Moments of Joy

It was a cold, cold holiday break, and I spent a lot of quiet time with my family.

I found myself actively appreciating the good fortune of having a warm house to sleep in in the face of brutally cold nights, and reflecting on the little things that fortify me, help me refuel, and make me feel fully alive.

Life is full of ups and downs, of intense periods and periods of renewal–it can’t all be about time for reflecting, relaxation and recovery.

But it is worth noticing these small moments, for they can easily be built in to even the busiest of times.

A good night’s sleep.

Preparing a meal with my kids.

Driving on a sunny morning to play a game of squash.

The calm I feel after a yoga practice, or 15 minutes of meditation.

Curling up with a good book.

Witnessing the moment when someone discovers they can do something they thought they couldn’t.

When snow just starts to fall.

Laughter.

Here’s wishing you a 2018 full of small, and big, moments of joy.

(and, to all you email subscribers, here’s wishing that you got this post safe and sound from Feedblitz. If anything seems funky, please let me know. I’m working on it.)

One trait to rule them all

If you had one non-negotiable trait that you’d want everyone representing your organization to hold, share and transmit, what would it be?

Of course you’ve got bright, engaged people.  They are confident and interesting, energetic and well-versed in what you do and how it fits into the larger whole.  They are humble and they listen well.  They build relationships naturally, care genuinely about people, look to make others successful as much as they look out for the interest of the organization.

But that one thing, the oomph, the special something that sets them apart?

It’s joy.

Joy is infectious.  Joy is rare.  Joy is something we grab on to and won’t let go of.  It transcends.

(proof point: Zappos)

There’s just one catch: there’s no faking it.

Which means that the starting point is that what you do matters and inspires.  And HOW you do it matters just as much, because that is how your team experiences the work, their  colleagues, your values and how you and they walk through the world.  These all add up to something much greater than the sum of the parts.

But once you’ve got it?  Magic.

Measure more than distance and speed

A few months ago I started running again after a decade-long hiatusVibram’s five-finger shoes have made my knee pain a thing of the past.  But I’m still working my way back towards running, and it’s slow going (maybe I’m just going slow).

In my first 15 years of running (I started when I was 12), running was all about suffering.  I occasionally had easy, effortless runs, but the general rule was to push harder and go faster to “get the most” out of the run.  I’d say 80% of the time I spent running I was hoping it would end, and that was kind of the point.

Back then I would have loved all the technology that’s available now.  I have iMapMyRun on my iPhone, and it’s pretty incredible: free software that runs off of my music player (imagine if my Walkman had this!) that uses GPS to track where I am, places it on a map, and tells me how far I’ve run, how long I’ve run, the elevation I’ve covered.  It’s kind of magical.

It’s so cool, but I’ve had to force myself to stop using it.

iMapMyRun is perfect for the kind of runner I used to want to be: wanting to know my pace, know how today’s run compared with yesterday’s, know how far I ran this week down to a tenth of a mile.  But I stopped using it.

Why?  Because you get what you measure.  And knowing that all that information was being recorded was making me care more about the numbers at the end of the run than the run itself.

My goal on yesterday’s run was to have as much of the run as possible be enjoyable, and I don’t get that when my per-mile time is being tracked.  I don’t get joy by knowing my pace.  In fact it detracts from what I’m trying to do.

Measuring is fine, just make sure the things you’re tracking are the things you want the most of.  If iMapMyRun could tell me how much of my run I spent relaxed, smiling, dropping my shoulders, taking easy strides, and not worrying about the next hill, then it would be the software for me.

(Oh, and this post isn’t just about running).

Now

What do you do for joy?

What gives you a deep feeling of peace?

What energizes and sustains you?

What nourishes your soul?

Do you make enough space in your life for these things?

If not now, when?

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