People in leadership who come to me to learn have an interest in figuring out how to nourish a culture of leadership in their organizations. The first exploratory question that I ask the leaders I am mentoring is ‘what do you understand about being in joy?’ This can lead to consternation in the reply ‘what does my joy have to do with business? ‘. I am ready for this type of initial answer that is sometimes spoken gently as part of the exploration about leadership, and sometimes is spoken with the emotions that come up in defensiveness. I ask the person in leadership to explore with me and if in the end, they decide that the topic of ‘being in joy’ is useful or not useful, it is a choice for them to make.
Other people in leadership have been the ones to begin the topic of joy before I even ask my question. These have been people who have almost all been over fifty-five years old and seeing a short number of years in front of them regarding their careers or have been people under thirty years of age who are following their chosen careers and see a lot of years in front of them regarding their careers. Those who are older tend to be deeply concerned that their work including leadership, has led them to compromise too much of who they are as people, and they want to learn how to carry out their leadership and experience joy while doing so, wanting to feel more true to themselves. Those who are younger start experiencing the need to ‘leave part of themselves at the door’ when they arrive at their place of work, and are finding that part of themselves that is not wanted at work is their joy.
Generally speaking, people in leadership have concluded that for a variety of reasons, they have felt that ‘being responsible’ and ‘being in joy’ were on opposite ends of a spectrum when it came to offering leadership in their organizations. Leadership was felt to be heavy, responsible, accountable, burdensome, and also a privilege.
I invite you to enter into an exploration about joy in the same way that I invite the people in leadership whom I have the privilege to mentor. Exploring invites you to figure out your own questions. You might find it helpful to start with the questions:
- What do I understand about being in joy?
- When in my life did I choose responsibility over joy?
- How would being in joy affect my leadership?
- If a state of being in joy is a choice, do I want to make that choice now?
Joy is one of the topics being discussed at our upcoming Nourishing a Culture of Leadership workshops. If you are interested in discussing the link between being in joy and nourishing a culture of leadership, please join us. Check the Upcoming Events page for locations and dates for our upcoming workshop tour.