We’re in the countdown to Christmas. The advent calendars are being opened, and and we’ve got four reflective blogs for you, using four words associated with this season, but applying them to the workplace. We hope they’re an encouragement to you, and give you something to ponder. Enjoy…

In this third blog, it’s all about joy.

What does joy mean? Well, without going into a lesson of etymology, ‘joy’ comes from the Latin word ‘rejoice’. So I’m going to start this blog with a big old controversial statement – I think happiness and joy are not the same. They’re often used interchangeably, but I think happiness is a surface level thing, where as joy (or the latin rejoice) is about a deeper gratitude despite circumstance.

So I could very easily finish this blog by writing one line about bringing joy into your workspace and time being about bringing thankfulness. But that would be an incredibly short blog, and I think selling short the breadth of opportunities of a deep joy for changing the landscape of your experience of work.

Joy sets the tone for the workspace, and the day. Joy says ‘whatever happens today, it’s not all bad – I’ve found something to be joyful (/thankful) for’.

Have you ever heard the psychology that if you’re considering buying a red car, all you can see on the road are red cars? You notice what interests you. If you make your day a pursuit of joy, you’re probably going to find more joy. That tone setting gives you a pride in your work, and a confidence, as you find things that you’ve produced to be joyful about.

It also builds great working relationship, as you find things in others to be joyful about (or thankful for). And when you share those things with that person, you are left grateful, and they are left encouraged – an increase of endorphins all round!

That joy and gratitude can also be about acknowledging others and celebrating their successes. Sometimes because of specific work they’ve done, sometimes just because of who they are – their characteristics, talents, personality traits.

I once read that there’s an African tribe community where if someone does something wrong, they seat them in the middle of the village, and all gather round them, reminding them of all the good things they’ve done, and the good characteristics they hold. They believe that if we do something wrong, it’s because we’ve forgotten who we are and the importance (and responsibility!) we hold in our community, so need reminding. An interesting concept…

Maybe not by shouting across our local area in front of everyone, but lets approach others in our communities and workspaces, and share with them the ways they bring us joy.

What does a lack of joy look like? Not accepting responsibility. Playing political games. Seek opportunities to support colleagues – don’t be an island.

Who is responsible for joy in your workspace? Is it your manager, your colleagues, your housemates (if you work from home)… or is it you?

How can you make space for joy? Go outside on your lunchbreak. Work collaboratively so you can spark and share joy with others. Play to your strengths. Smile! Show you care. Solving problems brings joy. Engage, and bring energy.

If you have any more ideas for others, feel free to add them in the comments below.

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