So it’s time to get back to work. For many people, it’s a time of internal struggle: ”Oh no, now I have to start being effective and disciplined again. Early mornings… Tight schedules… Heavy responsibilities… Power struggles… Consuming relationships… Bureaucracy… How on earth do I find ANY joy in this? How do I find my work motivation again?”
But you know what? There is a fundamental mistake taking place here. Your focus is all wrong. You’re just making it worse. Because with these types of questions, you focus too much on yourself. You get absorbed in your internal world. “My pleasure. My pain”. Your world revolves around you.
And hey, I know how it is. I understand. I’ve been there most of my life. Dwelling on my own pains, looking for my personal pleasure. And I know from experience that it’s not an easy habit to change. It’s damn sticky ailment, indeed! And I’m not saying that focusing on yourself isn’t useful at times. But overall, you should try something very different this time when coming back to work. Try a new approach.
Because if you do everything like you’ve always done, you keep getting the same results you’ve always gotten. Just the same rat race as before. Same levels of performance. Same emotions, same quality of relationships.
But if you try something new, you just might find new inspiration. New emotions and experiences. New levels of performance. Why not go for that?
So here’s my advice: Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on increasing joy in others. Because research shows that focusing on others creates much more joy – not only in the people around you, but also in yourself!
So start asking new types of questions: ”How can I awaken joy in others? How can I help my team and my colleagues get a great start for their work? How can I make them feel good?”
I’m sure you can think of many different ways to make people feel good. But to help you get started, here are five tips to awaken new kinds of joy – new emotions – in your team or colleagues:
1. Surprise your colleagues. Surprise is a powerful emotion which’s a value we often overlook. It’s an emotion that gets evoked when something unexpected happens. When surprised, we re-orientate our focus and find new levels of energy and intensity.
So try to do something your team members and colleagues are not expecting. For example, what do you think would happen if you met your team members with delight? With a smile on your face, telling how good it is to meet them? Or how about surprising your team with a small surprise present after the holiday – just to make them feel good once coming back to work?
2. Create enthusiasm with powerful questions. Enthusiasm is an emotion that raises your energy levels so you can grab the exciting possibilities. It is a contagious emotion that gets awakened often through curiosity. So if you want to increase enthusiasm in your team, try getting people curious first, then talk about something exciting, while showing your own enthusiasm: ”You know what? How about if we try something new this year? Since you are so skillful in handling our clients, you could start teaching your skills to our new employees. What do you say?”
And if you don’t know what would make your people enthusiastic, ask them: ”What would make you say: this has been the BEST year ever?” And then listen carefully.
3. Express gratitude. Gratitude is the king of emotions when it comes to happiness. The core of gratitude is to understand that things are not self-evident and granted. Everything you have is a gift. Your health. Your relationships. Your job.
Expressing gratitude is a powerful way to boost the well-being and efficiency at your workplace. So tell your colleague: “Thank you for working here. It’s good to work with you because I know I can always trust the quality of your work. You working here makes this a better place to work.”
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
4. Boost compassion by showing that you care. Compassion creates better workplaces. It increases employee trust and loyalty and organizational performance. Who would want to go back to work where you are being treated bluntly or indifferently, you feel you are just a resource, and nobody really cares about you as a human being? So set acts of compassion high in your priorities. Who have you helped today? Have you said something kind or encouraging to someone today?
5. Foster experiences of awe. Awe is an emotion awakened in situations when you experience something vast, powerful, that stretches your everyday thinking. For example nature scenes (mountains, ocean, sunset), art, music, religious activities, or mind-blowing insights are typical sources of awe. It makes us feel we are part of a bigger picture. It makes us more humble and serving. It increases our motivation to do meaningful work, and it even improves our health. So try eliciting awe, for example by finding new, mind-blowing meanings in old situations: “You know, you’re not really an IT support person. You are a lifesaver. Because you helped me yesterday, I was today able to get us a new customer. And customers are our lifeline, they are the reason we work here. Without your help, I wouldn’t have succeeded.”
So tell me – how did you help your colleagues or team members get a thrilling, inspiring, and memorable start for their work after the holiday?