Vreugde (and More Gioia!)

Yeah, I had to look them up too. The first word is Dutch and the second word is Italian. But they mean the same thing. In Spanish the word is alegría and in Swedish it’s glädje. So enough with the mystery. The word is JOY. Unfortunately this is a word that is foreign to many entrepreneurs.

You see, we entrepreneurs are a pretty serious and driven bunch. We have important stuff to do and companies to build. We’re always moving at the speed of light and struggle to find enough hours in the day. Joy? Let’s see, maybe we can squeeze it on the calendar three weeks from Thursday at 2:00 PM . . . for 20 minutes. Is the picture coming into focus yet? The point is that many of us don’t allow joy to get within two miles, much less become an integral part of our lives. After all, feeling and celebrating joy isn’t very macho and we don’t want someone to get the wrong idea.

Why do we persist in having such an allergic reaction to joy? Can we become one of the next captains of industry and still allow for a modicum of joy? Of course we can answer in the affirmative and actually we must. Joy and success are tied inextricably by definition. If you don’t believe me – look it up! Merriam-Webster clearly states that “joy is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” But here’s something else that I’ve learned. We can feel great joy when we celebrate the success and good fortune of others.

I believe that joy should become a part of our daily lives. It’s one of the healthiest emotions we can have. And here’s something I’ve learned that can become your secret weapon. Do you know what it feels like to get stuck in the downward spiral of negative thinking? We lost a deal to a competitor that we were sure we had in the bag. Or one of our key team members just quit. And maybe the bank wouldn’t make the loan we needed. When faced with these kinds of issues our thoughts can turn dark very quickly. But we can just as quickly turn the tables by “jumping into joy” and with both feet. I started practicing this concept a number of years ago. Every time I’d start to feel down, I would intentionally find someone who was in a good place – a friend, family or team member. Then I would applaud their success or good fortune. It’s amazing what a lift this provided for me, not to mention how it made the other person feel.

Joy is uplifting. It’s shout-it-from-the-rooftops passion. It’s at least one level above happiness if not more. Joy kicks the endorphin rush into high gear and does all sorts of positive things to our bodies. We can experience joy through all five of our senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. If we don’t practice it or if we wait for it to come to us, then in effect we’re suppressing it. But if we go looking for joy it’s incredibly easy to find. And don’t we like to be around people who are joyful? They are easy to spot. Their facial features are etched with a permanent smile and a twinkle in their eye. They radiate warmth and bubble with personality.

We can continue to be Mr. or Ms. Seriously No Nonsense, or we can lighten up and have some fun at work. For a number of summers, we had an Ice Cream Day. I dressed up in a ridiculous looking ice cream cone suit and pushed an ice cream cart around the office passing out Nestlé drumsticks, fudgesicles and other delectable delights. I had a blast and everyone had a good chuckle. This truly was a joyful moment for all.

Life is pretty boring without joy – and so are we. Joy tramples negativity and helps balance our emotions. There’s no downside whatsoever to reveling in joy.

You can also listen to a weekly audio podcast of my blog. What you hear will be different than what you read in this blog. Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also click on this link – Audio Episode 15 – The Royal Treatment.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

ice-cream-suit

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