Let Gratitude And Joy Be Your Competitive Advantage
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 practicing gratitude and cultivating joy be a critical business practice? I have learned it most definitely is!

Being grateful is a precursor to finding goodness and success—and then offering praise for those things. If you look at every situation as one that offers at least some good, then you see the world differently than so many of the people around you. It is increasingly popular to be critical, angry, and cynical. It can seem like we no longer believe being good to others is a choice. I am here to tell you that it is a choice. Practicing gratitude and finding the goodness in all people and situations will give you a competitive 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.

The reason gratitude is so critical is that it starts reversing the habits that deaden people and organizations. It gives each person the opportunity to begin anew. After we start with gratitude, it becomes much easier to find passion and happiness. Joy feeds passion which serves as the operating system 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. All of these are important underlying concepts supporting a sense of joy.

I am sure you have noticed joy in others—especially in children. Even the smallest child can exhibit joy. You can see their entire face light up with it. It can be as simple as stomping around 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. We don’t regularly talk about joy 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. Joy and passion, as opposed to fear or apathy, 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 begin to see its effect on your motivation and wellbeing. Add more joy to your life. Consider what gets you excited at work and home. Positivity is a way of operating. Some simple behaviors such as smiling more, laughing with others, and sharing your gratitude and praise for others will help you find the way forward to a more positive and collaborative life.

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