I am my own research laboratory.
How happy are you? That’s the question Paul poses to the groups and individuals to whom he speaks as the founder of the Happiness Experts, a Victoria-based company dedicated to helping people become happier.
Paul invited us to his sister’s beautiful home, perched high on a hill overlooking the Ocean with panoramic seascape views of Haro Strait, James Island and Mount Baker. He meets us dressed stylish-casual in jeans and a blue blazer, his pocket square trendily (and inadvertently) mismatched to his shirt. We’re immediately offered freshly brewed rooibos tea, and a pretty arrangement of lemon cake and fruit.
All this would have been enough to make the trip worth it, but speaking with Paul about his passion project made our venture into the woods of Vancouver Island a whole-body experience.
As it happens, that’s exactly what Paul teaches as a happiness coach. As we wander down to a mossy, rocky hill to a picnic table he tells us more about how he got into the business of happiness.
His own pursuit of personal joy came about after two decades in business executive roles, including a stint in politics (he has a BA in political science from the University of Alberta). Long aware that it was the personal interactions that he most enjoyed, and at which he most excelled, Paul chose to fine-tune this natural affinity; he left the corporate realm, and got himself a graduate certificate in executive coaching.
Paul started meeting with clients seeking to improve singular facets of their world: their career, their relationship, or their health, and quickly recognized each was searching for the same fundamental thing: happiness.
So, he redirected his focus a bit; he began offering public events and company sessions along with one-on-one coaching, all geared at guiding clients to their own natural affinities – to positions or practices that could unveil both happiness and success.
Through Happiness Experts, he teaches the discoveries of positive psychology – a field dedicated to learning how and why people are healthy, instead of the traditional approach of beginning the research when people are already stressed, or anxious, or depressed.
Though positive psychology, as the name implies, is focused on the neuropsychological reasons for our feelings, Paul incorporates ancient concepts like mindfulness and meditation into his teaching, and offsets anything esoteric or overly scientific with his clear, practical approach. In his engaging manner, he shares “the things [people can] experience, or that they can themselves proactively undertake, to make them live as their happiest selves.”
Paul knows much of this not just from in-depth study, but also personal experimentation.
“I am my own research laboratory,” Paul laughs. The steps and tricks of the trade he reveals to his clients have been tested out in his own life. The success of his business, his passionate storytelling, and authentic enthusiasm are ample evidence that the techniques he presents really work – Paul is a happy guy. And it’s clear his “job” is so much more than just that. “It feeds my soul,” he says.