I’m a big advocate of doing what you love and loving what you do. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. If nothing else, it can take some time before you make a transition to a better situation.

I recently had the opportunity to hear James Key Lim speak. James was one of the first employees at Zappos, the on-line footwear retailer you probably know about, and may have used. (Free shipping, and free shipping on returns, are among their claims to fame.)

Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

Humble employees are one of the attributes valued by Zappos. Job candidates were brought to the Zappos office by bus and the bus driver would file a report. If the person wasn’t nice to the bus driver, they were out, no further questions asked.

According to Lim, before he founded Zappos, CEO Tony Hsieh was unhappy with his prior job. What made him realize he was unhappy? He was hitting the snooze button seven times each day. Hitting the snooze button that many times is not about being tired. If you love your job, you will be energized by it, and that will allow you to jump out of bed.

If you want to know someone’s real goal, ask “Why?” three times. For example, if you ask them what their goal is at work and they reply, “Success.” Ask “Why?” again and you may learn, “To make money.” Ask “Why?” a third time and you may learn, “To be able go on trips with my family, in order to spend quality time with them.”

There are three types of happiness:

Pleasure. For example, “When I get that house I’ll be happier.” “When I get that car I’ll be happier.” The problem with pleasure is you keep needing bigger stimulus.

Passion. This driver of happiness lasts longer. You can achieve “flow”. You can get into “the zone”.

Higher purpose / meaning. This is the highest level. You think beyond yourself; beyond money.

Lim’s message: Flip it from the normal way people do things. Live with purpose, then passion, then sprinkle it with pleasure. And let your purpose dictate the direction of your career.

What are your experiences with happiness at work? Join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,