Finding Job Joy When It’s Hiding Hard
I have freedom–that’s my great joy. Sure that feeling’s under seize if you watch the news lately but I mean job freedom. I also recognize my situation is unusual and while it is well earned, in my humble opinion, it was not always the case. Most people aren’t their own boss, don’t set their own hours, their own priorities and income and find themselves feeling far from free and far from joy in their job.
Okay, so life’s a bitch…and then you die. Work sucks and if it wasn’t hard it wouldn’t be called work. We can cliche all day but when you get right down to it there’s really only one word that, if accomplished, makes it all tolerable if not downright pleasant. That word is “JOY.” Dictionary-wise it’s simply a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. For what percentage of our workforce do you think that is an apt description of their state of mind or being?
We have many efforts to boost morale, some strive hard to have a culture that allows for it but have you ever seen any company put as an employee’s goal, “Find and experience joy in your job as often and for as long as you can with only minimal interruptions to the feeling.” Not many top executives or business owners think in that light, occasionally even feel they need punishment to accompany their success. How about if we take a minute and pretend that goal is our new goal? Like all goals we’ll need a plan, and like every plan we will have to anticipate challenges, sometimes beyond our control that threaten it’s success but it’s even measurable if you thing about it. We could get downright consultantly with a plan but here’s a shot at a top 3 finding joy strategies:
3 Ways To Find Joy When It Is Hiding Hard:
1) It’s Your Attitude So OWN It! How you feel is a decision. Granted it isn’t always a conscious one and influences, both positive and negative are surely apt to bombard the matrix and drive your reactions and then your emotions. The thing is, if your goal isn’t to be in a state of joy then why would you be making decisions and corrections to get there, and to stay there? When enough bad things happen it seems like putting your head down and plowing on can be the only way to 5pm and you’ll worry about finding joy after work. Great, your life and family outside of work should be a source of joy but the situations are similar in how your emotional state is nourished or attacked. Only by deciding that joy is where you want to always be gives you the focus to make things happen so that becomes so in work and in life.
2) Have Empathy But With A Shield. You will have enough challenges thrown directly your way to challenge joy so you have to beware wearing other’s pain and challenges. Empathy is a great tool in business (and from keeping you from being a psychopath) and I teach it’s application in sales but don’t confuse it with sympathy. One is an understanding and appreciation of an external emotion and the other is feeling an emotional connection. “I can appreciate how hard it is for Jane,” is empathy. “I feel so bad for Jane,” is sympathy and how can you feel your own joy if you are wearing Jane’s pain? You can’t, so whether it is shielding yourself from external forces or reacting to a direct boss who’s a PIA, you’ve heard, “don’t take it personally.” Well, keep your own person in your own place of joy and let your reaction to the emotions that confront you all day be observed on your shield held close, but safely away from you.
3) Little Things Mean The Most. It sounds trite to imagine that some minor, inconsequential element can remedy your ills to stay in joy when major arms of trouble can occur at any moment, at the worst moment, on top of another bad moment and then manage to stay in your head when you aren’t in front of it or not even at work. Find something you know gives you joy. Doesn’t matter if it as crass as a paycheck or as innocent as a great cup of coffee. It might be as lofty as your inner faith or as base as a daily water cooler chat. Point is, it has to matter to you, it has to be available and enduring and you need to go there regularly and especially if you stray from the path of joy. How do you feel when someone smiles at you, try initiating that, the tired cheek muscles are well worth the effort.
Okay, lot’s of things are easier said than done and no system for happiness is perfect. Surely an office looking like the Valley of the Dolls cast with perpetual semi-satisfaction grins would be more than a little weird. Still, keep these thoughts in mind, everyone works better in a positive, nurturing, respectful environment. The goal of every goal is to accomplish the goal, celebrate and feel joy at the accomplishment so why not make joy a goal and keep it along for the ride in every goal. Finally, many of us get used to being victims, having someone to blame or even enjoy the sense that hard things block joy. Not true, joy is a state where you can establish permanent residence, you have to work for it just like any other thing that’s worthwhile. There is choice here. Picture being around someone who is without joy and someone who exudes it. Who do you want to be around. Who do you want to be?
If you have a comment about how you find or keep joy when things get hard please leave a comment to share your success strategy...
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