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The Missing Joy Factor



A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of rising female businesswomen about my personal journey toward physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. I am lucky enough today to work at my dream job, where I get to bring my whole self to work every day. But the shifts I made to create a happier and more fulfilling life required challenging the core belief system instilled in me since childhood.

It is not hyperbole to say that challenging my belief system saved my life. I advise all leaders to periodically examine and challenge your own beliefs. They are strongly-held, adopted unknowingly early on in our family of origin, and consequently these personal convictions are deeply ingrained. But if you do the work of honestly asking yourself whether your beliefs are serving you, you can put aside those that no longer support your goals.

One of my core beliefs was that career success was the only path to ultimate joy. If I did well at school and later at work, then I would have a good job, earn a good living, have security, and then I would be happy. I had to honestly face this belief, instilled in me by my loving immigrant parents, and ask myself if it was still serving me to believe it. Was the drive towards external career success actually bringing me closer to my ultimate goal of joy and well-being?

I discovered that joy is not meant to be a reward at the end of a life well-played. Joy is something to pursue and enjoy every day. This is a tenant that I embrace in my own life and model for my employees. That’s why at Grokker, we take our fun seriously. It’s easy to get caught up in the unending pile of work that needs to get done and falsely label breaks for “fun” as frivolous. But there are small, easy ways to infuse joy for little to no cost, and the cultural rewards are enormous. 

People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel physically healthier, sleep better, show more empathy and less aggression to others. What’s more, practicing gratitude allows you to develop increased mental strength and resilience.

Looking to harness these benefits for their global workforce, SurveyMonkey tasked Grokker with creating a “Power of Positivity Challenge” to help employees build confidence, feel happier, and promote conflict resolution. Grokker created a series of mindfulness, yoga, and short fitness videos that help promote positivity. Many employees who participated said the Positivity Challenge inspired them to start an ongoing meditation practice to maintain the optimistic feelings they enjoyed.

It is up to us as the cultural ambassadors of our companies to find ways to spark joy every day. On Wednesday, I’ll be interviewing Google Executive Lisa Cohen Gevelber in the next installment of the “Secrets from Silicon Valley” webinar series. One of the topics Lisa and I will be discussing is how she finds time to celebrate joy in her own life and the ways she cultivates joy for her global team.

There is likely a missing joy factor in your company -- so how can you celebrate your employees and help them to live in the moment with gratitude? Join me and Lisa this Wednesday for some fresh ideas.



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