Joy isn’t something that happens to you. Joy is a choice. In some challenging situations, joy may even be an act of rebellion, a power move, that lets those around you know that YOU will decide how you are going to respond to even the most difficult circumstances.
Why am I talking about joy in a leadership blog? Because I believe leading from a place of joy sets the tone for your organization, and those with whom you interact. And in today’s impatient, assume-the-worst, pick-a-side culture, we certainly need more people thinking, speaking and acting from a place of positive intent. Joy connects people.
Joyful leadership is not a head-in-the-sand, naïve, unrealistic perspective. Leadership is full of hard stuff, and we need to name and claim the difficulty of the challenges before us. No sugar coating, no denial, no assuming things will take care of themselves. Once you have reality clearly in focus, however, how you respond is fully within your control. And the best leaders choose . . . call it predictive joy. They focus their energy on the support around them, the creativity of their people, the confidence that the organization has what it takes to weather the current storm and come out stronger on the other side. Absolutely acknowledge that walking through the situation won’t be fun, it may be harder than you imagined . . . and yet, there is an energizing joy in knowing that you and your people will figure it out. It prompts you to be more creative, consider more options, and challenge conventional wisdom a bit more than you otherwise might. When you expect something to happen, you are more attuned to ways to make it so and ultimately find the “proof” of your joyful convictions.
We can’t always control what happens to us or our organizations. If that is your focus, however . . . the things you can’t control . . . you give away all your power and often get caught in a negative spiral of oh-poor-me and life-isn’t-fair. Instead, I challenge you to focus on what you CAN control. To draw energy — and joy —from the people, the perspectives, and the possibilities that move you toward your goal. Joy is contagious. It is energizing. It is effective. And it is a choice.
What will you choose?