Gratitude And Joy
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

One of the most surprising life lessons for me as a leader is that gratitude and joy help individuals and organizations find their competitive advantage. Could this practice be considered a critical business practice? I have learned it most definitely is!

Being grateful is the precursor to seeing goodness, recognizing success, and offering praise. If you look at every situation as one that potentially offers at least some good, then you know the world differently than so many people around you. Unfortunately, being critical, angry, and attacking others seems increasingly prevalent. Sometimes, we no longer believe being good to others is even an acceptable choice. It is not only acceptable, but it will also give you an advantage over the naysayers who believe that such an attitude will leave you complacent, unmotivated, falling behind, and second best. This could not be further from the truth.

Gratitude is critical because it starts reversing the habits that deaden the person and organization. It gives each person the opportunity to begin anew. The next step is to find your passion and happiness. Joy feeds passion, which is the operating system used once gratitude initiates the effort. We don’t hear a lot about joy in business literature. It is there, just under different titles. We talk about passion, mission, and loving what we do. A sense of joy underlies all of these key concepts.

I am sure you have noticed joy in others. The purest expression of happiness is often witnessed in the behavior of children. Even the smallest of children exhibit joy. You can see it light up their entire faces. It can be as small as stomping in a new puddle after a rain shower, which completely delights them (and us if we let it). Joy is often experienced at family affairs like weddings. Unfortunately, we don’t regularly talk about happiness at work. That can be a significant mistake within the world we work and live in.

When people are joyful, they have tremendous energy. Science has shown us that joy triggers chemical releases that increase our ability to think and act. Instead of fear or apathy, joy and passion can be the difference between responding to what lies ahead of us and letting the moment pass by. As leaders, we certainly know the difference. What we do about it is critical. Using gratitude and joy to drive activity and change is vital.

As you search for what makes you grateful, you will see its impact on your motivation and well-being. Switch into a more joyful activity. What gets you excited at work and home? Consider positivity as a way of operating. Some simple behaviors like smiling more, laughing, and sharing your gratitude for others can go a long way. Find the way forward by being positive and collaborative.

Joy and happiness are feelings we can see in others, and it’s contagious. In times of many stressors, gratitude and joy can be your advantage that will bring renewed energy and success.