of ever-changing technology — we’ve had a website for 20 years so we’ve been through lots of growing pains.

Of course, personally, life isn’t always happy. I’ve been laid-off, then spent nine months job hunting, the deaths of both parents, and other annoyances that happen in life.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Happier @ Work helps individuals, leaders, and organizations find more happiness at work. When employees are happier at work they are more productive and the organization is more profitable. Also, it’s just more fun. After all, shouldn’t something we spend 40 or more hours a week in most cases be fun?

What were you like growing up?
I was a wallflower growing-up. However, I did participate in 4-H and band in high school. However, I blossomed when I got my first job at JCP during my junior year. I suppose you could say, I found happiness at work starting at a young age… LOL.

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