When you think about entrepreneurs what comes to mind? I’m betting that it’s something different for just about everyone. Some will visualize rugged individuals with a pioneering spirit while others will see highly driven and extremely creative people. To how many of us did the word “joy” come to mind?
Entrepreneurship isn’t all about 100-hour weeks and one sacrifice after another. It doesn’t have to only be about struggling to find the right value proposition or meeting the next payroll. Entrepreneurship can also be a truly joyful experience. After all of the “grind it out” moments we endure, it’s good to remind ourselves of the fact that there is much to be positive, optimistic and grateful about in our entrepreneurial existence.
Our joy is derived not necessarily from the financial rewards we eventually realize. After all, the dollars are simply a measure for keeping score. No, the joy comes from our leadership and coaching that enables younger or newer colleagues to blossom into confident and productive contributors – both professionally and personally. The joy comes from our ability to stop for a moment in the midst of chaos; assess a situation; identify a problem and then solve it. Great joy comes from creating a product or service for which the marketplace responds enthusiastically and perhaps a difference is made in the lives of many.
Joy is always there but sometimes (maybe often) we forget to look for it. We become so wrapped up in strategy and tactics that we miss that bright shiny apple that is there for the picking. Why does this happen? Why can we be so obsessively serious at times? Perhaps we’ve bought into the meme that entrepreneurship is going to be a difficult marathon. We’ve heard that we need thick skin and a ton of resilience to have any hope of succeeding. And thus we become conditioned to slugging it out and expecting the journey to be tough. Of course there’s some element of truth to this, but if we intentionally also look for the joy in what we do, guess what? We’ll find it!!
We can re-program ourselves to seek and find true joy every single day. It doesn’t take much effort to allow moments of jubilation and glee to permeate our being. That spark of imagination can also transform into an explosion of joy when we allow for it. Winning the competition for a new client can be reason for feelings of exuberance – if we give permission for such feelings to come forth. Those smashingly positive reviews on social media can be realized as a triumphant moment when we become immersed in their afterglow. There’s a common thread to all of this. We must be active participants in pulling the lever that opens the gate whereby joy is invited into our lives. It is after all, our choice.
I know many entrepreneurs who lead joyless lives. I look at their businesses and see all sorts of potential for joyful moments. Yet, these entrepreneurs are so focused on their KPIs or squeezing out one more nickel of efficiency that they are oblivious to how much a celebration of joy could mean to themselves and to their entire organizations. Joy is a mindset and it is critical to the culture we want to create.
Here’s a simple exercise. Get up early some morning and find a quiet place where you can watch the sun rise. Feel the warmth on your face. Watch the changing color of the sky in all its exquisite glory. Do you get a tingle up your spine as a wave of splendor washes over you? If not, were you a real participant in this moment? Or were other thoughts creeping into your consciousness? Perhaps you remembered something you absolutely must do today. Or a nagging worry that caused some tossing and turning during the night emerges once again from its hiding place. I love watching the sun peek over the horizon and I never fail to enjoy an endorphin rush while experiencing this spectacle. Finding joy throughout each day in everything we do is an identical process.
Happy and well-adjusted entrepreneurs realize that there are massive gold nuggets of joy just below the surface of their daily lives. They also understand that they can walk over these gold nuggets without even knowing they are there. Or they can choose to find them with very little effort. I hope that you decide to begin finding your gold nuggets of unlimited joy.
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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.