Joy, Joy, Joy!

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‘Tis the season, right? Well, I hope joy isn’t just a season for you. But there is something about this time of year that makes even the ungrateful joyful. Why is that?

Maybe it’s that we’re apt to be more generous. Maybe it’s because we have more time off with family. Maybe it’s the festive parties with colleagues and friends. Maybe it’s all the great food or the opening of gifts. Whatever the reason, the Christmas season seems to conjure up a joyful spirit in nearly all of us.

Then…sadly, for many, the joy stops. We pack our joy up along with our tree and ornaments and go back to our daily grind. We let the joyous season become just that: a season. And when that happens our joy probably wasn’t joy at all. It was happiness.

Oh, don’t we love to be happy! But happy is a fickle feeling that comes and goes with our circumstances. A fun holiday, a raise, a prosperous time in our career, our new house, new car, new clothes, new job or new marriage all make us feel, at least for a short time, happy.

But JOY! Oh my, joy is a foundation that isn’t tied to our circumstances. Joy is not seasonal, and it isn’t easily swayed by outside factors. Joy enables us to keep going when we experience the hardest of what life has to offer: illness, career lows, the loss of a loved one. Sure, we don’t feel happy when we face such struggles, but an enduring joy can remain.

So, what does joy have to do with leadership? Well, what is your business like? What’s your department like? Is it seasonally happy, or is it rooted in joy?

Of course, a joyful team or company is only joyful if it is comprised of joyful people. Here are some ways we can create and sustain joy in our everyday.

Pay it forward.

Some of my best clients are those that I was honored to serve first. It brought my team and I joy to bring value without expecting an immediate payment or formal agreement.  Those initial opportunities to serve eventually transitioned into profitable business relationships founded on trust. I’m not suggesting you become a nonprofit; however, I am suggesting that find ways to joyfully serve first. Serving rarely costs us anything but our time. “Time is money,” you say? Ha, well to a joyful giver time is a gift.

Flip it.

Flip your negative challenges (and there will be some) to the positive. You may not see it yet, but every adversity really is an opportunity. No individual or organization is immune to challenges, so count it all joy and figure out how to keep it going.

Teach and fill others up.

We can make those we lead happy with a paycheck, but to create that joyful environment we must be willing to invest in and fill up our teammates. Our time with them may be limited, so make sure they are better off because your paths crossed.

Think with abundance instead of scarcity.

A joyful soul thinks and acts with a mindset of abundance. A scarcity mindset worries that there’s not enough to go around, so I’d better get as much as I can while I can. Scarcity thinks, “I must get it now because it may not be here later.” RELAX and trust me on this, there are enough clients and money to go around for those who are willing to work for it, so think abundantly!

Joyful leaders attract joyful people and together they can create a joyful company. Once the lights are taken down and the festive decorations are packed away, hang onto your joy, then share it with the people around you. Joy is contagious.

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