Creating Glimpses of Joy!
My belief is that our workplaces should be places of joy. After all, we spend half our lives there, so working in an environment that encourages us to be our best selves, that challenges us to constantly stretch and grow, and that nurtures our souls is a precious gift. The best news of all is that we can each contribute to helping that to happen in our own workplace.
The best way we can do this is to recognize and celebrate the uniqueness of each person we encounter in a day. Everyone has something to contribute, and it can be a delightful experience to help discover what special contributions each person on your team can make. Often these contributions have little to do with the person¹s actual job, and yet they can add so much to the project, the team or the overall environment. Do you know the passion of each person on your team? Do you know what they REALLY love, what they do in their free time, what they spend their extra money on? This will tell you lots about their uniqueness.
GLIMPSE OF JOY #1: Search for the special gift each person brings to your workplace.
Another way we can create an environment of joy is by being grateful people. Often we get so busy that we forget to say "thank you" to those around us. The more creative we are in appreciating people, the more meaningful that affirmation will be. When we remember something that is very important to them and thank them with a small gift that relates to that passion, we are telling them that we care about what they care about. Also, any time we affirm what someone has done, we not only validate their existence on this earth, but we are also recognizing that they are making a positive difference in the world.
GLIMPSE OF JOY #2: Thank people every chance you get.
It is easy in our workplaces to focus on what is going wrong. The world today is filled with whiners and blamers. However, each of us can counter these negative persons by always looking for what is going right. I often suggest to my audiences, for example, that they begin every meeting with three minutes of "good news." That not only starts the meeting on a positive note, but it also celebrates good things that are happening in people¹s lives, homes, communities, and work teams. So many meetings are focused on what is going wrong that this becomes a way to spread goodness and cheer. I also keep a "Blessings Journal," and each night before I go to bed, I jot down all the little things that happened in the day that blessed me. Even on the worst days, I can always find little glimpses of joy!
GLIMPSE OF JOY #3: Focus on what is going right.
My personal motto is "Spreading Contagious EnthusiasmTM." Do you believe enthusiasm is contagious? Francis Likert, a well-known management expert, writes: If a high level of performance is to be achieved, it appears to be necessary for a supervisor to have high performance goals and a contagious enthusiasm as to the importance of these goals. As you think about your job, are you contagiously enthusiastic about the importance of the work you do? Have you ever thought about how what you do every day makes someone¹s life better? That gives a whole new mission and purpose to your work‹it is no longer just a job but it is important work which enhances someone¹s life. This spirit of meaningful work creates a whole new enthusiasm in your workplace.
GLIMPSE OF JOY #4: Be contagiously enthusiastic about the importance of your work.
Sometimes it is difficult in our workplaces to believe that we have choices to make a difference, especially when layoffs are occurring, stress levels are high, and people are being asked to do more and more for less and less. However, there is a difference between being happy in our jobs and finding joy in our lives at work. "Happiness" has the root word "happen" and depends on circumstances while "joy" is an attitude. We can CHOOSE to find little glimpses of joy even in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances. When our little boy died, I was given a book called "Glimpses of Joy in the Cesspools of Life," and I have thought often about the appropriateness of that title.
GLIMPSE OF JOY #5: Even if you are not happy in your job, you can still find glimpses of joy.
I have been deeply impacted by this thought from William Winter: "As much of Heaven is visible as we have eyes to see." If we choose to look for glimpses of joy in our workplaces and in our lives, we will surely find them. "All the darkness of the world cannot put out the light of one small candle." And if we choose to help create those glimpses of joy for others, joy will return to us in like measure. According to Ben Sweetland, "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." A joyful atmosphere will not only impact morale, retention, and productivity, but it will also provide a place where each person can find value, purpose, and a deep sense of pride in the contribution he or she is making.
About the author
BARBARA GLANZ BIO
For free articles you can use in your company newsletters and an archive of dozens of immediately applicable “Ideas of the Month,” go to www.barbaraglanz.com. Barbara Glanz, CSP, works with organizations that want to improve morale, retention, and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the author of Balancing Acts — More than 250 Guiltfree, Creative Ideas to Blend your Work and your Life (Dearborn 2003), Handle with CARE — Motivating and Retaining Employees (McGraw-Hill 2002), CARE Packages for the Workplace -- Dozens of Little Things You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work (McGraw-Hill 1996), The Creative Communicator (McGraw-Hill 1998), CARE Packages for the Home (Andrews McMeel 1998), and Building Customer Loyalty (McGraw-Hill 1994). As an internationally known speaker, trainer, and business consultant who has a Master’s degree in Adult Education, Barbara lives and breathes her personal motto: "Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™." She has presented on six continents and in all 50 states since 1995. For more information, she can be reached directly at 941-312-9169; Fax 941-349-8209; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.barbaraglanz.com.
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