Often I will hear that joy is just too intangible, it’s too “fluffy,” and doesn’t have any sort of direct business impact. I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth. Joy has a direct impact on a person’s health and well-being, their mental state of mind, and their ability to produce results at work.
When I interviewed Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations Inc. and author of bestselling Joy Inc and Chief Joy Officer, he shared a story of how impactful it was for him when he could first connect joy to business value in their company. Menlo Innovations has a purpose to end human suffering when it comes to technology (how great is that!) and when he was going to give people a tour of how they do business, he decided to start by explaining why joy was so vital for them. He got a similar reaction from the group with “what does this have to do with anything you are doing?”
Rich simply posed the question: if you had a technology project you needed completed, would you rather work with the team that was joyful or with the team that wasn’t? Everyone answered of course they’d want to work with the more joyful team. He asked them why and they answered that the joyful team would be more productive, they would care more about the outcome, they would produce higher quality, and they would be an easier team to work with. The group quite easily discovered why joy DOES have business value. And this is universal.
What happens when you can create Moments of Joy deliberately in your day? Joy gives you energy. It makes you feel more positive and hopeful. It brings a smile to your face. Smiles, as well as moods, are contagious as has been proven by neurochemical research.
Would you rather be bringing joy to the workplace or dread? Would you rather work with joyful people or people who are negative and complaining about things? It is easier to be around people who feel joy because it is a feeling we can all relate to and strive to have in our life.
But the key is to take command of the situation yourself. Become a deliberate creator of joy. When you create joy in your own life, it will be easier to share with others. If you wait for the people or circumstances around you to be happy and joyful, chances are you’ll end up being disappointed. It is up to you—and only you—to create joy in your life.
So how do you create more joy? Think of things you LOVE to do…and then do them! Keep it simple. It can be hugging your children, taking a walk in nature, writing a list of things to do and then checking them off, looking deeply into the eyes of a person you love, making a joke and having people laugh…there are infinite ways to do this! The key is to figure out what brings YOU joy first.
Recently, I’ve been prioritizing painting. It’s a hobby that I’ve been “too busy” to do. But I find when I make the time for it and see the results of an hour or two spent on something I absolutely love to do, it makes me very happy and I get into a flow state of mind. I have created a Moment of Joy.
Another tip is to consider what you are passionate about. Write a list of 10 things and then do what you can to weave them into your day or week as much as possible.
In my 20’s I was very passionate about skiing. I loved the fresh cold air, the peace of being out in nature, the views, and the silence of the mountains. For many reasons (excuses really), I haven’t skied in 24 years since before my first child was born. Recently, I spent a long weekend skiing and had the time of my life! It’s been a dream to ski with my children and I finally got around to it. I was wondering why on earth I waited so long! And we’ve now created memories that will last a lifetime.
These are Moments of Joy. When you have many moments of joy each day and each week, they can outweigh a lot of the heavy stuff we get dragged down with in life. These moments can brighten your day and in turn, you get more energy and are able to brighten other people’s days as well.
This will absolutely impact your workday as well. How can you bring more joy to your workplace? Can you take 5 minutes each morning to send an email of appreciation to someone, just because? You may be surprised how you feel afterwards, and you will definitely be touched by the response you get as well! Can you have a meeting where you take a walk at the same time so that you get away from the screen? Even if you are taking a walk separately, you can show each other some highlights of your walk as well. Again, there are so many ways—be creative!
I do not believe we were born to live miserable lives. And I also believe that no one else can create these Moments of Joy but you. The truth is we are masters of our own realities. It’s up to us to create the life we want to life. Start with just being conscious and deliberate with a few moments a day. Imagine stringing those moments together at the end of the day and the week. Keep doing each month for a year. You may just be surprised at how much fun you can have with this!